Chapter 3: The Atomic Moment
Have you ever watched? When you are talking to your boss, you are all smiles; your every breath says, “Yes, sir.” Even though you are offended, angry, you are ready to kiss his feet. And when you are talking to your servant, have you seen the arrogance on your face? You have never smiled. How can you smile talking to your servant? It is impossible. You have to dehumanize him. How can you smile and relate to him as a human being? You have to possess him as a thing: he is a slave. You have to behave in a different way than you behave with your boss. There, you are a servant; he remains arrogant, he remains bossy. When you are talking to a friend you have a different mask to use. When you are talking to a stranger, of course, a different mask is needed. You have to use many masks and you have many faces, and you go on changing them as circumstances change. Your personality consists only of false faces.
And what is essence? Essence is your original face without any masks. Essence is that which you brought into the world when you were born. Essence is that which was with you in the womb. Essence is that which has been given to you by God - or whatsoever you call the totality, the whole, existence. Essence is a gift from existence to you.
Personality is a gift of the society, parents, school, college, culture, civilization. Personality is not you, it is pseudo - and we continue to polish this personality, and we have completely forgotten the essence. And unless you remember the essence, you will have lived in vain, because real life consists of essence. A real life is the life of essence. You can call it soul, or God within you, or whatsoever you will. But remember the distinction: you are not your clothes - not even your psychological clothes.
I must remind you of Moses. When he came face to face with God, when he saw God on the mountains as fire arising out of a green bush - and the bush was not burning, the bush was as fresh, as green as ever - he was puzzled. He could not believe his eyes. It was impossible.such fire! The bush was aflame and yet the bush was not burning. And then he heard from the bush a voice coming to him, “Moses, put off your shoes, because you are on holy ground.”
This is one of the most beautiful of Jewish parables: God is the fire, your personality is just the bush; and God is a cool fire - it will not burn your personality, the personality can remain green. God gives you so much freedom that if you want to be false, it is allowed, it is okay with him. If you want to be pseudo, it is allowed. Freedom means that you can be right or you can be wrong - this is up to you. Your essence is there, the flame is there, and your personality is also there.
The personality is false, and naturally one will think, “Why doesn’t the fire within you burn it?” The fire is cool, the fire cannot burn it. If you have decided to have this personality, the fire allows it: you can remain green in your personality, the personality can go on gathering more and more foliage. You can become more and more false, you can become utterly false, you can be lost in the falsehood of the personality and God is not going to interfere.