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Chapter 9: Let the Dead Bury Their Dead

Looks really cruel - but he was not. He’s not saying anything to his mother: he’s saying to those people, if you’re clinging too much to the family the inner revolution will not be possible, because the family is the first imprisonment. Then the religion you belong to is the second imprisonment.then the nation that you belong to is the third imprisonment. One has to break them all, one has to go beyond them all. Only then can one find the source - the source which is freedom, the source which is godliness.

“No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” One has to renounce all that is futile to gain that which is meaningful.

Once it happened that a group of friends were sitting and talking about what the most essential thing is that cannot be renounced. Somebody said, “I cannot renounce my mother. She has given birth to me; I owe my life to her. I can renounce everything, but not my mother.”

Somebody else said, “I cannot renounce my wife because mother and father were given to me - they were never my choice - but my wife I have chosen. I have a responsibility towards her, I cannot renounce her. But I can renounce everybody else.”

This way they went on. Somebody said he could not renounce his house, somebody else said something else. Mulla Nasruddin said, “I can do without everything except my navel.”

Everybody was puzzled - just a navel? So they pressed him to explain it. He said, “Whenever there is a holiday and I am at ease, I have leisure time, I lie down on my bed and eat celery.”

They said, “But how is that concerned with the navel? You can eat celery..”

He said, “You don’t understand. Without the navel I have no-where to put the salt.” He puts the salt in his navel when he eats celery!

But all your attachments are just that absurd. Except for your innermost consciousness, everything can be renounced. Not that I say, “Renounce it,” but deep down one should live in renouncement - be in the world, but one should re-main in renouncement.

You can live in the family, not being part of it; you can live in the society and yet out of it. It is a question of inner attitude. It is not a question of changing places, it is a question of changing the mind.

The things that you are too attached to are not bad in them-selves, remember. Father, mother, family, wife, children, money, house - they are not bad in themselves. The attachment is not bad because these things are bad, or these persons and these relationships are bad: attachment is bad. It can make you very stupid.

Mulla Nasruddin suddenly became rich, he inherited a great treasure. And of course, what happens with newly rich people happened with him also: he wanted to show it, exhibit it. He called the greatest painter in the country to make a portrait of his wife.