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Chapter 6: Sannyas Is for Lions

The first question:

Can you explain to us the difference between emptying oneself and effacing oneself? And what is the role of individuality in dissolution?

The process of emptying oneself and the process of effacing oneself have nothing in common. Not only are they different, they are diametrically opposite.

Emptying oneself brings individuality, more and more individuality. Emptying oneself means emptying oneself of all that is implied in personality.

Personality is a farce, personality is pseudo, personality is that which is given to you by the society. Personality is imposed on you from the outside; it is a mask. Individuality is your very being. Individuality is that which you bring into the world, individuality is a gift from existence.

Personality is ugly because it is pseudo. And the more personality you have, the less is the possibility for individuality to grow. The personality starts occupying the whole of your space. It is like a cancerous growth. It goes on growing, it possesses you totally. It leaves no space for individuality to have even its own corner. The personality has to be dropped, so that the individuality can be.

Individuality is a non-egoistic phenomenon; it is pure am-ness, it has no “I” in it. Personality is nothing but “I”: it has no am-ness in it. Personality is aggressive, violent, dominating, political. Individuality is silent, loving, compassionate; it is religious.

Emptying oneself means emptying of all content - just as you empty a room of all the junk that has gathered there down the years. When you have emptied the room of all the furniture and all the things, you have not destroyed the room, not at all; you have given it more roominess, more space. When all the furniture is gone, the room asserts itself, the room is.

Effacing oneself means destroying the room itself - destroying the very space of your being, destroying the very uniqueness of your existence, destroying the gift from existence. Effacing yourself means becoming a slave.

Individuality gives you mastery; it makes you very authentic, grounded, rooted. It gives you substance; you are no longer dream stuff. It gives you solidity, it gives you clarity, transparency, vision. It makes you aware of the beauty of existence, it makes you aware of the beauty of all. Effacing yourself destroys you, it is suicidal. You are not dropping your personality, you are dropping your very uniqueness. You are becoming more and more shadowy, rather than becoming more substantial. You are becoming a slave.

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