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Chapter 12: Becoming a Witness

If he watches closely, a smoker can find out what makes him smoke a cigarette. Whenever he feels lonely, whenever he is without company, he immediately goes for a cigarette. He uses the cigarette as a companion, a rather inexpensive companion. It causes no problems. You can put it in your pocket, carry it wherever you like. You can sit alone and start working on it anytime. It’s an occupation. In a sense, it’s an innocent occupation; you are not causing any harm to anyone. You are harming yourself, more or less. You are just throwing the smoke out; you are just being occupied - that’s all.

Once I was traveling in a train. When traveling by train, it is my habit to sleep quietly as much as I can. A man traveling with me in the same compartment was bothered very much by my sleeping. He tried to wake me up several times. When I got up after six hours, took a bath, and got ready to go back to sleep again, the man could contain himself no longer. He said, “What in the world are you doing? I have read the same newspaper ten times, opened and shut this window several times, and here you are sleeping blissfully. I have never smoked as many cigarettes. It would be good if you stayed up.”

He was right. Man is lonely even in a crowd. There are so many people around - the wife, the sons, the daughters, the father, the mother, the whole family, such a mob, and everything else.. And yet man is lonely.

So far we have not been able to eliminate man’s loneliness, so he goes on doing something or other to escape his loneliness. He smokes, he plays cards. He plays cards not only with others, but even with himself. The craziness reaches its limit when a man plays both hands. You can find even the most intelligent man doing this.

It seems even the so-called most intelligent man is not really intelligent. Why? One will have to become aware of this state, one will have to witness it. If this man, who plays both hands, could be filled with awareness for a moment and see the whole thing as a witness, would he not laugh at himself as you just did? Indeed he would laugh. He would wonder, “What is happening? What am I doing to my life?”

If this should become apparent, then one doesn’t have to take a vow or an oath. Then one doesn’t have to renounce anything; things which are worthless drop by themselves. If a man grasps the root causes and goes on becoming deeply aware of them, he reaches the point from where the causes can be rooted out without any difficulty.

Remember, you will be in trouble if you begin pruning the leaves of a tree, because once a leaf is pruned it is replaced by four new leaves. The tree believes you are interested in grafting, it is not at fault. The tree feels maybe you want four leaves, that’s why you are pruning one, so it produces four leaves. When you see the four leaves, you panic and prune all four of them. That gives rise to sixteen new leaves!

No, things are to be rooted out - simply pruning the leaves won’t help. We have no idea of roots, we merely go on playing with leaves.

There are people who take a vow of celibacy. Once a friend of mine and I were guests in Calcutta. Our host was a seventy-year-old man, one of the most honest people I have known. Confiding in me one day, he said, “Please tell me, what shall I do? I have taken a vow of celibacy three times in my life.”