Chapter 19: A Simple Thank You
Buddha said, “Appa deepo bhava.” At the same time his disciples were saying, “Buddham Sharanam Gachchhami.” Is there any sequence in it?
Once a great poet was asked by a critic, “Your poetry is beautiful, but it is full of contradictions. Do you have something to say about the contradictions?” What the poet said has to be remembered. He said, “I am vast enough to have contradictions in me.”
I don’t know whether the critic could understand it or not but you have to understand it. Life is vast enough, it can exist with all the contradictions in it. In fact it cannot live without contradictions. There will be no life without death, there will be no light without darkness, there will be no love without hate, and there will be no men without women. Everything has its opposite. When you look through the eyes of pure logic it seems contradictory. When you look without any logic in your eyes, you see only complementaries; all contradictions prove to be complementaries.
This statement of Gautam Buddha is one of the milestones in the history of human growth: Appa deepo bhava - be a light unto yourself. Nobody before him was courageous enough to say this. They were all trying to say, “We are the light, follow us. Be surrendered to us and whatever we say never doubt it.” These people were not really for human freedom, human integrity, they destroyed all self-respect in man, they reduced him to a slave, a spiritual slave.
Gautam Buddha has brought a great revolution to the world. He says, “Be a light unto yourself” - because there is no other light. You are not to surrender to somebody because every surrender is slavery, and spiritual surrender is the greatest of all because it is so subtle. The chains are so invisible that you may never become aware of it, and the imprisonment is not something outside you, it is something imposed on the very being of your interiority. You are carrying your prison wherever you go, whatever you do.
People were very angry against Gautam Buddha. It is a strange story that people become accustomed to their slavery too! So much so, that anybody who wants to make them free, it seems to them that he is their enemy.
During the French revolution there was a great jail in France, the biggest jail in the whole country. It was meant only for those who were sentenced for their whole life. So they entered into the jail alive, but they came out only when they were dead.
Their whole lives they had to live in dark cells with heavy chains on their feet, heavy chains on their hands. Even the keys of those jails were immediately thrown into a big well inside the jail, because the doors were not going to be opened: “These people will be out of the jail only when they are dead.”