Chapter 6: Symphony for a Seabird
You cannot put a big load in a small bag, nor can you with a short rope, draw water from a deep well.
Have you not heard how a bird from the sea was blown inshore and landed outside the capital of Lu?
The prince ordered a solemn reception, offered wine to the seabird in the Sacred Precinct, called for musicians to play the compositions of Shun, slaughtered cattle to nourish it.
Dazed with symphonies, the unhappy seabird died of despair.
How should you treat a bird? As yourself, or as a bird?
Ought not a bird to nest in deep woodland or fly
over meadow and marsh?
Ought it not to swim on river and pond, feed on eels
and fish, fly in formation with other waterfowl,
and rest in the reeds?
Bad enough for a seabird to be surrounded by men
and frightened by their voices! That was not enough!
They killed it with music!
Water is for fish, and air for men.
Natures differ, and needs with them.
Hence the wise men of old did not lay down
one measure for all.
There is no human nature as such - there are just human natures. Each individual is a universe unto himself, you cannot make any general rules. All general rules go false. This has to be remembered very deeply, because on this path there is every possibility that you may start following rules, and once you become the victim of rules you will never come to know who you are.
You can know yourself only in total freedom - and rules are prisons. They are prisons because no one else can make rules for you; he may have discovered the truth through these rules, but they were for him. Nature differs - they helped him but they will not help you; on the contrary, they will hinder you.
So let understanding be the only rule. Learn, grow in understanding, but don’t follow rules. Rules are dead, understanding is alive; rules will become an imprisonment, understanding will give you the infinite sky.
And every man is burdened with rules, every religion becomes nothing but rules. Because Jesus attained, because Buddha attained, their life became a rule for everybody else to follow. But nobody else is a Gautam Buddha, nobody else is a Jesus Christ; so at the most you can become a decorated carbon copy, but you will never be your authentic self. If you follow Jesus too much you will become a Christian but never a Christ, and that is the danger. To become a Christian and to miss Christ is not worth it. You can become Christ, but then Jesus cannot be your rule, only your own understanding will be the law.
Jesus followed nobody. He had a master, John the Baptist, but he never followed any rule. He felt the master, he remained with the master, he looked at the flame of the master, he absorbed the master, he was baptized by the master - but he never followed any rules. Other followers of John turned against Jesus. They said, “This man has betrayed you. He is going on his own, he is not following the rules strictly.”