Chapter 5: Follow No One but Yourself
Because man thinks and he is egocentric, he thinks that everything in the cosmos is meant to serve him and his ego. If the flowers bloom they bloom for him, and if the stars move they do so in his service. He thinks that the sun is there just to give him warmth and light. And if Krishna is born, he is born for his sake. But this kind of thinking is utterly egoistic and stupid.
To think in terms of utilitarianism is basically wrong. The whole movement of life is non-utilitarian; it is purposeless. Life is for its own sake, for the sake of being life. The flower blooms out of its own joy. The river flows for the joy of flowing. The clouds, the stars, the galaxies all move out of their own bliss. And what do you think you are for and why?
You too are here out of your own joy. And a person like Krishna lives totally out of his ecstasy. It is a different matter that we utilize the light of the sun in various ways, that we grow our food with the help of the rains and make garlands of flowers, but they are not there to serve these purposes. In the same way we take advantage of his presence when a Krishna or a Christ is among us.
But we are entrenched in the habit of looking at everything through the eyes of our petty egos. And so we always ask why was Mahavira born. We ask what the special social and political conditions were that made it necessary for Buddha to be born. Remember that this kind of thinking has another implication, which is dangerous. It means that human consciousness is the product of social conditions.
This is how Karl Marx thought. Marx says that consciousness is shaped by social conditions, not that social conditions are shaped by consciousness. But the irony is that even the non-communists think the same way. They may not be aware that when they say that Krishna was born because of certain social and political conditions that they are saying he was the product of those conditions.
No, social conditions are not responsible for Krishna’s birth. No social condition is capable of producing a consciousness of the height of Krishna. When a person like Krishna visits the world he finds society far behind him. Such a backward society cannot create a Krishna. The truth is, it is Krishna who gives that society, without its being aware of it, a new image, a new direction and a new milieu of life.
In my vision, social conditions are not important; it is consciousness that has the highest value. And I tell you that life is not utilitarian: it serves no purpose, no end; life is like a play, a leela. Try to understand the difference between life with purpose and life as play. Someone walks a street in the morning in order to reach somewhere, say his office. And the same person walks the same street in the evening for a stroll; he does not have to reach anywhere. Though the person is the same and the street is the same, there is a great difference between the two walks. While going to the office is an effort, a drudgery, the evening stroll is a play, a joy. Walking to the office he feels heavy and dull; walking for walking’s sake he feels delight.