Chapter 9: The Master Is a Mirror
What is it that reduces me to a hysterical, incoherent child in your presence or even at the thought of being in your presence?
Is it something inherent in the master-disciple relationship, or my psychological immaturity, or both?
Humanity is not yet mature. We have the faces of human beings, but our minds are lagging far behind.
In the ordinary world, it is easy to manage your mask, your pretension, your hypocrisy. But when you come to a master. The very urge to come to a master shows a tremendous desire in you to know your original face, to know yourself. The face that you are now carrying is not your original face; it is not you. I am saying you are not you, and you know it.
The master is only a mirror. You cannot deceive the mirror, it simply reflects your reality.
There is an ancient parable of a very ugly woman who was very antagonistic towards mirrors because she thought, just as you all think, that it was the mirror that created the ugliness in her - because when the mirror was not there, she was no longer ugly. She was so madly against mirrors that whenever she would see a mirror, she would immediately break it. The parable is significant. That’s what we are all doing in our lives in many ways. Whatsoever reflects our reality we want to escape from, because it is not gratifying.
Here in my presence, or even when you think of me, if you feel yourself as immature, a retarded child, don’t try to explain it away in any way. This is the truth. And this is not only your truth; this is the truth of the whole of humanity. You are just fortunate that you have become aware of it. You have come across a mirror.
Breaking the mirror is not going to help. Poisoning Socrates has not helped the Greeks - he was a mirror. Crucifying Jesus has not helped the Jews - he was a mirror. Killing al-Hillaj Mansoor has not helped the Mohammedans - he was a mirror. On the contrary, people have remained retarded, childish, because there is no one to show them where they are, who they are. They are in a crowd of similar kinds of retarded children.
After the First World War, for the first time in Germany they tried to figure out the average mental age of a soldier. Thousands of soldiers went through the process, through many experiments, and the result was shocking and shattering to the whole of human pride. The result was that the average mental age of the soldiers was only fourteen years. And the average age of those who are not soldiers cannot be much more. A man may be seventy years old - his body has aged, but his mind has remained at the age of fourteen. And once in a while you can see it in yourself; you can see it in others in certain situations.