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Chapter 7: The Witness Is Self-Illuminating

The woman bought a budgerigar from the pet shop on the assurance that it would talk. Two weeks later she was back to complain that the bird had not talked.

“Buy a little bell for it to play with,” suggested the pet shop owner, “That often helps to get them talking.”

The woman bought the bell and went off. A week later she was back to say the bird had still not uttered a word. The shop owner suggested that she buy a mirror, which was a sure-fire way of encouraging budgies to talk. She took the mirror and went away, only to return in another three days. This time the shop owner sold her a small plastic bird which he suggested would give the bird something to talk to. Another week passed and the woman came in to inform the shop owner that the bird had now died.

“Did he die without ever speaking?” asked the shop owner.

“Ah, no,” replied the woman. “It said one thing shortly before it passed away.”

“What was that?”

“Food! For Pete’s sake, give me food!”

One has to be very, very alert, otherwise one can move to opposite polarities very easily. Mind is an extremist. This is my observation: people who have lived only for food, when they get frustrated with their life style, start fasting. Immediately, they move to the other extreme. I have never come across a faster, a fanatic about fasting, who has not previously been a fanatic about food. They are the same people. People who are too much into sexuality start becoming celibate. People who are very miserly start renouncing everything. This is how the mind moves from one extreme to another.

Patanjali would like you to balance your life, to bring an equilibrium. Just in the middle somewhere, where you are not mad after food and you are not mad against food, where you are not mad after women or men and you are not mad against them; you are simply balanced, a tranquility.