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Chapter 6: Madmen and Devotees

But in the human situation the whole thing has taken a very wrong shape, because you have been taught wrong goals. Each child should be taught to be true to life. If there is fear, then be afraid. Why hide it? Why pretend that you are not afraid? If you want to cry, cry. Why be afraid of tears? But we have been taught not to cry, particularly men. With small children the mother will say, “Don’t be a sissy. Don’t start crying, that is only for girls.” And the boy becomes hard. Look. Men cannot cry. They have missed one of the most beautiful things in life. Nature has not made any difference between man and woman. Man has as many tear glands as woman, so the thing is proved, there is no difference. Tears are needed. They are cleansing. But how to cry? What will people say? They will say, “You, and crying? Your wife has died and you are crying? Be a man. Be brave, face it. Don’t cry.”

But do you understand? If you don’t cry, by and by your smile will be corrupted, because everything is joined together. If you cannot cry you cannot laugh. If you don’t allow your tears to flow naturally you will not be able to allow your smiles also to flow naturally. Everything will become unnatural, everything will become strained. Everything will become a forced thing and you will move almost in a diseased way and you will never be at ease with yourself. That is what has happened, and now you are miserable.

Life consists of flowing. If you are a coward, be a coward. Be honestly a coward. And I tell you there is nobody else who is not a coward. And it is good that people are not that way; otherwise even while they are so helpless, they would feel so egoistic. If they were not cowards they would be almost dead stones, they would not be alive - just egos, frozen.

Don’t be bothered - accept it. If it is there, it is there, a fact of life. Try to understand it. Don’t listen to others; you are still being manipulated by others.

I was reading an anecdote:

Mrs. Jones pursued her small husband through the crowds at the zoo brandishing her umbrella and emitting cries of menace. The frightened Mr. Jones, noticing the lock on the lions’ cage had not quite caught, wrenched it off, flew into the cage, slammed the door shut again, pushed the astonished lion hard against the door and peered over its shoulder.

His frustrated wife shook her umbrella at him and yelled furiously, “Come out of there, you coward!”

This man, a coward?

But each husband is a coward in the eyes of the wife. In others’ eyes, you are a coward. Don’t trust the opinion of others too much. If you feel yourself to be a coward, close your eyes, meditate on it. Ninety-nine percent is others’ opinion: the wife brandishing her umbrella, “Come out, you coward!” Ninety-nine percent is others’ opinion, drop it; one percent is reality, accept it; and don’t create any antagonistic goal. Accept it and then you will see that cowardice is no longer cowardice. Rejected, it becomes cowardice. The very word cowardice is a condemnation. Accepted, it becomes humbleness, helplessness.

That’s how it is. We have to be humble: we are not the whole. We are the parts of a tremendously vast whole, very tiny parts, atomic parts, small leaves on a big tree.

It is good to tremble sometimes, nothing wrong in it. It helps you to shake off the dust. You become fresh again.