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Chapter 1: Toward the Awakening

Be ready for the unknown and you can only be ready if you are ready to be ignorant. And I say that this is very courageous: to feel ignorant is the greatest daring possible to man. Why? - because knowledge gives you ego, knowledge gives you a feeling that you are somebody, that you know this and that. When you feel that you are ignorant there is no food for your ego to feed upon. If you are ignorant ego disappears.

People come to me and they go on asking how to dissolve the ego, and I say: Do not try. You cannot dissolve it. Rather, put aside your knowledge and the ego will disappear. It will disappear just like dewdrops disappear from the grass when the sun rises in the morning. The ego is a dewdrop. When you are really not knowing, that is what I mean by ignorance. When you are not knowing and you say, “I do not know anything, I am standing in darkness,” where can your ego stand? Where can it have a foothold? With the knowledge disappears the ego. So the first thing: be ignorant.

The second thing: the human mind has been totally perverted by serious people. Those who have taken upon themselves the great work of making men serious have destroyed all that is beautiful in you. Puritans, moralists, religious teachers, churches, they have destroyed all that is beautiful in you because the beauty is related to the nonserious.

Ugliness is related to the serious, and religion has become ugly because it has become too much attached to seriousness. Do not be serious. For these eight days be playful, childlike, nonserious - enjoying. Enjoy yourself enjoying others, enjoying the whole world around you. The hills are beautiful, and there will be rains and there will be clouds. This night is beautiful, the silence is beautiful. But if you are serious your doors are closed; then you are not open to the silence of the night - because except for man nothing is serious in existence.

Be playful. It will be difficult, because you are so much structured. You have an armor around you and it is so difficult to loosen it, to relax it. You cannot dance, you cannot sing, you cannot just jump, you cannot just scream and laugh and smile. Even if you want to laugh you first want something there to be laughed at. You cannot simply laugh. There must be some cause: only then can you laugh. There must be some cause: only then can you cry and weep.

You are serious. You look at life as a business or as mathematics. It is not! Life is poetic, illogical. It is not like work, it is like play. Look at the trees, the animals, the birds; look at the sky: the whole existence is playful. You are very serious, so it is no wonder that you have become separate from existence. You are uprooted from it, and then you feel alienated, then you feel like strangers, then you feel that this existence is not your own. No one else is responsible for it except you and your seriousness.

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