Chapter 5: Be a Light unto Yourself
A monk asked the Buddha: What is most powerful and what is most illuminating?
We are all asking only these two questions. First, what is most powerful? Because we are all on a power trip. We want to be powerful because we feel we are impotent, we feel we are weaklings, we feel we are limited. A thousand and one limitations surround you. Everywhere you come against a wall and you feel powerless. Each moment of life brings you the feeling of helplessness.
So, the question is very pertinent, a very human question. What is the most powerful thing in the world? The monk must have been a seeker of power. Now, you have to understand it. The very effort, the very desire to be powerful, is one of the obstacles to attaining power. People who try to become powerful never become powerful. They are destroyed by their own search. Because the effort to become powerful means you are in conflict. You want fight - that’s why you want to be powerful.
Otherwise, why do you need power in the first place? You must have some aggression, some violence, some grudge. You want to prove and perform. You want to prove to others that you are powerful and they are not. Deep down somewhere, like a shadow in the unconscious, an Adolf Hitler is seeking its way towards your conscious mind - or a Nadir Shah, or a Napoleon, or an Alexander. Everybody is carrying an Alexander within himself.
This desire for power has created many things in the world. Science has come as a desire for power, and it has created power. But that power is destroying humanity. It has come to such a state that people like Albert Einstein feel that they have done a crime against humanity. In the last days of his life, somebody asked Albert Einstein, “If you were born again, what would you like to become?”
He said, “Never a physicist again, never a scientist. Rather, I would like to become a plumber.”
He was a very sensitive man, very understanding. And only in the end could he understand that he has released so much energy, and he has made humanity aware of such a destructive force - atomic energy - that if humanity destroys itself, he is bound to be one of the most responsible persons.
The very framework of science is to conquer nature. That is the very terminology of science - conquest of nature. We have to overpower nature and we have to destroy all mysteries of nature, and we have to find all the keys of power, wherever it is. But the very idea takes you away from nature, makes you antagonistic to it and becomes destructive. The ecology of the earth has been destroyed by this power seeking. In the outside, in the inside - both - the natural rhythm of life is disturbed.
I have heard: