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Chapter 4: You Are Ancient Pilgrims

He would laugh and never say anything, but he continued in his own way. In the end when he was dying his disciples asked, “Now tell us: what was the secret? There must be something!”

He said, “There is nothing much in it; it is a simple phenomenon. I wanted to go to jail again and again to help the people who were inside to come out, and that was the only way - stealing small things, then getting caught. I had to manage both: first stealing things and then getting caught. And then the magistrate would send me for six months to jail and for those six months I would try to help the people who were inside to come out. And I am happy, tremendously happy, that I have helped many to come out of jail.”

Now this man is going knowingly, consciously; it is his choice. Even in the jail he is a free man. He is not imprisoned by anybody else; he has imprisoned himself, for a certain purpose.

So is the case with you, you have imprisoned yourself. This simply proves your freedom. Any day, if you want to get out of it, you can get out of it. I go on hammering only one thing on your head again and again: that there is another choice also, please don’t forget. You have chosen to be in sleep, you can choose to be awake. You have lived in sleep for many, many lives, you have seen all that sleep makes possible, now please see what awakening can give to you.

I have seen both and I tell you that sleep cannot give you anything; it only promises but never delivers any goods. Sleep can give you only dreams, hallucinations; sleep cannot fulfill you. I have known both, you have known only one. Those who have known both, listen to what they are saying. And if you come close to them you are bound to fall in love with them.

It is not a question of respect; respect is a formality. You respect the Christian priest, you respect the Hindu mahatma, you respect the Jaina muni, you respect the Catholic monk, you respect the Pope. You don’t respect Christ or Buddha or Krishna - you love them.

Respect is very ordinary; it brings no revolution in your life. It is a trick of the mind. The mind says, “Look how much I respect the holy people,” and there it is finished. Now what more can you do? You can respect them, sometimes you can go and touch their feet - it becomes a formality.

In India it is such a formality that it has lost its beauty, its tremendous power to transform people. People go on touching each and everybody’s feet. Children are taught from the very beginning to touch everybody’s feet.

In my childhood it was so. Any Tom, Harry, Dick who would come to my house, if he was aged my father would say, “Touch his feet.” I was always puzzled: “Why? I don’t see anything in the man, I have no feeling for him.” But it is a formality, it is a social obligation. You have to do it.

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