Chapter 4: Knowing the Mind
When the other is present, you are involved in relating to him and you are not aware of yourself. The search for the other is nothing but the search for an opportunity to escape from yourself. The basic reason that you become interested in other people is that you are afraid of yourself, and you know very well that if you know yourself completely you will find that you are absolutely mad. To escape from this state, man searches for company, searches for companions, searches for a friend, searches for society, searches for a crowd.
Man is afraid of aloneness. He becomes afraid of aloneness because in aloneness he will find a reflection of his real state, he will come across the reflection of his own face. And it will be very frightening, very scary. So from when he gets up in the morning until he goes to sleep at night, he uses all kinds of methods to escape from himself, so that he does not have to face himself. He is afraid that he may see himself.
Man has invented thousands of ways to escape from himself. And the worse the condition of man’s mind has become, the more new inventions he has made to escape from himself. If we look at the last fifty years, we will find that man has created more diversions to escape from himself than ever before in history. The cinemas, the radio, the television, are all ways to escape from oneself. Man has become so restless. Everyone is looking for entertainment; you are doing all kinds of things to forget about yourselves for awhile because your inner situation is becoming worse. All over the world, along with the development of civilization, the use of drugs has increased. Recently new drugs have been discovered which are becoming very popular in Europe and in America. There are drugs like LSD, mescaline, marijuana. In all the cultured cities of Europe and America, among all educated people, the effort to discover new drugs is at its peak. The search to discover reliable means for man to forget himself continues - otherwise man will be in great difficulty.
What is the reason behind all this? Why do you want to forget yourself? Why are you so eager for self-forgetfulness? And don’t think that only people who are going to movies are trying to forget themselves: the people who are going to temples are also going for the same reason; there is no difference. The temple is an old way of forgetting oneself, the movie is a new way. If a man is sitting and chanting “Ram, Ram,” don’t think that he is doing anything other than trying to forget himself in the chanting - just as somebody else is trying to forget himself by listening to a song from a movie. There is no difference between these two people.
The effort to become entangled in anything outside oneself - whether it is “Ram” or a movie or music - the effort to become entangled in anything is deep down nothing but an effort to escape from oneself. You are all engaged in escaping from the self in one way or another. This shows that your condition inside is getting worse, and you are losing the courage even to look at it. You are very afraid to look in that direction.