Chapter 11: You Cannot Step Twice into the Same River
India has been renouncing, and a religion that renounces is false. A religion that makes you capable of celebrating to the optimum is the true religion. And this is the beauty of it: if you live life, a renunciation comes automatically. It happens - that is the nature. If you eat well, satiety comes. If you drink well, the thirst disappears. If you lived well, the clinging to life disappears. It has to be so. This is the law, the logos. If you have not lived well, then you always remain clinging, then you always dream about how to live. And if you have renounced this life you have to project another life. You need a permanent self, otherwise what will you do? You missed this life, and there is no other life? You need a permanent self. You have to believe and console yourself: “Okay, the body dies but the self never dies.”
If you listen to Buddha and Heraclitus and to me, the self dies even before the body dies - because the self is of a more dreamy stuff than the body. The body is more substantial - at least it takes seventy years to die, and the self dies every moment. Watch: in the morning you have one self, by the afternoon another. In the morning you were happy and it was a different self; by the afternoon it has gone, already gone. Yes, Heraclitus is right:
Into the same rivers we step and do not step.
It simply appears that in the afternoon you are the same self. It simply appears. Where is the self of the morning when you were so happy, and you could sing with the birds, and you could dance with the rising sun? Where is that self? By the afternoon you are already sad; the evening has already descended on you. In the middle of the afternoon it has already become night - you are sad. Is this the same self? When you hate and when you love, do you think it is the same self? When you are depressed and when you reach a peak of joy, is this the same self? It is not, it simply appears to be. It appears the same, just like if you go the Ganges: in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, it appears the same Ganges - but it is not. It is constantly flowing.
Heraclitus loves the symbol of the river, Buddha loves the symbol of the flame. That symbol of the flame is even more subtle. The flame appears to be the same but it is not. Every moment it is disappearing; the old is going and the new is coming. Buddha says that in the evening you light a candle, and in the morning you blow it out - but never think that it is the same candle. It cannot be. The whole night it burnt and burnt and burnt. The whole night the flame disappeared and disappeared and disappeared, and a new flame was constantly being supplied. But the difference between the two flames - the old going out and the new coming in, the gap - is so subtle that you cannot see it.
Buddha says, “The self that is born will not die - it has died already. The man you were born as and the man you will be when you die are not the same.” Buddha says, “It is the same continuum, but not the same thing.” The flame in the evening and the flame in the morning constitute the same continuum, the same series of flames, but not the same self. The Ganges looks the same; it is not the same. And everything is changing..
The nature of the reality is change.
Permanence is illusion.