Chapter 15: Seeing the Past as a Dream
Just a few days before I was reading Jean Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions. This is a rare book. It is really the first book in world literature in which someone bares himself, totally naked. Whatsoever sins he has committed, whatsoever immorality, he opens himself up, totally naked. But if you read the Confessions of Rousseau you are bound to feel that he is enjoying it; he feels very much elated. Talking about his sins, talking about his immoralities, he feels elated. It seems as if he is enjoying it with much relish. In the beginning, in the introduction, Rousseau says, “When the last day of judgment will come, I will say to God, to the almighty, ‘You need not bother about me. Read this book and you will know everything.’”
No one before him has ever confessed so truthfully. And at the end of the book he says, “Almighty God, eternal God, fulfill my only desire. I have confessed everything; now let a big crowd gather to listen to my confessions.”
So it is rightly suspected that he may have confessed some sins also which he has not committed. He feels so elated and he is enjoying the whole thing. He has become identified. And there is only one sin which he has not admitted to - the sin of being identified. With whatsoever sin he has committed or not committed he is identified, and that is the only sin for those who know deeply how the human mind functions.
When for the first time he read his confessions amongst a small group of intellectuals, he was thinking that something earthshaking would happen, because he was the first man to confess so truthfully, as he said. The intellectuals listened, and they became more and more bored. Rousseau felt very uneasy because he was thinking something miraculous was going to happen. When he ended, they all felt relieved, but no one said anything. There was complete silence for a few moments. Rousseau’s heart was shattered. He was thinking that he had created a very revolutionary thing, earthshaking, historical, and there was simply silence. Everyone was just thinking about how to get away from there.
Who is interested in your sins except yourself? No one is interested in your virtues, no one is interested in your sins. Man is such that he becomes elated, he becomes strengthened in his ego, by his virtues and by his sins also. After writing Confessions, Rousseau began to think himself a sage, a saint, because he had confessed. But the basic sin remained. The basic sin is being identified with happenings in time. Whatsoever happens in time is dreamlike, and unless you get unattached from it, not identified with it, you will never know what bliss is.
Identification is misery; non-identification is bliss. This tenth technique is concerned with identification.
The tenth sutra:
Let attention be at a place where you are seeing some past happening, and even your form, having lost its present characteristics, is transformed.