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Chapter 28: You Can Only Be Yourself and Nothing Else

I can say to you authoritatively what my experience is, but I cannot be authoritative with you. Note the difference: whatsoever I say, I say with the authority of my own experience. But I am not being authoritative with you. If I say, “Believe me” - then I start becoming authoritative with you. “Don’t doubt me. If you believe, then paradise is yours. If you doubt, you fall in hell.” I do not promise you any heaven, I do not make you afraid of any hell. Yes, my words have an intrinsic authority, but they are not authoritative, they don’t enslave you.

So of course I cannot give you any commandments. That would be insulting you, that would be humiliating you. That would be taking your integrity, your freedom, your responsibility from you. No, I cannot commit such a criminal act.

I can request you, I can invite you, to share with me my experience. I can become the host for you and you can be the guest. It is an invitation, a welcome - but it is not a commandment.

What requests can I make of you? It will look a little strange because Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Krishna, Mahavira, Buddha - nobody requests you. They all have orders for you: “Follow, or fall into hell.” They don’t give you any chance even to think. They reduce your very existence, your very being, to an object. They reduce you, just like a number in the army. They don’t respect your individuality. Hence I see something irreligious in all those people. They are special; somebody is special because he has seen God with his own eyes.. Now, in what way can you be equal to him? On what right can you question him? He has seen God himself, talked to him. He has brought the message to you; he is the messenger.

Somebody is the only begotten son: now, what can you do about it? You cannot be equal to Jesus. All that you can do is to follow, to imitate, to be a psychological slave, which is a far more dangerous slavery than any other. Economic slavery is nothing compared to psychological slavery.

I am reminded of Diogenes. I love this fellow Diogenes for the simple reason that he does not claim any authority from God. He does not give any orders and commandments and disciplines to others. He used to live naked - not for any religious reasons, not to get to heaven; he was not concerned about heaven and hell at all. He lived naked because, he said, “That’s how I was born. Nature wants me to be this way. Why should I be otherwise? I am going to be just natural.”

One day it happened, he was just going to the river. He used to carry, up to that time, a begging bowl which he used to collect food or keep water. He was running toward the river - he was thirsty - and just by his side a dog came running and reached the river before him and started drinking water. Diogenes said, “Great. This dog is far more independent than me.” He threw the begging bowl into the river and said to the dog, “Master, you have really shown me the way. I was carrying that weight unnecessarily.”

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