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Chapter 9: On Calm and Quietude

“I would escape from both types of people; and I would remain, be with the person who simply looked at me and remained himself, who did not react. That man had attained to equilibrium, to balance, to what Hindus call stith-pragya: a man whose inner flame of consciousness does not move now, there is no wavering inside. He does not react, he has no mind to react, whatsoever you do is the same to him. You cannot disturb him in any way whatsoever. This man I would remain with.”

So I told the man who was saying that his master was so self-effacing that when he touched the master’s feet the master also touched his, I told him, “You go again and this time don’t touch his feet, and act arrogantly, and talk in such a way that it seems you are higher than him.” He said, “It will be difficult, I have been a devotee for many years.” I said, “Don’t worry, you have to try it. Things will only be clear then, and then you come back to me.”

He went. Just after a week he came back and he said, “Everything changed. When I didn’t touch the feet of the man, he didn’t touch mine, and he looked with such condemnation toward me that it seemed as if, if it were possible for him, he would throw me into the seventh hell. And when I acted arrogantly and started talking as if I knew more than him he ordered his disciples to throw me out. I have been thrown out.” I asked the man, “Now what do you say?”

When you go to a man, if he behaves according to your ideas you will have a misunderstanding; if he does not behave according to your ideas then too you will have a misunderstanding. You have fixed ideas. They don’t allow you to understand. You have formulas and a man of understanding has no formulas about himself; he lives in the moment, lives freely. Remember this - he lives in the moment, lives it spontaneously, and he follows no ideology. Ideologies are only for fools, stupid people who are not alert. They are substitutes for awareness.

Because you are blind, because you cannot understand, some substitutes to regulate your life and to discipline it have been given to you. If you understand, you throw away all those substitutes, because now you have the real thing, you live with awareness.

But how will you be able to understand a man who is free? You are slaves, slaves this way or that; even if you rebel you are slaves - rebellious slaves, but still slaves. How can you understand a free man in your slavery? The slavery will surround you like a smoke, a screen, and through that slavery you look at a free man. Whatsoever you see will be a misunderstanding. Whatsoever you understand can never be understanding unless your eyes are completely clear of all smoke, all ideology, all fixed ideas, images, theories, concepts. Unless you come to a free man with a spontaneous being - alert of course, but with no ideas, with no mind - only then can you judge.

It happened.

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