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Chapter 9: The Seer Is Not Seen

But old age comes; things change. A beautiful face becomes ugly, a happy person becomes unhappy, a very soft person becomes very hard. Singing disappears and quarrelsome attitudes appear. Life is a flux and everything changes. How can you expect? You expect, then there is misery.

Says Patanjali, “Because of change, misery happens.” If life were absolutely fixed and there was no change - you love a girl and the girl remains always sixteen years of age, always singing, always happy and always cheerful, and you also remain the same, fixed entities - of course then you would not be persons, life would not be life. It would be stony, but at least expectations would be fulfilled. But there is a difficulty: boredom will come out of it, and that will create misery. Change will not be there, but then there will be boredom.

If things don’t change, then you get bored. If the wife goes on smiling and smiling and smiling every day, every day, after a few days you will become a little worried - “What has happened to this woman? Is her smile real or is she simply acting?”

In acting you can go on smiling. You can create such a discipline of the mouth. I have seen people who even in sleep are smiling; politicians and those types of people who have to continuously smile. Then their lips take a permanent shape. If you tell them not to smile, they cannot do anything. They will have to smile, it has become a fixed mode. But then boredom is created, and boredom will lead you to misery.

In heaven everything is permanent, nothing changes; everything remains just as it is - everything beautiful. Bertrand Russell in his autobiography writes, “I would not like to go to paradise or heaven because it would be too boring.” Yes, it would be too boring. Just think of a place where all priests, prophets, teerthankaras and Buddhas have gathered, and nothing changes, everything remains static - no movement. It will look like a painted picture, not really alive. How long can you live in it? Russell is right; one will get bored, bored to death. Russell says, “If this is going to be heaven, then hell is preferable. At least some change will be there.”

In hell everything is changing, but then no expectations can be fulfilled. This is the trouble with the mind. If life is in flux, expectations cannot be fulfilled. If life were a fixed phenomenon, expectations could be fulfilled so much that one would feel bored. Then there would be no zest, no enthusiasm. Everything would become dull, tepid - no sensation, no excitement, nothing new happens. In this life where you are living, change creates misery, anxiety. There is always anxiety within you, always I say. If you are poor, there is anxiety: how to attain to riches? If you become rich, there is anxiety: now how to retain that which you have attained? There is always fear of thieves, robbers, and the government - which is an organized robbery - taxation, and communists are always coming. If you are poor you are in anxiety: how to attain to riches? If you have attained you are in anxiety: how to retain that which you have attained? But anxiety continues.

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