Chapter 9: A Stranger to Yourself
When you come across a snake on the path, you don’t gradually move away - you simply jump! It is an existential question. You don’t philosophically meditate over it, whether jumping is right or not: “How to jump? Whom to consult? What scriptures to follow? What maps will be helpful?” No - you simply jump! You don’t give a single moment’s time for the mind to function. Action comes spontaneously and totally. And when action is total, it is revolutionary. And when action is spontaneous, it is religious - then it is revolution, then it is a radical change of vision.
When your house is on fire, you simply run out of it! You don’t ponder over the matter about the pros and cons. You don’t take calculated steps. You forget all formalities, etiquette. You may be taking a bath, you may be naked, and if the house is on fire, you simply run out of the house naked. You completely forget that this is not right. You don’t have time.
Mind needs time. Spontaneity is timeless. Religion is a timeless transformation.
This is the first thing to understand: that religion is not a change of outlook, but a change in insight. It is seeing the world in a totally new way, an utterly new way. It is rebirth. It is not a change of your philosophy; your stupid philosophies have no meaning. Religion is not philosophical at all. Religion is absolutely non-philosophical. It does not think about truth: it lives it.
Philosophy is an exercise in futility. Jean-Paul Sartre has said: “Man is a useless passion.” I don’t agree. Man is not a useless passion, but philosophy is. Philosophy is a useless passion.
I have heard:
Visiting his famous philosopher friend’s house, a man observed a beautiful picture frame on the wall. But there was no picture in it - just the bare frame. He asked his philosopher friend, “What is the meaning of this framed blank canvas?”
The philosopher said, “Oh, that’s a very special picture of the Egyptians chasing the Israelites across the Red Sea.”
Scratching his head, the questioner responded, “But I just don’t understand, actually, where the Red Sea is in the picture.”
“The waters have already parted to allow the Israelites to cross,” said the friend.
“Is that so? Well, then, just where are the Israelites?”
“They have already passed over to the other side of the sea.”
“Oh, I understand. Well, where are the Egyptians who are chasing the Israelites?”
“Ah ha!” the friend replied, “they haven’t yet arrived!”
Philosophy is just an empty canvas. You can imagine a thousand and one things on it, but in fact there is nothing. You can imagine gods, hells, heavens; you can imagine a thousand and one things. It is all imagination. It is day-dreaming. And you can also find reasons, arguments, proofs, for whatsoever you say. You can even make people silent by your arguments. But philosophy remains an exercise in futility.