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Chapter 29: Truth: Not a Highway but a Hill Track

To be a Christian is ugly. To be a Buddhist is ugly. It simply says you are blind; you don’t know anything, and you are following somebody because you believe that he knows. In fact, in existence, no individual is repeated again. Existence is very inventive.

It happened that one of Picasso’s paintings was purchased by an American for one million dollars. Naturally, he wanted to know whether it was an authentic Picasso or not. He approached Picasso himself - because that was the only way to find out - and he asked Picasso, “Is this painting authentically yours, or has somebody made a copy of your painting?”

Picasso looked at the painting, and he said, “It is not authentic.”

Picasso’s girlfriend was amazed by the answer, because Picasso had painted that painting in front of her. She said to Picasso, “This is an inhuman joke! That man has spent one million dollars! He has come from America to France to ask you - and you are lying, because I am an eyewitness. You have painted this painting; this is absolutely authentic!”

Picasso said, “You are not wrong. I have painted it, but still I say it is not authentic.”

Now the man who had purchased the painting was absolutely in confusion. The girlfriend was also puzzled. What does Picasso mean? If he says he has painted the painting, and still insists it is not an authentic Picasso, this is a contradiction.

The man said, “This is even more confusing. It was good that it was not authentic; at least things were settled. But now you are saying you have painted it, and still it is not authentic. What do you mean then?”

Picasso said, “It is very simple, there is no contradiction. I have copied it from one of my old paintings. It is not authentic, it is just a copy. I have painted it, but it is not original. Somebody was insisting that he wants a painting, and I was not getting any ideas, so I simply used an old painting of mine and painted - it is a copy. Now it does not matter who copies, Picasso or somebody else: a copy is a copy, it cannot be authentic.”

I am telling you this incident to remind you that existence never produces copies. It only produces authentic individuals - never again the same person, never before. You are unique: you have never been in the whole eternity that has passed before you, and you will never be in the coming whole eternity. This uniqueness is something to be proud of.

Your truth has to be discovered only by you.

Yes, the person who has discovered his truth can be a guide, but he can only say how he has discovered his truth. And he can make you alert that “You are not to follow my path.” But he can give you tremendous encouragement, that a fellow human being, someone just like you, is capable of finding the truth. Maybe you have to find your path, but his presence is a guarantee, is an encouragement that truth can be found, that it is not something utopian; it is something realistic.

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