Chapter 9: The Law Is for You
Patanjali never makes you guilty about anything. In that sense he is more scientific than religious, more a psychologist than a religious priest. He is not a preacher. Whatsoever he is saying, he is simply giving you a blueprint of how to grow; and if you want to grow you need a discipline. The discipline should not be imposed from the outside; otherwise it creates guilt. The discipline should come out of inner understanding, then it is beautiful. The difference is very subtle. You can be told to do something, and then you do it, but you do it like a slave. You can be helped to understand a certain phenomenon: through understanding you do it, then you do it as a master. Whenever you are a master you are beautiful; whenever you are a slave you become ugly.
I have heard one old Yiddish joke. There was a tailor named Zumbach. A man came to him. His suit was ready and he had come to take it, but the man found that one sleeve was longer than the other. He started fussing about it. Zumbach the tailor said, “So what? Why are you fussing so much? Look. This is a piece of art, and for just a small defect you are creating so much fuss. You can pull your hand inside a little, and then the sleeve will be okay.”
So the man tried, but when he pulled his hand inside he felt that a bunch of material had gathered on his back. So he said, “Now this bunch of material has gathered on my back.”
Said Zumbach the tailor, “So what? You can stoop a little, but this is a piece of art and I am not ready to change it. It looks so beautiful.”
So the man hunched over and walked out. Just outside when he was going home (it was very difficult to walk because one hand had to be pulled in, and then he had to remain hunched over so the suit remains beautiful - the man is completely forgotten; the coat has become more important) there came another guy and he said, “Such a beautiful suit. I bet it must have been prepared by Zumbach the tailor.”
The first man was surprised. He said, “How do you know?”
The man said, “How do I know? Only that type of tailor can make such a beautiful suit for a cripple like you.”
This is how it has been happening through all the religions to all humanity. They have made beautiful laws for you. “So what?” they say if you have to hunch over a little. “It’s okay. You look so beautiful.” It is the law that has to be followed and fulfilled: you are not the end; the law is the end. If you become crippled it is okay, if you become a hunchback it is okay, if you become ill it is okay - but the law should be fulfilled.
Patanjali is not giving you laws of that type, no. He understands more. He understands the whole situation. The laws are there to help you. They are really like a structure which is made before you start constructing a building, the scaffold. It helps the new building to come up; once the building is ready the structure has to be taken away. It was for a certain purpose; it was not the end. All these laws are for a certain purpose: They help you grow.