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Chapter 30: Surrender: The Ego Upside Down

In India it could not happen because the religious tradition is so deep that it has told the poor people, “You are the blessed people. Your poverty is just a test of your faith. All these small troubles are nothing before the blessings of paradise. This life is just a life consisting only of four days.”

That’s a proverb in India, that life is nothing but four days. Two days pass in desiring, the remaining two days pass in waiting. It is so small that half of it - while you are young, you have ambitions and desires to be someone, to be somewhere, to get your name carved for the coming generations - those two days pass in desiring. And the other half, when you start getting older, those two days pass in waiting for some miracle to happen and your desires to be fulfilled. This is all your life is: a soap bubble.

For this small life are you going to lose the blessings, eternal blessings of heaven? Be patient. Have faith. Your poverty is a God-given opportunity. If you can pass this fire test - which is not a long journey, just four steps - the doors of paradise open, and you will be received with bands and singing and dancing.

In India revolution seems to be impossible. It should have happened first in India, because what Karl Marx says has a truth in it. When you don’t have anything to lose, what is the fear of fighting, of rebelling, of risking?

I have told this ancient story many times, but each time that I have told it I have loved it more.

A master is going from one place to another with his chief disciple. They have to cross a jungle. The disciple is puzzled because the master says, “Move a little quicker, we have to pass through the jungle fast. The sun is coming down and soon it will be night.”

The disciple has been with the master for many years and the master has never been afraid of the night. He has never been in such a hurry. Moreover, he is keeping a bag hanging from his shoulder. He is clutching that bag, and once in a while he puts his hand inside and feels something there, and then looks at ease.

The disciple was very puzzled: what is the matter? What is he carrying in the bag that he is so afraid? But the path was long, and although they were almost running, in the middle of the jungle the night came. The disciple saw for the first time the master trembling, almost in a nervous breakdown.

He said, “What is the matter? We have been in jungles many times, and we have stayed in jungles. We are sannyasins - we have renounced the world. Even if a wild animal comes and eats us, there is nothing much to be worried about. One day one has to die. There will always be some excuse - about some disease, wild animals, some enemy. And it does not matter when one dies; what matters is how one dies. And you know and I know how to die. So why be afraid?”

But the master is no longer in a state to listen to him. They stop at a well, and the master says, “I am tired and thirsty so let’s pull up some water so we can wash our faces and drink some water and do our prayer: the prayer that is done at sunset.” In his nervousness he even forgot that the sun had already set.

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