Chapter 15: The Servant Has Become the Master
But the question is, whether the child existed before the cry or not. If he was not, then who cried? If he was not, then who took the first breath? He was, otherwise this could not have happened. So this thing that is existing before the first breath is our being; that is our is-ness, that is our soul.
Stretch it to the other side also. In the first case physiologists may agree with me about this phenomenon - that if nobody is already present before the first breath, then who is it who breathes for the first time? But on the other side, physiologists will feel more of a problem when I then say that when the breathing stops, that which was present before the first breath will still be present afterwards. It is not concerned with the stopping of the breathing, it existed perfectly well before the breathing, so it can exist perfectly well after the breathing has stopped.
You will easily understand the first argument: Who will breathe if someone is not already present? The second argument is that much more important: Who is it who lets go of the breathing if there is no being inside, other than the breathing? But the second argument cannot be understood as easily. If the first is understood, there is no difficulty in understanding the second.
So let us get one categorization clear: there are things which we do. This is the reason why the more a person does, the bigger an egoist he becomes. Then one might say that blessed are those who are lazy, because there is not much “doing” around them on which they can build their egos. Still the human mind is very tricky: they can consider their laziness to be a kind of doing. They may say, “We are in the act of relaxing or nondoing.”
Whatsoever we do, we use it only to enhance our egos. Whatever we do, we strengthen our I. Our I is the sum total of our doing - the grand total. That is why the ego goes on increasing every day. Because of this children are simple and old people are complex. It has no other relationship to age except this factor, that the ego has had time to become stronger in old people. That is why old people can easily become quarrelsome, angry and irritable. This happens naturally; the children of today will also prove to be the same tomorrow, they will also become like this.
There is a reason for it, but it has nothing to do with age, it has to do with the doing which goes on increasing every day. The old man has done too much. That is why old men always talk about their doings - I did this, I did that. What can children talk about? They haven’t done anything yet. Right now they are only existing; they are breathing, moving their limbs - this cannot create much ego. So children look simple and the reason for their simplicity is that they have not yet had an opportunity to develop their ego.
That is why the sages say that when an old man again becomes childlike it is the ultimate flowering. Yet normally the situation is quite the opposite: children become like old men and old men do not become like children. If an old man is childlike it is the ultimate flowering; if children become like old men it is the ultimate loss, the ultimate fall. But that is what is happening.