Chapter 6: The Power That Shall Make You Nothing
The emperor felt offended. He looked at the beggar and said, “Listen, who is trying to compete with me? When I say ‘I am nobody,’ who else dares to say ‘I am nobody’? Who is trying to compete with me?”
You can be a competitor even in nobodyness. Then the point is missed. The emperor could not tolerate someone else claiming nobodyness for himself in front of him. When he is saying to God that he is nobody, he doesn’t mean that he is nobody. Through nobodyness he is creating somebodyness. You can create ego out of nothing also.
Remember that ego is power in the world; ego is impotence in the divine dimension. All that looks to be power in the world is impotence in the divine dimension. There, powerlessness is power.
Jesus goes on saying to his disciples, “Be poor, be poor in spirit.” Not only poor, because you can be poor without being poor in spirit. Then, even poverty will become a sort of richness. If you feel egoistic about it then your poverty is not poverty. It is not poverty in spirit.
So Jesus goes on repeating, “Be poor, be poor in spirit.” Otherwise you can be a beggar on the street - you have left everything - but now you cling to having left everything. You cling to it; you have made a richness out of your poverty. Now you are arrogant.
Look at sannyasins, monks, bhikkhus. Look in their eyes. They have a deep arrogance about having left the world, from having renounced. They have renounced the world, but now this renunciation has become a bank balance. They are arrogant about it, they feel superior because of it. When Jesus says, “Be poor in spirit,” he means don’t be superior to anyone. He doesn’t mean to be inferior, remember. This is the problem. He doesn’t mean be inferior because if you are inferior - if you feel that you are inferior - it is again superiority standing on its head, nothing else. Superiority standing on its head becomes inferiority. If you feel yourself inferior, there is a longing to be superior.
So when Jesus says, “Be poor in spirit,” he doesn’t mean, “Don’t be superior.” He means that, but he also means, “Don’t be inferior, just be yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others, just be at ease with yourself.”
Then you will be nobody, because somebodyness needs comparison. How can you be somebody if there is no comparison? You are more beautiful, never simply beautiful. You cannot be simply beautiful; you are always more beautiful in comparison to someone else. You are rich in comparison to someone else, you are more knowledgeable in comparison to someone else. Superiority and inferiority are always comparisons. You are somebody when compared to others. If there is no comparison then who are you? You cannot be just beautiful, can you? You cannot be just wise, can you?