Chapter 3: The Last Star in the Morning
“He also behaved like the second: he went like a peasant, in ordinary clothes - not only like a peasant, he went like a drunkard - but he was pretending, he was not really drunk. He lived with the group, he enjoyed their company, he pretended to drink, he pretended to gamble. Even he pretended to fall in love with a prostitute, but that was all a pretension. He was acting. And continuously, as an undercurrent, he was remembering himself that ‘Who am I? Why have I come here? For what?’ He was watching himself, he was a witness. Of course, he succeeded.
“The Hasid mystic said to the inquirer, ‘He was a zaddik.’”
The first man was a rabbi, a teacher. You are drowning in the river, he stands on the bank, gives you good advice, but he never jumps in the river to save you. He cannot save himself and he is afraid to come in the river; he does not know the art of swimming, the art of self-remembering. He is not courageous, he clings to the bank, from a far-away place - secure, sure of his own state, of his own safety. He talks beautifully, he can tell you everything about swimming but he cannot jump and save you - he himself does not know how to swim. He is a rabbi, a teacher.
You can find these types of teachers all over the world; good as far as their advice goes, nothing more. And their advice is borrowed. They have not come to that advice through their own experience. It is not knowing, it is knowledge; they have not gone through it, they have not been transformed by it. It is not their own, it has not arisen out of their consciousness. They are not crystallized beings. Their mind is full of knowledge, their heart is completely empty.
The other man was courageous, but his courage was more than his wisdom - he was himself drowned. So remember, when you jump into a river to save someone, don’t forget that the first necessity is that you know swimming.
It happened once..
I was sitting on a river bank. A man was drowning so I ran to jump, but before I could reach the bank another man was standing on the bank - he jumped, so I prevented myself. I was almost on the brink to jump, I prevented - somebody else had already jumped - but then I became aware that the other man started drowning! He created more trouble for me. I had to jump and save both!
I asked the other man, “What happened? Why did you jump?”
He said, “I completely forgot! The man was drowning and I became so attentive to it that just the desire to save him and I completely forgot that I don’t know swimming.”
You can forget. In any intense moment you can be hypnotized. The other was courageous, but not wise enough. You can find the second type of teacher also. So don’t just be impressed by the courage, because courage alone cannot help.
The third type of teacher is a zaddik. He knows from his own experience what the first type knows only as a borrowed knowledge. He is courageous like the second, he takes the risk, but he is wise also - he remembers himself. To remember oneself is the whole art and science of religion. You can condense all religion in one word, that is self-remembering.