Chapter 4: Every Step Is the Destination
Because you are! To call you anything else will be a lie! When Shankara says, “Oh fool! Sing the song of the divine,” he says this with great love, he says this because of his compassion. He is not cursing you, he is not calling you names, because Shankara just cannot curse or call names; it is impossible for him. He is shaking you, he is waking you up. He is saying “Get up! It is morning and you are still sleeping.” He is calling you “fool” because until he uses some strong words your sleep is not going to be disturbed and you are not going to wake up. He is calling you “fool” because this is true, this is a fact.
Foolishness means unconsciousness. Foolishness means to live in sleep. Foolishness means to be without discretion. Foolishness means not being wakeful, not being conscious when you are angry. Then you become even more foolish because then you lose consciousness even more. But sometimes, when you are conscious, then you are not too foolish. And you also know that sometimes you are less foolish and sometimes you are more foolish. When the mind is full of attachment then foolishness increases. When there is passion you become more foolish.
In the life story of Tulsidas, it is said that when his wife went to her parents’ home, he followed her at night. It was raining and dark. He climbed up to her room by holding onto a snake. He must have been in a very deep, idiotic state to mistake a snake for the rope. It must have been a very strong passion. That passion made him almost blind; he couldn’t even see the snake!
Generally, people mistake a rope for a snake because of fear. Death scares a man. A rope on the road always appears to be a snake. But this was just the opposite: Tulsidas thought that the snake was the rope. He caught hold of it and climbed! He didn’t realize it even by the touch; he must have been absolutely unconscious. Passion must have made him mad.
Seeing his condition his wife said, “If you had loved God the way you love me, then by now you would have attained salvation!” He turned back and saw the snake and realized that passion had made him blind. A revolution took place in his life. The wife became the master. The passion had pointed out to him the nonpassionate state. He became a sannyasin and went in search of the divine - the energy which was being spent in passion turned towards Rama. The energy which was expressing itself in sex started turning into Rama.
Foolishness is that energy which is asleep today, but will wake up tomorrow. It is hidden today, but it will be revealed tomorrow. This foolishness will become your wisdom. Your sleep will become your awakening. So don’t be angry with it, don’t condemn it, and don’t try to hide your foolishness. Most people are doing this. They are trying to hide their foolishness - so they are even bigger fools! You collect information, and then you try to cover up your foolishness with this information. You cover up the inner wounds with flowers.
Knowledge borrowed from scriptures is like these flowers, the borrowed information from others is like these flowers with which you cover your foolishness to help you forget it. Foolishness is not to be forgotten. Foolishness is to be remembered, because it can be destroyed only if it is remembered. That is why Shankara goes on repeating: Sing the song of the divine, sing the song of the divine, Oh fools!