Chapter 13: Birth of a New Man
You have been told to have faith in the scriptures, faith in the words of God, faith in the religious teachers. I don’t say this at all. I say: have faith in yourself. It is only by knowing yourself that you can know what there is in the scriptures, what the words of God are. One who has no faith in himself finds all his other beliefs meaningless. Can you stand on someone else’s feet if you cannot stand on your own? Buddha has said: “Be a light unto yourself. Be your own refuge. There is no right refuge except the refuge of one’s own self.” I say the same thing.
One night a certain monk was bidding farewell to another monk who had been his guest when the latter said, “The night is very dark. How can I see to go?” The host lit a lamp and gave it to his guest. But as the guest was going down the staircase the host blew out the lamp. The place was enveloped in darkness again. Then the host said, “My lamp will not be able to light your path. For that you must have a lamp of your own.” The guest understood the monk’s advice, and this understanding became the birth of a light on the path of his life that could never be extinguished nor taken away.
Spiritual discipline is not just a part, a fragment of life, it is the whole of it. Your standing, sitting, speaking, laughing has all to be encompassed by it. Only then is it meaningful and natural. Religion is not found in any particular act, like worship or prayer, it is a way of living in which your whole life becomes a worship, a prayer. It is not a ritual, it is a way of life. In this sense, no religion is religious, it is the individual who becomes religious. No behavior is religious, one’s life is religious.
Only by becoming free from the bondage of the ego, of the “I,” does consciousness rise above the individual and become one with the whole. Just as an earthen jar separates ocean water from the ocean, the mortal enclosure of the ego keeps the individual away from the truth.
What is this ego, this “I”? Have you ever searched for it in yourself? It is there only because you have never looked for it. When I tried to find it myself, I discovered that it did not exist.
In some quiet moment go within yourself and look. No “I” is found anywhere. The “I” does not exist. It is a mere illusion ushered into being because of its social utility. Just as you have a name, you have your ego too. Both are utilities, not truths. That which is within you has neither name nor ego.
There is no such thing as entering into nirvana, into moksha, into liberation, into the soul. Because how can you enter a place you have never left? So then, what happens? There is no such thing as an entry into nirvana, but what happens is that the world you were immersed in dissolves like a dream and you find yourself in your self. This experience is not at all like entering some place, it is more like finding yourself on your bed at the abrupt termination of a journey you were taking in a dream. Since you haven’t gone anywhere, there is no question of returning; since you haven’t lost anything, all talk of attaining is meaningless. You are only dreaming a dream; all your ideas of having gone away and having lost something are only in a dream. So you neither have to return anywhere nor to find anything. You only have to wake up.