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Chapter 16: The University of Inner Alchemy

Man can be miserable as no other animal can ever be miserable. Have you seen any animal crying his heart out, weeping, committing suicide? Have you seen an animal, any animal laughing, a belly laughter that shakes the very foundations? No, all these things are possible only for man. Hence the grandeur of man, hence his dignity, and hence his anxiety too.

The anxiety is whether you are going to make it or not, whether this time it is going to happen or not. The anxiety is a natural consequence of two diametrically opposite possibilities: one can fall into hell, and one can rise into heaven.

Man is just a ladder, and you move on this ladder like a yo-yo. One moment you are in heaven, another moment you are in hell. One moment suddenly the sunlit peak, another moment the darkest valley that you have ever come across. One moment love, sharing; another moment anger, miserliness. One moment such an expanded heart that you can contain the whole world, and another moment you are so mean that you cannot imagine you had this possibility to be so mean. Man goes on moving between these two infinities continuously, like a pendulum.

Your question is significant, because it is everybody’s question. It is not a question, it is far more existential. It is a problem; no answer can help, some solution has to be searched for.

Now, there are two possibilities for the solution. Either fall back and be satisfied with your animality. Be satisfied - that’s what millions are trying to do; drink, eat, sleep, and forget all about the greater challenges of life. Eat, drink and be merry, because tomorrow we shall be no more. That’s what the materialist says.

The materialist has accepted the lower self; he denies the higher self just in sheer self-defense. He does not deny it because he knows that it is not; no - he knows nothing about it. He denies it because if he does not deny it then that either/or opens up again. Again one is in a problem, again something has to be done, again the at-ease-ness is lost. Again the journey, the wandering, and the discomfort and the inconvenience and the insecurity of the journey.

It is better to say that the higher does not exist, that there is no godliness, that there has never been any godliness, that there is no soul, that there is nothing inner, that man has no interiority, that man is just what he is from the outside, that man is his behavior: there is no soul in him.

From Pavlov to B.F. Skinner, this is what is being taught to the world by the so-called scientific psychologists, the behaviorists: that man is only behavior. There is no one inside, just as there is no one inside a machine. The machine is just a functional unity; it has no organic unity in it, it has no soul. You can dismantle it, you can rearrange it again.

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