Chapter 16: Innocence Regained
The original face is a beautiful poetic expression, but it does not mean that you will have a different face. This same face will lose all its tensions, this same face will be relaxed, this same face will be nonjudgmental, this same face will not think of others as inferior. This same face under these new values will be your original face.
There is an ancient proverb: Many a hero is a man who did not have the courage to be a coward. If you are a coward what is wrong in it? You are a coward - it is perfectly good. Cowards are also needed, otherwise from where will you get heroes? They are an absolute necessity to give the background to create heroes.
Just be yourself, whatever it is. The problem is that never before has anybody told you just to be yourself. Everybody is poking his nose in, saying that you should be this way, you should be that way - even in ordinary matters.
In my school.I was just a small boy, but I hated to be told how I have to be. Teachers started bribing me - “If you behave rightly, you can become a genius.”
I said, “Hell with the genius - I simply want to be myself.”
I used to sit with my legs on the table, and every teacher was offended. They would say, “What kind of behavior is this?”
I said, “The table is not saying anything to me. It is something between me and the table, so why are you looking so angry? I am not putting my legs on your head! You should relax just as I am relaxing. And this way I feel better able to understand what nonsense you are teaching.”
Just beside the room was a beautiful window, and outside were trees and birds and cuckoos. Mostly I was looking out of the window, and the teacher would come and say, “Why do you come to school at all?”
I said, “Because in my house there is no window like this which opens up to the whole sky, and around my house there are no cuckoos, no birds. The house is in the city, surrounded by other houses, so crowded that birds don’t come there, cuckoos don’t feel that these are the people to be blessed by their songs.
“Forget the idea that I come here to listen to you! I am paying my fee, you are simply a servant and you should remember that. If I fail I will not come to complain to you; if I fail I will not feel sad. But if for the whole year I have to pretend that I am listening to you, and I am listening to the cuckoos outside, that will be the beginning of a hypocritical life. And I don’t want to be a hypocrite.”
On every matter the teachers, the professors wanted you to do it in a certain way. In my school in those days, and perhaps even today, using a cap was necessary. I have nothing against caps; since I have left the university I have started using caps, but I never wore one until I left the university. The first teacher who was worried about me, said, “You are disturbing the discipline of the school. Where is your cap?”
I said, “Bring the school code of behavior. Is there any mention that every boy should use a cap? And if there is not, you are imposing something against the school code.”