Chapter 2: Happy for No Reason
In Indian puranas there are many stories of devas who became so bored in heaven that they started longing for the earth. They have everything there. When they were on the earth, they were hankering for heaven. They may have been great ascetics, they may have renounced the world, women, everything, to attain to heaven. Now they have reached heaven; now they are hankering for the world.
I have heard:
The pilot of a new jet plane was winging over the Catskills and pointed out a pleasant valley to his second-in-command.
“See that spot?” he demanded. “When I was a barefoot kid, I used to sit in a flat-bottomed rowboat down there, fishing. Every time a plane flew by, I would look up and dream I was piloting it. Now I look down and dream I am fishing.”
Now he has become a pilot. First he was a poor boy, fishing, and jet planes would roar above and he would look up and he would dream that “one day, God willing, I will become a pilot.” The thrill of the open sky, the winds, the vastness.. He must have been dreaming, and he must have been feeling very miserable - just a poor boy, fishing in an ordinary rowboat.
And now he says to his second-in-command, “Now I am the pilot. Now I look down and dream I am fishing.” Now the small, beautiful lake, deep down in the valley, with beautiful trees, and birds singing, and the meditative relaxation of fishing.. Now he must be dreaming how to get retirement, how to get rid of this piloting.
That’s how it goes on and on. When you are not famous you want to be famous. You feel very hurt that people don’t know you. You pass through the streets - nobody looks at you, nobody recognizes you. You feel like a non-entity.
You do hard work to become famous. One day you become famous. Now you cannot move in the street. Now the crowd stares at you. You don’t have any freedom. Now you have to remain closed in your chamber. You cannot get out, you are imprisoned. Now you start thinking about those beautiful days when you used to walk on the streets and you were so free.as if you were alone. Now you hanker for those days. Ask the famous people..
Voltaire writes in his memoirs that once he was not famous - as everybody was one day not famous - and he desired and desired and he worked hard, and he became one of the most famous men in France. His fame increased so much that it became almost dangerous for him to go out of his room, because in those superstitious days people used to think that if you can get a piece of the clothes of a very great man, it becomes a protection; it has tremendous value, protective value. It protects you against ghosts, against bad accidents and things like that.
So if he had to go to the station to catch a train, he would go under police escort, otherwise people would tear his clothes. Not only that - his skin would be torn, and he would come home with blood flowing.