Chapter 33: This Nonsense of Nations
A man who dies for his individuality and freedom dies with joy, and all the blessings of existence are his.
I have lived continuously as a misfit everywhere, and I have enjoyed it, every inch of it, every drop of it. It is such a beautiful journey, to be just yourself. You go on discovering your being, your potential, and one day this discovery leads you to the ultimate flowering of your being. That ultimate flowering I have called enlightenment. You become luminous.
Why have very few people become enlightened in the world? The question has been asked of me again and again. The reason is very simple: they did not dare to remain misfits, condemned, dishonored, rejected their whole life. That’s why very few people have been individuals, and very few people have reached to the ultimate explosion of their being. There are people who start, but sooner or later they compromise, seeing the dangers of being just yourself.
When I was a small child I had made it clear to my parents and to my family, “If you want me to do something, please don’t say it. I am aware enough, I will see what is the need, and if I feel to, I will do it. But once you have told me to do it, then even if you kill me, I am not going to do it.
“I can see that my mother is sitting there and she has no vegetables. I can go to the market which is just a few yards away, I can fetch vegetables for her, but it will be my decision. Nobody can tell me, ‘You go and fetch vegetables.’ Then it is impossible for me to go - because this is my religion and my life and my way of thinking, that I am to remain myself at every cost.”
And soon they understood it, because they found that this is absolutely a difficult task: whatever they say, I do just the opposite of it. It is better to be silent; at least I will not do the opposite.
Slowly, slowly when they were not telling me to do anything, I became almost absent for them, because my presence was of no use to them. And I was surprised to see that sometimes my father would ask, “Have you seen anybody in the house?” - I was sitting there - “because I want to send him to do some work.”
I would say, “I have not seen anybody; and now, because you have said it, even if I do see anybody, I will close my eyes.”
My mother would say, “You have been here - have you seen somebody else in the house? - because I want something from the market.”
And I would say, “I have not seen anybody, the house is empty; only you are here.” It became slowly accepted that I could not be relied on for anything. On the contrary, if they tried to command me, to order me, then it was absolutely impossible.