Chapter 13: Freedom from Birth and Death
When someone respects you, praises you, you are pleased, you are happy. The enlightened ones say that when someone respects you then you should remain indifferent to it; you should even be sad! Ordinarily when someone shows respect you feel very happy. Why? - because your ego is fulfilled, and the ego is a disease. This is why your enemies cannot harm you as much as your admirers: they are nourishing your ego. Kabir has said that you should arrange it that people who slander you should live near your house. This is just the reverse! - people who abuse you, give them shelter to live near you so that they can go on abusing you day and night. Because people who abuse you are shattering your ego and people who praise you are enhancing your ego. And the ego is the great disease, it is the source of all misery.
Practically, this sutra means: don’t go with what seems to be the natural reaction. Do just the reverse of it and then, by and by, your life will become religious.
When Jesus was being crucified he was asked if he wanted to say something. Jesus raised his face towards the sky and said, “Father, forgive these people, because they know not what they are doing.” If somebody wants to crucify you, your mind will be full of curses for him; there is no way for blessings to shower through you. A curse is the natural reaction. Even the animal will react the same way and the stone will also do the same. To react in this way it is not necessary to be a human being: this is the principle of inanimate life.
Just as water flows downwards and fire burns, in the same way, animal nature creates a double anger in reaction to anger. This is simply the natural way of animality. Pashu, animal, means that which is static, which is not moving forwards. Pashu means one who is dispirited, who is stuck and whose life has no spiritual growth.
The Sanskrit word pashu is beautiful - all Sanskrit words are beautiful. In this sense, no other language is as scientific as Sanskrit, because each word has its philosophy behind it and each word has been coined with great thought and understanding. These words are not coined just for their functional usage. Pashu comes from pash, which means something that binds, a bondage. Pashu means the one who is bound. Pashu does not mean animal; it means one who is tied, one who is caught, one who is a slave to the rules of nature, one who is not free. If you want to rise above the spontaneous reaction of nature, then to do the reverse should be your sadhana, your spiritual discipline. When someone praises you you should cry and when someone abuses you you should laugh. If you follow this small practice when you go in search of the divine, the divine will come searching for you. Then there will be no need to search for it. Once you change the ordinary reactions of life into their opposite then you have entered the world of truth. You have entered on the path of grace from where truth itself will pull you.
As you are you are standing upside-down. What you think of as standing straight up is nothing but a shirshasana, a headstand. You are seeing everything upside-down. You have to stand on your feet. As you are you have to be in the reverse position.