Chapter 3: Solving the Riddle
And this is the most difficult relationship, because it is the state which is exactly the opposite of ego. Ego believes: I am the master, all existence is my slave. The devotee says: All existence is my master, I am the slave. And this is the authentic yoga headstand - not literally standing on one’s head: you must let the ego touch the ground, because the ego is the actual head. Therefore it is the servant - the devotee - who practices the real headstand. He turns upside down. As you have observed the world through the eyes of a master, it is different from the world you see when you develop the servant attitude.
When a beggar begs from you, is there a chord struck within you which builds a relationship between you? No, just the opposite is the case. As soon as he asks, you shrink within; then even if you give, it is done unwillingly. You make a mental note not to pass that place again. When someone asks something of you, you pull back and want to withhold; when a person does not ask, you feel more like giving.
Try to understand yourself a little and the way towards God will become clear. When someone asks, you do not want to give, because his asking seems like an act of aggression. All demands are aggressive. But when nobody makes demands on you, you become lighter and you give more easily.
Buddha had told his monks that when they went to the village to obtain alms, they were not to beg. They could only go and stand at a door; if there was no response they should move on.
This is the difference between a begging monk and a beggar. We have honored certain begging monks as we have never honored our kings; whereas beggars remain last in our minds. We barely hold them worthy of insult and try to avoid them. The monks asked, “How will people give if we do not ask?” Buddha replied, “Things are easily obtained in this world merely by not asking.” As soon as you ask, you constrict the other and create difficulty for yourself. When you do not ask you make others eager to give.
You will find this story hidden in all life’s relationships. Your wife asks for something, and giving becomes difficult. If you do get it for her, it is halfheartedly, only to ward off a quarrel. It arises not out of a bond of love, but as a way to maintain peace in the household. If the wife never makes demands you feel like giving her something. Giving is possible when not asked.
You are separated from God by your demands. All your prayers consist of: Give me! Give me! You want God to serve you. You wish to use him as a servant. You say, “My foot pains. Take away the pain.My financial condition is bad, improve it.” You say, “The wife is ill, make her well,” or “I have lost my job, give me another.” You always stand a beggar at his door. Your very asking shows you consider yourself the master whom God is to serve. Are your needs so important that you press even God into your service?
If God is the master and you are the slave then what is left of the demands? The most amazing thing was that you kept asking, and he kept on giving. It is not that you are refused when you ask - you keep on getting; but the more you get this way, as you keep on asking for more and more, the further away from him you become.