Chapter 6: The Original Face of the Child
Once this was your face too, and although you have forgotten it, it is still there within you, waiting someday to be rediscovered. I am saying rediscovered because you have discovered it many times in your previous lives, and again and again you go on forgetting it.
Perhaps even in this life there have been moments when you have come very close to knowing it, to feeling it, to being it. But the world is too much with us. Its pull is great - and there are a thousand and one directions the world is pulling you. It is pulling you in so many directions that you are falling apart. It is a miracle how people go on managing to keep themselves together. Otherwise their one hand will be going to the north, another hand to the south, their head must be going towards heaven; all their parts will be flying all over the place.
It is certainly a miracle how you go on keeping yourself together. Perhaps the pressure from all sides is too much so that your hands and legs and heads cannot fly. You are pressed from everywhere.
Whenever I see.and I don’t know why people go on sending me beautiful paperweights - I don’t have any papers. What am I going to do with paperweights? Perhaps they think there are hundreds of books in my name so there must be so much paperwork around me, all over my room papers and papers. There is not a single paper.
Yes, paperweights go on coming, and whenever a paperweight comes I am immediately reminded of you. You would have been flying like papers in the strong wind, but there are so many paperweights to keep you pressed and give you an idea that you are one individual. You are not - you are many, and in the crowd of this many-ness of your existence, your original face is lost.
Even if by chance you happen to meet your original face, you will not be able to recognize it, it will be such a stranger. Perhaps you come across it once in a while, just by accident, but you don’t even say Hi! It is a stranger and perhaps deep down, a certain fear - that is always there with every stranger.
That’s why people try to become acquainted, introduced to strangers, the sooner the better. They don’t want to be left in that state of fear, that somebody is absolutely unknown to them. They don’t know what he can do, what he intends to do, what kind of person he is. Maybe he is a murderer, a thief.
I played around this theme so many times because I was continuously traveling in India, and I was always traveling in an air-conditioned coupe. So at the most two persons - that too very rarely because in India very few people can afford to travel in the air-conditioned coupe, except people like me who have nothing to lose. Just poor people like me can travel like that because we cannot be more poor than we are.
But once in a while a minister, a governor, a rich industrialist, a scientist, a vice-chancellor - people like that were my fellow travelers. And I always tried to see what happened to them if I continued to remain a stranger. And I enjoyed - it does things to people.
I was not doing anything, I was just trying be a stranger, which really I am. They would ask me, “Where are you going?” - just anything to begin with.