Chapter 12: To Be an Individual Takes Courage
Maitreya is a victim, just as everybody else in the world is a victim. On the one hand he was told to be anti-life; that has been the ancient idea of renunciation, of renouncing the world and its joys. And on the other hand he was told to sacrifice himself for the freedom of the country, for others. To think of oneself, to think of meditation was condemned as selfish: “You should think of others, you should think of others’ well-being, you should think of others’ freedom.”
You should think only of others, never of yourself: that is the ideal of the religious man, the saint. And to me it is the image of the idiot, because a person who is not joyful, who is not meditative, a person who is not peaceful, overflowing with love, cannot be of any help to anybody. You cannot give something to others which you don’t have. You are empty, and you are trying to make others fulfilled. They are empty; they are trying to make others fulfilled. Nobody knows what fulfillment is!
The journey begins from oneself; you have to be fulfilled first. Then there is no need for anybody to teach you, “Now, share it.” Once you are fulfilled you are overflowing; sharing is autonomous, it comes by itself. When your heart is full of song it bursts into singing. When you blossom your fragrance is bound to reach others, you cannot prevent it.
I teach selfishness, because unless you are selfish you can never be of help to anybody in the world. All the altruistic teachings are useless, meaningless, because they are based on people who are themselves empty.
For example, Jesus says, “Love your enemies just the way you love yourself” - but nobody bothers about whether you love yourself. The enemy comes as number two; the first thing is to love yourself. If you have not loved yourself, how can you love the enemy? You cannot love even the friend. You don’t know what love means. It is a meaningless word. You have heard it so you feel you understand it, but you have not experienced it, and without experience there is no understanding.
Jesus is insistent, “Love your enemies just as you love yourself” but in his whole gospel he has completely forgotten to tell people, “Love yourself.” That will be selfishness.
That’s what I teach: Love yourself so much that it starts overflowing you. First, naturally, it will reach to those who are close - to your friends, your lovers, your neighbors - and finally, that is the success, the climax, when your love reaches the enemy, spreading in waves. And when the enemy is covered, nothing is left out of the area of your love - but it must begin from the center of your being.
Maitreya’s misfortune has been that he fell into the hands of Gandhians. Gandhi never loved himself. Gandhi never loved anybody; he could not, because of his very ideology. It was impossible to conceive.