Chapter 11: The Lion and the Fox
The only indubitable phenomenon is my own existence. That cannot be doubted. Why cannot you doubt it? - because even to doubt it, it will be needed. If I say I am not, even to say this - that I am not - I have to be there. So to doubt oneself is the only impossible thing.
And we don’t know who we are. The only indubitable fact has not been discovered; and we have been struggling to discover many dubitable things. And the irony: we go asking others, whose existence is dubitable, about who we are. Whatsoever they are going to say will remain only their opinion. They cannot penetrate your being; nobody can penetrate anybody else’s being.
In your innermost core you are ultimately celibate, alone. Nobody has ever walked into that solitude, into that shrine of your being, and nobody will ever walk there. Even lovers cannot penetrate into each other’s core. The core remains beyond. Only you, and only you, can know it.
But people go on asking, “Who am I?” And watch yourself - directly, indirectly, that’s what you are trying to do. How much you hanker for a compliment! How much you long that somebody will say that you are beautiful, that you are very intelligent, that “You have made my life worth living”, that “It is because of you that I have tasted something of meaning”. Just watch your mind! - this is a constant preoccupation. And how worried you become when somebody says something that goes against your image, how much you feel hurt, how much you start defending, fighting, arguing. Why is there so much fear? Why is there so much longing to have good opinions from others? - because that is the only way to create a false self.
The false self is cheap. It is very easy: it needs only a little sociability, it needs only a little cleverness, cunningness; it needs only to be formal, mannerly, it needs etiquette. It needs a little alertness about what people want - “Be that. If you cannot, at least pretend to be that.” If they respect a knowledgeable person, then gather knowledge. Go to the university, have a few degrees so that you can write a few letters behind your name. If they respect character, then cultivate character.
It may be doing great harm to you; that is not the point. It may be going against your grain, it may be creating a division in your being, it may be creating a duality, a schizophrenia, but that is not the point. Respect has to be gained, because only through respect can you have a beautiful decorated self; and everybody will be supporting it.
A sannyasin has to be very much aware of this trap. You are not to invent your self. You have to discover it. And discovery means an inward journey. Discovery means not asking the other but asking oneself “Who am I?” asking in one’s aloneness “Who am I?” letting this question penetrate deeper and deeper, like an arrow, so that it penetrates your very core - and there, one day, is the revelation.