Chapter 4: The Three Jeweled Rings
There was once a very rich man who had a son. He said to him, -My son, here is a jeweled ring. Keep it as a sign that you are a successor of mine, and pass it down to your posterity. It is of value, of fine appearance, and it has the added capacity of opening a certain door to wealth.-
Some years later he had another son. When he was old enough, the wise man gave him another ring, with the same advice.
The same thing happened in the case of his third and last son.
When the ancient had died and the sons grew up, one after the other, each claimed primacy for himself because of his possession of one of the rings. Nobody could tell for certain which was the most valuable.
Each of his sons gained adherents, all claiming greater value or beauty for his own ring.
But the curious thing was that the 'door to wealth' remained shut for the possessors of the keys, and even their closest supporters.
They were all too preoccupied with the problem of precedence, the possession of the ring, its value and appearance.
Only a few looked for the door to the treasury of the ancient. But the rings had a magical quality too. Although they were keys, they were not used directly in opening the door to the treasury. If was sufficient to look upon them without contention or too much attachment to one or the other of their qualities. When this had been done, the people who had looked were able to tell where the treasury was, and could open it merely by reproducing the outline of the ring. The treasures had another quality too: they were inexhaustible.
Meanwhile the partisans of the three rings repeated the tale of their ancestor about the merits of the rings, each in a slightly different way.
The first community thought that they had already found the treasure.
The second thought that it was allegorical.
The third transferred the possibility of the opening of the door to a distant and remotely imagined future time.
I said to you the other day that all revolutions have failed, all but one. But that one has never been tried yet. That revolution is religion, the untried revolution.
Why has it not been tried yet? And it is the only real revolution possible; then why has it not been tried yet? It is real, it can really change the whole world, that’s why. People want to talk about change, revolution. They want to play around these words, they love philosophizing, but they don’t want really to go into revolution. They are not that courageous. They cling to their past. Talking is safe, going into revolution is very unsafe.
That’s why the real has been avoided till now and the unreal ones have been tried. The political, the social, the economic - those revolutions have been tried, because deep down man knows that they are doomed to fail. He can have the joy of being a revolutionary and yet can go on clinging to the past. There is no risk involved.
Those so-called revolutions that have been tried and have all failed are escapes from the real revolution. It will sound very strange to you. What I am saying is this: that all your so-called revolutionaries are escapists. To avoid the real they have been creating the false, the pseudo.
Society cannot be changed unless man is changed - this is a fundamental truth. There is no way to avoid it, to shirk it, to escape from it. Society is an abstraction; it exists not. That which exists is the individual, not the society. Man exists, the society is just abstraction, a concept, an idea.
Have you ever met the society? Have you ever met the nation? Whenever you come across something, you come across a concrete individual, alive, breathing. Society is a dead word. It has its utility; it is just a symbol. By changing the symbol you will not be changing anything at all. You have to change the real stuff. The society is made of the stuff called man, man is the brick of the society. Unless man is changed nothing is changed; you can only pretend. You can believe, you can hope, you can imagine, and you can go on living in your misery. You can dream. Those dreams are soothing, comfortable; they keep you asleep. In fact, modern research about dreams says it is so, exactly so - that’s the function of the dreams: they keep you asleep.
You are feeling hungry in the night, you start dreaming that you are going towards the fridge, and you start eating in your dream and the sleep remains undisturbed. If the dream does not happen then the hunger will be too much and the hunger won’t allow you to continue to sleep. The hunger will wake you up.