Chapter 27: You Are Sufficient unto Yourself
And responsibility.You have been burdened with the idea of responsibility, that you are responsible to your parents, you are responsible to your wife or your husband, you are responsible to your children, you are responsible to the neighbors, you are responsible to the society, you are responsible to the nation. It seems you are here only to be responsible for everybody - except yourself. It is a strange situation.
A woman was teaching her child, “The most fundamental thing of our religion is to serve others.” The little boy said, “I understand it, just one thing I cannot understand: what will others do?”
The mother said, “Of course, they will serve others.” The little boy said, “This is strange. If everybody is serving everybody else, why should I not serve myself, you serve yourself? Why create this complexity and make it a burden - that I should serve others and wait for them to serve me?”
In his innocence the child is saying a truth which all the religions have forgotten. In fact, the very meaning of responsibility has changed in the hands of religions, of politicians, of so-called do-gooders, teachers, parents. They have changed the very meaning of responsibility. They have made it equivalent to duty: it is your duty. And I want you to know that duty is a four-letter dirty word.
You should never do anything because of duty. Either you do something because of love or you do not do it. Make it a point that your life has to be a life of love, and if out of love you respond, that I call responsibility. Break the word into two: response-ability, don’t make it one. Joining these two words has created so much confusion in the world. It is not responsibility, it is response-ability. And love is able to respond. There is no other force in the world which is so able to respond. If you love, you are bound to respond; there is no burden. Duty is a burden.
Again I remember my grandfather. He was a simple villager, uneducated, but had the same quality of innocence that a child has. He used to love somebody to massage his feet before he went to sleep, and everybody tried to escape. At that moment when he was preparing his bed, everybody was as far away as possible, not to be caught; but I used to reach to him at that time.
He said, “It is strange that whenever I am making my bed, everybody simply disappears. Just a moment before everybody was here, and once I have gone to sleep - I may even be awake, just with closed eyes - they all come back.”
I said, “Nobody wants to massage your feet. As far as I am concerned, it is not my duty. They think it is their duty, that once they are caught it is their duty to massage. It is not my duty. If I don’t want to massage, I will say so.” And I had made it clear to him that “I will massage to the point I feel; it is not going to be your decision.”
And I made a symbolic language, a code language with him. When I started feeling that now it was time, I would say, “Comma.”
He would say, “Wait, this is too early.”