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Chapter 13: Sympathy Is a Dirty Word

One day Michelangelo, passing along that road, saw the rock. He enquired of the shopkeeper, “To whom does it belong?”

The shopkeeper said, “Do you want it?” Michelangelo said, “Yes, absolutely.”

He said, “Take it - without any charge. I want to get rid of it.” And out of that ugly marble rock, which no artist had even looked at.and it was given to Michelangelo free, so some space would be created for other rocks. It was a big rock, and out of that rock Michelangelo created this statue, which was destroyed three or four years ago.

When the statue was completed, he asked the shopkeeper to come and see. The shopkeeper could not believe his eyes. He said, “You are a magician. What have you made out of that rock?”

The answer of Michelangelo is worth remembering. He said, “I have not created Jesus out of that rock. He was already there; I have only taken away unnecessary parts that were hiding him. Only the unnecessary has been removed, and the real which was lying within is now available to you. I have not created the rock, I have only destroyed those parts which were hindering the reality of the rock from your vision.”

That’s my work. You come to me just like a rock, with no face of your own, with no being of your own, with no centering, no grounding, no integrity, no individuality. I have to cut much; perhaps the major part that is hanging around you has to be cut.

It hurts, because you have been under the illusion that it is you. But when you come to see - if you go on hanging around me - one day, when all that is not part of you is eliminated and your reality is revealed to you and to others too, you will feel grateful. And then you will understand why I hit so hard.

I am chiseling, hammering all that is ugly in you, all that has been given to you by your society, by your culture, by your civilization. I want to discover in you your original face.

So whenever I hammer on somebody, nobody is to show sympathy. Be a little more compassionate. Sympathy is a dirty word; be a little more compassionate. Help the man to understand that whatever I have said is creative, is to bring out his nature, his purity. And if you all go on making the man aware, there is a possibility that he will start thinking, “If so many people are saying it, there must be something in it.”

But your sympathy destroyed.you washed out all that I had done. So when you see Anam again, take your sympathy back and tell him clearly, “That sympathy was bogus, unconscious, and what has been said is not against you” - what purpose have I to be against anybody? - “it was for your growth. We were wrong to sympathize with you. Our sympathy will strengthen your attitude, because you will think if so many people are with you, you must be right.” So change it. Make it clear to him, “We were wrong to sympathize, and you were wrong in your attitude.”

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