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Chapter 1: A Life Is a Mirror

They say when you cry you cry alone, when you laugh the whole world laughs with you. No, that is also not true. When you cry the whole world reflects that; when you laugh then too the whole world reflects that. When you cry the whole world feels like crying. When you are sad, look at the moon - the moon looks sad; look at the stars - they look like very great pessimists; look at the river - it doesn’t seem to flow, gloomy, dark. When you are happy then look at the same moon - it is smiling; and the same stars - dancing; and the same river - flowing with a song, all gloom has disappeared.

There are no hells and no heavens. When you have a heaven within you, this world.. And this is the only world there is! Remember, there is no other. When you are filled with heaven within, the world reflects it. When you are filled with hell, the world can’t help, it reflects it.

If you feel responsible yourself, you have started moving in a religious direction. Religion believes in individual revolution. There is no other - all others are false, pseudo-revolutions. They look like they are changing; they change nothing. They create much fuss about changing - nothing changes. It is not possible to change anything unless you have changed.

These are the sutras about this responsibility: individual responsibility. In the beginning you will feel a little burdened: that “I am responsible,” and you cannot throw the burden on anybody else. But know well, if you are responsible, then there is hope; you can do something. If others are responsible then there is no hope, because what can you do? You may be meditating, but others are creating trouble; you will suffer. You may become a buddha, but the whole world remains a hell. You will suffer. In the beginning every freedom is felt as a burden - that’s why people are afraid of freedom.

Erich Fromm has written a beautiful book, The Fear of Freedom. I love the title. Why are people so much afraid of freedom? One should think otherwise; they should not be afraid of freedom. On the contrary, we think everybody wants freedom, but this is my observation also: deep down nobody wants freedom - because freedom is a great responsibility. Then only you are responsible. Then you cannot throw responsibility on somebody else’s shoulders. Then you don’t have any consolation - if you suffer you suffer for your own causes, for your own self; you have caused it.

But through that burden opens a new door: you can throw it. If I have been causing my miseries I can drop causing them. I have been pedaling the cycle and I am feeling miserable on the cycle and I am tired, and I go on saying, “Stop it,” and I go on pedaling.. It is for me to stop pedaling, and the cycle stops. Nobody else is pedaling it.

This is the deepest meaning of the theory of karma: that you are responsible. Once you understand it deeply, that “I am responsible,” already half the work is done. In fact, the moment you realize, “I have been responsible for all that I have been suffering or enjoying,” you have become free, free from the society, free from the world. Now you can choose your own world to live in. This is the only world! - remember. But you can choose now. You can dance, and the whole dances with you.

These sutras of Patanjali are very significant.

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