Chapter 6: Fire of Rebellion
The life of the Indian society has become like that of a pond, not that of a river. In one way the life of a pond is very secure: nowhere to go, no problems of the road, no straying away on unknown paths; no crossing of the hills, no dreams of the unknown ocean about which there can be no certainty to reach. The life of the pond has its own happiness, having a well-enclosed, carefree, fixed space. India is enjoying the happiness of the pond, not facing the struggle of a river. We have become so accustomed to this happiness that for thousands of years we have stopped taking any risks. Remember, the society which ceases to take risks, will slowly diminish the lighted flame of its life. The inner flame remains powerful only in facing risks.
Nietzsche kept a signboard on his table. Only two words were written on it. Whenever anyone asked him what was the essence of his life, he would point out to that signboard on which was written: Live dangerously. The reality is that it is in living dangerously that life is felt. Living a protected life, one never experiences life. That is why those who live in graves live very safe. There is no danger. The life of a pond is a life of avoiding all dangers, but it stinks, becomes dirty and dries up.
India has been living a secured life for centuries; has created its own cocoon and lives within it. We do not want to enter the expanses of this world and we do not want to travel to the moon and stars. We are bound to our homes. We are more like trees whose roots are bound to the land, than like man. We do not move from our places. Every son takes over his father’s place, generation after generation. Repetition continues. Men continue to change, but the society remains the same.
If a man who lived a thousand years ago came to a village in India today, he would not find any difference; everything is the same as it was in his own time. We feel very happy about this, and we say, our leaders say, “Rome has died, the Greece and Egypt of old have died. Where is Assyria and where is Babylon? But we are still here.” We respect our static situation greatly. It is not something to be respected, it is very insulting. This staticness clearly tells that we have become incapable of any change. We have lost that capacity for change.
We are like a stone lying near a roseflower. The roseflower blossoms in the morning, dances in the light of the sun, tries to rise towards the sky, withers by the evening and falls down. But the stone that was lying nearby in the morning is lying the same in the evening as it was in the morning. The stone must be thinking to itself, “Look! the flower withered away, but I am the same as I was earlier. Many flowers have come and are gone, but I remain.” The stone must be admiring itself, but the stone does not know the joy of being a flower. The stone does not know the thrill of change. It does not know that living, flowering, withering and falling to the ground has its own meaning and mystery. The stone does not know that only those wither who flower; only those fall who rise. It also does not know that only those die who live. If you want to avoid dying, avoid living. If you want to avoid falling, never rise up. If you are afraid of withering, do not ever blossom. But what does the poor stone know?