Chapter 32: The Face behind the Mask
But he was refused by everybody, without exception. They all said, “We love you, we respect you, but we cannot take the risk of making you the prime minister because you are too clever. Our whole kingdom will be at risk. We cannot take that risk. It is according to your teachings. You have told us, ‘Never allow more intelligent people than you in your court, because they will be, sooner or later, a danger to your position, to your power. They will become your competitors. Always keep a distance. Remain surrounded by mediocres.’”
Hence, every politician who is in power remains surrounded by mediocres. He finds people who are at such a distance that they cannot dream of taking away his power or his position. People who are too close are dangerous.
But such is the worldly teaching. That’s why everybody has become closed. Nobody opens one’s petals fearlessly like a flower, dancing in the wind, and in the rain, and in the sun.so fragile but without any fear.
We are all living with closed petals, afraid that if we open up we will become vulnerable. So everybody is using shields of all kinds - even a thing like friendliness you say you have been using as a shield. It will look contradictory, because friendliness means openness to each other, sharing each other’s secrets, sharing each other’s hearts.
But it is not only the case with you. Everybody is living in such contradictions. People are using friendliness as a shield, love as a shield, prayer as a shield. When they want to cry they cannot cry, they smile, because a smile functions as a shield. When they don’t feel like crying they cry, because tears can function in certain situations as a shield.
I have heard about a very rich man who had a very big office. He used to come in for only one hour every day just to see that things are going well. And this was the routine he had followed all his life. He would come, go into his office, call everybody in, offer tea to everybody. He knew only three jokes, and he would tell one of the three jokes every day. And everybody had to laugh as if they were hearing it for the first time.
But one day it happened, a girl typist did not laugh. Everybody was shocked. This was insulting to the boss. What has happened to this girl?.and the boss was furious. He said, “What is the matter with you? Can’t you understand the joke?”
Now, they had heard that joke thousands of times, there was no question of understanding it. The girl said, “I understood it even before you had started telling it - so that is not the question. The reason why I am not laughing is that today I am leaving the job. Now I don’t have to laugh. These poor fellows have to laugh, it is their shield. I don’t have to.
“For the first time I don’t have to pretend that you are telling a great joke. You have told it thousands of times. But you can continue and these people will laugh every day. As far as I am concerned, I will laugh at somebody else’s jokes. I am going to join another office whose boss knows a few more jokes than you know.”
Our laughters are just exercises of the lips, and behind it we are hiding the truth - our tears.