Chapter 5: The Real Self
Harmony naturally results in a deep silence, joy, delight. Conflict results in anxiety, anguish, stress, tension.
The ego is nothing but all the tensions that you have created around yourself. And in the first place there is no need to create it. But why does man go on creating it? There must be some reason why everybody goes on creating the self.the real self is unknown, that’s why. And it is very difficult to live without a self, so we create a pseudo-self, a substitute self. The real self is unknown.
In fact, the real self never becomes absolutely known; it remains mysterious, it remains ineffable, indefinable. The real self is so vast that you cannot define it, and the real self is so mysterious that you cannot penetrate it to the very core. The real self is the self of the whole. It is not possible for human intellect to penetrate, to ponder, to contemplate it.
I have heard:
There is a famous story of a wise man who was called by Alexander the Great. And Alexander asked him, “I have heard that you have come to know what the divine is, so please tell me. I have been in search, and people say you have attained, so enlighten me about the divine, what the divine is.”
It is said the wise man said, “Give me at least twenty-four hours to think it over.”
Twenty-four hours passed, and Alexander was waiting very eagerly. The wise man came and he said, “Seven days will be needed.”
And then seven days passed, and Alexander was very impatient. The wise man came and he said, “One year will be needed.”
Alexander said, “What do you mean, one year will be needed? You know or you don’t? If you know, you know - tell me. Why waste time?”
The wise man laughed and he said, “The more I ponder, the more it becomes unknowable. The more I know, the more difficult it becomes to say that I know. Twenty-four hours I tried and tried, and it started slipping from my hands. It is very elusive, it is like mercury. Then I asked for seven days - that didn’t help. Now, at least one year - and I am not certain that I will be able to bring a definition.”
The wise man did well. He must have been really wise, because there is no way to define the real self. But man cannot live without a self - then one feels so empty. Then one feels like a wheel without a hub; then one feels like a circumference without a center. No, it is hard to live without a self.