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Chapter 8: Agony Is Missing Yourself, Ecstasy Is Finding Yourself

But she finds nothing big. The sun goes on rising higher and higher, and she goes on becoming hungrier and hungrier. When the sun is just exactly above her head she looks again at her shadow: it has shrunken so small it is just underneath her. She says, “My God! Hunger does things to people. Just one morning I have missed breakfast and look what has happened to my poor self! In the morning I was so big; only half a day has passed and this is my situation. Now even if I can get any small creature, that may be too much, I may not be able to digest it.”

This Sufi story is significant. It is our story.

This is our agony:

We are trying to become something which is not in the nature of things. We are not allowing nature to take its course; that is our agony.

When I was leaving my parents to go to the hostel in the university, they were persistently asking, “What do you want to become?” And I was telling them, “That question is utter nonsense. How do I know what I am going to become? Only time will show.”

They could not understand me. They said, “Look at all your friends: somebody is going to become a doctor, somebody is going to become an engineer, somebody is going to be become this, somebody is going to become that. You are the only person who is going to the university without any idea of what you want to become.”

I said, “Becoming is not my number. I want to let things take their course. I would love to find what nature makes of me, but I don’t have any program of my own. To have a program of my own means suffering. That means I am trying to impose something on nature and it is going to fail.”

Man has been failing for thousands of years for the simple reason that he wants to conquer nature.

Someone has even written a book, Conquest Of Nature. Nature cannot be conquered. Just look at the foolishness of the idea. You are part of nature, such a small, tiny part of such an infinite nature. And the part is trying to conquer the whole - as if your little finger is trying to conquer you.

How can you conquer nature?

Nature is your very soul.

Who is going to conquer whom?

Where is the separation?

I told my parents, “Please let me go. I am not going to project anything for my future. I want to keep it open so if nature desires anything of me, I am available. If nothing is desired of me that too is perfectly good. Who am I to expect that something should be desired of me? One day I was not, one day I will not be. Just a few days in between - why make much fuss about it? Can’t you pass silently across this little interval between birth and death without making noise, raising flags, and shouting slogans? Can’t you simply pass?”

But they said, “This is not the way. Everybody has to have an ideal; otherwise he will be lost.”

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