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Chapter 5: The Essence of Devotion

Psychologists in the West say that a husband and wife should not live too close to each other, otherwise their love will disappear. In one sense their advice is right, but people in the East have been practicing this for centuries without ever having learned it from psychology. In India it used to be more difficult even for a married couple to meet than it is today for unmarried lovers. Then, they could not meet in the daytime at all, only in the darkness of the night, and that too in hiding. Naturally their love lasted for a long time - and the reason that it lasted so long was that when something is not easily available, the mind cannot lose interest in it. The mind loses interest in whatsoever is available to it all the time. This is why the moment you achieve something or get something, you lose interest in it.

For a long time you were wanting to have a big house, and now you have it: in just a few days you will find that it has no more value for you. You will not even find it as important as it was in your dreams. The enjoyment that the big house gave you in your dreams will disappear as soon as the house is actually yours. In a month or two you will have completely forgotten that the house is there at all, although you will be living in it, coming in and going out of it all the time. In a couple of years’ time other people will still see it, but not you.

When the mind attains something, that thing becomes valueless because the mind’s interest is in the unattained, in that which it hasn’t got yet. The mind’s whole passion is for what is not here, for the distant. Mind is interested in the distant. We have a saying that the sound of distant drums is hypnotic - and this is so not because of the drums, but because of the mind. The greater the distance, the more difficult it is for a certain thing to be attained, and the more interested the mind will be in it.

Understand this law of the mind well, because when you are in the marketplace it will want to be alone and when you are alone it will want to be in the marketplace. When you are sitting in the temple it will think about the brothel - and even a man who is sitting in a brothel thinks about the temple. Life is not as simple as we think it is, it is very complex. If you don’t understand its complexity rightly, it will become very difficult for you to move into meditation.

The meaning of “in a lonely place” is that there is solitude within you. It is good when there is outer solitude, but that is not enough. Within you, there is always a crowd. It will be better to say that you are less an individual and more a crowd. There is no singularity within you, you are a crowd; every single person is a big crowd. This is why a man is one thing in the morning, something else at noon and yet again something else in the night. You feel at a loss because in the morning you were so happy, so why at noon have you become so sad? Or why have you become loaded with anger by the evening? In the morning you felt like blessing the whole world, and in the evening you are feeling like murdering the whole world. What is going on inside you? This is your inner crowd.

There are many faces within you: in the morning it is one face, at noon a second face, and in the evening a third face. There are many people within you: in the morning one person speaks, at noon a second person speaks and in the evening a third person speaks. Hence you are in a great difficulty, because what you said in the morning when you wanted to bless the whole world will not be the way you feel by the evening. Who you are in the evening is not the same person who gave his word in the morning; that person is not present at all.

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