The people you see in the marketplace are substitutes, and the people you see in your monasteries and ashrams and temples are also substitutes. Nobody seems to be real and authentic. It is very difficult to come across a real man. The world has become so false. And why has it become so false? – because we are trying to do something which is not possible. What we are trying to do is to be happy by pretending happiness; we are trying to be loving by pretending lovingness; we are trying to be holy by pretending holiness. We are trying to paint our faces and wear masks to know our original face. This is impossible. This is more impossible than this story I have heard:
A very ugly girl was sitting at the beach, when the waves washed a bottle at her feet. She opened it – and out blew a huge genie in a billow of smoke.
“I have been a prisoner in this bottle for five thousand years,” cried the genie, “and now you have freed me. As a reward, I will fulfill any wish you make.”
Ecstatic, the ugly girl announced, “I want a figure like Sophia Loren, a face like Elizabeth Taylor, and legs like Ginger Rogers.”
The genie looked her over carefully, then sighed, “Baby, just put me back in the bottle.”
But I say to you, this may be impossible, but humanity has been trying to do something even more impossible. The most impossible thing is to come to the real by and through the false; to come to the authentic through the pseudo. It is impossible. It cannot be done. Down through the centuries humanity has tried to do it, and your so-called religions have been helping people to become more and more false. The whole world is full of false people.
Hence you are missing the ecstasy that life can give to you, that life is meant to give to you. You are missing all that is beautiful, true, all that is good, and all that is constantly showering on you.
But you don’t have your own face on. It is somebody else’s face. And not only one false face, you have many false faces – on top of one, the other, and on top of that, another. And you are completely lost. You don’t know who you are.
The Zen people say, “Look for your original face; find it.”
When somebody asked Bokuju, “What do you mean by ‘the original face’?” he said, “The face that you had before you were born – and the face that you will have again when you have died.” Find that original face. That is truth, or call it God.
Kabir says this is not possible – this whole effort to renounce has not helped.
When I gave up the tying of ribbons,
still I tied my garment about me: