They say in a proverb that nothing succeeds like success; it is only a half truth. I want to make it complete: nothing fails like success. And the second part is more important; otherwise kings would not renounce their kingdoms, Gautam Buddha would not have been born. There comes a moment when you are successful moneywise or powerwise, you are famous…
Rousseau has lamented in his autobiography that, “When I was young the only desire in me was to become world famous.” One never thinks what you will do when you become world famous. One simply never asks these questions. One simply gets caught in a net: “Everybody is trying to be successful and famous – I should be the first in the queue.” It is a long struggle and conflict.
Finally, Rousseau became a world-famous philosopher. But unfortunately in France in those days there was a tradition that if you tear off a piece of cloth from a world-famous man, that piece of cloth brings success to you. This became such a trouble that he could not go even for a morning walk. He would come home naked, with scratches all over, and crowds were preventing him from escaping. He could not go to the railway station; he had to be escorted by the police. And even the police, in the end, would snatch sometimes…
He writes in his autobiography, “When I was nobody I suffered, when I became somebody I suffered. Suffering is there, whatever you do.”
So one day one comes to know that one layer is finished, but there are other layers. Zen’s insistence that it should be in this moment, not to be postponed, has a very significant implication. It shows that if you cannot do it now, tomorrow is not going to be different, just a little more difficult, because within twenty-four hours more dust will have gathered. The sooner you do it the better.
And the reason for doing it is to find what nature has desired you to be: whether you are a seed of a lotus flower or a seed of something else. These layers don’t allow you even to be acquainted with your potentiality, your seed. Not only do they prevent, they actively take you astray. They create new goals which have nothing to do with your innermost being.
A great surgeon was celebrating his sixtieth birthday. He had trained hundreds of surgeons during his professorship in the university. They all had gathered and they were drinking and dancing, and then somebody noticed that the old surgeon was not there. So one of his friends went out to see – perhaps he had gone out for some air. He was sitting, crying, underneath a tree.
The man said, “Are you insane or something? We have come from faraway places to celebrate your birthday and you are sitting here and weeping.”
The surgeon said, “The reason is, I never wanted to be a surgeon. That was not my longing. I wanted to be a dancer, but my parents, my teachers, my colleagues, everybody forced me to be a surgeon, because to be a surgeon is respectable. And who knows? As far as dancing is concerned you may turn out to be just a beggar. Dancing is not a certain profession.”