That is why the courts agree not to penalize small children below the age of seven like criminals – because we assume that a child is not conscious yet. But can the court guarantee that a seventy year-old man has become conscious? No, even a seventy year-old man is not conscious – we just presume that he is – because if we watch the actions of a seventy year-old man, we will see that he too is a sleepwalker in an unconscious state.
In this life of seventy years, if someone is conscious for even seven minutes, this is too high a figure. Even seven minutes are too much. If in a man’s lifetime of seventy years there are even a few moments of consciousness, it is enough to make that man a Mahavira, a Buddha, a Krishna. But even a few moments are not there. We go on living unconsciously.
I told you that “man” begins only on the day when self-awareness begins. So we are only potentialities to become man, not yet man. We are only opportunities to become man, not yet man. We are only the possibility in seed form of becoming self-aware – we are not yet it.
This is why it has always been our difficulty that if there is a man like Buddha or Mahavira, how are we to call him “man”? We call him “the blessed one.” The whole reason for calling him “blessed” is that we call ourselves “man,” whereas rightly speaking we are not yet man, so now where to place these people? If we call them “man,” we will be placing them in the same category as ourselves. So we find a new category – “the blessed one.” It would be better for us to call them “man” and call ourselves “sub-human.” We are on the way to becoming man, but we are not yet – this alone would be appropriate; this alone would be the truth.
But even in our lives sometimes we become conscious for a few moments. Those moments are the only moments of bliss in our lives, because they give us a glimpse of our being – like a flash of lightning.
Yoga divides consciousness into two parts: self-consciousness and self-unconsciousness. Those who are unconscious from the point of view of self-awareness are self-unconscious, it is true, but even we who ought to be self-conscious are in many ways animals, are in many ways trees and stones. A small proportion of us have become man in the true sense – a very small proportion. It is like putting a piece of ice in some water: only one tenth of it sticks out of the water and nine tenths remains submerged. We are also like this: nine tenths is drowned, submerged in the dark; only one small part has come to the surface and become man.
Hence man has tremendous restlessness. Animals are not restless. No animal commits suicide. The day any animal commits suicide, know well that that species will not remain as animals for long; it has already started becoming man. No animal commits suicide – that much anxiety for suicide to become necessary is not created in him. No animal laughs except man. If you come across a buffalo on the road laughing, you will never pass by that way again. No animal laughs. What is the matter? No animal is so unhappy that he needs laughter to forget the unhappiness. Laughter is an arrangement to forget unhappiness.