That kind of spiritual endeavor is useless; it can never bear fruit. It is like someone wanting to kill a tree by cutting off its branches. Such an action, instead of killing the tree only promotes its foliage. The life of a tree is not in its branches, it is in its roots, in the unseen roots buried in the earth. It is the latent hopes and desires of the roots that have manifested in the form of the tree and its branches. How will cutting the branches help? If you really want to bring about a revolution in life you must go to the roots. The roots of man’s behavior are in his inner being. Behavior follows the inner being, it does not precede it. Hence, any effort to change behavior can never become anything other than suppression. And can suppression bring about any transformation?
What is suppression anyway? Suppression is not allowing spontaneous feelings and behavior to arise from our inner being; it is forcibly bringing out and expressing what is not really there.
But where will what we suppress go? Will we become free of it this way? How can freedom come out of suppression? The suppressed things will continue to be there within us, but they will now have to find deeper, darker and more unconscious recesses in which to live. They will enter still deeper regions. They will hide themselves where even our awareness of suppression will not be able to locate them. But these roots that have gone deep will continue to sprout, the branches will blossom and bear fruit, and then there will be such a conflict between our conscious and unconscious minds that the ultimate result will be insanity.
Insanity is the natural outcome of a civilization based on this kind of false, so-called morality. Hence, insanity increases with the advance of civilization and the time may come when our whole civilization will end in insanity. The last two great wars were this kind of madness and we are preparing for a third, perhaps the final.
The explosions that happen in a man’s personal life and those that occur in society – violence, rape, immorality, brutality – are all the results of suppression. A man cannot lead a simple and natural life because of suppressions, and one day he simply succumbs to the tension. No doubt those who resort to hypocrisy save themselves from this inner conflict. They pretend to be what they are not. They are not in an inner conflict, they are acting things out.
Hypocrisy too is born out of morality based on suppression. That too is an offspring of the so-called morality. It is a means of keeping oneself free of inner conflict. As I have already said, in our so-called moral lives we do not allow spontaneous behavior to arise from within and be expressed, and we express what is not really there. The first of the two processes leads to suppression; the second, to hypocrisy. The final outcome of the first process is a madman; and of the second, a hypocrite. Neither of the two outcomes is any good; neither is worth choosing. Our civilization offers only these two alternatives. But there is a third alternative as well: living the life of an animal. The criminal is born out of this alternative. We wish to avoid that, we wish to avoid becoming animals, so our civilization offers only the first two alternatives.
Becoming an animal means complete surrender to unconscious instincts. This too is impossible, because what has become conscious in man cannot become unconscious again. We seek this very unconsciousness in intoxication. The search for intoxicants is an indication of our desire to become animals. Only in a thoroughly unconscious state can man be in full conformity with nature, with the animal. But this is equivalent to death. This truth deserves our very careful consideration.