Then came the first world war, and for the first time rationing was introduced, and he went to the rationing shop. There was a queue; he was standing in the queue and when the man in front of him had left, the clerk shouted loudly, “Who is Thomas Alva Edison?” And Thomas Alva Edison looked here and there, where is Thomas Alva Edison? The clerk was also a little puzzled, because this man ought to be Thomas Alva Edison; it was his number. And the whole queue was also puzzled. They were looking at each other, what is the matter?
Finally one man from the back of the queue said to him, “Sir, as far as I remember, I have seen you. You are Thomas Alva Edison.”
And Edison said, “If you say so, perhaps I am.”
The clerk said, “Are you insane or what?”
He said, “Not insane, but I have not heard this name for almost thirty years. I have forgotten it. Nobody calls me by the name. My father died when I was very young, my mother died. Now it is a far, faraway memory. I can remember that something like Thomas Alva Edison used to be my name, but for thirty years nobody has mentioned it. It is good that that man recognized me; otherwise I don’t think that on my own I would have been able to recognize it myself.”
It is a rare case, but thirty years is a long time, particularly for a man like Edison whose life is so full of creativity. His thirty years are almost three hundred years in your life.
It is simply a social invention that you refer to others by their name, and you refer to yourself by I, me. But inside there is no other, and with the other gone, the me, the I, is gone.
But there is no need to worry. You will not find your I, but you will find something greater: you will find your is-ness, your existence, your being.
When I say “Love yourself,” this is for those who have never gone inside, because they can always…they are bound to understand only a language of duality. Love yourself – that means you are dividing yourself into two, the lover and the loved. You may not have thought about it, but if you go inside you will not love yourself, you will be love.
You will be simply the energy called love.
You will be loving; you will radiate love. Love will be your fragrance.
Goldstein, who looked Jewish, was walking down a street in Berlin just before the war, when he accidentally collided with a stout Nazi officer.
“Schwein,” bellowed the Nazi.
“Goldstein,” replied the Jew with a courteous bow.
Sometimes you may need your name also; life gives strange situations. Goldstein did well. Rather than being offended, he introduced himself, just as the Nazi had introduced himself. But all these names can be used only on the outside.
Inside you are nameless, you are egoless. Inside you are just a pure existence – and out of that pure existence arises the aroma of love.