For a while the fool’s mischief
tastes sweet, sweet as honey.
But in the end it turns bitter.
And how bitterly he suffers!
For months the fool may fast,
eating from the tip of a grass blade.
Still he is not worth a penny
beside the master whose food is the way.
Fresh milk takes time to sour.
So a fool’s mischief
takes time to catch up with him.
Like the embers of a fire
it smolders within him.
Whatever a fool learns,
it only makes him duller.
Knowledge cleaves his head.
For then he wants recognition.
A place before other people.
A place over other people.
“Let them know my work,
let everyone look to me for direction.”
Such are his desires,
such is his swelling pride.
One way leads to wealth and fame,
the other to the end of the way.
Look not for recognition
but follow the awakened
and set yourself free.
The last words of Gautama the Buddha on the earth were: Be a light unto yourself. Do not follow others, do not imitate, because imitation, following, creates stupidity. You are born with a tremendous possibility of intelligence. You are born with a light within you. Listen to the still, small voice within, and that will guide you. Nobody else can guide you, nobody else can become a model for your life, because you are unique. Nobody has there been ever who was exactly like you, and nobody is ever going to be there again who will be exactly like you. This is your glory, your grandeur – that you are utterly irreplaceable, that you are just yourself and nobody else.
The person who follows others becomes false, he becomes pseudo, he becomes mechanical. He can be a great saint in the eyes of others, but deep down, he is simply unintelligent and nothing else. He may have a very respectable character but that is only the surface, it is not even skin-deep. Scratch him a little and you will be surprised that inside he is a totally different person, just the opposite of his outside.
By following others you can cultivate a beautiful character, but you cannot have a beautiful consciousness, and unless you have a beautiful consciousness you can never be free. You can go on changing your prisons, you can go on changing your bondages, your slaveries. You can be a Hindu or a Mohammedan or a Christian or a Jaina – that is not going to help you. To be a Jaina means to follow Mahavira as the model. Now, there is nobody who is like Mahavira or ever can be. Following Mahavira you will become a false entity. You will lose all reality, you will lose all sincerity, you will be untrue to yourself. You will become artificial, unnatural, and to be artificial, to be unnatural, is the way of the mediocre, the stupid, the fool.