Obviously, man has no idea whether he is or not, or who he is. This can only mean one thing, that some deep spiritual hypnotic sleep is surrounding him. That’s why he doesn’t know life itself, what life is. But we won’t accept this. We’ll say, “We know very well what life is. We breathe, we walk, we rise, we sit, we sleep.” A drunkard also walks, breathes, moves, talks, and so does a madman. But that does not prove the drunkard is in his right senses or that the madman is conscious.
Once, while a royal procession was passing, a man stood in the main square and began throwing stones and shouting abuse at the emperor. It was, after all, a royal pageant, so the man was immediately arrested and thrown into prison. But while the man was hurling stones and abuse at the emperor, the emperor himself was laughing. His soldiers were puzzled. His prime minister asked. “Why do you laugh, my lord?”
The emperor replied, “As far as I can see, the man doesn’t know what he is doing. I believe he is drunk. Nevertheless, bring him before me tomorrow morning.”
Next morning the man was brought before the emperor. The king asked, “Why did you shout abuse at me? Why did you swear at me yesterday? What was the reason?”
The man said, “Me? Swearing at you? No, your majesty, I must not have been myself; that’s why I must have said such things. I was drunk, I was unconscious, I wasn’t there. I have no idea what I said.”
We too exist as if we are not. We walk and talk and love and hate, wage war – all in sleep. If anyone from a distant planet were to watch us, he would think the entire human race is behaving as one behaves in sleep, in a state of unconsciousness. In the last three thousand years man has fought fifteen thousand wars. This shows the human race is not awake.
From birth to death it is one long story of anxiety, misery, pain and death. Man doesn’t find a single moment of bliss, a single spot of joy in his life. He remains completely ignorant of what joy is. Life passes and he has not a single glimpse of joy. Obviously, one cannot say man is living in awareness. Misery, pain, anxiety, sadness and insanity make up our lives, but we never notice it because the people around us are as asleep as we are.
Once in a while, when an awakened one takes birth, we who are asleep become so angry with this awakened person that we immediately kill him. We don’t tolerate him for long. The reason we give for crucifying Jesus is “…because you are an awakened man, and that is your fault. Seeing you awake, we who are asleep feel very insulted. For people like us who are asleep, you become a symbol of disgrace. You are awake; your presence disturbs our sleep. We’ll kill you.” So we give poison to Socrates, we execute Mansoor. We treat the awakened ones in the same manner the inmates of a madhouse would treat someone who is not mad.
A friend of mine once went mad. He was put in a lunatic asylum. In his insanity, one day, he accidentally drank a bucket of phenyl that had been left for cleaning toilets. For fifteen days he was violently sick. He suffered from continuous vomiting and diarrhea. This brought about such a drastic change in his body that he became well – as if all the excess heat were expelled from his body. Actually he was to stay in the asylum for six months, but his stay was extended for three more months even after he became well.