You have to be very courageous to pass through the periphery, to be a witness. And if you can enter this periphery, this society, the history, then at the center you are God himself. Then there is infinite beauty – but that infinite beauty is untouched by the society, it is not the periphery. Then you are innocent like a newborn baby, fresh as the dewdrop in the morning, uncontaminated. But to reach that, you have to pass through all the ugliness. The whole history of man has to be crossed. You cannot simply avoid it.
That’s what you have been doing. That’s why self-knowledge has become difficult – you want to avoid it. The only way to avoid is: close your eyes, don’t see. Create a private dream against it. Look at yourself as you would like yourself to be – all ideals, utopias, beautiful images. Make a small niche near the periphery – beautiful, decorated – and don’t look at the periphery, just keep your back to it.
And then Heraclitus says “Know thyself!” because that is the only wisdom. You become afraid to come out of your decorated part because just near it is the volcano – it will erupt any moment. So people talk about self-knowledge, they discuss it, they write about it, they create systems about it, but they never try it. Even those who talk continuously about knowing the self, they just talk about it, argue about it, discuss it, but they never try it in actual fact. And self-knowledge is an existential experience, it is not theory. Theories won’t help. Theories will also be just part of your decoration. They will not break the ice. They will not break the periphery. They will not lead you to the center.
You listen to people: if they say that you are God, you feel very happy; if they say you are eternal souls, you feel very, very happy. But these theories also you will paint, decorate. They will also be the same trick, escapes – they will not help. Go around India: everybody knows that everybody is part of God, everybody is brahman – and look at their life and the ugliness of it! The people who talk about God, look at their lives and you will not find even a particle, not even an atomic part of what they are saying. They are saying it not to convince you, they are saying it to convince themselves. But they remain on the periphery and they are also afraid to move.
The fear is there. This fear has to be dropped. Remember, before you attain to the ultimate bliss you will have to pass through long suffering. Before you attain to the infinite, the eternal, you will have to pass through the temporal, the whole history of man. It is inbuilt, it is in every cell of your body, every cell of your mind and brain – you cannot avoid it. The whole past is there with you, it is in you, it has to be passed through. It is a nightmare, it is a very, very long nightmare, millions of years, but one has to pass through it – that is the difficulty.