I used to know an old man, a very old man. He lived in a country town for almost half a century in one house, never went outside the town, in fact never went inside the town either. He always remained in the house, a very isolated, introverted type of man: no friends, never got married, a permanent bachelor; no children, parents dead – alone. People thought that he was a little eccentric, a little crazy. Nobody ever came to see him, and he never went to see anybody. Then suddenly he surprised the whole town and the neighborhood: he was moving into the house next door. The neighbors gathered and they asked, “Why?” For half a century he had lived in the same house, why so suddenly?…
The man said, “Boys, it seems that it is the gypsy in me.”
That is his image. Whether you agree or not, that is not the point, but he thinks that he is a gypsy. And this is how you are all carrying your own images.
The first problem arises: if you want to know yourself you have to drop your false images, you have to see yourself as you are – and that is not very beautiful, that is the trouble. That is not very beautiful, that’s why you have created beautiful images – to hide. If you see yourself in total nakedness it is not going to be a very beautiful scene. Then you will see anger, then you will see jealousies, then you will see hatred, and then you will see millions of wrong things all around you. You think yourself a great lover – and there is jealousy and possessiveness and hatred and anger and all sorts of negativities. You think yourself a very, very beautiful person – but when you enter yourself, ugliness is encountered. Immediately you turn your back.
That’s why for thousands of years buddhas have been always teaching: “Know thyself,” but nobody listens to them. To know oneself seems to be such a difficult thing. Why? – because you have to encounter ugly phenomena. They are there, one has to pass through them. You have a beautiful being within you, but that beautiful being is not on the periphery, it is at the center. And to reach the center you have to pass through the periphery. And you cannot escape, there is no way to escape, one has to pass through it. You have to pass through all the ugliness, all the negativity, hatred, jealousy, violence, aggression, and if you are ready and mature enough to pass through the periphery, only then will you reach the center. Then the scene changes.
At the center you are God.
At the periphery you are the world – and the world is ugly. At the periphery you are nothing but a miniature society, and the society is ugly. At the periphery you are a Napoleon, a Hitler, a Genghis Khan, a Tamerlane, and all the politicians, and all the mad people of the world. At the periphery you are a miniature of all that; you are the whole history of aggression, violence, oppression, slavery. At the periphery, remember, you are the history that belongs to this world. Everything is involved; it has to be so because mind is not your own, it is a social product. Mind carries all the germs of the past, all the diseases of the past, all the ugliness of the past, because mind belongs to the collective. There are certain moments when you can see and watch your own Genghis Khan, your own Hitler. There are certain moments when you can see that you would like to murder and kill and destroy the whole world.