So what others say about you is almost irrelevant to your reality. They only know your appearance, and appearances can be very false. The person who looks very gentle on the outside may be very egoistic inside. That gentleness may be just a camouflage, a protection, an armor. The man who looks very clever on the outside may be just the opposite – he may be utterly stupid. The stupid person has to pretend cleverness; it hurts to know, “I am stupid.” The man who goes on bragging about his knowledge is bound to be ignorant. But who wants to be known as an ignorant person? – he collects some information and goes on broadcasting that information to people. Slowly, slowly he gathers a reputation that he knows, but this knowledge is false, this reputation is false. These certificates are given to you by people who don’t know you, who can’t know you. There is no way for anybody else to know you except yourself. And whatsoever they are saying, they are saying only so that you can give them a good certificate. So it is a mutual conspiracy; we are deceiving each other. Somebody says, “You are beautiful,” and of course you have to return the compliment. Somebody says, “You are so intelligent,” and you have to return the compliment: “You must be a very intelligent person, otherwise you would not have known about my intelligence. You must be a man of great understanding – you are the first man who has understood me.”
This constant preoccupation with inventing one’s own self has to be understood. Why is it there at all? It is there because you are feeling a constant gnawing emptiness within your heart. You don’t know who you are, and it is very difficult to live without knowing who you are. Unless you know who you are whatsoever you do is going to be a failure, a frustration.
You can succeed in being fulfilled only if you know who you are. Then you will choose your life in such a way that it becomes a fulfillment to your real needs. Otherwise, not knowing yourself, whatsoever you do remains accidental. Maybe once in a while your arrow may reach the target, but that is accidental and it will happen only once in a while. You are shooting in darkness, without knowing who you are, without knowing where the target is. It is almost impossible that sometimes it may hit the target; ninety-nine percent is the possibility that you will remain empty and you will die empty. Your life will be a tragedy. That’s why people carry such a tragic sense on their faces, in their eyes.
Watch people, watch yourself, and you will see – people are living a very tragic existence. Their whole past has gone in vain and they know that today is also slipping out of their hands; and deep down the suspicion that whatsoever they have been doing in the past they are going to do in the future too. So it is all a meaningless journey, “a tale told by an idiot, full of fury and noise, signifying nothing”.
And unless significance is felt, how can you be joyous? Unless your life throbs with significance how can it become a song? Only a significant life becomes a song. When you start feeling there is meaning, when you start feeling that you are fulfilling something very essential to existence – that you are needed, that you are part of this cosmic drama, this cosmic play, that without you something will be missing, that without you the drama will not be the same at all – then great respect arises towards oneself; and in that very respect gratitude towards existence, prayer, thankfulness.
But the most fundamental thing is to know oneself: Who am I. And to know oneself means to discover – because you are already there, you are not to be invented. Whatsoever you invent will be a fiction, will not be truth. And how can you delude yourself? Maybe for one day you can delude yourself, for two days, but for how long? Delusions wear out. They cannot remain against reality forever. Reality goes on asserting.
And there are only two kinds of people in the world: the majority consists of those who invent the self, and a very small minority of those who discover the self. And the difference is vast, the difference is tremendous: they are two worlds apart. A Buddha, a Jesus, a Bahauddin, a Rumi, a Mansoor – they discover.