But if you insist on being sincere, honest, authentic, yourself, you will be condemned by everybody. And it needs tremendous courage to be condemned by everybody. It needs a man with a steel spine to stand on his own and declare: “I am not going to be anybody else but myself. Good or bad, acceptable or not acceptable, prestigious or not prestigious, one thing is certain – that I can be only myself and nobody else.”
This needs a tremendously revolutionary approach towards life. This is the basic revolt that each individual needs if he wants ever to be out of the vicious circle of misery.
You are asking me: “Why am I scared to accept myself the way I am?” Because you have not been accepted by anyone the way you are. They have created the fear and the apprehension that if you accept yourself you will be rejected by everybody.
This is an absolute condition of every society and every culture that has existed up to now: that either you accept yourself and be rejected by all, or you reject yourself and gain the respect and honor of your whole society and culture. The choice is really very difficult.
Obviously the majority is going to choose respectability. But with respectability come all kinds of anxieties, anguishes; a meaninglessness, a desert-like life where nothing grows, where nothing is green, where no flower ever blossoms, where you will walk and walk and walk and you will never find even an oasis.
I am reminded of Leo Tolstoy. Just a few days ago in Moscow there was an international exhibition of books, and one of my sannyasins, Lani, was there. She was surprised – and my Russian sannyasins were there, and they were also surprised: world-famous publishing houses were exhibiting their books, but our stall was the most crowded. At any one time there were not less than one hundred people there the whole day that the exhibition was open.
One old man, looking at my picture, asked Lani, “Is this man something like Leo Tolstoy?” – just because of my beard. Tolstoy had a beautiful beard.
Tolstoy used to have a dream that psychoanalysts of different schools have been interpreting for almost the whole century. The dream was very strange – but not to me. To me it needs no psychoanalysis, but simple common sense. The dream was repeated every night continuously for years. It was strangely nightmarish, and Tolstoy awoke in the middle of every night, perspiring – although there was no danger in the dream.
But if you can understand the meaninglessness of the dream…. That was the problem that became the nightmare. This dream represents almost everybody’s life. No psychoanalytic school has been able to figure out what kind of dream it is, because there is no parallel, it is unprecedented.
The dream used to be the same every night. A vast desert, as far as you can see just desert and desert…and two boots, which Tolstoy recognized as his, go on walking…but he is missing, just the boots go on making noise in the sand. And it continues, because the desert is endless. They never reach anywhere. Behind he can see the prints of the boots for miles, and ahead he can see the boots going on walking.