I have heard about a despondent fellow who sought the advice of the city’s most fashionable, and expensive, analyst. “You have acute melancholia,” the analyst informed him. “The circus is in town this week. Go to it! It may give you some laughs.”
“Your advice is worthless,” mourned the despondent one. “I am the top clown there.”
Now, you can even make others laugh and you may be crying within yourself. You can be the topmost clown in the circus and yet you can be absolutely depressed.
You can look like something which you are not. It is very easy. You can pretend to be a saint and you can remain the same miserable self inside. You can even pretend that you are very happy – in fact that’s what everybody is doing. You can go on pretending, others may be befooled, but how can you befool yourself?
Changing outward things won’t be of much help, and by and by you will become more and more pseudo and you will lose contact with your real feelings. For example, an angry man can repress his anger; he can even pretend to become passionate. A man who has no love in his being can show and act and exhibit that he is a very loving person. Maybe somebody else is deceived for the time being – not for long – but how can you deceive yourself? You will know all the time meanwhile, that there is anger, there is fire in you – and poison. And that poison will go on destroying your peace, destroying your being. That poison will go on killing you.
Your smiles which are painted on the surface are of no help – unless a laughter arises from your heart.
Kabir says renunciation will be of the outside. How can you change the inside through a change of the outside? It is not so easy. You will become a false holy man.
I have heard:
An actress who had received a magnificent diamond necklace as a gift from her admirer – one of those Greek shipping magnates – hit upon what she thought was a foolproof device for safeguarding it. She simply left it conspicuously open on her dressing table when she went out, with a note nearby reading, “This is just an imitation, dear burglar. The original is stashed carefully away in my safe-deposit box.”
One night, however, she returned to find the necklace gone. In its place was this penciled message: “Thanks, lady – the substitute is just what I wanted. I am a substitute myself. The burglar who usually cases this hotel is away on vacation.”