To me, the concept of loyalty has overtones of duty and honor and belief – all of which represent static, unquestioning attitudes that are rooted in outmoded sentimentality. I love and trust you as my master, and I cannot imagine the rest of my life having any significance except that it be in the service of that love and trust. But that is not my being loyal: it’s something I consciously affirm in my life, moment to moment. Would you please talk on loyalty?
Maneesha, one very fundamental thing has always to be remembered: man is very clever in creating pseudo-values. The real values demand your totality, demand your whole being; the pseudo-values are very cheap. They look like the real, but they don’t demand you in your totality – just a superficial formality.
For example, in place of love, trust, we have created a false value: loyalty – the loyal person is only superficially concerned with love. He goes through all the gestures of love, but he means nothing by them; his heart stays out of his formal gestures.
A slave is loyal, but do you think anybody who is a slave, who has been reduced in his humanity, whose whole pride and dignity has been taken away, can love the person who has harmed him so deeply? He hates him, and if the chance arises, he can kill him. But on the surface, he will remain loyal – he has to. It is not out of his joy, it is out of fear; it is not out of love, it is out of a conditioned mind which says that you have to be loyal to your master. It is the loyalty of the dog to his master.
Love needs a more total response; it comes not out of duty, but out of your own heartbeats, out of your own experience of joy, out of the desire to share it.
Loyalty is something ugly, but for thousands of years it has been a very respectable value because society has enslaved people in different ways. The wife is supposed to be loyal to the husband, to the point that, in this country, millions of women have died with their husband’s death, jumping in the funeral pyre alive, and burning themselves to death. It was so respectable that any woman who could not do it had to live a very condemned life. She became almost an outcast; she was treated only as a servant in her own family. It was concluded that because she could not die with her husband, she was not loyal to him.
In fact, just think of it the other way around: not a single man has jumped into the funeral pyre of his wife. Nobody has raised the question, “Does it mean that no husband has ever been loyal to his wife?” But it is a society of double standards: one standard is for the master, the owner, the possessor, and the other standard is for the slave.
Love is a dangerous experience, because you are possessed by something which is bigger than you, and it is not controllable – you cannot produce it on order. Once it is gone, there is no way to bring it back; all that you can do is to pretend, be a hypocrite.