And what is it but fragments of your own self you would discard that you may become free?
If it is an unjust law you would abolish, that law was written with your own hand upon your own forehead.
You cannot erase it by burning your law books nor by washing the foreheads of your judges, though you pour the sea upon them.
And if it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed.
For how can a tyrant rule the free and the proud, but for a tyranny in their own freedom and a shame in their own pride?
And if it is a care you would cast off, that care has been chosen by you rather than imposed upon you.
And if it is a fear you would dispel, the seat of that fear is in your heart and not in the hand of the feared.
Verily all things move within your being in constant half embrace, the desired and the dreaded, the repugnant and the cherished, the pursued and that which you would escape.
These things move within you as lights and shadows in pairs that cling.
And when the shadow fades and is no more, the light that lingers becomes a shadow to another light.
And thus your freedom when it loses its fetters becomes itself the fetter of a greater freedom.
Man is born with a soul, but not with a self.
Although all the dictionaries say that these two words, soul and self, are synonymous, it is not true. The soul you bring with you. The self is created by society as a substitute so that you need not feel without identity – because the search for the soul may take long years of pilgrimage, of seeking and searching, and it will be impossible to bear a namelessness, an emptiness, a nobodiness.
The intention to create the self was out of love, so that from the very beginning you start feeling who you are; otherwise how will you live? How will you be addressed? The people who created the idea of the self were full of good intentions, but because they themselves had no idea of their own soul, they remained a man-created self and they died as a man-created self. They never came to know what existence has made them, and for what.
Your soul is part of existence. Your self is a social institution. So the first thing to remember is that the distinction is unbridgeable. If you want to seek and know who you really are, you will have to go through the radical change of destroying your own self, because if you don’t destroy the self, and by some accident you come to discover the soul, you will not be one. That’s what is called schizophrenia by psychologists.
You will be split. Sometimes you will behave like the self, and sometimes like a soul. You will be in a constant tension. Your life will become simply a deep anguish and anxiety – and it is impossible to live such a life. Hence the society, the educational system, the parents, the priest, everybody around you, tries in every way to create such a strong self that you never become aware of the hidden soul. The journey is not long, but certainly very arduous.
The self is not a simple thing, it is very complex. You are a brahmin, you are a doctor, you are a vice-chancellor, you are a president; you are beautiful, you are very knowledgeable, you are rich, super-rich – all these dimensions are of the self. And the self goes on accumulating more money, more power, more prestige, more respectability; its ambition is unfulfillable. You go on and on creating more and more layers of self. This is the misery of man, the basic misery.
Man does not know who he is, yet he goes on believing that he is this, he is that. If you are a doctor that is your function, not your reality; if you are a president that is your function, just as somebody else’s function is to make shoes. Neither the shoemaker knows his self nor the prime minister knows his self. Parents start from the very beginning, from the very first day… And this false ego, self, or whatever you call it, becomes almost your reality, and the real is forgotten.