To know the real self is arduous. One has to travel long to arrive home. One has to knock on many doors before one comes to the right door. The easy trick is to create a false self. To grow real roses is difficult. You can purchase plastic roses – they will not deceive you, but they can deceive the neighbors. Mm? That is the point of the self, the ego. It cannot deceive you; you know well that you don’t know yourself, who you are – but at least it can deceive the neighbors. In the outside world at least you have a certain label, who you are.
Have you ever thought about it? If somebody asks, “Who are you?” what do you answer? You say your name. Name is not yours, because you came in the world without a name; you came nameless. It is not your property, it has been given to you. And any name – A-B-C-D – would have been useful. It is arbitrary. It is not essential in any way.
If you are called “Ram,” good; if you are called “Hari,” good – it makes no difference. Any name would have been as applicable to you as any other. It is just a label. A name is needed to call you by, but it has nothing to do with your being. Or you say, “I am a doctor”; or you say, “I am an engineer” – or a businessman, or a painter, or this and that – but nothing says anything about you.
When you say, “I am a doctor,” you say something about your profession, not about you; you say how you earn your living. You don’t say anything about life, you say something about your living. You may be earning your living as an engineer, or as a doctor, or as a businessman – it is irrelevant. It does not say anything about you.
Or you say your father’s name, your mother’s name, your family tree; that too is irrelevant because that doesn’t define you. Your being born in a particular family is accidental; you could as well have been born in another family, and you would not even have noticed the difference.
These are just utilitarian tricks – and man becomes a self. This self is a pseudo-self, a created, manufactured self, home-made. And your own real self remains deep down hidden in mist and mystery.
I was reading:
A Frenchman was crossing the desert with an Arab guide. Day after day, the Arab never failed to kneel on the burning sand and call upon his god. At last, one evening the unbeliever said to the Arab, “How do you know there is a god?”
The guide fixed his eye upon the scoffer for a moment and then replied: “How do I know there is a god? How did I know that a camel and not a man passed last night? Was is not by the print of his hoof in the sand?” And pointing to the sun whose last rays were fading over the horizon, he added, “That footprint is not of man.”
Your self cannot be created by you; it cannot be man-made. Your self you have brought with you; it is you. How can you create it? To create it you will have to be there in the first place. That is the meaning when Christians, Mohammedans, Hindus, say that man is a creature. That means that man has not created himself, that’s all. The creator is somewhere hidden in the unknown. We have come out of some mysterious life-source. Your self is not yours!