Life itself is enough.
Seeing people all around - walking corpses - is inspiration enough not to move with them, not to go their way, but to find a small footpath of your own if you want to be alive.
I have never had a master, and I am fortunate that I never had a master. I have been, in my past lives, with a few living masters. They were beautiful people, lovable, but one thing has been clear all along to me - that nobody can be a source of inspiration for me, because that word ′inspiration′ is dangerous.
First it is inspiration, then it becomes following, then it becomes imitation - and you end up being a carbon copy. There is no need to be inspired by anybody. Not only is there no need, it is dangerous too. Just watching, I have seen... each individual is unique. He cannot follow anybody else.
He can try - millions have been trying for thousands of years. Millions are Christians, millions are Hindus, millions are Buddhists. What are they doing? Inspiration from Gautam Buddha has made millions of people Buddhists, and now they are trying to follow in his footsteps. And they are not reaching anywhere; they cannot.
You are not a Gautam Buddha, and his footprints won′t fit you, neither will his shoes fit you; you will have to find the exact size of shoes that fit you. He is beautiful, but that does not mean that you have to become like him. And that′s the meaning of the word ′inspiration′. It means you are so much influenced that the man becomes your ideal, that you would like to be like him. That has misled the whole humanity.
Inspiration has been a curse, not a blessing.
I would like you to learn from every source, to enjoy every unique being that you come across. But never follow anybody and never try to become exactly like somebody else; that is not allowed by existence. You can be only yourself.
And it is a strange phenomenon: the people who have become an inspiration for millions of other people were themselves never inspired by anybody - but nobody takes note of this fact. Gautam Buddha was never inspired by anybody, and that′s what made him a great source of inspiration. Socrates was not inspired by anybody, but that′s what makes him so unique.
All these people whom you think of as sources of inspiration have never been inspired by anybody else. That is something very fundamental to be understood. Yes, they learned; they tried to understand all kinds of people. They loved unique individuals, but nobody was to be followed. They still tried to be themselves.
So please don′t be inspired by me; otherwise you will never become a source of inspiration. You will be just a carbon copy, you won′t have your authentic, original face. You will be a hypocrite: you will say one thing - you will do another. You will show your face in different situations with different masks, and slowly, slowly you will forget which one is your real face; so many masks...
I have heard about a man... One hundred years had passed since Abraham Lincoln was shot dead, so for one year a great celebration was arranged in his honor all over America. One man looked like Abraham Lincoln; just a few touches here and there and he was almost a photographic copy of Abraham Lincoln.
He was trained to speak the way Abraham Lincoln used to speak, with his gestures, his emphasis, his accent, everything, small details - even the way he walked - for twenty-four hours a day... and he was to perform this drama of the life of Abraham Lincoln all over the country, moving from one place to another place the whole year.
He was shot dead so many times, every night in every show, sometimes even twice a day. That year was a long year - he died so many times - and his part in the drama became almost his second nature. So when the celebrations were finished, people were surprised: he walked out of the hall the same way Abraham Lincoln used to walk - he used to limp a little. He was limping.
His wife said, "Come to your senses!" - because he spoke in the same way, in an accent one hundred years old. His wife said, "Don′t stretch the joke too much. Just become your real self and come home."
He said, "I am my real self, I am Abraham Lincoln." For one year continuously he had lived as Abraham Lincoln, he died thousands of deaths as Abraham Lincoln; he had completely forgotten that he was ever anybody else.
He was brought to a doctor. The doctor talked to him, but he was still in his dramatic role. The doctor said, "Just forget that drama."
The man said, "What drama?"
The doctor turned to his wife and said to her, "This man won′t listen unless he is shot dead!"
The family was getting mad. He lost his job; nobody was ready to treat him because he was not sick. He was simply glued with a mask. One year is a long time, and every day, twenty-four hours a day, he was Abraham Lincoln. And to be Abraham Lincoln for one year and then suddenly become an ordinary human being - who would like it? He had seen the glorious days, the golden days, and he was clinging tightly to them.
That man lived for a few years as Abraham Lincoln; he used to sign "Abraham Lincoln" exactly the same as Abraham Lincoln used to sign. Would you say this man has attained something or lost something? He has lost himself, and what he has gained is just a dramatic act. He has become absolutely phony.
And this is the situation of almost everybody in the world - not so dramatic, not so outstanding - but everybody is playing a certain role that has been taught to him, for which he has been brought up.
A child is born - he is not Christian, he is not a Jew, he is not Mohammedan - and then we start putting a mask on him. His innocent face disappears. And he will die believing that he is a Christian. So don′t laugh at that poor man who died believing that he was Abraham Lincoln, because everybody else is doing the same. People are dying as Hindus - they were not born as Hindus.
It was a continual trouble for me whenever there was census. The officers would come to me to fill out the form, and when it came to religion, I would say, "I don′t have any religion."
They would be shocked, but they would say, "You must have been born into some religion. Your parents must have been Hindus, Mohammedans, Jainas."
I said, "That does not make any difference. My father can be a doctor or an engineer - that will not make me a doctor or an engineer. He may be a Hindu or a Mohammedan - that is his business. He cannot biologically transfer his religion to me. If he cannot transfer his medical knowledge to me, how can he transfer his spiritual knowledge to me? It is a deception, and I don′t want to be part of any deception."
People are being trained as actors; in this whole big world you will find everybody acting. Everybody is brought up to act... beautiful names - "etiquette," "manners" - but hidden behind is a subtle psychology to make you forget your originality and imbibe some actor which the vested interests want you to be.
Never be inspired by anybody.
When you see a beautiful sunset, you enjoy the beauty of it... when you see a Buddha, enjoy the beauty of the man, enjoy the authenticity of the man, enjoy the silence, enjoy the truth the man has realized - but don′t become a follower. All followers are lost.
Remain yourself - because this man Gautam Buddha has found because he has remained himself. And all these beautiful names - Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu, Bodhidharma, Nagarjuna, Pythagoras, Socrates, Heraclitus, Epicurus - all these beautiful names which have been a great inspiration to many people were themselves never inspired by anybody. That′s how they protected their originality; that′s how they remained themselves.
I have been with masters, and I have loved them. But to me the very desire to be like them is ugly. One man is enough; a second like him will not enrich existence, it will only burden it.
To me, uniqueness of individuals is the greatest truth.
Love people when you find them in some dimension true and authentic, blossoming. But remember, they are blossoming because of their authenticity and originality; so be mindful not to fall in the trap of following them. Be yourself.
The famous maxim from Socrates is: "Know thyself." But it should be completed - it is incomplete. Before "Know thyself" another maxim is needed: "Be thyself"; otherwise you may know only some actor that you are pretending to be. Knowing thyself comes second; first is being thyself.
The real great masters have been only friends, a helping hand, fingers pointing to the moon; they have never created a slavery. But the moment they died they left such a great impact around them that cunning people - theologians, priests, scholars - started preaching to people, "Follow Gautam Buddha."
Now the man is dead and he cannot deny anything... and these people started exploiting the great impact that Buddha had left. Now the whole of Asia, millions of people, for twenty-five centuries have followed in the steps of Gautam Buddha, but not a single Gautam Buddha has been created. It is enough proof: two thousand years and not a single Jesus again; three thousand years, not a single Moses again.
Existence never repeats.
History repeats itself because history belongs to the unconscious mob.
Existence never repeats itself. It is very creative and very inventive. And it is good; otherwise, although Gautam Buddha is a beautiful man, if there are thousands of Gautam Buddhas around - if wherever you go you meet Gautam Buddha, in every restaurant! - you will be really bored and tired. It will destroy the whole beauty of the man. It is good that existence never repeats. It only creates one of a kind, so it remains always rare.
You are also one of a kind. You just have to blossom, to open your petals and release your fragrance.