THIS is one of the paradoxes of spiritual life: the more one dissolves into the Divine, the more unique one becomes. The dissolution is not of the individuality but of the self. The dissolution is not of the uniqueness but of the ego. The more you are an ego, the more you are like others, because everyone is an egoist.
The ego is the most ordinary thing in the world. Everyone is an egoist; even a newborn child is an egoist – a perfect egoist. So it is not anyone’s achievement; it is not extraordinary. Really, it can be said that to be just ordinary is the most extraordinary thing possible because no one feels just ordinary. So to feel oneself extraordinary is just the most ordinary thing. Everyone feels like that! So ego is not something unique.
If you have an ego, it is not something unique. Really, egolessness is the most unique thing, the most uncommon – rare. It happens only sometimes. Centuries pass and rarely the event happens
that someone becomes egoless – a Buddha, a Jesus. But when we say that someone becomes egoless, it does not mean that he is not. Really, for the first time, now he is – authentically grounded into the very Being. He is no more an ego.
So take it from a different root: ego is a false phenomenon – just an appearance, not a reality. It is not something grounded in the Being – just a dream, a thought, just a mental construction. So the more you belong to the ego, the less you belong to the Existence. The more you concentrate on your ego, the less and less you are authentic. You become false – an existential lie.
When we talk about becoming empty, nothing, valley-like, we mean that there is no ego – but you ARE! Let me say it in this way: I say ”I am”, but when the ego dissolves there remains the pure ”am-ness”. The ”I” is no longer there, but ”am-ness” is there, and for the first time pure, total, uncontaminated. The ego contaminates it.
The word ”personality” and the word ”individuality” must not be confused. They are totally different They do not mean any similar entity: they are not the same at all. Personality belongs to the ego. individuality to the Being. Personality is just a facade. The ego is the center and the personality is the circumference. It is not individuality at all.
This word ”personality” is very meaningful. It is derived from the Greek word ”persona”. ”Persona” means a mask. In Greek drama, the characters, the actors, will use masks to hide their faces so the real face is hidden and the masked face becomes the reality. ”Personality” means a mask – that which you are not but only appear to be.
So we have many faces; really, no one has one personality. Mm? – we have multi-personalities. Everyone has to change faces the whole day. You cannot remain with one face. It will be so difficult because every time you face someone else you have to use another face. Before your servant you cannot have the same face as you have before your master. Before your wife you cannot have the same face as you have before your beloved. So, continuously, we have a flexible system of changing faces.
For the whole day, the whole life, we are continuously changing faces. You can be aware of this. You can feel when you change a face and why you change it and how many faces you have. So, really, a personality means a system of flexible faces, and when you say that someone has a great personality it only means that he has a more flexible system. He is not a fixed man: he has a more flexible system. He can change very easily. He is a big actor.
This is personality; you have to construct it every moment. So no one can be at ease with his personality. It is a constant effort. So if you are tired, your personality will lose its lustre. In the morning your personality has a lustre, in the evening it is lost. The whole day of utility: it is constantly changing. So when I use the word ”personality”, I mean a false appearance which you have created around yourself.
Individuality is something else. Individuality does not mean something constructed and created by you, but the very nature of your being. Again, the word ”individuality” is very meaningful. It means that which cannot be divided, which is indivisible. We have an inherent intrinsic nature which cannot be divided, which is indivisible. Carl Gustav Jung chooses the word ”individuation” as one of the deepest phenomena. He said individuation is the way towards Truth, towards the Divine – individuation: being an individual.
The Indian term ”yoga” means the same thing as individuation. The term ”yoga” means to conjoin again that which has become divisible, to join again that which has become divided, to come again to the indivisible. So when translating ”yoga” into English, it would be better if we call it ”the way to individuation”. This individuality remains and becomes more penetrating, becomes more sharp. The moment you lose the ego, the moment you discard your personalities, you become individual.
This individuality is a unique phenomenon. This is unrepeatable. A Buddha cannot be repeated; a Gautam Siddharth can be repeated. A Jesus can be repeated, but not Jesus Christ. Jesus means the personality; Jesus Christ means the individuality. Gautam Siddharth is just ordinary; he can be repeated. Anyone can be Gautam Siddharth. But the moment Gautam Siddharth becomes Enlightened and becomes the Buddha, now the phenomenon is unrepeatable. It is unique! It has never been before and it will never be again. This Buddhahood, this peak of realization, is so unique that it cannot be repeated.
So when I said to be just like a valley and when I said that every valley will echo differently, I meant that every valley has its own individuality. Buddha has his own, Jesus his, Krishna his. So, really, this will be good to understand.
Why do Krishna, Christ and Buddha differ so much? They differ! They differ as much as there is any possibility to differ, but still they are, in a very deep way, one. As far as individuation is concerned they are one; as far as individualities are concerned they are different. They have come to the Undivided. They have realized the Undivided, the basic unity of Existence. But because of this basic unity and its realization, it does not mean that now they are not unique. now they are really unique. That’s why I say this is one of the paradoxes.
Two ordinary persons can differ, but their difference can never be total, absolute – never! Even in their difference they have similarities. Really, their difference is always of degrees. Even if they are totally contrary to one another, their difference is of degrees. A person who is a communist and a person who is anticommunist, even they are different only in degrees.
The person who is anti-communist is still communist to a lesser degree; and the person who is a communist is still a capitalist to a lesser degree. The difference is always of degrees. And they can change, they can change camps very easily; there is no problem. Ordinarily, they change. The difference is just like that of cold and heat – only of degrees. But a Buddha and Krishna, a Christ and Mohammed, and a Lao Tzu and Mahavir – their difference is not of degrees. They can never meet. And this is the paradox: they have come to Oneness, and yet they can never meet. The difference is not of degrees. The difference is of their uniqueness.
What do I mean by this uniqueness?
We can conceive of oneness very easily. A drop of water drops into the ocean and becomes one with it, but that oneness is just dead – a dead oneness. The drop lost itself completely; it is nowhere now. A Buddha is not dropping in that way. His dropping is in a different way. If you put a flame before the sun, the flame becomes one with the sun, but the individuality is not lost; it still remains itself. If we burn fifty flames in this room they will create one light, but every flame will be a flame
unique m itself. So this dissolution into the Cosmic is not a simple dissolution. It is very complex. The complexity is this: the one who dissolves, remains. Rather, on the contrary, for the first time, he is.
This individuality echoes differently, and that is the beauty of it. It is beautiful! Otherwise it will be just ugly. Just think: if Buddha responds in the same way as Jesus the world will be poorer for it. very poor. A Buddha responds in his own way, a Jesus in his own way.
The world is richer for it and there is beauty. The world is freer and you can be yourself.
But this distinction must be remembered: when I say that you can be yourself, I do not mean your ego. When I say you can be yourself, I mean your nature, your Tao, your Existence. But it has an individuality. That individuality is not personality. So I say they belong to the same Existence, yet individually. They respond from the same depth, but individually. No sense of ego is there, but the uniqueness remains.
This world is not just a colourless unity; it is not monotonous. It has multi-colours; it is multi-tonal. You can create music with one note also, but then it will be just monotonous and boring. It cannot be lively; it cannot be beautiful. A more subtle and complex harmony is achieved through many notes – multi-phonal. A harmony runs through, but it is not a monotonous thing. And each note has its own individuality. It contributes to the total harmony, and it contributes only because it has its own individuality.
A Buddha contributes only because he is a Buddha, and a Jesus contributes only because he is a Jesus. He gives a new note. a new vibration. A new harmony is born because of him. But that is possible only because he has an individuality. And this is not only for deeper things. Even for very trivial and small things, a Buddha and Jesus differ. A Buddha walks in his own way; no one else can walk like that. A Jesus looks in his own way; no one else can look like that. Even their eyes, the very gestures, the very words they use, are unique. The other cannot even conceive....
This world is a harmony of unique notes, and the music is richer for that – every valley echoing in its own way.
All those good-wishers who try to impose a dead unity, and who try to wash out individuality from everywhere, who say that the Koran means the same thing as the Gita, who say that Buddha teaches the same thing as Mahavir, are not really aware of what nonsense they are talking. And if they could win, the world would become just a poor world. How can the Koran say the same thing as the Gita? And how can the Gita say the same thing as the Koran? The Koran has its own individuality – no Gita can say that, and no Koran can repeat the Gita – because Krishna has his own aura, Mohammed his own. They never meet, and yet, I say, they stand on the same ground. They never meet, and this is the beauty. And they will never meet. They will be just like parallel lines running to infinity.
They will never meet! This is what I mean by uniqueness: they are like peaks. The higher the peak goes, the less is the possibility of meeting with another peak. You can meet when you are on the ground; everything is meeting. But the higher you go, the more of a peak you become, and the less is the possibility of any meeting. So they are like Himalayan peaks, never meeting. And if you try to impose a false unity over them, you will just destroy the peaks.
They are different, but their difference need not be inimical, their difference need not be a conflict. The conflict arises only because we are not ready to accept differences. Then we try to find similarities. Either we must have similarities or we will have conflict. Either we must speak the same thing or we must be enemies. We have only two alternatives – and both are wrong. They belong to one attitude. Why should they not be different? – altogether different, meeting nowhere? What is the need of conflict? Really, different notes create a beautiful harmony. Then there is a deeper meeting – no meeting in the notes themselves, but in what the notes create; in the harmony there is a meeting.
But one must begin to feel that harmony. If one only knows a jarring note – a Mohammed, a Jesus, a Buddha, are just notes – no harmony is felt. And the universe is a harmony. If you can begin to feel the gaps and the underlying unity and the soaring peaks meeting nowhere, and if you can see this whole in a totality, in a comprehensive unity, you then accept both – the individuality and the common harmony. Then there is no problem. There is not!