Saanen 1981 - Question #5 from Question and Answer Meeting #3
'Who are you?'
5th Question: Number 5 question is: Who are you?
Is that an important question? Or would you say, ‘Who am I’ – not who you are, who am I? And if I tell you who I am, what does it matter. It would be out of curiosity, wouldn’t it? It is like reading a menu at the window, you have to go into the restaurant and eat food. But merely standing outside and reading the menu won’t satisfy your hunger. So, to tell you who I am is really quite meaningless. First of all, I am nobody. Right? That’s all. It is as simple as that. I am nobody. But what is important is: who you are, what are you? When they ask who you are, in that question is implied you are somebody very great therefore I am going to imitate you: the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you brush your teeth, or whatever it is. (Laughter) I am going to imitate you, which is part of our pattern, you understand? There is the hero, or the man who is enlightened, or the guru, and you say, ‘I am going to copy everything you do’ – which becomes so absurdly silly – you understand? – childish to imitate somebody. And are we not the result of a lot of imitations? The religions have said – they don’t use the word ‘imitate’ – but give yourself over, surrender yourself, follow me, I am this, I am that, worship. Right? All this is what you are. In school you imitate. Please. Acquiring knowledge is a form of imitation and of course there is the fashion – short dress, long dress, long hair, short hair, beard, no beard – imitate, imitate, imitate. And also we imitate inwardly, so we all know that.
But to find out who you are, who you are, not who the speaker is, is far more important, and to find out who you are you have to enquire. You are the story of mankind. If you really see that it gives you tremendous vitality, energy, beauty, love because it is no longer a small entity struggling in the corner of the earth. You are part of this whole humanity. It has a tremendous responsibility, vitality, beauty, love. But most of us won’t see this, as most of us are concerned with ourselves, with our particular little problem, particular little sorrow and so on. And to step out of that narrow circle seems almost impossible because we are so conditioned, so programmed, like the computers, that we cannot learn something new. The computer can but we can’t. See the tragedy of it. The machine that we have created, the computer, can learn much faster, infinitely more than I can, than the brain can, and the brain which has invented that, that has become ultra intelligent machine. Right? Whereas our brain is sluggish, slow, dull because we have conformed, we have obeyed, we have followed, there is the guru, there is the priest, there is the ritual – you follow? And when you do revolt, as the revolutionaries and the terrorists do, it is still very superficial – changing the pattern of politics, of so-called society, society is merely the relationship between people, and we are talking of a revolution, not physical but the psychological revolution in which there is no, at the depth, conformity. You may put on trousers because you are in this country and in India it is different clothes, that is not conformity, that is nothing, childish. But inwardly, not a feeling of conformity. Conformity exists when there is comparison. For a mind to be totally free from comparison, that is to observe the whole history which is embedded in you.