BUILD ON UNDERSTANDING
Eerde, Holland, 1928
I should like to summarise all that I have been saying here during the last week, so as to make clear to your minds my point of view. The most important thing to me is to have the desire for freedom, not based on personal authority, on personal aggrandisement, or personal desires, but on the intrinsic value of that freedom which brings with it happiness. It is not because I want you to be free that you must desire to be free; it is not because I want you to be happy that you must desire to be happy. You seek freedom because of that desire which is born within you as the outcome of great struggle, of great suffering and great longings. If you have not this desire for freedom, your structure will be based entirely on authority, and hence it is bound to be shaken and destroyed in the very process of building. That which is to last for centuries, cannot be the work of one man alone. Societies, institutions, religious bodies, based on one man's idea or on one man's authority or personality are bound to be perverted and distorted.
If that point is clear in your mind, you will not be shaken in your understanding by the authority or by the overwhelming splendour of any personality. If you search for that understanding which is based, not on the charm or the grand phrases or the light of another individual, but on your own desire, then it will last; otherwise it will perish.
I do not want to have followers, because the moment you follow someone else you cannot truly build. I have never wanted any disciples. I abhor the very idea of anyone calling himself my disciple. Be rather the disciple of that understanding, which is the fruit of ripe thought and great love, be the disciple of your own understanding.
I mean this very, very seriously -so seriously that I would not compromise with anyone on this point, however great he might be. If you are really following your understanding of the Truth, you are following me, you are understanding me. But if you only follow the understanding of another, you are betraying every truth; you are destroying with one hand the structure you are building with the other.
You have asked me how to take my message to the world. If that message has not become also yours, it will be of no value. If you are going to be like gramophone records, repeating my phrases, you will make another society, another religion, and another temple in which you will throttle life. To convince another of truth of your understanding which you may have gathered here, you must yourself become the message.
If my authority or personality can sway your emotions and your thought, so the authority or charm of another may upset your whole understanding. If you base understanding on authority or personal worship, it can have no lasting foundation, and it is of the utmost importance to understand this. In ancient times the authority of one man's achievement was utilized to spread his teaching and understanding of life. Now it must not be like that; on the contrary, one man's achievement must awaken the understanding in you, and in the strength of that understanding you will go out into the world, not with the personal banner or the authority of the achievement of another.
It would be much easier for me to say, "Quote me, and utilize me as your authority to spread what I am teaching". But if you did this the message would not be of your understanding. But if you understand and are really living that understanding in your daily life, then there will be no corruption or limitation of the Truth.
I do not want to build. You who live at Eerde are building this place on your understanding of the Truth, and if your understanding is small, your structure will be small. If it is based on authority it will crumble. But if your understanding is great, your structure will be great and lasting and will endure all storms.
Do not be carried away by my words, but think deeply of the Truth I put before you. You can make your life at Eerde a mirror, where the individual effort to understand will be reflected without perversion.
In too many institutions the organization swallows up the individuals who compose it, and the man who has built it up. When the founder disappears the pristine beauty of his idea disappears also.
The foundation on which to build your structure must be understanding in freedom. Do the right thing, because you yourself want to do it. It is not me or for another to tell you what is right. If you start with that idea, it is essential that you should be frank with yourself. Do not deceive yourself with fine ideas, with personal desires, personal prejudices, narrow understanding. If you are angry and are frank about that anger your frankness will kill that anger. But if you are angry and try to cover up that anger by the excuse of another's action you will never conquer it. The same thing with passion. If you have physical passion and learn to understand the reason for it, and do not deceive yourself, then that passion will not be your master. If you want to do something which is contrary to the established order of society, whether of the world or of a sect or of a religion, and have thought out carefully the consequences of your action, you are perfectly right to do it; you are doing the right thing, for yourself. But this requires intelligence and impersonal examination of yourself, not being carried away by petty emotions over things that do not matter.
The world is suffering from the edicts of authority, whereas it should be encouraged to seek understanding. Dig a well in your own garden, rather than follow the urging of the crowd to go to some distant well for the quenching of your thirst.
We are going to have many difficulties here in the future. Every year it is going to be more and more difficult, I hope. And the greater the difficulty, the greater will be the understanding required. That is why I should like you all to go through tremendous difficulties. This may seem a hard thing to wish for, from one point of view -but if you look at it sanely and with balanced judgment, you will agree with me.
You should not make of this place a modern, comfortable monastery, where you avoid difficulties, where individual sustained effort is neglected, where emotional conflicts and upheavals are feared. After all, what is the characteristic of a true genius? The power to conquer circumstances in the light of his perception of the Truth. If his perception is small, he will conquer very little; but if his perception is vast, his desires will be immense, and he will invite mountainous difficulties to be conquered.
Desire can only be increased and made splendid by true perception. If your perception is limited, your desires will be limited. But if your perception is as wide and free as the open skies, then your desires will be wide, free and untrammelled. When you have that large perception, you will no longer be bound by pettiness and jealousies, by angers, fear, likes and dislikes.
It matters vitally that you should understand, that you should tear me to pieces in order to understand, because you are going to build and not I. If you have the true perception of life, it will affect the manner of your behaviour, the mode of your talk, the way of your feeling. When you are angry and jealous and full of yourself it shows that you have not yet acquired a great perception. You must be on the watch not to miss a single incident in your life, out of which you can draw the essence of its perfume.
You are going to create public opinion, you are going out into the world as the scent from Eerde. If your perfume of understanding disappears after a few hours of exposure to the bright light of the sun, it will be of no value.
It is essential to have this wide view, this true perception, this understanding and love of life. On that you can build a structure which can never be destroyed.
When you truly are you can act truly. You cannot separate your being from your action. If there were even a few in the world who really understood, we should create a new world; we should alter the expression of life. But if there is no understanding, another religion, another sect, another church, another god will be created.
BUILD ON UNDERSTANDING
Eerde, Holland, 1928
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