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.
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 a 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. Remain open. When you see a beautiful sunset, 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 – 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.