If you are alone in the forest you will not have any personality, remember. You will have individuality but no personality at all. If you are alone in the Himalayas, who are you – a saint or a sinner? There is nobody to appreciate or condemn you, there is nobody to make you famous or notorious, there is nobody except yourself. In your total aloneness, who are you? A sinner or a saint? A very, very famous person, VVIP, or just a nobody?
You are neither. You are neither a very, very important person nor a nobody, because for both the other is a must. The eyes of others are needed to reflect your personality. You are neither this nor that. You are, but you are in your reality; you are not created by others. You are as you are, in your utter nudity, authenticity.
This is one of the reasons why many people thought it wise to escape from the society. It was not really to escape from the society, it was not really against society, it was just an effort to renounce the personality.
Buddha left his palace. He was not a coward and he was not an escapist, so why did he leave the palace? Rabindranath has written a beautiful poem about it. He left the palace; for twelve years he roamed in the forests, practiced and meditated. And the day of ultimate rejoicing came, he became enlightened. And, naturally, the first thing that he remembered was that he had to go back to the palace to deliver the good news to the woman he had loved, to the child that he had left behind, to the old father who was still hoping that he would come back.
It is so human, it touches the heart. After twelve years he returned. His father was angry, as fathers will be. His father could not see who he was, could not see what he had become, could not see his individuality which was so loud and so clear. The whole world was becoming aware of it, but his father was blind to it. He was still thinking about him in terms of the personality that was no longer there, that he had renounced the day he left the palace.
In fact Buddha had to leave the palace just to renounce his personality. He wanted to know himself as he was, not what others were thinking about him. But the father was looking into his face with the eyes of twelve years ago. He said again to Buddha, “I am your father, I love you; although you have hurt me deeply, have wounded me deeply. I am an old man, and these twelve years have been a torture, and you are my only son. I have somehow tried to live so that you could come back. Now you are back, take charge of the empire, be the king! Now let me rest, it is time for me to rest. Although you have committed a sin against me, and you have been almost murderous towards me, I forgive you and my doors are still open.”
Buddha laughed. He said, “Sir, be a little more aware of whom you are talking with. The man who left the palace is no more; he died long ago. I am somebody else – look at me!”
And the father became even more angry. He said, “Do you want to deceive me? I don’t know you? I know you more than you know yourself! I am your father, I have given birth to you, in your blood my blood circulates – and I don’t know you?”