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Rome - 31st Entry - 21st October 1973
It was a moonless night and the Southern Cross was clear over the palm trees. The sun wouldn't be up for many hours yet; in that quiet darkness all the stars were very close to the earth and they were sparklingly bright; they were a penetrating blue and the river was giving birth to them. The Southern Cross was by itself without any other stars around it. There was no breeze and the earth seemed to stand still, weary of man's activity. It was going to be a lovely morning after the heavy rains and there wasn't a cloud on the horizon. Orion had already set and the morning star was on the far horizon. In the grove, frogs were croaking in the nearby pond; they would become silent for a while and wake up and begin again. The smell of jasmine was strong in the air and in the distance there was chanting. But at that hour there was a breathless silence and its tender beauty was on the land. Meditation is the movement of that silence.
In the walled garden the noise of the day began. The young baby was being washed; it was oiled with great care, every part of it; special oil for the head and another for the body; each had its own fragrance and both were slightly heated. The small child loved it; it was softly cooing to itself and its fat little body was bright with oil. Then it was cleaned with a special scented powder. The child never cried, there seemed to be so much love and care. It was dried and tenderly wrapped in a clean white cloth, fed and put to bed to fall asleep immediately. It would grow up to be educated, trained to work, accepting the traditions, the new or old beliefs, to have children, to bear sorrow and the laughter of pain.
The mother came one day and asked, "What is love? Is it care, is it trust, is it responsibility, is it pleasure between man and woman? Is it the pain of attachment and loneliness?"
You are bringing up your child with such care, with tireless energy, giving your life and time. You feel, perhaps unknowingly, responsible. You love it. But the narrowing effect of education will begin, will make it conform with punishment and reward to fit into the social structure. Education is the accepted means for the conditioning of the mind. What are we educated for - for endless work and to die? You have given tender care, affection, and does your responsibility cease when education begins? Is it love that will send him to war, to be killed after all that care and generosity? Your responsibility never ceases, which doesn't mean interference. Freedom is total responsibility, not only for your children but for all children on the earth Is love attachment and its pain? Attachment breeds pain, jealousy, hatred. Attachment grows out of one's own shallowness, insufficiency, loneliness. Attachment gives a sense of belonging, identification with something, gives a sense of reality, of being. When that is threatened there is fear, anger, envy. Is all this love? Is pain and sorrow love? Is sensory pleasure love? Most fairly intelligent human beings know verbally all this and it is not too complicated. But they do not let all this go; they turn these facts into ideas and then struggle with the abstract concepts. They prefer to live with abstractions rather than with reality, with what is.
In the denial of what love is not, love is. Don't be afraid of the word negation. Negate all that is not love, then what is, is compassion. What you are matters enormously for you are the world and the world is you. This is compassion.
Slowly the dawn was coming; in the eastern horizon there was a faint light, it was spreading and the Southern Cross began to fade. The trees took on their shape, the frogs became silent, the morning star was lost in the greater light and a new day began. The flight of crows and the voices of man had begun but the blessings of that early morning were still there.