Socrates

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“Socrates is a mystic -- not believing in God, not believing in any belief, not teaching an organized religion; but on the contrary giving absolute importance to the individual, and helping the individual to find his own life source. That is the true therapy. "To know thyself" is the condensed meaning of therapy. The function of the therapist is not to teach you who you are, but to create situations in which you start discovering yourself.”
- From Bondage to Freedom, Chapter #36

“I must remind you of Socrates' last statement on the earth. He said, "When I was young I thought I knew everything. I bragged, because I could argue better than anybody else. When I became a little more mature, I realized that there were many things I didn't know, I was simply bragging. And because others could argue against me they thought I must be knowing, because my argument was weightier. And as I went on, slowly slowly it became clear to me that I know nothing. Let this be my last statement on the earth: that I do not know."

Socrates had become a child again, but he had risked all his wisdom, philosophy, his great intelligence, all his arguments, his whole life's effort of winning against opponents in debates, discussions. He had become the topmost intelligent man in Greece. But he had the tremendous courage to say, "I know nothing."”
- From Death to Deathlessness, Chapter #6

“Socrates was punished by his society. People like Socrates are bound to be punished, because they are individuals and they don't allow anybody to dominate them. He was given poison. He was lying in the bed and the man who was going to give him poison was preparing it. The sun was setting -- that was the right time. The court had given the exact time, but the man was delaying in preparing the poison. Socrates asked the man, "Time is passing, the sun is setting -- what is the delay?"

The man could not believe that somebody who is going to die is so particular about the right time for his own death. In fact, he should be thankful for the delay. The man loved Socrates. He had heard him in the court and seen the beauty of the person: he alone had more intelligence than the whole of Athens. He wanted to delay a little more so Socrates could live a little more. But Socrates would not allow him. He said, "Don't be lazy. Just bring the poison.”
- From Death to Deathlessness, Chapter #8

“Socrates had never done anything that you could say was done out of arrogance, or out of anger, or out of jealousy. He was not standing for any public post, he was not interested in any power politics. He was not a man of anger at all.
The story is that his wife -- she must have been really a monster, but sometimes it happens that such nice people as Socrates get such monster women. It is strange, but perhaps there is some balance. Perhaps only Socrates could stand that woman; no other man I think could have lived with her for even a single day. She used to beat Socrates and he would simply sit.”
- From Personality to Individuality, Chapter #19

“Socrates is a giant, a Himalayan giant. His every word is immensely meaningful. He said, "I am not going to leave Athens. Without me, what will Athens be? You kill me -- that will make Athens immortal." And those idiots could not understand what he was saying. He was speaking the truth: it is because Socrates was poisoned in Athens by Athenian people that Athens has become immortal.”
- From Personality to Individuality, Chapter #29

“Socrates is one of the persons I love the most. And coming here I feel tremendously joyous, because it is the same air Socrates must have breathed, the same land he must have walked, the same people with whom he must have talked, communicated with.

To me, without Socrates Greece is nothing. With Socrates, it is everything. The day Athens chose to poison Socrates, it poisoned the whole Greek spirit. It has never again been to the same heights. Twenty-five centuries have passed, but not a single man has been able to reach to the same glory, to the same light, the same insight.

Killing Socrates, Greece committed suicide. And it can be seen easily. If they had listened to Socrates rather than poisoning him, and dropped their conditionings, which he was asking them to do, Greece would have been at the very top of the world today in intelligence, in consciousness, in the search for truth.”