A Master was traveling, and he came to an inn for an overnight stay with his disciples. The innkeeper told him that he had two wives, one beautiful, another ugly. ”But the problem is,” said the innkeeper, ”that I love the ugly one and I hate the beautiful one.” The Master asked, ”What is the matter? What is the reason for it?” The man said, ”The beautiful one is too conscious of her beauty; that makes her ugly…” when you are too conscious of beauty certainly you will become ugly ”… and the other is too conscious of her ugliness. That makes her beautiful.” The one who was beautiful thought continuously that she was beautiful – she had become arrogant,very proud. How can you be beautiful with arrogance? Arrogance is ugliness. She had become very egoistic. And have you ever come across any ego which is beautiful? How can the ego bebeautiful? The other, who was ugly and was conscious of her ugliness, had become humble, and humility has a beauty of its own. Humbleness, without any pride, without any ego, creates beauty.So the man said, ”I am puzzled. I love the ugly one and I hate the beautiful one. And I am asking you to solve the puzzle. What is the matter? Why is it happening?” The Master called all his disciples and said, ”You also come, because this is really something to be understood.” And he said exactly what Lao Tzu is saying. To his disciples he also said, ”Don’t be proud that you know. If you know that you know, you are ignorant. If you know that you don’t know, you are wise. An absolutely simple man does not know either way, whether he knows or doesn’t know. He lives completely unself-consciously.”
Now, I would like to prolong the story a little longer. It stops there. As Sufis have told it, it stops there, but I would like to give it a deeper turn. I would like to tell you that after this Master’s visit, I also visited the inn, after many years, of course. And the man, the innkeeper, came to me and said,”There is a puzzle. Once a Sufi Master visited me and I put this problem before him and he solved it.But since then everything has turned. The ugly woman has become proud about her humbleness,and now I don’t love her. Not only is her body ugly, now her being, her whole being, has become ugly. And the beautiful woman, knowing that the consciousness that she is beautiful was destroying her beauty, has dropped that consciousness. Now I love her. Not only is her body beautiful, her being has become beautiful as well.” So he said to me, ”Now you tell me what the matter is. ”But I told him, ”You please keep quiet. If I say something, then again, the story will take a turn. Keep quiet!”Self-consciousness is the disease; in fact, to be unself-conscious is to become realized. That’s what enlightenment is all about: to be unself-conscious. But between the dichotomy, between the two, between the dilemma, how can you be unself-conscious?