Socrates: dear Gautami, you who are well anchored in the earth, should we believe in fate?
Gautami: yes my dear Socrates, I will even tell you more: our fate reveals itself in the events that disturb us. Those that don’t make sense to us, we don’t see them or we quickly forget them.
Socrates: so we only remember what shows us our path, is that what you mean?
Gautami: yes, that’s right, but why are you asking me this question?
Socrates: strange things often happen to me, such as a voice speaking to me and allowing me to avoid mistakes. I think about it regularly and I try to find some meaning in it. I wanted to know if I was wasting my time.
Gautami: meaning can escape you for a long time or take different forms the more you think about it, but if it is a process that guides you, accept it as it is and see how you can use in your favor. You will then have the answer you are looking for.
Socrates: are you speaking with inside knowledge of these matters?
Gautami: yes, I have not always lived under this form. I used to give myself to men to satisfy them but they weren’t getting it. Now I talk to them and they are much more grateful.
Socrates: why did you change?
Gautami: because of the suffering they tried to forget with me, and the suffering they inflicted on me by their indifference. It made me realize that my place was elsewhere.
Socrates: so you became a woman-tree, it’s amazing.
Gautami: I went through several stages to escape the wheel of suffering, but I finally reincarnated as a tree and I am now here to advise those who come to see me. It’s my destiny and I like it.
Socrates: so there would be a fate that is written and a destiny that is constructed?
Gautami: yes. Even if fate is immutable, it remains unknowable. It only reveals itself in our actions which gradually build us along the path which must be ours.
Socrates: the demon who speaks to me is therefore like a guardian angel, he helps me to better direct myself.
Gautami: that sounds like it and he probably knows that I’m the one who can best tell you about the one you love. That’s why you came to see me even if you didn’t know it.
Socates: because your advice is about love?
Gautami: of course, love compassion, generosity, is there anything else that can avoid suffering?
Socrates: and the men who come to ask you questions, it is also they who put flowers and offerings at your feet?
Gautami: ah, you noticed? Yes, it is they. Others engraved their hopes on my trunk but there are less of them now, they have lost their childlike soul. I felt a little lonely and I’m glad you came to me, even if you’re just a stick.
Socrates: so fate guided me to you.
Gautami: yes, and that’s because I have the name of the one you love as well as the names of all those who are loved. When you call me, she will answer you, but not her as you see her, but her as she is.
Socrates: if what you say is true, the very fact that I found you would mean that it is my destiny.
Gautami: your destiny is still to be built, but that it is your fate for sure. You learn quickly, my dear Socrates.
Socrates: speaking to you, will I know her better than she wants?
Gautami: you will know what she is for you, but you will not be able to tell her because she would not accept it.
Socrates: all this is very complicated.
Gautami: this is my first lesson for you, Mr. Stick. The feminine spirit is not limited to the words it says, but the words it says are the only ones it wants to admit.
Socrates: what does this have to do with my destiny?
Gautami: woman is the future of man …
Socrates: dear Gautami, you have an answer for everything! But then, who is the future of women?
Gautami: it is in the community, in what is whispered around us and defines us.
Socrates: would the fate of man be to speak louder so that the woman he loves follows him?
Gautami: you are perceptive, dear Socrates, but be careful about what you say, it is not enough to speak loudly, you must also speak justly… And fate takes many forms…
Want to think a a little more? See, for example, The Heart of the Buddha’s teaching, transforming suffering into peace, joy and liberation to understand better what Gautami meant.
Want to help improve these dialogues? Write your comments and questions below.
Want to know more about the tastes of Socrates and Emily? Their favorite books are in the domain library.