The question reminds me of a small story - it happened in a Christian monastery. Two monks were discussing in the garden of the monastery - every day they were given one hour to walk in the garden and meditate on God.... They were discussing, "Is it possible to smoke while walking in the garden?"
They were not in the church, they were not in the monastery; they were outside the church, outside the monastery. Both decided it would be better to ask the abbot of the monastery. Next day, the first was sitting under a tree very dejected, very sad, and the other came along, smoking a cigarette.
The first could not believe it.
He said, "It seems you have not asked the abbot, because I asked, and he was very angry, and he refused me absolutely. How is it that you are smoking?"
The second monk said, "What did you ask the abbot?"
The sad man said, "I asked simply, 'Is it possible to smoke while contemplating God?' And he said, 'No, absolutely no!'"
The second man laughed, and he said, "That's why! I asked him, 'Can I contemplate God while smoking?' And he said, 'Yes, of course!'"
It is absolutely impossible for a saint to be a rascal - but a rascal can be a saint.
It is absolutely impossible for a saint because the very definition of the saint does not include any possibility of being a rascal. The saint is thought to be a simple, truthful, sincere and very serious seeker of truth. He is one-dimensional.
To find the truth he abandons everything, he renounces the world; he renounces his own body, his own feelings, his own emotions. He becomes almost bodiless. He is in the world but he belongs to the world no more. He has turned his back upon the world.
This has been praised for centuries, but there is something which has been overlooked - that this type of person is flat. He has no colors, he is like a very ancient, antique, faded painting. He is just surviving, not living. He has chosen an anti-life attitude. He rejects life to gain spirituality.
Necessarily, rejecting life, he rejects everything that is implied in life - all its colors, all its songs, all its beauties, all its joys. It is a tremendous phenomenon. He becomes dry, juiceless - just a skeleton, waiting for death so that he can be released from the body completely.
Of course, he cannot be a rascal.
But there have been rascals who became great saints: Chuang Tzu in China, Hotei in Japan, Bodhidharma in India; and in this very century, George Gurdjieff in the West... just to mention the very great and very significant people of tremendous importance as saints. But you cannot include them in the ordinary concept of the saint.
They are very colorful people, very alive, living intensely. They have not renounced the world; they do not see the need to renounce it. Because God has not renounced the world, why should they renounce the world? And God loves all these colors and these flowers and these birds and these songs and these people. Existence is multi-dimensional. It accommodates, it is very compassionate.
It will not prevent a rascal from becoming a saint. Of course the very quality of the rascal's being will be totally transformed.
Chuang Tzu remained an enigma to all the religious people in China for centuries because of his behavior, his statements, his absurd stories which nobody can think of as being holy in any way.
They certainly contain something holier than the so-called holy books, but to perceive it one needs great insight.
One morning Chuang Tzu was sitting, very sad, by the side of his bed. His disciples had never seen him sad, and they asked him what had happened.
He said, "I am in such trouble that I don't see how I will be able to solve it in this life or ever."
Everybody was eager to know about the problem that Chuang Tzu could not solve. He was one of the greatest philosophers, and whenever they came with great problems, he had never said that they could not be solved; he had answers for every question. So what could be the problem?
Chuang Tzu said, "The problem is, in the night I dreamed that I have become a butterfly."
They all laughed; they said, "It was just a dream! Where is the problem?"
Chuang Tzu said, "You have not heard the whole thing. Now I am wondering: perhaps the butterfly has gone to sleep and is dreaming that she has become Chuang Tzu! Now, what is the truth? Did Chuang Tzu become a butterfly in the dream, or did the butterfly become Chuang Tzu in the dream?
Who am I?"
It is perfectly logical. If a man can become a butterfly in a dream, there seems to be no contradiction; a butterfly can become a man in a dream. What is reality?
And he has written these kinds of parables - absurd. You cannot solve them, they are basically unsolvable. He was asked why he goes on writing such stuff - "Because we have never heard religious people writing such things. They write about God, they write about heaven, about hell; they write about how to live your life. And you write things that disturb us! They don't help us."
And he said, "Unless you are totally disturbed you will not be reborn. Unless you are so disturbed that nothing of you remains undisturbed, you will not find yourself; you will not find that space which nothing can disturb. I go on writing these stories to disturb you.
"I am not here to give consolation to you. For consolation you can go to ordinary saints. I disturb, and I disturb totally, to the point where you have a nervous breakdown, because unless you have a breakdown, you can't have a breakthrough."
Very few people had the courage to remain with Chuang Tzu. He was creating situations which were very embarrassing. Saints are not supposed to do such things. For example, he was found one day in the capital sitting on a donkey, his disciples following him, and the whole town laughing. And the people are gathered on both sides... because he is not sitting in the right way, he is sitting looking at his disciples and the donkey is going forward and he is looking backward! The people are laughing and the disciples are feeling very embarrassed.
Finally one disciple said, "Why are you doing it? You are making a fool of yourself! And with you we are becoming idiots unnecessarily - people are thinking we are idiots!"
Chuang Tzu said, "There is something great implied in it. I have thought it over and over: if I sit the way people sit on donkeys, then my back will be towards you, and that is insulting. And I don't want to insult anybody, not even my own disciples. There is a possibility that you can be in front of me, but then you will be insulting me - and that is not right at all, disciples insulting the master.
"So this is the solution that I have found. Let the fools laugh - but I am facing you, you are facing me.
That's how a master and disciple should be; and I am respectful towards you, and you are respectful towards me. And the donkey has no objection - why should we bother about the people?"
Now this kind of man is rare, unique, difficult to find. But he attained to the highest clarity, consciousness, love, compassion - but he remained a rascal to the very end.
I mentioned the name of Hotei. He was just on his deathbed, and he asked his disciples, "Can somebody suggest to me a way to die which has never happened before? - because I don't want to die in the ordinary and common way. For example, most people die lying in their bed.
"And," Hotei said, "that's why I never lie in bed because that is the most dangerous place: ninety-nine percent of people die there! So I have been sleeping on the floor my whole life to avoid that place.
"But I would like to die in my own way, just the way I have lived my life in my own way: not caring at all what others say but simply living spontaneously, out of my own being, out of my own insight.
Whether I am condemned or whether I am disrespected - that I have never cared about. But I am worried - I need some suggestion from you."
Somebody suggested, "You could die standing."
He said, "The idea is good!"
Then one of the disciples said, "But it is not very original, because I have heard of a great rascal saint just like you who died standing. So it will not be very unique and original."
Somebody suggested, "Then the best way is, die standing on your head! We don't think that anybody has done that before. It is going to be unique - never done before and perhaps never in the future."
Hotei said, "I like the idea!" Even at the point of death he stood on his head. And it is said that the disciples were at a loss to figure out what to do now. Because they knew what to do when a person dies in the bed, but what to do with the master who has died standing on his head?
Somebody said that his sister, who was older than him - she was a nun, just as he was a monk, and she lived nearby.... "It is better to ask her; we should not do anything before asking somebody who is in a better position and is a better authority." The elder sister was called.
She came up and she said, "Hotei, you rascal! Your whole life you have been this way - but at least behave at the point of death! Get up and lie down on the bed!"
Naturally, when the elder sister says so.... Hotei jumped up, laughed, lay down on the bed and died!
But this kind of saint is a very unique phenomenon. Tradition would not accept him, religions will avoid mentioning him. Even after death he continued to be himself. Before dying he said, "Remember, I am not a traditional man, so please don't give me a bath". It was a traditional thing, that before taking him to the funeral pyre he should be given a bath. He said, "I have taken my bath in the morning so there is no need to give me a cold bath again. I hate it!" "But," they said, "you will be dead!"
He said, "Dead or alive, I hate it! And remember that you are my disciples and my will should be followed; don't remove my clothes."
Traditionally, a bath is given, and new clothes, food... because we are sending the person on a new pilgrimage, on a new journey. But he insisted. The traditional people were not even willing to participate in his funeral because they said, "This is not right - he should be given a bath, his clothes should be changed."
But his disciples said, "We cannot deny our dead master - and he never cared about you anyway.
And we don't think he will care whether you come to the funeral or not."
They had to put his body on the pyre in his clothes... and only then did they recognize that that man was really something, one who comes only once in a while. The whole crowd of disciples started laughing, because he had hidden in his clothes -fireworks! So, many things started exploding. He made a joke even of death! He created laughter even at his funeral.
So I cannot say that a saint can be a rascal, but I can say certainly that existence is very accommodating: a rascal can be a saint, and perhaps a greater saint than your so-called ordinary saints. Your ordinary saints are ordinary human beings. They fulfill your expectations; a rascal saint never fulfills your expectations. On the contrary he goes on destroying your expectations. He functions in such a way that you cannot define him, you cannot explain him. You cannot make sense of many things in his life.
George Gurdjieff, who died only in 1950, was a contemporary man but perhaps the most rare man in this whole century. One of his disciples, Nicoll, remembers traveling with him on a train in America, when Gurdjieff started behaving as if he was a drunkard. Nicoll knew that he had not touched any drink for years - he had been with him - but he started behaving like a drunkard... shouting, throwing things, disturbing the whole train.
Finally the conductor came, the guard came, and Nicoll was very embarrassed. He was trying to prevent Gurdjieff - "What are you doing?" - but Gurdjieff wouldn't listen. He was making a fool of himself and making a fool of Nicoll.
Nicoll was even more embarrassed... because at least people thought Gurdjieff was drunk: "But you should take care of your master, and if he is drunk then you should not travel in the middle of the night. He has awakened the whole train!
"And he is not only throwing out his things, he is throwing out other people's things. You stop him; otherwise we will have to call the police at the next station."
Nicoll was trying to persuade Gurdjieff, and said, "Stop this game! Why are you unnecessarily.... I know perfectly well you are not drunk."
And Gurdjieff said into Nicoll's ear, "I know it too - don't be worried! I have my own ways of working.
You have to learn not to be embarrassed - whatever the situation. If you are to be with me, you have to learn one thing: not to be embarrassed. It is a teaching for you; I made this whole train a teaching class for you. Why does one feel embarrassed?"
And people gathered and started listening. Suddenly Gurdjieff was not drunk, and he was talking on embarrassment and its implications. If you can drop embarrassment, there is a certain spiritual growth in you. Why is one embarrassed? - because one wants respectability, deep down one wants everybody to think of one in nice ways, good respectable ways. When something happens which goes against respectability, there is embarrassment. It is the ego that is embarrassed.
And Gurdjieff said to Nicoll, "If you can drop embarrassment, you have dropped the ego. Now we can go to sleep."
The whole train was wondering about the man. Whatever he said was absolutely right. Many people in the morning came to visit in his compartment. They said, "Forgive us, but you have made such an impression. We had never thought that a teacher, a spiritual master, will behave in this way just to give a lesson to his disciple. But we could not sleep the whole night - we thought about it again and again. It is true, we feel embarrassed. It is not our true self, it is just our idea of our prestige, of our status; of how people should see us, how people should know us."
We all have masks. And whenever somebody takes the mask away, suddenly you are embarrassed, because you have been hiding your original face from the whole world and suddenly you are exposed. Suddenly you find your clothes have disappeared and you are standing naked!
But only a man like Gurdjieff would do that. Once he called one of his most important and the greatest of his disciples, P.D. Ouspensky. This man, P.D. Ouspensky, was a world-famous mathematician. Nobody knew about Gurdjieff before Ouspensky became his disciple; it was his becoming initiated by Gurdjieff that made Gurdjieff's name world-famous.
Ouspensky was a world-famous mathematician. He has written one book which is thought to be one of the three great books in the whole world. He himself in that book.... It is on mathematics, higher mathematics - but not only on mathematics, it is also on spirituality. And he is the only mathematician known up to now who has made some basic bridges between the highest flight of mathematics and spirituality.
His book's name is TERTIUM ORGANUM. It means "the third canon of thought." He writes in his introduction: "The first canon of thought was written by Aristotle; it is called ORGANUM. The second canon of thought was written by Bacon; it is called NOVUM ORGANUM - the new canon of thought.
Both have been tremendously decisive in scientific growth." Ouspensky has called his book the third canon of thought - TERTIUM ORGANUM and he says, "Although my book is coming third, it existed before the first ever existed."
And certainly it is more fundamental than both Bacon's and Aristotle's. And it is now almost half a century old, but no other book has come which can be the fourth... perhaps it never will come. He has done such a perfect job.
This man was a professor at London University in the times of the Russian revolution, and Gurdjieff was in Russia, far away in the interior in a small place, Tiflis. Gurdjieff called Ouspensky to come immediately. And it was very dangerous: the whole of Russian life had been disturbed, the czar had been killed. Although the revolutionaries had overturned the old regime, the new regime had not yet come into existence; it was just chaos all over the country - and it is a vast country, one sixth of the whole earth. The army was scattered and nobody knew what was happening. Trains were running on their own, or not running; there was nobody to control anything. Everything was on fire; and to move, everybody was at risk.
Gurdjieff called Ouspensky immediately, and Ouspensky dropped his well-paid job, his very respectable professorship, and went into a dangerous Russia. He was afraid that he might not be able to reach; he might be killed - people were being killed and butchered like anything. But somehow he managed. It took three months for him to find the village of Tiflis, but anyhow he reached there and he was happy that he had managed it.
When he entered the house of Gurdjieff, Gurdjieff said, "Good! So you have come. Now you can go back and rejoin your job." Ouspensky could not believe that Gurdjieff would do such a thing - putting him at such risk unnecessarily. And Gurdjieff had not even said a single word! He had not even asked Ouspensky to sit down and rest a little before he left to go back. He said, "Now you can go back immediately."
Even other disciples who were there with Gurdjieff became very suspicious: this was strange! One of the disciples said, "We cannot believe what you have done! What is the meaning of it?"
Gurdjieff said, "This is the last fire test of trust - and I don't think he will be able to pass it. I have seen on his face that he has failed; I have seen frustration. He could not go gracefully. If he had gone gracefully he would have been born anew, he would have become a new man.
"I had given him the opportunity to be reborn - he missed." And certainly Ouspensky missed, because he became so angry that he disconnected himself from Gurdjieff.
Even such a great thinker, mathematician, scientist, could not see that when a man like Gurdjieff does something - howsoever absurd, meaningless - there is bound to be some meaning in it. You should not take it at face value, you should give it a chance to sink deep. Many of Gurdjieff's disciples left him at one point or another because they could not conceive logically what the man was doing.
A rascal saint will not behave logically, his behavior will be very illogical. But still, if you can figure out the deeper implications of his illogicality, you will be simply surprised that he is a miracle man.
For example, Gurdjieff would make the vegetarians eat meat, force them to eat meat. The person who was not drinking he would force to drink as much as possible - till he was flat on the floor, saying things which you could have never thought that the man would say. And Gurdjieff would be listening to him.
He said, "I never believe what people say unless they are unconscious. Only in their unconsciousness do they say the truth. In their consciousness they go on saying things which are respectable, which have to be said, which are expected to be said. Only when they are unconscious are they true. Then you can see their original face. And only the original can be changed, you cannot change the false. The false does not exist, how can you change it? You can change only the real, but first you have to find it."
Gurdjieff had his own ways of finding it. But these ways are not common; hence neither Chuang Tzu nor Hotei created a religion, nor Gurdjieff, nor Bodhidharma.
Bodhidharma perhaps is the greatest of all these four. He was born in India and went to China. And his fame went ahead of him; the great Chinese emperor had come to receive him on the border.
And the emperor had done great service to Buddhism - he had made thousands of temples and thousands of monasteries, and he had thousands of scholars translating all the Buddhist literature from Pali to Chinese.
He had put all his treasures in the service of Buddhism. He changed the whole of China to Buddhism - his name was Emperor Wu. And naturally, every Buddhist who had come before Bodhidharma had told Emperor Wu, "You have earned great virtue. You will be born in the seventh lotus paradise, the highest paradise in Buddhist mythology. You have done such great work that there is no comparison - even Ashoka is left far behind."
Emperor Wu, gracefully bowed down, touched the feet of Bodhidharma and asked him, "What is my virtue?"
And Bodhidharma said, "None!"
The emperor was shocked. He said, "But I have made so many temples, and I have made thousands of Buddha statues, and I feed thousands of Buddhist monks. I have changed the whole of China to Buddhism. And you say that my virtue is nil? Will I not be able to be born into the seventh lotus paradise?"
Bodhidharma laughed, he said, "You will be born in the seventh hell!"
The emperor had never seen such a man; he was accustomed to courtesy, grace - he was a great emperor. And this man is simply hitting him so hard. He asked Bodhidharma, "Why are you so hard on me?"
Bodhidharma said, "Because I love you, and whoever I love, I am hard on him; otherwise, who cares?
The people who have been telling you that you will be born in the seventh paradise don't love you, don't understand you; they are simply cheating you, because you are serving their purpose. They are giving you great promises to be fulfilled in the other world. I cannot give you any promise unless I see the transformation happening here and now.
"You may have made thousands of temples, but you are not a temple yet. And you have made thousands of Buddha statues, but you are not a buddha yet. And the seventh lotus paradise is not for statue-makers; it is for those who have become a buddha themselves. I can make you a buddha, but I am going to be a hard man. You will have to forget completely that you are an emperor. With me no nonsense can be tolerated.
"So you go back home and think about it. If you are ready, I am always ready. But don't be befooled by these so-called Buddhist monks - who are good people, who are simple-hearted, who are not doing any harm to anybody. But they are not masters who transform, who create a new consciousness."
And he said, "I will wait outside the town, I will not enter your empire. You will have to enter into my empire. I will wait outside. Tomorrow morning at four o'clock, before the sun rises, if you have decided that you are ready to travel the path whatever the consequences, you can come; otherwise I will move."
The whole night the emperor could not sleep... whether to go to this man? - because he looked dangerous. And to go alone at four o'clock, in the dark.... And Bodhidharma had warned him, "Don't bring your guards or others, because you will have to go alone on the path."
Who knows? - the man might be a little insane or something. Certainly he was dangerous! He was not the common run-of-the-mill saint. But his eyes, his gestures...! Although he was very rude, still behind his rudeness there was great compassion. And the king thought about it again and again:
To go or not to go? But he could not resist - he had to go. The man was irresistible.
Fearing, trembling inside, still the emperor went to the temple - Bodhidharma was staying outside the boundary of his empire. Bodhidharma said, "I knew you would come. I knew because although I was hard and rude, and you were shocked, you were not angry; you were understanding. You were puzzled - you have never seen such a man, a very strange type of saint! But I knew that you would not be able to sleep.
"I have also not slept the whole night. I have been waiting for you. I was certain that you would come because whatever I had said was said with immense compassion and love."
This man, Bodhidharma, had very few disciples, but whoever had the courage and guts to be with this strange man was certainly transformed.
Now, Bodhidharma is not accepted by the traditional people. But this is the beauty of life: there is a traditional crowd, but there is also a small untraditional path, trodden by the rare. It is almost like walking on a sword. But these few rare people have done more as far as transformation of consciousness is concerned than millions of ordinary saints.
They are good - but good for nothing. These people may not seem the right kind, but to meet such a man is the rarest opportunity in life. They are dangerous. It is playing with fire, but unless you are ready to play with fire, you cannot expect something miraculous to happen to you.
From ordinary saints and priests and theologians, you can get only an ordinary kind of religiousness.
If you get satisfied with it, you are unfortunate. It is not enough - not enough for any man worth calling himself a man.
I am certainly in favor of all those rare beings - extraordinary, untraditional, strangers, outlandish - because they can change you so quickly. Just to be near them can create a new fire in you. It is there; it just needs a little work to remove so many conditions, thoughts, conventions, which have covered it. Otherwise, everybody is carrying the fire.
But you need a surgeon, you can't just depend on simply good people to help you. You need somebody who can cut through and through and reach to your heart.
And certainly these strange people will have strange ways, because to reach to the human heart is not simple. To reach to the human mind is very simple, but to reach to the human heart is very difficult, and to reach deeper than the human heart - to the very soul of the man, to his being - you need rare surgeons, rare physicians. Their methods will be outlandish.
So it is a blessing to the earth that there have been a few rascal saints too. They are the very salt of the whole evolution of human consciousness.
Go for the rare, search for the unique. Only then may you be able to find a door to the unknown.
The ordinary saint is good if you want just to worship and touch his feet and give him some flowers and get his blessings. He is good - he does no harm, he is a consolation. In a troubled society where everybody is miserable he gives you consolation. Where everybody is suffering he provides you with a certain kind of opium. He keeps you contented in a very discontented world.
But the rare saint you asked about creates discontent in you - discontent for the divine. Your ordinary discontentment is nothing, he wants more discontent in you. He wants you to become aflame with discontent. Your very discontent will become such a fire that it will burn everything that is not necessary in you, that is not really part of you, and will bring out your radiant being in its utter beauty and nakedness.
I love the rascal saints!
Nobody has talked about them, nobody writes about them. Nobody even dares to call some saint a rascal saint. But I cannot be untruthful.
I simple call a spade a spade!