Questions and Answers
OSHO, LAST NIGHT YOU SAID THAT ONE CAN GROW THROUGH TOTAL ACCEPTANCE. BUT THE EAST HAS REMAINED UNDEVELOPED DUE TO THIS PRINCIPLE OF ACCEPTANCE AND CONTENTMENT, WHEREAS THE WEST HAS BECOME MORE DEVELOPED ONLY BECAUSE OF NON-ACCEPTANCE AND DISCONTENTMENT.
THEREFORE, ISN'T IT OBVIOUS THAT DISCONTENTMENT AND NON-ACCEPTANCE IS THE PRINCIPLE FOR EVOLUTION AND GROWTH AND NOT TOTAL ACCEPTANCE? PLEASE EXPLAIN.
MANY things win have to be understood. One: Lao Tzu, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavir, they are not the total East. They were Teaching acceptance, but no one in the East has followed it. And those who followed, they evolved: Lao Tzu evolved into a perfect human possibility - to the maximum possibility which a human being can reach; Buddha evolved to be a Divine person through acceptance and contentment. But the East has not followed them. Just because they were born in the East doesn't mean that the East has followed them. So that is one thing.
The second thing: the West has evolved, but evolved to such a crisis, into such a diseased state of mind, that now the West is looking toward the East. The West has followed the principle of discontent, so in a way the West has been more honest than the East. The East has been dishonest.
We go on worshipping Krishna, Buddha and Mahavir, and we think that we are following them. We have not followed them! Only lip service has been paid them. But the West has really followed the principle of discontentment and materialism. The West has followed it, and now it has come to the climax. Those in the West who have achieved a climax with whatsoever they have done, now they feel that the whole life has become meaningless - because whatsoever they have achieved now proves to be meaningless. There has been an evolution of things, but not of consciousness. They have accumulated much, but man has become more and more empty.
And now, when everything is achieved - now, when the West has succeeded in its ambition - the disparity becomes more clear-cut. Man has remained empty, unevolved. That is why now Western thinkers, the Western avant-garde, are thinking in terms of Lao Tzu, Buddha and Mahavir. Now they have known the futility of discontentment. It leads you to more discontentment, and contentment becomes impossible. From one discontentment you go to another, and from another to another, and contentment is never reached.
This is what the Upanishads have been telling. They say that if you start with contentment then only can you reach contentment, because the beginning is the end, the seed is really the tree. So if it is not in the seed, it is not going to be in the tree. If contentment is your beginning, the base, the ground of your mind, the very roots, only then can you flower into contentment. Those flowers are not coming from nowhere. They will grow from you; they will be your growth. So if you have contentment in the beginning, you will find it in the end.
If you start with discontent, discontent will grow, and it can never transform itself into contentment.
The more you follow it, the more it will be there. And if discontentment grows, then ultimately madness results. A madman means a totally discontented man with no hope, with absolute frustration.
Now the West has come to a fulfillment - a fulfillment of its ambition. The West has been authentically honest. It has followed a particular path, and when you follow only then can you know whether it leads to any goal or not.
The East has remained confused. Its leaders have been talking of contentment and the masses have been deceiving themselves. They go on talking about contentment and they continue being discontent. The East is ostensibly with Buddha - only ostensibly! Basically, it is not with Buddha.
When I say "East", I mean the Eastern masses. They are just as materialistic as Western masses - but with a false face, with a mask.
The East is as irreligious as the West, but dishonestly. We go on thinking that we are religious, and we are not. So we have been in a ditch, in a deep confusion. We have not moved anywhere, not because of the Upanishads - we have never followed them!we have not moved because we have been on two boats. We have been travelling in two diametrically opposite directions. Our minds go on talking of spirituality and our hearts go on following materialism.
This is the reason why the East has remained multi-dimensionally poor - not only physically, economically, but spiritually also, because for any spiritual growth honesty is foundational. It is better to be irreligious than to be falsely religious, because from an honest irreligiousness religion can grow. But with a dishonest religious man there is no possibility of any growth.
So remember this, that the East is not really the East. There have been only a few persons who we can say are Eastern. So, really, East and West are not geographical. The division is more subtle. There have been persons in the West who belong to the East. Jesus belongs to the East, Eckhart belongs to the East, Francis belongs to the East, Boehme belongs to the East: they are NOT Western. And you all belong to the West: you are not Eastern. So East and West are not geographical. "East" means a certain approach toward life, and "West" also means a certain approach.
You are materialists unconsciously, so you cannot grow in materialism because growth needs a conscious effort. You cannot grow in materialism because you are not consciously materialistic, and you cannot grow toward higher states of consciousness because you are false, pseudo. So the first thing is that this is the confusion.
The second thing: when we say "acceptance", what do we mean? When the Upanishads say acceptance is happiness, Nirvana, what do they mean? Does it mean a death, a stagnation? No!
It means only that whatsoever happens, whatsoever is and whatsoever is going to be, we are not against it, we will not fight it - we will flow with it For example, a seed is there: the seed accepts itself. That doesn't mean that now the seed cannot grow. A seed only means a potentiality for growth - nothing else. To be a seed means to be a potentiality for growth. A seed accepts itself: it means the growth is accepted; it is a natural thing.
The seed is not going to make any effort to be a tree, because effort is needed only when you are going to become something which you are not. Remember this: effort is needed only when you are going to be something which you are not. But that which you are not you cannot be, no matter how much effort there is.
We grow only to be ourselves, so effort in its deeper sense is useless; you are wasting energy.
Struggle is useless; you are wasting energy. Acceptance doesn't mean no growth. It means a natural flow of growth with no struggle toward it. Struggle creates a feverish mind. And why struggle?
Against whom are you struggling? That which is possible for you, you can simply grow into. Accept yourself totally and then flow with the Existence. There will be growth, but this growth will be natural, spontaneous. It will not be a strained thing. A Buddha grows to be a Buddha. Really, there is no effort - it is a flow.
If you want to be a Buddha, then there will be a struggle. So many have tried, thousands have tried, to be a Buddha. Then it is a struggle, because that Buddhahood is not in their seed. They can be something else, their destiny is different, but they are trying to imitate someone.
So, thousands have followed Buddha, but they have not created a single Buddha. They have created imitation Buddhas. They have created copies - carbon copies false, dead, with no life in them.
Whenever you follow someone else, you will have to struggle. Whenever you are ready to accept your own destiny, there is no need of any struggle: you will grow into it. And every individual is unique, and every individual has his own destiny.
Acceptance means be whatsoever the Whole wills to be through you. Do not fight. If you are a rose-flower, then be a rose-flower. Do not try to be a lotus. There is no struggle. A rosebud becomes a rose-flower. But teach it, give it ideals, and a rosebud can begin to imagine and think itself to be something else. Then there will be struggle, strain, worry. And not only is the whole effort going to be wasted, not only is there not going to be any positive result - but there will be negative consequences also. If a rose-flower tries to be a lotus, that is impossible. So the possibility is cancelled - but in the effort, in the struggle to be a lotus, it is possible that now this flower may not even be a rose-flower because the energy is dissipated.
The principle of total acceptance is simply this: accept yourself and flow with nature wheresoever it leads you. That is your destiny. Do not come in between; do not try to pull yourself to be something else. That is struggle.
This is what is meant by Tao, this is what is meant by dharma, this is what is meant by the inner swabhava - the inner nature. Follow it! And when I say follow it, I do not mean make some effort.
Really, I mean allow it to be: allow your destiny to be. Do not come in between: allow your destiny to grow. Then a different evolution takes place - an evolution of consciousness, not of things. So you may not gain a bigger house through acceptance, but you will gain a greater soul. You may not become richer economically, but you will certainly become richer spiritually.
Jesus says that even if you gain the whole world and lose yourself, what is the meaning of it? You are a beggar: you remain a beggar. And if you gain yourself and lose the whole world, you have lost nothing. This is the basic Eastern approach toward life - because the East says happiness exists not in things but in your consciousness. It is not related with things. It is related with you: you have to grow!
Things can grow; things can become more and more; you can have more and more things - but having is not being. You can have the whole world without any soul within, and you can be just a beggar on the street with the being of a sovereign. That growth of being is the end. And when acceptance is taught, it is taught for the growth of being. Those who have followed this teaching, they have grown, and they are incomparable.
Thousands, millions, have followed discontent; the whole world, the whole of humanity, follows it - but the followers of discontent have not produced a single Buddha, a single Jesus, a single Lao Tzu.
Really, outward growth depends on discontent, inward growth depends on contentment. Now it is your choice! If you want to pile up things more and more, you can go on, but then you are simply a servant who is just piling up things. Then death comes and everything is finished, and whatsoever you have gained, death nullifies it.
There is a different growth, an inner growth, which even death cannot nullify. Buddha says that unless you have achieved something which death cannot destroy, you have not achieved anything.
Achieve something which transcends death: only then are you growing. Otherwise, every life is destroyed by death, and you are again a beggar and again you have to start from ABC Growth means a continuity, a life process, but things cannot go with you. Whatsoever you have is not yours. It belongs to death, it belongs to the world: it doesn't belong to you. You are simply deceiving yourself. In the meanwhile you can deceive! So your growth comes through contentment, and when I say "contentment" I do not mean defeatism - remember this.
So this is the third point: a person can be content just to console himself. You are poor: you do not want to be poor; still, you are poor and nothing can be done, so you impose a false contentment.
You say, "It is okay. This is my destiny; I accept it." But deep down this is not acceptance. This is just consoling yourself. If some opportunity comes and you can become rich, you are not going to lose it. And if someone says, "Take this money in exchange for your contentment," you will throw this contentment and you will take the money.
So defeated consolation is not contentment. It is just trying to save your face. You do not want to feel defeated, so you put on a show of contentment. Many follow such contentment, but this is not the teaching of the Upanishads. Contentment for the Upanishads is not a defeated attitude. Really, it is a deep understanding.
Life is such that you are just a part in it, a very minute part. And the Whole is a very big thing - the organic Whole. It is just like my fingers are part of my organic body: they cannot do anything against my body; they cannot hope for anything against my body. They are not anything except my body - just parts. So if my body is healthy, they will be healthy; if my body is ill, they will be ill; if my body is dead, they will be dead. This understanding - that "I am just a part of this great Whole, I will flow with the Whole, I will not fight it" - is contentment.
This is a deep understanding. Remember, this contentment is so different from whatsoever is understood by the world that it is even difficult to conceive of it. This type of man will be contented when he is poor and he will be contented when he is rich. Remember the second part also. He will not try to be a poor man because, again, that is effort. He will not try to be a poor man because, again, that is an ambition. Again he will be fighting against the Whole; again he will be rejecting something, not accepting.
If it is the will of the Whole that he should be rich, he will be rich. If it is the will of the Whole that he should be poor, he will be poor. He can move from richness to poverty easily; he can move from poverty to richness just as easily. Really, he is just a dead leaf in the wind. Wherever the wind moves, he moves. There is no will, there is no ego, there is no individual ambition. The Whole's ambition is his ambition. This is acceptance, and when a man lives in such acceptance he reaches the highest peak possible of inner growth.
This has been the innermost core of Eastern religion, but the East has not followed it. Those who have followed, they have grown to the ultimate peak possible. Those who have not followed and who have pretended that they are following are bound to be in an inner contradiction.
Masses in the East are in this inner contradiction: they think they are religious and they are not; they think they are spiritual and they are not. And this thinking that they are spiritual becomes a hindrance - because if someone is ill and he thinks that he is healthy, then no treatment is possible.
An ill person must realize that he is ill; this is the first step toward any health or any possibility of health.
This is the most fatal disease - to think oneself healthy when one is not - because then everything is closed. But this happens, and man can deceive himself very easily. So it is possible that the West will become more and more Eastern, and the East will become more and more Western. This is happening already.
The day is not far off when "the sun will rise in the West". because the highest consciousness in the West, the highest conscious peaks in the West, the individuals who can look ahead, are turning Eastern. And in the East, quite the contrary: the so-called intellectuals, the intelligentsia, are turning communist. If you are not a communist in the East, no one can think you are an intelligent man. "Is it possible that you can be intellectual and Still not a communist?" Even those who are not communists cannot dare to say they are not communists. Those who are not communists will at least say that they are socialists: that is their facade. Those who are absolutely anti-communist, they will also talk in terms of communism, socialism, equality.
In the East now, it is rare to find an Eastern mind - very rare. In the West, communism is out of date.
Even in Soviet Russia communism is going out of date. Even the Soviet intelligentsia, the Soviet intellectuals, are probing into the inner world. Now Soviet Russia is the only country in the world today which is spending so much money on psychic research that even America is behind. In many Russian universities, psychic research has become an integral part of all research programmes.
Man is not simply matter: man is mind also. And unless we know something about mind, nothing seems possible. Man cannot be changed; no revolution is possible. But in the East, the so-called East, the geographical East, to talk about spirituality, religion, is superstitious. If someone is talking about religion in the East, so-called intellectuals think that he is a reactionary.
Why is this happening? The West has followed materialism, but very honestly, very sincerely. And sincerity pays always, honesty pays always. Now they can feel that whatsoever they have been doing is wrong, has been somewhere basically wrong. And they are honest, so they can confess it. We are dishonest, we cannot confess anything. We go on changing, but on the surface we go on maintaining the old face. We cannot confess that we have been wrong. It is a very healthy sign to confess that one has been wrong because it shows that now that which has been done can be undone. Now you can change your path, you can move in another direction.
The East has lived a double-bind life, always looking at heaven and always living just on the earth.
That creates trouble because you cannot look at the earth, and as you live on the earth you go astray. You go on looking at heaven and there is no way to walk there. So our minds are divided, split, schizophrenic. Two lives are being lived continuously. Whatsoever you say, you know it is not right, it cannot be done, but still you go on saying it.
One old man was here. He has been a great professor - one of the foremost educationalists in India - and he suffers very much because of the conditions in the universities. He was telling me that the future of his children is just ark, and he was telling me, "Even my own children are not ready to listen to me. No morality, no religion, no honesty! What is happening?"
So I asked him, "Whatsoever you are teaching to your children, have you yourself followed it?
Because you have been a very successful man in life - very successful. You have reached to the very top." He has been a Vice Chancellor and on many posts. I said, "So, really tell me honestly, have you followed whatsoever you are teaching to your children?"
He became uneasy, but he is honest, so he said, "It is very difficult to be honest and to be successful."
So I asked him whether he would like his children to be successful or honest. I told him, "Really, your children are more honest than you because they see the hypocrisy. They say, 'Since we are going to be successful, why talk about honesty? Then talk about dishonesty and being successful. And if we are going to be honest, then we should leave all ambitions for success; then be unsuccessful and be honest.' Why confuse these students?"
But he things that he is a moral man and his children are immoral. The children are simply saying that your whole way of thinking and living is hypocritical. If honesty is the thing to be followed, then do not expect success. If it happens, then it is a miracle; if otherwise, then there is no need to hope.
Then there is no frustration because you have chosen to be honest, then you have chosen to be unsuccessful. But the father's mind, every fathers mind, would like you to be honest and successful.
Then a double mind is created. So talk about honesty and be dishonest! Succeed and then teach your children to be honest and successful! Continue the whole race - the rat race!
If you want inner growth, then acceptance is the law. I am not saying that inner growth will be followed up by outer evolution also. There is no intrinsic necessity. It may happen, it may not happen. You may remain poor, but with inner richness outer poverty is not a suffering. It is a suffering only when you are inwardly poor and outwardly also. With outer richness and inner poverty, it is a great suffering. And it happens rarely that you are both outwardly rich and inwardly rich also.
So the choice is between these two. What is your emphasis? If you are for inner growth and inner richness, then follow it. Then acceptance is the law. But if you are not for it, then be discontent.
Then do not accept anything. Then go on fighting. You may grow rich outwardly, but ultimately you will come to know you have wasted your whole life.
OSHO, ONE DAY YOU SAID THAT LIFE IS AN INTERRELATIONSHIP - THAT EVERYTHING IS RELATED. THE NEXT DAY YOU SAID, "ONLY YOU YOURSELF ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING." BUT THE PSYCHOLOGISTS SAY THAT THE FOUNDATION OF ONE'S WHOLE PERSONALITY IS LAID IN EARLY CHILDHOOD, BETWEEN THREE AND SEVEN YEARS OF AGE, WHEN ONE HAPPENS TO BE A HELPLESS TOOL IN THE HANDS OF THE FAMILY AND ENVIRONMENT. WILL YOU KINDLY EXPLAIN THE CONTRADICTION?
SECONDLY, IN SPITE OF THIS CONTRADICTION, THE TOTAL GROWTH OF MAN LIES IN INDIVIDUAL EFFORTS AS WELL AS SOCIAL. SO IS IT NOT NECESSARY THAT THE RELIGIOUS MAN SHOULD SEEK TO BRING ABOUT A RADICAL CHANGE IN THE VERY PATTERN OF THE SOCIETY?
It appears to be paradoxical. One day I say that everything is related, interdependent, organic, and then I say you are responsible. These statements appear paradoxical, but they are not - because when I say you are responsible, I mean YOU are the Whole.
One has to start from somewhere and you cannot start from anyone else. Really, you are the nearest point from where the Whole can be reached. You are a part of the Whole, and everything is interdependent, but the other interdependent parts are very far from you. You cannot start your journey from them: you have to start from yourself. So when I say that everything is interdependent, it is a philosophical statement, a truth - a truth of one who has reached. When I say you are responsible, it is also a truth, but the truth of the seeker, not of the siddha - not of one who has reached.
But for one who has to travel, from where can you start your journey toward the Whole? You cannot start from my place; you cannot start from anyone else's place. You will have to start from where you are. And if you feel that you are not responsible, you will drop and stagnate then and there. Then you have taken the whole thing in a very wrong light. Then this interdependence of the Whole is not a help, but a hindrance.
And this is possible: we can change even elixir into poison and we can use poison as elixir. It depends on us. So I will take a few examples: for example, Buddha says that whatsoever is to be attained is already in you. This statement can lead to two interpretations. One, that now there is no need to move anywhere because whatsoever is to be attained is already there. So, "No need to do anything; I am okay as I am!" Now you have made a very valuable truth poisonous.
It can be interpreted in another way also, totally different. When Buddha says you are that which you can become. it gives a hope. Now it doesn't seem impossible. You have the seed. The seed can grow to be a tree; you can move from the seed toward the tree. "Now the tree is not impossible:
it is hidden in me. So I can move confidently; I can move with hope; I can move into the unknown without any fear." Then it can become a help.
When I say that the whole world is a cosmos, interdependent, it means that we are not islands, but we are a big infinite continent. We are related. No one is small. Everyone is really the Whole.
Ramteerth has said: "You may believe or you may not believe, but I created the world. You may believe, you may not believe, but these stars are run by me." He is mad. If you look only at the apparent meaning of his statement, he is mad. But if the Whole is interdependent, then he is not mad at all. Then whosoever may have created the world, I must have been a part of Him. It is impossible to have created the world without me. He is saying, "I am a part, and whosoever is moving the stars, T am a part of Him. Without me they cannot move."
When I say that everything is interdependent, I mean you are the Whole. You are not just a part, you are not isolated, you are not alone. The Whole is with you, within you. This is the ultimate realization, but for you this is simply a theoretical statement. This may be a realization for Buddha, but for you it is simply a theoretical statement. It is not your realization.
How to make this your realization? From where to begin? If you say, "I am just a part, so what can I do? I am no one," then no movement will be possible. You will drop dead then and there. Then this great truth becomes fatal to you. If you are to move and realize this truth, you have to be responsible - responsible for whatsoever you are. Then you can change it, and you can change it because you are not only you: the Whole is behind you. The moment you say, "I am responsible," the Whole has asserted it through you. The moment you say, "I will move," the Whole will move within you.
I will take another example: Hindus have believed continuously, for millennia, that everyone is a soul and that the soul is immortal, the soul is pure, the soul is Divine. Gurdjieff, in this century, said, "Do not deceive yourself. It is very difficult to gain a soul. Not everyone has a soul. It is very rare.
Sometimes one attains a soul; otherwise you will be without a soul."
It seems absolutely contradictory. He says that only a few rare individuals attain to a soul. He says that soul is an achievement. It is not given to you at your birth; it is not in you right now. It is possible only if you make some effort. Then you may create a soul. Gurdjieff says that not everyone is immortal. Those who attain souls, they become immortal. Otherwise you are just a wastage. Nature creates you with a possibility of being a soul, and then, with no effort, you drop dead. Then nature has failed within you. You will not survive; not everyone is going to survive.
It seems absolutely contradictory to Hindu, Jain and Buddhist teachings. Christians, Mohammedans - really, all religions - teach that you have a soul, and Gurdjieff says "No!" And, really, he was one of the knowers of this age. But why this emphasis? He says that because of this teaching, that everyone has a soul. no one makes any effort. Everyone believes, "It is okay. The soul is eternally pure." Read the Gita: Krishna says that whatsoever you do, your soul remains untouched; it is pure.
This can become a very dangerous thing. Gurdjieff says that because of these teachings humanity has become irreligious. He says, "Now no more of this nonsense! Unless you attain, you have no soul." Gurdjieff creates a deep shock. He says, "What do you have so that the universe will need you forever? What do you have? Nothing! Just all your stupidities."
To think, to conceive, that all your stupidities are going to be eternal is a very dark prospect. You think all foolishnesses are going to be eternal because everyone is eternal, but Gurdjieff says, "No, the universe cannot tolerate you for so long unless you become something meaningful to the universe.
Unless you become a part of the destiny of the cosmos, you are not needed. Why should you be eternal and why should you demand? Just to continue repeating this nonsense?" Gurdjieff says, "Attain first; be a soul. You can be, but it is a crystallization. You have all the elements. Combine them, pass through an inner alchemy, and then a new thing will be born within you which will be a soul."
So he says, "Buddha has a soul, Jesus has a soul, and because they have souls they go on talking as if everyone has a soul. No! Do not be befooled by them!" Gurdjieff says, "Do not be befooled by them! They have a soul and they know that they are immortal, but you are not, so do not be deceived by them." And, really. his teaching can be helpful, but we can turn anything into a harmful thing - even Gurdjieff's teachings. Then we can say, "If it is so rare, then it is not for us. It is beyond us."
Nothing can be said to man which cannot be misused. The same mind will give new interpretations.
So when I said that the world is a cosmic organic unity, that everything is interdependent, I meant by this that you are part of a great Whole and that great Whole is part of you: you are not alone.
Through you the cosmos is progressing, evolving. You have a very deep mission, a great destiny.
To realize this you will have to transform your total outlook, and that transformation starts only when you begin to feel responsible. If you feel that you are responsible, you can change. So make this principle of interdependence a help, a step toward self-transformation. Do not make it a hindrance.
And it is right that man is approximately already made in his childhood. There are many things implied.
One psychologist says that you are born as a tabula rasa - as a blank paper. Your first five or seven years write down everything upon that paper and that patterns your life: you go on repeat ing it.
In the first place, no one is born as a tabula rasa because this childhood is not the beginning, this life is not the beginning. So every child is not just a child, but many old men are within him - many lives.
He has reached old age many times, and that memory is always preserved. The mind continues with it - so it is very complicated.
Psychologists will say that your parents, your education, your heredity, they determine everything.
But the East knows something more. Eastern psychology knows something more because Eastern psychology says that this life is just one link in a great chain. And now, those in the West who have really gone deep into the human mind - for example, C. G. Jung - are also feeling that this life is not the beginning. No child is born as a child; he has many, many memories within him.
Eastern psychology says that it is not the parents who decide your life. Really, you have chosen them. You have chosen particular parents; you are responsible. If I am born to a particular mother and to a particular father, this is my choice. They will determine me because I have allowed them to determine me. I have chosen them because of so many actions in my past life. It is a chain.
So, ultimately, I remain responsible. If I choose a very violent father or if I choose a very wise man, whatsoever my choice is it is my choice. Then they determine me, but this determination by parents, education, etc., is not ultimate. Ultimately, you remain the master; you can throw it at any moment.
It is difficult, but it is not impossible.
It is very difficult because it is not just like throwing your clothes. It is like changing your skin. It is so deep-rooted in you, everything that has happened has gone so deep, that it has become your blood and bones: you are made of it. Now you cannot conceive of yourself apart from it. Your identity has become mixed with it. But, still, to throw it is not impossible. You can jump out of it!
Really, all yoga is concerned only with this: how you can get out of all the influences that have made you whatsoever you are; how to jump out of them, how to go beyond; how to go beyond your parents, how to go beyond your education, how to go beyond your heredity, how to go beyond your past lives. The whole science of yoga consists only of this: to help you go beyond. So we will take a few things concerning how this becomes possible.
Education, upbringing, gives you a particular identity, a particular image. You begin to feel, "I am this." Everyone has an image of himself: "I am this." A good man, a bad man, a religious man, an intelligent man or a stupid one, everyone has an image of himself which has been given by the society, by the parents, by education. How to throw this? Sannyas was a method to throw this.
So, you may not have observed the fact but Hindu society is divided into four classes - Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Sudra - but a sannyasin doesn't belong to any caste, any class. If a Brahmin becomes a sannyasin, he is simply a sannyasin. If a Kshatriya becomes a sannyasin, he is simply a sannyasin. A sannyasin is beyond caste and class. When you were not a sannyasin but a householder, you were a Brahmin or something else. When you take a jump into sannyas you are no more a Brahmin, and the whole thing that was associated with being a Brahmin is thrown away.
When you become a sannyasin, you pass through a death ritual. Originally, sannyas meant death, so initiation was given at shmashans - cemeteries, burning places. A whole process was followed.
Your head was shaved just like we shave the head of a dead man. You are dying to the society, to whatsoever you have belonged to. Then your name was changed because the name was part of your identity. And now your teacher will be your father, not your father; now you do not have any father or mother. Now you have a new start. You will have no home, you will have no caste, you will have no mother, no father, no wife, no husband, no relationship in the world. With a new name, there is a break, a gap. The past has dropped. Now you start from ABC. There were enemies, but now you cannot behave with them as you behaved before - that man has died. There were friends, but you cannot behave with them in the old way - that man has died.
There is a story. A Buddhist monk was passing through a village. He belonged to that village before he took sannyas, and a beautiful girl loved him. She recognized the face. Of course, it had changed totally. It was difficult to recognize, and he was moving with so many bhikkhus, so many Buddhist monks. And they were all alike - the same clothes, shaven heads with no identities. But she recognized him, so she followed.
And then she said to the bhikkhu, "You cannot deceive me. I recognize you; you are the same man."
The monk said, "Only the face is the same. The same man is no more: he has died."
The girl said, "But you loved me."
The monk replied, "I again say to you: that man is dead. If ever I meet him, I will relate your story. I will ten him that this girl still loves you. But I do not think that that meeting is possible again."
This breaking away and the living of a new identity is what is basically meant by renunciation.
Buddha comes back to his home. Buddha's father is angry, but Buddha says, "Please, listen to me.
I am not the same Siddharth who left the house."
Of course, the father becomes more angry. He says, "You are teaching me? I am your father. I have given you birth. I know you very well!"
Buddha again says, "You do not even know yourself. How can you know me?"
This works as a fuel, and the father becomes even more angry. He begins to scream, "What are you? How are you behaving with me? My own son, my own blood and bones! What are you saying to me?"
And Gautam Buddha says, "Calm down, please, because that man who left your home, who lived with you, is already dead."
This method of sannyas was used as a jump from the "skin" which society had imposed on you.
Then there were many methods to unlearn. I have been saying again and again that meditation is a deep unlearning. So whatsoever you have learned, unlearn it, throw it out! Be a clean sheet again!
Whatsoever society has written, wash it out. It can be done. Meditation is the method - you can unlearn.
Education is the method to learn something; meditation is the method to unlearn. When you have unlearned your personality, when you have renounced the old identity, then only is something new possible. Otherwise you will move in a circle, and the circle is very strong. It is difficult to take the jump, but it is not impossible. And it is difficult only because you have not decided. If you have decided, then nothing is impossible. With the very decision, change starts.
It is related of Mahavir that he decided to leave his home. But his mother was alive, so she said, "Do not go, do not renounce, unless I die. Do not ask again about renouncing the world. You talk of love and you talk of non-violence, but if you renounce the world it will be killing me, murdering me. So do not talk about it!" But even the mother was surprised, because then Mahavir never talked about it.
The whole family was surprised. What type of renunciation, what type of sannyas, was this? Only once Mahavir talked of it; then the mother became angry, and he stopped.
For two years he would not talk about it. Then his mother died. He was returning home one day, so he asked his older brother, "Now my mother is dead, so allow me to renounce the world."
The brother became angry. He said, "What nonsense are you talking? We are suffering a great loss.
Mother has died and you are talking about renouncing now? Do not talk about it at all!" So Mahavir remained silent again for two years.
The whole family was again shocked. What type of renunciation was this? But then they began to feel that he was in the house, but he was not. He was absolutely absent. No one felt him as being present. He became just a shadow. Months would pass, and then suddenly someone would say, "Where is Mahavir?" He was in the house. He became so absent that the whole family gathered one day and they said, "If you are doing this, then it now becomes our duty to allow you to renounce.
You can go, because, really, you have already gone."
Mahavir left the house that very day. Someone asked him, "Why didn't you escape? Why didn't you run away?"
He said, "There was no need. I took the inner jump. The day I decided, I became a sannyasin. Only my shadow was there because my mother would have become disturbed. There was no need to leave. The shadow was there; 'I' was not there. The very day I decided, the thing had happened.
These four years were just nothing for me. I was a shadow. I could have remained in that house forever."
The day one really decides to take the jump, the jump has already taken place, because the decision is the jump. Even to become aware that "I am in a deep imprisonment", to be aware of this, is to have moved out of it. Now, sooner or later, this imprisonment cannot be a prison for you.
But Western psychology is creating a very harmful attitude. They say that you are already complete, that when you are seven your destiny is fixed and now nothing can be done. If this becomes your thought, then nothing can be done - not because you are already complete, but because of this idea. If you say, "Nothing can be done because now I am already complete. Everything has been put in my mind, so what can I do? Now I have to be in this imprisonment. This is my life"; if one thinks in this way, this very thinking will become the barrier. Otherwise there is no barrier.
So Western psychology has held the Western mind to be very irresponsible. The Western revolts of the youth and other rebellions, other destructive movements, they are really created by the Western psychology of the last fifty years. Freud is more responsible for this than Marx because he has said, "You are already complete by seven years of age. Your parents are responsible: you are not responsible. So whatsoever you are doing - if you are a criminal, if you are a murderer - you cannot do anything; you have to be this way. Now your dead parents cannot be changed, and those dead parents are also not responsible: it is all because of their parents."
So, ultimately, Freud comes to the same conclusion as Christianity reached before - that Adam committed the sin and we are not responsible. He is responsible - Adam, the first father. Because of him everything is decided. Now we are born in sin and we will have to die in sin. If you move with Freud you will reach to the same conclusion. If parents are responsible, then ultimately Adam and Eve are responsible.
But how to change Adam and Eve now? This is impossible. So whatsoever is, IS - continues.
This is not acceptance: this is defeatism. And human dignity is lost! If you cannot do anything, if you cannot transform yourself, you lose all human dignity. You have become just an automaton, a mechanical thing; you will run the course. Because your parents have given you a winding, you will run the course and then you will die. And in the meantime, if you have the opportunity you will give a winding to other fellows, and then you will continue.
This is most degrading. Man can change himself. That possibility is always with you. And this concept, this very concept that "I can change myself", starts the change. The revolution has begun.
And, lastly, it has been asked, "Is it not necessary that the religious man should seek to bring about a radical change in the very pattern of society?"
The religious man is himself the radical change in the pattern of society - the religious man! He will not try to bring about any radical change in the society - he is the radical change!