Beloved Osho, why is it so difficult for me to take Sannyas?
Ever since I saw you in an interview on TV one year ago, I've never been so nervous before in my whole life. Sometimes I wish I'd never heard of you, and, on the other hand, I'm happy that there is someone like you to show me the way. But to take sannyas... I feel such an egoist - jealous, lazy - that maybe I shall never be a good sannyasin. Can you please give me a hint to find a way out of this dilemma?
Sannyas is always difficult. But only the first step, because it is a transformation from one style of life to a totally different style of life. Mind always finds it difficult to adjust to new ways of life. The old way you seem to be well-acquainted with; you can walk on it with closed eyes, almost asleep, like a robot. But the new way will need alertness, awareness; the new way will need learning life from scratch.
Sannyas is simply an initiation into new spaces within you, a change from the head to the heart, from logic to love, from your ordinary conditioning, to an unconditioned mind, to a freedom which you are not even aware that you are capable of.
Sannyas is something like a bird which has remained in a cage - the cage is golden, very artistic, very valuable, but to the bird it is nothing other than an imprisonment. But the bird has lived long in the cage, although it is taking away its freedom, its whole sky, its flights across the sun, its joy; it has almost destroyed the bird's capacity to be on the wing. Perhaps the bird has already forgotten that it has wings. But the cage has security, safety from the unknown. The bird needs not to be worried for the coming days - it need not worry about its food.
Even if you open the door of the cage, the bird will hesitate to get out of it. So much is involved - the security, the safety. And who knows about this vast sky, and where he will land? And he has forgotten completely that he has wings. You know something only if you use it. If a bird has never used its wings, how can it remember them?
The English word sin is very beautiful. It means "forgetfulness." There is only one sin, and that is forgetfulness.
The doors are open, the sky is inviting, the other birds are flying, it is only a question of a little courage. That's why I say that only the first step is difficult. If the bird can gather courage and take a jump into the air, the wings that he has no awareness of, suddenly open.
He's on the wing.
The whole sky is his.
Now the faraway stars can be his pilgrimage.
Sannyas is initiation into freedom, making you aware about your wings, making you also aware that the whole sky, with all its stars is yours. You need not worry about security and safety; existence is taking care of so many birds, so many trees, so many stars - it can take care of you too.
Sannyas is trust in existence. And the moment you trust, there is no fear, there is no worry, and there is no difficulty. Life becomes the most enjoyable, relaxed phenomenon.
You are asking, "Why is it so difficult for me to take sannyas?" My suggestion is that you cannot deliberately take sannyas; it is something like love that happens, it is something like sleep that comes. You cannot make any effort for the sleep to come, nor can you make any effort for love to happen - these are not part of the world of doings. Your first difficulty is that you are thinking of taking sannyas. Drop that idea, and sannyas will take you. Suddenly you will realize, "My God, I am a sannyasin."
It simply comes - and it comes so silently, so gracefully. But the idea of taking sannyas is basically wrong; hence it becomes difficult. Even if you take it, it will be false, it won't be the true sannyas; you will be simply dreaming that you have taken sannyas. The authentic sannyas simply comes one moment and possesses you - it springs up from your very heart, and there is no way to avoid it. It is your very heartbeat.
So the first thing you have to drop is the idea of taking. Just be here, enjoy for a few days. Just watch other birds opening their wings in the sky. Participate in their songs, in their dances, without bothering about sannyas. And if you start feeling that it is already happening, in a moment when you are lost in singing and dancing, when you are not there... it occupies your innermost being.
It is not something that you have to do, it is something that simply grows in you. It is not a commodity that you have to purchase, it is a quality, a grace, a search which starts growing inside you - just like a seed disappears into the soil and in its place a plant starts growing. That plant was asleep in the seed; now it has awakened.
Sannyas is asleep in you, just asleep. So dance madly, sing madly, meditate, enjoy all these people, this crazy communion, and the moment will come on its own. When you are ripe you will find that there is nothing more easy than sannyas.
You are saying, "Ever since I saw you in an interview on TV one year ago, I've never been so nervous before in my whole life." It is a good sign. I touched your heart. Your nervousness, that you have never felt before, is simply an indication that something new has started happening in you. You don't know what it is, you don't know where it is going to lead you; hence the nervousness.
People always feel good walking on the superhighway where the whole crowd of millions of people are walking. They may be going nowhere, but just because so many people are going, you feel a certain confidence that so many people cannot be wrong. But my whole teaching is that unless you start moving alone, dropping the crowd... because the crowd has never reached anywhere, and one has never heard of a crowd becoming enlightened. A crowd always remains a crowd - blind, deaf, without direction. It just goes on because it always finds somebody ahead of it is continuing on.
One scientist was trying to experiment in South Africa on a very rare species of insect which always follows the leader; they always move in a long line. If you pull one out of the line it becomes nervous, it starts feeling that it has lost its moorings, its roots. Put back in the line it is perfectly at ease. Somebody is ahead, somebody is behind, they must be going somewhere, and so many cannot be wrong.
The scientist tried one experiment and captured almost a dozen insects of that species. He put them into a big plate, a round plate, and they started moving round, and round, and round. Somebody was always ahead, somebody was always behind, and out of their conditioning of centuries, unless the leader stops.... And there was no leader because it was a circle. They are very obedient people - unless the leader stops, nobody is going to stop. They went on and on for sixty hours, until they all fell dead.
Where is the crowd going?... but it is cozy to be part of it. People are very nervous in being alone, and sannyas is the art of being aloneness. Unless you learn to be alone, you will never be an individual in your own right; and unless you learn to be alone you will never be able to enter within yourself, because the crowd cannot go there. Even your most intimate friend, your lover, your beloved, cannot go with you inside you; there you have to go alone. That path is absolutely private. That is your privilege, nobody can interfere there, and that is where your source of life is. You can call it life, you can call it God, you can call it truth - names don't matter.
You became nervous - it is a good sign. From that very moment I have been haunting you, and unless sannyas happens I am going to haunt you your whole life. You can go anywhere, you can escape to the moon, but it won't help.
You say, "Sometimes I wish I'd never heard of you." Nobody desires disasters, but they happen. And it has happened already; now there is no point in crying for the spilled milk. "And, on the other hand, I'm happy that there is someone like you to show me the way." You will remain in a dilemma: half of you is already ready to take the jump, and the other half is clinging to your past.
One thing has to be remembered, that the past is no more, and clinging to the past is clinging to the dead. It is very dangerous, because it hampers and hinders your life, in the present and for the future. One should always go on freeing himself of the dead past. That is one of the fundamentals of sannyas, to go on renewing yourself every moment, to die to the past and be born anew. That which is gone is gone - don't even look back. Looking back is not a good sign.
Small children never look back, they always look ahead. They don't have anything in the past to look back on - there is no past, they have only the future. Old men never look at the future, because in the future there is only death, and they want to avoid it, they don't want to talk about it. They always look back. They decorate their memories; they make them look very beautiful. All that they have is a collection of memories, and they go on improving on those memories, but when they were actually living them, they had not enjoyed them. But now the future is darkness; one needs some consolation. They can find consolation only in the past.
A person who lives in the present - neither bothering about the past, nor bothering about the future - is fresh, young; he is neither a child nor an old man. And one can remain young to the very last breath. The body may be old, but the consciousness remains fresh, just like a fresh breeze, cool, fragrant, in the early morning sun. The whole problem is that we are caught up with our past. It is holding us back, it does not allow us to go against it. And if you don't go against it, your whole life will be simply boredom, because you will be repeating and repeating the same past, the same routine.
The most important philosophical school of our age is existentialism, and they have brought a few new problems for the philosophers to think about. One of their problems is boredom. If you look into an existentialist treatise you will be surprised: God is not talked about at all; there is nobody concerned about the soul, about heaven and hell, and angels and the devil. The things that they are talking about are boredom, anguish, meaninglessness, society - strange subjects, but in fact far more significant than God, the devil, heaven and hell, because they were all fictions, and these are realities.
A man who lives according to the past remains in the grip of the past. He is bound to feel boredom, meaninglessness, and a kind of anguish, "What am I doing here? Why am I continuing to live? What is there in tomorrow - another repetition of today? And what was in today was a repetition of yesterday." So what is the point? Why go dragging yourself from the cradle to the grave, in the same routine?
It is perfectly good for buffaloes and donkeys because they don't think, they don't have the memory of the past, they don't have any idea of the future. So they are doing the same thing every day, the buffaloes go on chewing the same grass their whole life; they don't change even the grass - but they are not bored, because for boredom a certain consciousness is needed. This consciousness is aware that you have done it before, you are doing it again, and you will be doing it tomorrow also - because you don't move from the past, you don't let it die, you keep it alive.
This is the dilemma that everybody faces in life, and the only solution is to let the past die. There is a beautiful story in the life of Jesus. He comes to a lake; it is early morning, the sun has yet not risen, and one fisherman is just going to throw his net into the lake to catch fish. Jesus puts his hand on his shoulder and says: "How long are you going to do this thing, every day - morning, afternoon, evening - just catching fish? Do you think this is all life is meant for?"
The fisherman had never thought about it - a simple, poor fellow. He said: "I have never thought about it, but because you have raised the question, I can see the point, that life must be something more."
Jesus said, "If you come with me I will teach you how to catch men, rather than catching fish."
The man looked into Jesus' eyes... such depth, such sincerity, so much love that you cannot doubt this man, such a great silence surrounding him that you cannot say no to this man. The fisherman threw his net into the water and followed Jesus.
As they were getting out of the town a man came running and told the fisherman, "Where are you going with this stranger? Your father who was ill for many days has died. Come home!"
The fisherman asked Jesus, "Just give me three days so that I can do the last rituals which a son is expected to do when his father dies."
And this is the statement that I want you to remember: Jesus said to that fisherman, "Let the dead bury their dead, you come with me." What does he mean, "Let the dead bury their dead, you come with me.... The whole city is full of dead people; they will manage to dispose of your dead father. You are not an absolute necessity to them. You just come with me." People like Jesus have such a certain authority in their very presence - the fisherman followed him.
Every moment something is becoming dead. Don't be antique collectors; that which is dead, leave it. You go with the life, you flow with life, with your totality and intensity, and you will never face any dilemma, any problem.
Sannyas is such a simple happening, but it is a simple happening only to the intelligent, not to the retarded. It is not for idiots... at least, I have never seen any idiot even thinking about sannyas. The idiots belong to the world of the buffaloes. They are perfectly at ease, although their life has no meaning, no flowers, no fragrance. No song ever arises in their heart; they don't ever feel like dancing to abandon. Their life is very lukewarm. It never gets to such an intensity where one becomes almost a flame - a torch burning from both ends simultaneously. And only these few people have known the truth of life and the beauty of life and the ecstasy of life.
You are saying, "But to take sannyas... I feel such an egoist - jealous, lazy - that maybe I shall never be a good sannyasin."
Who told you that you have to be a good sannyasin? Here are only sannyasins; nobody is good, nobody is bad. We don't believe in those categories. Have you ever seen a deer which is beautiful or a deer which is ugly? Those categories don't exist - all deers are simply so alive.... Here nobody takes note whether you are a good sannyasin or a bad sannyasin. You can be a good Christian or a bad Christian, a good Hindu or a bad Hindu. But sannyas is not a religion; it is a search.
What do you mean when you say, "I cannot be a good sannyasin?" To be a sannyasin is to be good! It is its intrinsic quality. A person who is so courageous to take the jump and come out of the old bondage into the open sky... this love for freedom and this risk for freedom is what goodness is.
And as far as laziness is concerned, sannyas is exactly the art of how to be spiritually lazy. I call myself the lazy man's guide to enlightenment - because I teach nothing but sitting silently, doing nothing, and the spring comes and the grass grows by itself. You don't have to pull the grass, it grows by itself; you have just to wait.
Laziness is not a bad quality. I have always been condemned by my elders, by my teachers, by my professors, by my colleagues, friends, "You are good for nothing." And I said, "That's actually how I want to be: good for nothing" - because in this world you cannot find a lazy man becoming Adolf Hitler or Ronald Reagan or Alexander the Great or Nadir Shah or Tamerlane or Genghis Khan. The world has suffered from active people, not from lazy people!
If two dozen people in the world would have been lazy, just two dozen more - people like Joseph Stalin and Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler... just two dozen people in the world, and the world would have been a paradise, because there would have been no wars. Lazy people cannot fight.
I am reminded of a small story. In India there is one state, Rajasthan, which is the most ancient place of warriors; it has created great warriors. In a small village there was a great warrior, and in India, to have your mustache pointing upwards is thought to be the sign of a great warrior. He was such an arrogant and stubborn fellow that he had told everybody in the town, "You can have your mustache, but they should be always pointing downwards. If I see anybody having his mustache pointing upwards, I will kill him!"
And he had killed at least two, three people. Then the whole village became afraid, "This is a strange man; we cannot even keep our mustaches upwards." But what to do? The man was dangerous and he was powerful.
And then came a new stranger to live in the village. He was a very lazy man. People told him, "You are a stranger, you don't know the law of this town. The great warrior... if he sees you, your head will be chopped off. You have to put your mustache downwards."
He said, "I am so lazy that I will prefer it if he chops off my head. But I am not going to make that much effort, because it will take hours... for my whole life my mustache has been trained to remain upwards; to change its direction is not easy. If he chops off my head, that finishes all my anxieties and problems."
People said, "Are you mad or something?"
As he was sitting outside his house, the warrior came and he said, "It seems you are a stranger in this town."
He said, "That's right."
The warrior said, "Stranger or no stranger, pull down your mustache!"
The lazy man said, "That is not possible. But if you are going to have a fight with me, then I will suggest one thing - because one never knows, I may be dead, you may be dead... because it is not going to be just that you chop off my head; I also have my sword, although I have never used it. But if that moment has come I will give it a try. There is no harm; anyway I am going to die.
"Before we enter into a fight to kill each other, my suggestion is that I should go inside my house and kill my wife and my children, because more or less I will be killed, and after me my children will be orphans, my wife will be a widow, and who will take care of them? And I suggest the same thing to you: that you go home, kill your wife, kill your children, so if you are killed there is no problem; there will be nobody left behind you in misery and pain."
The warrior said, "The idea is right." He went back and immediately cut off the heads of his wife and his six children and came back. Just on the way he met the man. He was coming without the sword and he had put his mustache downward. The warrior said, "What happened?"
He said, "I thought, I am a lazy man, it is more simple to put the mustache down than to kill the wife and the children. And I have never killed anybody. So I changed my mind." The warrior said, "You idiot! You changed your mind. And I have finished my family!"
He said, "That is not my responsibility. Just, I had to choose between two things, whichever was simpler. I thought, putting the mustache down is simpler."
Basically I am a lazy man. Lazy people have not done any harm in the world. It is the too active, the hyperactive, who have driven the whole world into misery, madness, slavery. So as far as laziness is concerned, it is very supportive to meditation because meditation needs a very quiet, calm, silent mind. A lazy man is so lazy that he cannot even be bothered to think. Thinking is also part of the active mind.
So, you don't be worried about your being a good sannyasin, because to be a sannyasin is to be good. You don't worry about being lazy - that is a great quality that has to be developed, and you already have it!
As far as your ego is concerned and your jealousy is concerned, my whole work here is to help you become so loving that the energy that becomes jealousy is transformed into love. And you know perfectly well that jealousy always follows your love. You are not jealous without love. A man who does not love is not jealous.
Jealousy is almost like a shadow of love. If we can grow our love, it takes over the whole energy of jealousy and transforms it into love. It is an alchemical change. And I can say it with guarantee, because it has happened in me, it has happened in my thousands of sannyasins who have forgotten what jealousy is. Their love is so much.
And as your silence, your peacefulness, your relaxedness, your love, deepen, your ego disappears. Ego is a false entity. One need not be worried about ego. Meditation is the medicine to kill the ego. So I accept all kinds of people: egoist, jealous, angry, violent, depressed, because I have seen that a simple meditation transforms all these baser metals into gold. This is the alchemy of sannyas.
So that should not be your worry. Once you are a sannyasin, that has to be my worry - your jealousy, your ego. I have to take care that they don't leave you too quickly, because then one starts feeling a gap. One starts feeling that something is missing. So my whole concern is that before you start missing your ego, I should provide at least a little glimpse to you of your real individuality, your self. Then you won't miss the ego. I have to provide you with a few new flowers in your loving energy, so that you won't miss your jealousy.
And these things are not alone - there are many, many things. Ego is surrounded with depression, with anxiety, with anguish, with all kinds of sick ideas. My problem is that your sick ideas should not disappear suddenly; otherwise you will start feeling yourself empty. They have been there for so long, and you have been feeling so full.
Before they disappear I have to give you new experiences, which are not difficult, which are lying dormant in you. Just a little push and your heart becomes so full of songs that, who cares about jealousy?
Your own life becomes so graceful that you forget all about somebody else being more beautiful, somebody else being more intelligent. All your competitiveness, all your jealousies simply disappear; otherwise, you go on accumulating more and more problems, and when death comes you are nothing but a huge collection of problems. You don't have anything to feel grateful for towards existence. You are angry because this existence has given you only problems and nothing else - and they go on growing.
It all depends on you, whether you want to grow roses or you want to let any weeds grow in your being. Ordinarily, people never bother: weeds go on growing, and they go on suffering.
A lady is sitting on the bus with her baby, when a drunk staggers over in front of the woman, looks down and says, "Lady, that is the ugliest baby I have ever seen!"
The woman starts crying and everyone on the bus kicks the drunk off. They are making such a big fuss that the bus driver pulls over and stops. He goes to the back of the bus and asks, "What is the matter?" The woman is inconsolable and can't even talk. She just keeps crying.
"Look, I don't know what he said to you", says the driver, "but to help calm you down I am going to go get you a cup of tea."
He gets off the bus, goes into a nearby hotel and comes back with the tea. "Calm down", says the driver. "Everything is okay now. See? I brought you this cup of tea and I also brought you a banana for your pet monkey!"
Things go on growing. Whatever you have is not going to remain the same, because everything in life is always growing. If you have thorns, then thorns will be growing; and if you have roses, then roses will be growing.
Sannyas is only the opening of a new door, dropping the past and starting your life from ABC. If your past life had jealousy, egoism and other problems, you can start a new life with roses. It is absolutely in your hands. You are what you have made yourself, and you will be what you are going to make yourself.