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Chapter 21: What Am I Doing Here?

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 need 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. Christians have destroyed its beauty, they have made it ugly; otherwise its original root 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.

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