Chapter 19: The Future Belongs to the Creative Man
I am a two-year-old child in sannyas at the age of sixty!
I consider myself blessed to have come into the fold of your grace.
Was this destined to be so? Then why was it so late in life? Can the child in me become mature in what remains of my life? How? Kindly help.
The question you have asked has many implications. It is many questions in one.
First, you say that at the age of sixty you are a two-year-old child as far as sannyas is concerned. This reminds me of an ancient tradition in the East. We used to count life from the day a man was initiated into sannyas, not from the day he was born. Because birth does not necessarily turn into life, more often it only turns into vegetation.
There are cabbages and there are cauliflowers, but the difference is not much. The experts say that cauliflowers are cabbages with university degrees. But most people simply vegetate; they do not live, they do not come into contact with the living waters of life. They breathe, they grow old, but they never grow up. Between their birth and their death is a horizontal line. There are no peaks of delight, no sunlit peaks of ecstasy. There are no depths of love, of peace, of silence. There is just a horizontal, flat routine from the cradle to the grave; nothing happens. They come and they go.
It is said that most people realize that they were alive only when they die - because life was so flat, so colorless. It was not a dance, it was not beauty, it was not a blessing; there was no gratitude in the heart: “Existence has chosen me, and not anybody else in my place, that without me existence will be a little less. There is nobody else who can replace me; I am occupying a unique position and I never asked for it, I never deserved it. It is a sheer gift out of the abundance of existence.”
It happened that Gautam Buddha was having a meeting with one of the most intelligent emperors of those days. Just in the middle of their dialogue an old sannyasin - must have been seventy-five years old - came to touch the feet of Buddha. He asked the emperor to forgive him because he was interfering in their conversation, but it was out of necessity. No Buddhist monk can travel in the night; they can move between sunrise and sunset, but at night they have to remain in one place.
“I have been ordered to go to the nearest village, and I cannot go without touching the feet of my master. The sun is going down every moment, and your dialogue seems to go on and on - so please just forgive me.”
Gautam Buddha asked the sannyasin, “How old are you?”
The emperor was very much puzzled; what was the need? - just bless him and let him go.
And the old sannyasin said, “Forgive me, I have come very late. My age is only four years.”