Chapter 4: You Are Ancient Pilgrims
Your so-called saints have created a very insane humanity. They have turned you insane and they have turned themselves insane. And because they have to be unnatural they are sitting on volcanoes. They have repressed all that is natural - and nature wants to assert itself. They are in a constant civil war; they are fighting with themselves. And whatsoever they are fighting with is becoming stronger every day, because the more you fight with something the more you have to pay attention to it. Their minds become focused. If they repress sex, twenty-four hours of their day there is an undercurrent of sexuality. If they fast, they think only of food and nothing else.
These insane people, pathological people, have been very dominant in the past. It is because of these people that the earth has become a hell; they have transformed the whole of humanity into an ugly mess.
I am not a saint. I am simply a man just like you, with only one small difference - and that difference does not make me superior to you, remember it. It does not make you inferior to me, remember it. Never for a single moment forget that you may be asleep and I may be awake, but one day I was asleep just like you and one day you can be awake just like me. Sleep and waking are as much your potential as they are my potential. Sleep and waking are two sides of the same coin, and how can one side be superior to the other side? Both sides are of the same coin. You are asleep, I am awake, but this does not make me superior in any way.
In fact, Buddha has said that the day he became a buddha, the day he became enlightened, the whole universe became enlightened with him. What does he mean? He means the day he became enlightened he became aware that everybody can become enlightened. This is nothing special; it is an ordinary quality of every being. You may not use it - that is your choice; you may not actualize your potential - that is your decision and you are free to decide that way. You may choose to remain asleep, but you are not committing any sin. You are not doomed just because you are asleep. Any moment you can decide to wake up.
It is your freedom to be a buddha or not to be a buddha - and if you like sleep and the dreams it’s perfectly okay with me. I respect your freedom.
You can love me. You cannot love your saints; they are too far away. I am standing just by your side. I am not sitting on a golden throne somewhere high in the heavens; I am walking on the earth with you, I am as earthly as you are. Just a little difference - I say difference, not superiority - and the difference is that I am no longer asleep, no longer dreaming.
And you can come out of your dreams this very moment, because dreams cannot hold you; they cannot keep you imprisoned in themselves. You can burst forth from them. You are an imprisoned splendor, but you are imprisoned through your own choice. You have gone into the prison through your own choice - this is your decision.
There is a beautiful story of a Zen monk who used to steal small things. He was a great enlightened master and he used to steal small things - somebody’s cigarette case or somebody’s shoes - and then he would be caught and he would be sent to prison. His disciples were very puzzled; he had many disciples, and they asked him again and again, “Why do you do such things? And we are here, ready - how many cigarette boxes do you want, how many shoes do you want? We can bring as many as you want. Why do you steal?”