Chapter 2: The Unknown Is Calling
The first question:
Every time I come here, I again return without taking sannyas. The desire to take sannyas arises in me many times, but I am unable to gather the courage to do so. I get scared, thinking, “Will I be able to walk joyfully upon this path or will I have to leave the path halfway and go back?” But when I put aside the idea of taking sannyas it feels meaningless to be in the world I have been moving in so far.
What should I do? Please show me the path.
The new always seems to be frightening. The familiar, even if it may be painful, is still the familiar, you are not afraid of it. You feel safe with the known even though it may not be blissful. You are well acquainted with it. To feel fear before moving into the unknown, into the unfamiliar, is quite natural. So don’t make a problem out of fear.
Whenever someone steps forward on a new path he hesitates, but only through stepping forward on the new is there growth in life. One who keeps revolving in the old patterns becomes like a bullock in a grain mill.
It is always worth considering: Am I blissful the way I am living? If you are not, then you must take risks - new paths, new lifestyles, a new search will have to be undertaken. This much is clear: you have nothing to lose. You have not found bliss through your old lifestyle because if you had there would be no need for the new. The old has become meaningless, this much is certain. The new may turn out to be meaningful or it may also turn out to be meaningless, but at least the new has the possibility of being meaningful. You have lived this old way and you have understood it and lived it without receiving anything. The old has been through the press - it is as if you have been trying to extract oil from sand. How long will you rack your brains trying to extract oil from sand?
I don't say that the new path will certainly give you bliss because the experiencing of bliss is less dependent on the path and more on the one who is traveling on it. Hence the real change is not contained in the path, the real change is in the traveler. But to change paths is a beginning. Right now you are only the outside, so the transformation will have to begin from the outside, but if you gather courage to change the outside it will strengthen your courage to change inside. And if a few drops of bliss start showering on you, then your search for the new will take off with joy and enthusiasm.
One thing is certain, you have nothing to lose, so don’t worry unnecessarily. What have you achieved by holding on to the old? You will lose nothing. So what is the fear if there is nothing to lose? Either you will get something.. The worst thing that can happen is that you will also get nothing from the new. Then you will have to search again.