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Chapter 12: Becoming a Witness

What the old man said was fine, but the amazing thing was that my friend became very impressed by him. He exclaimed, “Three times?”

I told my friend, “Do you understand what taking a vow three times means?” Then I asked the old man, “Why didn’t you take it a fourth time? Did your vow succeed the third time?”

He said, “No, the third time I lost my nerve.” He was an honest man indeed. Taking the vow three times obviously means he broke it each time. And breaking the vow each time, the disappointment and frustration was bound to become profound. Breaking the vow three times, the loss of his self-confidence was sure to intensify. There was no way he could have shown any more courage to take the vow a fourth time.

So I told the man, “The monk who made you take the vow was, in fact, your enemy. You took him for a friend. He broke your will completely. Now even at the age of seventy you have no courage left to take a vow of celibacy.” What’s the reason? The leaves. You pluck one leaf, and three more come out. Can there be any vows of celibacy?

There are no vows of celibacy. One only needs to have an understanding of what sexual desire is. You need to become aware of sex. The fruit of celibacy comes from the awareness of sex. When a person becomes aware of his sexual desire, probes into it, understands it, lives it, recognizes it, he suddenly realizes the game in which he is engaged.

This game is no different from the game of cards I mentioned earlier. This whole game of sex is nothing but laying down playing cards. When this awareness reaches the depths of his being like an arrow, all of a sudden a man finds himself rising to celibacy. brahmacharya, celibacy, is not some kind of a vow.

Remember, religion has nothing to do with taking vows. People who take vows are never religious; they can never be. A religious man is one in whose life vows blossom like fruits - as a consequence. The more he goes on watching life, the more he sees certain things constantly changing.

For example, a man is holding colored stones. You may cry in vain and tell him to throw the stones away, but he won’t listen. Although they are colored stones, he sees them as colored diamonds. Looking at their shine and luster, he thinks they are diamonds. Obviously, how can he let them go? The man says, “We consider those people who gave them up, as gods. We are ordinary people, we can’t cast them away.”