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Chapter 15: The Death of the Old, the Birth of the New

The pope is addressed as Your Holiness, the shankaracharya is addressed as Your Divinity, the founder of the Hare Krishna Movement was addressed as His Divine Grace. You have to remember that I address you as Your Holy Ordinariness! There is nothing more beautiful than just being ordinary. The moment you are ready to be ordinary you become divine; that’s the only way to become divine.

The divine is very ordinary. If it were not ordinary it would not become the rocks, it would not become the trees, it would not become the animals, it would not become human beings. It would not descend to such lower states. But it is so ordinary, and it is so happy to be a fish or even to be a cockroach, to be a beetle.

I have heard:

George Harrison was walking in the garden and he came across a beetle and he said, “Hey, beetle, do you know? You must be happy that we have called our group The Beatles - we have called our group by your name.”

The beetle looked at Harrison and said, “Do you call your group Eric? My name is Eric. I am no ordinary beetle.”

Nobody is ordinary except a very few people - a Buddha, a Jesus, a Zarathustra. These people are ordinary people; they have the courage to be ordinary. In that very courage they reach the ultimate depth of being and existence.

My sannyasins have to gather that courage to be nobodies; that’s what I mean by being ordinary. Our whole effort here is to transform the mundane into the sacred. We don’t want to create a rift between the mundane and the sacred; that has been the way for centuries - the rift. That rift has created a schizophrenic humanity.

People are constantly in a tense state of affairs. The mundane pulls them to one side and the sacred to the very opposite. If they go with the mundane they feel guilty. If you enjoy eating and drinking and making merry then you feel guilty - you are doing something wrong. If you stop eating, drinking, making merry, and you become an ascetic, you start feeling very anxious, very troubled, because you are going against nature. You start feeling, “What am I doing to myself? Is it right?” And then you have to constantly repress. You have to avoid the world, you have to escape to a monastery or to the Himalayas. And each small thing creates a problem for you. Rather than solving your problems you have created a thousand and one problems.

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