Chapter 15: Inquire of the Holy Ones
It would not be so helpful if clothes were just clothes, but much more is associated with them. When you were born you were naked, and now whenever you stand naked, you return to your childhood. Clothes were imposed on you from the day you became aware of your body. From that day, you felt that there was something sinful about the body, that some parts of the body should be hidden, clothed; that there was something bad about the body. A small child is scolded by his parents if he ventures outside naked, so clothes have become associated with a condemnation towards the body: there is something bad about the body, particularly about the genitals, so they should be hidden.
As well as all this, your body has become divided into two parts. The lower part of your body is considered to be bad, and the upper part, good. This division of the body has also divided your consciousness into two parts. So generally people only identify themselves with the head, and treat the rest of the body as if it does not belong to them! At the most, they will condescend to include the top part, but the lower part they will treat as some kind of a necessary evil.
Having this attitude breaks your life energy into pieces. In a child, this energy is integrated, it forms a circle. But this circle is not present in you. So the moment you summon enough courage to shed your clothes, from that moment onwards, all the bad feelings you may have been harboring regarding your body - that is, from the first day you were forcibly made to clothe yourself to the present day - all this condemnation about your body falls away.
Because you are always wearing so many clothes it never even occurs to you that slowly slowly, you have even forgotten what your body is like without them. When we are clothed, we are in a kind of prison, and the minute we remove our clothes we become free. We become free like the birds and the animals. And that freedom can be put to use.
So being naked is of use, but there are some restraints regarding this camp. And the restraints are such that if nudity had been allowed, then it would not have been possible to have had the camp. For the camp to happen, nudity had to be done away with. And I thought it right to choose the lesser evil.
Only two days before the camp began, the government of Rajasthan informed us that it could not lease us any of its grounds, buildings or institutions. And it was difficult to make some kind of alternative arrangement in just two days. Seekers from all over the world had already arrived. Seekers from within India were on their way, but those from outside India had already arrived. So there was no other way. And the government has at least this much right: that it can refuse permission to use its premises to ensure that there is no nudity on its grounds. And there is nothing wrong in its exercising this right. After all, the property belongs to them; we don’t own any property here. So these arrangements have been made with this hotel, the Palace Hotel, and its managers understandably have their limitations. They too don’t have the courage to allow people to go naked, because for them it means that their business will be at stake.