Chapter 10: I Love the Rascal Saints
Is there a possibility that a saint can be a rascal?
The question reminds me of a small story - it happened in a Christian monastery. Two monks were discussing in the garden of the monastery - every day they were given one hour to walk in the garden and meditate on God.. They were discussing, “Is it possible to smoke while walking in the garden?”
They were not in the church, they were not in the monastery; they were outside the church, outside the monastery. Both decided it would be better to ask the abbot of the monastery. Next day, the first was sitting under a tree very dejected, very sad, and the other came along, smoking a cigarette. The first could not believe it.
He said, “It seems you have not asked the abbot, because I asked, and he was very angry, and he refused me absolutely. How is it that you are smoking?”
The second monk said, “What did you ask the abbot?”
The sad man said, “I asked simply, ‘Is it possible to smoke while contemplating God?’ And he said, ‘No, absolutely no!”
The second man laughed, and he said, “That’s why! I asked him, ‘Can I contemplate God while smoking?’ And he said, ‘Yes, of course!”
It is absolutely impossible for a saint to be a rascal - but a rascal can be a saint.
It is absolutely impossible for a saint because the very definition of the saint does not include any possibility of being a rascal. The saint is thought to be a simple, truthful, sincere and very serious seeker of truth. He is one-dimensional.
To find the truth he abandons everything, he renounces the world; he renounces his own body, his own feelings, his own emotions. He becomes almost bodiless. He is in the world but he belongs to the world no more. He has turned his back upon the world.
This has been praised for centuries, but there is something which has been overlooked - that this type of person is flat. He has no colors, he is like a very ancient, antique, faded painting. He is just surviving, not living. He has chosen an anti-life attitude. He rejects life to gain spirituality.
Necessarily, rejecting life, he rejects everything that is implied in life - all its colors, all its songs, all its beauties, all its joys. It is a tremendous phenomenon. He becomes dry, juiceless - just a skeleton, waiting for death so that he can be released from the body completely.
Of course, he cannot be a rascal.