Chapter 21: Seriousness Is a Sickness
Hence many things have not been said and many disciplines have been created which ultimately turn into fetters. And all these people were trying to help you to attain ultimate freedom. But if you want freedom, then you have to start with freedom. If you start with bondage, you cannot end with freedom. Freedom has to be the first if you want freedom to be the last, because it is a growth. They fettered their people so tightly. In Buddhism there are thirty-three thousand rules of discipline. Now, you have put almost the whole Himalayas on the chests of your sannyasins. They are small things.
A sannyasin is going to preach in faraway places where Buddha cannot go, because he is too old. Before he leaves, Buddha says, “Remember a few things. Don’t talk to a woman.”
The young sannyasin must have been a man of tremendous courage. He said, “Generally, you are right. There is no need for me to talk to any woman. But there is a possibility.at least one percent you should keep open. Ninety-nine percent of the time I will not talk, but there can be a situation in which talking becomes absolutely necessary. If I am standing on a crossroad and I don’t know where to go, where the village is, and a woman comes by, should I ask her or not? Or should I remain stuck on the crossroad? Or a woman falls into a ditch and I am passing by, should I ask her if I can help?”
Buddha was silent. Then he said, “Okay, for one percent you are allowed. Remember, that is only in emergency situations. But never touch a woman.” The man was again raising the same question. “There can be a situation when you have to touch a woman. A woman falls on the road, maybe sunstroke, maybe epilepsy, maybe some kind of coma.Do you want me not to touch her? There are emergency situations when it will be very uncompassionate not to touch the woman. And I think compassion is the foundation of your philosophy.”
Very reluctantly Buddha said, “Okay, in emergency situations you can touch a woman, but remember one thing, whenever you are close to a woman, speaking to her or touching her, be very alert. Don’t get back to your old habits, which are tremendously powerful, because they belong to your whole past of millions of years.”
But that one percent emergency becomes the loophole. Who is going to decide what is emergency and what is not? So all the rules, thirty-three thousand in all, have their loopholes. You cannot have a foolproof system. Human beings are human beings.
My approach is totally different. My approach is to bring men and women so close together that there is no need to keep arbitrary disciplines. Just their very closeness, slowly, slowly, will make them drop their differences. Their closeness and understanding about each other will help them go beyond the biological heritage.
The farther away you put them, the stronger is the magnetic force. One is more attracted towards the unknown, the unachievable. If the woman is sitting far away, first she looks immensely beautiful, just a goddess who has descended to the earth, because you cannot smell her perspiration, nor do you know that her teeth are false; you know nothing. From far away all grass looks greener.