Chapter 11: The Stage of the Sage
And he said that a sannyasin has nothing to do with age, has nothing to do with how old you are. Oldness has nothing to do with sannyas, it is not a chronological thing. If sannyas is not concerned with time how can it be concerned with age? Sannyas is a movement into the timeless. So anybody who is ready.. Sometimes a child will enter into sannyas. Shankara entered into sannyas when he was only nine years of age. If he had waited for the old Hindu concept he would have never become a sannyasin because by the age of thirty-three he was dead. Humanity would have missed something.
Buddha said that sannyas can be entered whenever somebody is ready. And there are different qualities of people, different intensities, different passions. At the age of nine somebody is more alert than most people ever are, even at the age of ninety. So you cannot decide outright by the age, you have to look into the inner intensity of the person. And it is your life. If you want to risk it, it is your freedom. You have to be allowed. Buddha allowed young people.
These two systems were the foundations of the Hindu society, and both were destroyed. And people were against him, naturally. He was always in danger. But he created a great revolution in human consciousness.
Buddha was passing through a village of brahmins. They gathered together and they insulted him very much. He listened silently. They pushed and pushed the buttons but nothing happened. So they became a little worried embarrassed - when you insult somebody and he stands there unperturbed, you become embarrassed. He seems to be beyond you. In fact, you cannot reach him because he is at such a height.
They asked, “Are you listening? Why are you standing silently? We are insulting and condemning you. Have you gone dumb? Have you gone deaf? Can’t you speak? Can’t you hear what we are saying?” Buddha said, “I can feel, I can see your worries, your embarrassment, but I am sorry. You should have come ten years before if you wanted me to react. Now it is too late. Now these buttons don’t work. I have gone beyond.”
It is as if a child is playing with a toy and you snatch the toy away and he cries and weeps. One day he will not be a child and then if you snatch his toy away he will not cry and weep. In fact, he will give it to you, he will present it to you and he will say, “You can take it, you can have it. I am finished with it.”
That’s what Buddha said. He said, “It is too late. I am finished with it. I have gone beyond.”
This is knowing, real knowing. Knowing is a qualitative change in your being. It is a transformation of your being, it is a metanoia: you move higher, the altitude changes. With knowledge, the so-called knowledge, you remain the same except that you go on holding more. You know more but you remain the same.