Chapter 15: Inquire of the Holy Ones
So these are the reasons why banning nudity has been necessary during the morning meditation. But don’t take this to mean that we have altered our meditation technique in any way. And also don’t take this to mean that we have bowed to government pressure in any way. It is nothing of the sort. There is no question of bowing down, nor is there any question of changing the technique. In fact, in a way the government has provided us with a reason - and this will only benefit us - that we should soon be able to have some place of our own where nobody will be able to impose any restrictions on us.
The government has its own restraints: it has to face its own pressures: from the society, from the public, from their conditionings. If we had a private place of our own, then nobody could pressurize us. That would be our own private setup, and within our own compound anyone could be naked if he wished - it would not be a public place. But this hotel is a public place; other people can also come here, and where other people are also allowed to come, then you have to think about them too.
Any process which helps to bring about a transformation in one’s life generally goes against the crowd. It is not simply a question of nudity. Nudity is only symbolic. All that we are doing will certainly go against the ideas of the crowd, because the mob lives like a blind man, without any thought or evaluation. The mob follows the path of tradition very strictly. Whatever tradition says is correct, it just follows that - no matter how much suffering it may have to go through because of doing so. It never even occurs to the crowd that its concepts could be causing its sufferings. But those people who want to bring about a revolution in their lives will naturally have to rise above the concepts of the crowd.
This is the actual meaning of sannyas. Leaving society is not the meaning of sannyas, because it is not possible to leave society. Sannyas means to rise above the concepts of the crowd. If whatever the society thinks to be correct is also proved by your own experience, only then agree with it. Otherwise, look for something else.
Even so, an intelligent person should always remember that although he himself can drop the concepts and ideas of those among whom he lives, it is not right to demolish them. One can break them for oneself, one can be free of them - that is one’s personal freedom - but I will not ask you to go and stand naked on the road, because the road does not belong to you. It is not right to do anything which hurts and causes trouble to those who live around there. But at the same time I also want to say to those people, and make it very clear to them, that they too have no right to interfere and create any problems if someone wants to be naked in a lonely, desolate place within his own setup. It is necessary that the individual’s freedom is respected.