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Chapter 4: You Are the Question

Sannyas is a risk! The people who cannot take any risk cannot be sannyasins. Hence the people who are Hindu sannyasins are not real sannyasins; they are still clinging to the safety of the Hindu tradition. The Vedas and the Bhagavadgita and the Ramayana - the whole past gives them the feeling that they are on the right track: “How can so many people be wrong?” They are following like sheep - a large crowd of sheep, ancient, very ancient, prehistoric! The more ancient a tradition is, the safer it looks.

The person who cannot risk, deals with life in a businesslike way - tries to cheat life, exploit life. He tries to give less and get more, because that is the way of profit.

The sannyasin does not care at all about getting anything back from life; he simply gives in sheer trust, and he receives a millionfold. But that’s another matter; that is not his consideration at all. The man who is trying to exploit life will not get much out of it, and whatsoever he does get will remain inessential. He will remain a beggar and he will die a beggar. He will never know what it means to be an emperor.

The sannyasin knows what it means to be an emperor, because he simply gives; he enjoys giving, he loves sharing. And the miracle of life is: the more you give the more you have. When you give totally, the whole sky descends on you, the whole beyond becomes your within.

Sannyas is hope - hope against all hope. People have lost all hope; they are living hopelessly. They are living simply because they are cowards and cannot commit suicide.

The existentialist philosophers are right when they say that the most important philosophical problem is suicide: to live or not to live, to be or not to be. If this is life that ordinary people are living, then it does not seem to be worth living at all. What is the point of getting up every morning and going through the same empty gestures you have gone through thousands of times? The same breakfast, the same nagging wife, the same ugly husband; the same suspicions, the same possessiveness, the same jealousy, the same anger, the same ambition; rushing to the office, the same boss - everything is the same, a constant repetition.

And again coming back home and sitting in front of that idiot box called the television, and looking at the same story, the same triangles - two women and one man or two men and one woman - the same story, the same triangle! And you already know the conclusion; in fact, you can write the whole story yourself. But what else to do? Playing cards, listening to the radio, reading the newspaper - it is almost the same. And then to bed again, and the same nightmares.. Nothing seems to be of any significance, and you have done it all, and many times.

The existentialists are raising a significant question: Why go on living? The only reason seems to be that people are afraid of dying, they are cowardly. They are living hopelessly because at least they have not chosen to live. Death has to be chosen, and they cannot take any decision on their own.

Sannyas is choosing your life and also choosing your death. Sannyas means becoming decisive, conscious, deliberate.

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