Chapter 10: Sannyas: Dying to the Past
To be a sannyasin is to take a decision to grow, to take a decision to move into the unknown, to take a decision to live in indecision. It is a jump into the unknown. It is not a religion and it is not bound to any religion; it is religiousness itself.
At first sight, sannyas appears to be something that limits one’s activities. Why does one have to change one’s clothes to red? Why should one have to change his appearance, since sannyas is something that is within rather than without?
Sannyas is not negative. The very word denotes negativity, but it is not a pure negativity. It means to leave something, but it is only leaving something because you have gained something else. Something has to be left. It is not that leaving anything is meaningful in itself, but that it creates a space for something new to come in. Negativity is just creating a space - and if you are to grow, you need space.
As we are, we have no space within; we are so filled with unnecessary things and thoughts. Sannyas, in its negative aspect, means just creating a space - throwing aside the trivial, the useless, the meaningless, so you can grow inside.
Growth is decay, but growth is positive also. And I say emphatically that sannyas is positive. Negativity is just the clearing: it is just clearing the ground for the growth to come in. Negativity is only something without, something outside, and the growth is inside. The positivity is at the center, and the negativity is at the periphery.
And, really, nothing can exist that is simply negative or simply positive. That is impossible, because these are two polarities. Existence exists in between: these are the two banks between which existence flows. No river can exist with one bank, and neither can existence. When emphasis is given to only one side or to one bank or to one pole, it becomes fallacious. But when you accept the total, then there is no emphasis on anything. You just accept the two polarities, and then you grow within; and you use both of them as a dialectic within which to move.
Sannyas is understood as being negative. Its connotation has become negative because you have to begin with the negative, you have to begin from the periphery. This must be understood because sannyas is inner: something is to grow on the inside, so why must you begin from the outside? When you have to grow inside, why not begin from the inside?
But you cannot begin from the inside, because as you are you are on the periphery, on the outside. You have to begin from the point where you are; you cannot begin from somewhere where you are not.