Chapter 10: A Single Man’s Compassion
People come to me and say they would like to become sannyasins but they are in the world, “And how is it possible to be a sannyasin in the world?” Particularly in India, it looks absolutely absurd; the sannyasin is one who leaves the world. And I tell them, a sannyasin is one who lives in the world and yet is not of the world. They seem confused. When I say these things to people they seem.they look confused. They say, “Either this or that.” I say, “Both, together.”
When you take both, negative and passive together they cancel each other, you become neutral. Then you are neither man nor woman, neither yin nor yang, neither body nor soul. You have gone beyond the duality, you have become transcendental. That transcendence is flowing with the river.
Flowing with the river is the greatest art. That is to be active and passive both, but in deep cooperation with existence. You have to do something - you will have to live, you will have to earn; at least you will have to breathe. You will have to do something - move, activity has to be used. And you will have to relax also, otherwise activity will become impossible.
So sometimes be active, sometimes be passive but don’t get identified with either. Remain aloof. Use activity, use passivity but you remain the third. Just as you put on clothes, sometimes white and sometimes black; just as in the day you work and in the night you rest; just the same, use both dualities - they are means. Don’t get identified with them. Then you will be flowing with the river. And this is the message of Hasidism.
They are the greatest people in the world who have lived in the world and have not allowed the world to corrupt them. It is very easy to go to the Himalayas and become uncorrupted, very easy, because who is there to corrupt you? To live with the mountains you will become innocent, but that innocence may be just an appearance. Come back to the world, the test is in the marketplace! There you will come to know whether you have really become innocent. Because when the opportunity to become corrupted arises, only then will you be able to know: are you still corruptible or not? The Himalayas, their silence, can deceive you. It has deceived millions of people.
Hasids say, “Live in the marketplace. Move with people because people are your environment.”
Some man asked Socrates, “Why don’t you go to the mountains to study mountains, rivers, trees, birds, animals?” The man said, “We have heard of old, ancient wise men who used to go deep in the mountains, live there and study nature.”
Socrates said, “My nature is people. What can trees teach me? Good to look at, but what can they teach me? What can mountains teach me? - good to relax in. What can rivers teach me? My rivers, my mountains, my trees are people. People are my environment.”
He lived his whole life in Athens, lived and died there, in people.