Chapter 8: Initiated into Life
The first question:
Last autumn you sent me a taped answer to a question. The gist of your answer was that I was trying too hard at spiritual pursuits. I stopped almost everything for nine months and got good results from following your advice.
Now I am attending a sannyasin group again, but I feel that becoming a sannyasin would be doing what you told me not to do - trying too hard. I have already been initiated into many groups and feel that this may be symptomatic of trying too hard. Should I just relax and enjoy you the way we are now?
That’s exactly what sannyas is: relaxing and enjoying whatsoever is. It is not an initiation like other initiations you have been through - it is a totally different phenomenon. It is not a serious affair at all, it is basically playfulness. It is for the first time on the earth that we are trying to bring playfulness to religion.
Religion has always been of a long face, sad, serious, somber. Because of that seriousness, millions of people have remained aloof from religion. Those who were alive could not become religious because religion meant a kind of suicide to them - and it was so. Only those who were already dead or dying, those who were ill, pathological, suicidal were interested in the old religions.
The old religions were not dancing, singing, celebrating; they were anti-life, anti-earth, anti-body. They were purely negative; they had nothing to affirm. Their God was based on negativity. Go on negating: the more you negate life, the more religious you were thought to be.
I am bringing a totally new vision of religion to the earth: I am introducing you to a religion that can laugh, a religion that can love, a religion that can live the ordinary life with extraordinary awareness.
Religion is not a question of changing life patterns, of changing things and situations. Religion changes you, not your situation. It does not change things: it changes the way you look at things. It changes your eyes, your vision; it gives you an insight. Then God is not something against life: then godliness is the intrinsic core of life. Then spirit is not anti-matter but the highest form of matter, the purest fragrance of matter.