Chapter 22: Sannyas: A Journey to Joy and Bliss
In the past, if a woman wanted to be a sannyasin, she had to leave her husband, her children, her family; she had to run away from the life of the world. If a man wanted to take sannyas he had to leave his wife, his children, his family, his whole world, and escape to a monastery Or a cave in the mountains. For me, such a sannyas has no meaning whatsoever. I hold that after taking sannyas, a man or woman should not run away from the world, but should remain where he or she is and let sannyas flower right there.
You can ask how someone will manage his sannyas living in the world. What will he do as a husband, as a father, as a shopkeeper, as a master, as a servant? As a sannyasin how will he manage his thousand and one relationships in the world? - because life is a web of relationships. In the past he just ran away from the world, where he was called upon to shoulder any number of responsibilities, and this escape made everything so easy and convenient for him. Sitting in a cave or a monastery, he had no responsibilities. no worries; he led a secluded and shrunken life. What kind of a sannyas will it be which is not required to renounce anything? Will sannyas without renunciation mean anything?
Recently an actor came to visit me. He is a new entrant into the film world. He asked for my autograph with a message for him. So I wrote in his book: “Act as if it is real life and live as if it is acting.”
To me, the sannyasin is one who lives life like an actor. If someone wants to blossom in sannyas living in the thick of the world, he should cease to be a doer and become an actor, become a witness. He should live in the thick of life, play his role, and at the same time be a witness to it, but in no way should he be deeply involved in his role, be attached to it, He should cross the river in a way that his feet remain untouched by the water. It is, however, difficult to cross a river without letting the water touch your feet, but it is quite possible to live in the world without getting involved in it, without being tied to it.
In this connection it is necessary to under stand what play acting is. The miracle is that the more your life becomes play acting, the more orderly, natural and carefree it becomes. If a woman, as a mother, learns a small truth, that although the child she is bringing up has been borne by her, yet he does not belong to her alone, that she has been no more than a passage for him to come into this world, that he really belongs to that unknown source from which he came, which will sustain him through his life and to which he will return in the end, then that mother will cease to be a doer; she will really become a play actor and a witness.