Chapter 21: Leaves of a Single Tree
Oftentimes have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world.
But I say that even as the holy and the righteous cannot rise beyond the highest which is in each one of you,
So the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower than the lowest which is in you also.
In this existence, nobody is a stranger. The sinner and the saint are not two separate worlds.
The real saint is one who has chosen to become so conscious that a third - a witness, a watcher - arises in him which can watch the sinner, which can watch the saint, and which knows that the saint and the sinner are two sides of the same coin. A few people have chosen one side, a few people have chosen the other side - but remember, the other side is always present. Any sinner can become a saint within moments, and any saint can fall and become a sinner also within moments. There is no qualitative difference between them; both of them are repressing half of their being. The saint is repressing the sinner.
I have been always very much surprised that all religious scriptures written by so-called saints go on condemning the sinner. Why are they so much concerned with the sinner? They should sing the song of their fulfillment, they should make the world aware of the beauty that they have attained, they should radiate the light and the fragrance.
But no, their whole concern is to go on condemning the sinner - in such detail that one wonders what they have repressed in themselves. They are at least trying to enjoy it by speaking about it.
I have heard about a woman who had come to a Catholic priest for confession. And she said, “Father, forgive me. I have again been raped. Pray to God for me.”
The priest said, “But it looks very strange - this is the third time! Every Sunday you come to confess that you have been raped. It is a strange coincidence.”
She said, “The reality is, I have been raped only once.”
“But then,” the priest said, “for that you have been forgiven and I have prayed to God. Why bother me again and again?”
She said, “Just to talk about it gives me such pleasure, just the very memory of it and the joy. Although I was resisting superficially, deep down I was enjoying the act so much. And for three weeks nobody has raped me, so what am I supposed to do? And you are preventing me from even the enjoyment of talking about it.”