And it was not the eyes, it was his capacity to become unconscious; the eyes had not led him astray. How can the eyes lead you astray? The eyes are just windows into the world. Standing in your room looking out of the window, you see a beautiful woman – you don’t destroy the window. And by destroying the window you will not gain anything: you will not become more spiritual, you will not become less sexual, your passion will not disappear. You will only be closed in your house and your passion will go on boiling within you. Eyes are windows.
Just a few days ago – I think just seven days ago – a woman in America cut off one of her hands, because the Bible says if your hand offends you, it is better to cut it off and throw it away than to fall into hell and suffer for eternity. These people – Surdas or this woman, and there are millions of that type – you call religious? You call them spiritual? They are pathological.
A religious person is a healthy, whole person. He accepts life as it is, and he accepts the joys that life brings. He dances with the dance, he sings a thousand and one songs. His approach is not antagonistic, it is not anti-life.
The ascetic approach is anti-life. It is suicidal. You may be committing suicide very slowly and partially; that doesn’t make much difference. Somebody jumps from a cliff and destroys himself; and somebody slowly slowly, in installments, goes on destroying himself, takes years to destroy himself. This is slow poisoning, but there is no difference. In fact the man who jumps from the cliff is more courageous than the man who goes on committing suicide slowly.
But down the ages we have praised these insane people, we have worshipped them. Because of this worship humanity has remained immature and humanity has remained abnormal. The normal people are not normal, they are only called normal. They exist in great numbers but they are not the norm – and they are not healthy either. They somehow manage to live their lives. The man who is destructive to his being is insane, and the people who worship him as a saint are also insane.
I am utterly against ascetic practices because those practices are against life. I am all for life. I am all for godliness. Existence is a celebration. Look around…the whole existence is continuously in a celebration, in a kind of “alleluia.” It continues singing and dancing, and loving and enjoying. If you watch existence you will understand what it is to be religious: to be part of this celebration is to be religious.
I have heard…
The late Aga Khan III, leader of the Ismaili Moslem sect, was partial to the pleasures of the table. When a visitor asked him how he reconciled his predilection for worldly enjoyment with his status as a religious leader, the Aga replied, “I do not think the Lord meant the good things of this world to be enjoyed only by the sinners.”