You will have to gather courage. And I say only this to you: even to be defeated in the new is a victory, and even to win with the old is defeat. Even if you attain happiness with the old it is just because it is convenient. Even if you suffer with the new, it brings growth. The suffering that is received with the new is the only asceticism: this is what I call asceticism. Sitting with your body smeared with ashes or lying down on a bed of nails or fasting – I don’t call any of this asceticism. I call all of these the idiocy of a sick mind.
There is only one asceticism, the courage to go with the new, the guts to jump into the unknown, just the way a little baby leaves the mother’s womb.
Just two days ago, on a nearby tree, a bird was raising her young. The babies were growing day by day and two days ago they came out of the nest for the first time. When they came out I was standing nearby. Both of them settled on a branch, wonderstruck, trying their wings, thinking whether they should go forward or not.
They had never been out of their nest before and their mother was sitting on a distant tree giving them a call, a loud call. This is how to call children…she goes on calling, and hearing her call they flutter their wings. But the attachment to the nest, to safety…and they have never before opened their wings: “Should we open them or not? Will we be able to fly or not?”
Seeing their dilemma, I was reminded of the dilemma of people newly taking sannyas. They try their wings in the same way, think it over, get nervous, look back…but for how long?
The mother kept on calling, kept on provoking them, call after call. It took about half an hour. Slowly slowly they fluttered their wings, moved a little further from the nest, sat on other branches of the same tree. They felt a little more confident, flew a little in the air and came back. Their confidence grew and then they flew away. They have not been seen since. I have been looking for them for two days, but they never came back. Why come back? The nest has been left behind – two eggshells left in it, broken to pieces.
Birds who have never flown before can gather the courage to fly into the sky. And we are human beings, yet still we cannot gather the courage. I am calling you every day, calling out loudly from a faraway tree. This calling continues every day.
You say: “Every time I come here, I again return without taking sannyas. The desire to take sannyas arises in me many times, but I am unable to gather the courage to do so.”
Flutter your wings a little, become filled with the thrill of the new, gather a little courage – you have wings. I am calling you from the skies, I am giving you an invitation to the faraway. It is not that you don’t have wings, you have wings as much as I do, it is only that you are not confident. And how can you become confident? Fly, and the confidence will come.