These are two ways, and you will have to remember that your life will depend more or less on the way you interpret, on the way you choose. You can try to reduce the lotus to dirty mud – it can be done and it is very scientific. It can be done very scientifically because all that this lotus has was in the mud. It can be dissected and everything can be found, and then the mud can be dissected, and whatsoever the lotus has, everything will be found in the mud – nothing special, nothing extra, nothing from the outside has entered into the lotus so it is nothing but the mud. If you are choosing your life with this attitude, your life will be just nothing but mud.
But the person who says that the mud is nothing but potential white lotuses, that the mud is nothing but a waiting to manifest its beauty in lotuses, has a higher standpoint…the standpoint of a religious man. Then the whole life becomes full of splendor, significance, glory. Then wherever you look, you can find godliness, you can find the white lotus. Then everything is moving towards a peak. Then there is evolution. Then there is future, possibility. Then even the impossible becomes possible.
With the first attitude – the dirty-mud attitude I call it – even the possible seems to be impossible. But with the second attitude – the lotus attitude I call it – you can see deeply into mud and you can see hidden lotuses there. And the dirty mud is no longer dirty mud, it is just potentiality. Then sex becomes potentiality for samadhi, the body becomes potentiality for the soul, the world becomes the abode of “God.”
Anaxagoras was one of the greatest revolutionaries, a radical thinker. This word radical is beautiful. It means: pertaining to the roots. He changed the outlook. He said, mind. He took a necessary step, but that too was not enough.
Then came Protagoras, 445BC, and he said “Man.” Now his standpoint is more total. Mind is a fragment of man. Man is many things more, mind plus. If Anaxagoras is thought to be absolutely true then you will remain in the head – that is what has happened to many people. They have not moved beyond Anaxagoras. They go on living in the head because mind is all. Then mind becomes dictatorial, it goes on a great ego trip. It starts dominating everything and crippling everything. It becomes a destructive force.
No, you are not only mind. You are mind, certainly, but plus. Many more things are there.
A lotus cannot exist alone, the flower cannot exist alone, it will need many more things to exist: the pond, the water, the air, the sun, its connection with the mud, and leaves – and a thousand and one things. So if you think only in terms of the lotus and you forget all connections with the universe, your lotus will be a plastic lotus. It will not be a real lotus, it will not be interconnected, it will not be rooted in existence.
Protagoras has a more holy attitude, wholistic attitude. Man, and the totality of man – the body, the mind, the soul – becomes truth.
Then came Socrates, 435B C, and he said: wisdom, knowing, knowledge. When man attains to maturity he becomes wise; when man comes to fulfillment, then wisdom arises. Wisdom is the essence of man, the fragrance of the lotus flower. A still higher attitude.