So it is significant that a child does not ask the question. It is also significant that a young man does not ask the question, because, for the young, life is so absorbing and the song of life is so fulfilling and his heart is beating with love, he has no time to think about good and evil. Only the elders… And the elders are those who have spent all their energies, who are empty; they have nothing to do.
The child was full of wonder, the youth was full of love, but the old man has lost all. Neither have his eyes any wonder; because he is so knowledgeable nothing surprises him, and he has seen that every love slowly, slowly turns into hate. He is living – but an empty life. And these empty people become very much concerned about judgment. They cannot do anything themselves, but at least, sitting in their rocking chairs, they can judge everybody – who is good, who is bad; who is a sinner and who is a saint.
This is their way of somehow feeling more important than the young, than the children. The children are ignorant; the young are blind. Only the old think they have got eyes because they have lived life, they have experienced everything. But just experiencing everything does not make one wise, because one of the most important criteria for a wise man is that he drops judgment. He can see in good that evil is lying. He can see in evil that good is present. The saint and the sinner are not different categories; their choices are different, but they have chosen from the same well. From where good comes, evil comes – and whatever you choose, you will suffer.
Choice brings suffering. If you choose good, then that which is evil in you will continually create a conflict, a repentance, a doubt: “Perhaps those who have chosen evil are enjoying life. I have chosen good, and all that it has given to me is just a seriousness, a dryness.”
The saint cannot smile, the saint cannot dance; he is afraid. The song may lead him toward evil, the dance may lead him toward that which he has renounced. But just by renouncing you cannot get rid of things. They remain in your unconscious, waiting for their opportunity. Hence it has happened many times in history that a sinner has become a saint in just a single moment of understanding, and a so-called saint has fallen and become a sinner in just a single moment of unawareness.
A beautiful story is told about a disciple of Gautam Buddha. He was a young monk, very healthy, very beautiful, very cultured. He had come – just like Gautam Buddha – from a royal family, renouncing the kingdom.
In the West, just as Cleopatra is thought to be the most beautiful woman in the whole past of humanity, in the East, a parallel woman to Cleopatra is Amrapali. She was a contemporary of Gautam Buddha. She was so beautiful that there were always golden chariots standing at the gate of her palace. Even great kings had to wait to meet her. She was only a prostitute, but she had become so rich she could purchase kingdoms. But deep down, she suffered. In that beautiful body there was also a beautiful soul which hankered for love.