When the question is out of knowledge it is impossible to answer it. When you already think you know, you are in conflict with anything that is going to be said to you. You have something at stake – your knowledge, your past, your belief, your doctrine, your church.
A child has none of these hindrances. That’s why Jesus says, “Unless you are like a child you will not enter into the kingdom of God.”
So don’t be worried about why I give children sannyas – rather be worried about yourself. If you are not a child, even if I give you sannyas you will not receive it.
I go on giving sannyas to every kind of person. To say no is not my way. I hope even against hope. Even when I see somebody who is just like a rock – when I see him closed completely, there is no way to enter into him – then too I never say no. Who knows? Maybe tomorrow he will relax. Maybe just this gesture of his, that he wants to take sannyas, will begin a new chapter in his life. Who knows? Things change, people change. Those who are very, very soft become hard; those who are hard become soft. Life is a constant flux. Maybe in the past things have happened in such a way that the person has become rocklike. The future may be different, may have a different story to tell.
Just looking at the past – because a man is just his past – to deny him sannyas because of this past is to deny him any new future, is to deny him any possibility of changing. Who am I to deny? So to whosoever comes, even a rocklike person, I say yes.
To the lowest the highest remains possible. There is no way to go so far away from God that you cannot turn. The farthest point in existence from God is still in God; we cannot go out of him.
When a child comes, I accept the child.
I understand why you have asked. You have asked because I say that the children should not be conditioned. But sannyas is not a conditioning, it is just the opposite. If I don’t give the child sannyas he is going to become a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan; he is going to become somebody who will be far worse. By giving him sannyas I allow him entry into a new kind of commune, a new kind of religiousness – which is not religion but just religiousness.
I am welcoming him to a new kind of family where we are not going to impose any dogma, we are only going to give him a kind of milieu. This is totally different. To give a dogma – conditions; to give a milieu is not a conditioning, to give a milieu is just to share.