Unless and until we learn that to be a sadhu is one’s own affair – no one else need be concerned with it – the false cannot be stopped from exploiting. And because of the false, the authentic is lost. The moment there is no worship, the moment there is no special respect given to the sadhu, only the authentic will remain.
Only through respect and worshipping can the false exploit. To the false, being a sadhu is not the attraction. The attraction comes from the worshipper. No one should be worshipped. Sadhus must not be treated with any special awe. Once they are not given any special attention, the false will disappear and only the authentic will remain.
An authentic sadhu is one for whom the world has become unreal, for whom another dimension has come into existence, for whom this maya is not the reality. This is not a belief; it is his experience. The whole existence has become divine. That is what the person has experienced; it has been an existential experience. To me, this is a sadhu.
No outward criteria will be applicable because an authentic person will never be an imitation. He will not be an imitation buddha, he will be himself. So it is not important what he wears, what he eats, how he behaves. All that will come spontaneously to him. Only the false can imitate, never the authentic. The authentic is always individual, so there can be no models and no predecessors.
This is also to be noted; that only a false sadhu will behave like a sadhu. The authentic one will behave like himself. That’s why, when a Jesus appears, he seems like an upstart.
Upstarts never seem like upstarts because they follow a fixed pattern. But an authentic man appears to be an upstart because he is not following the traditional pattern of other sadhus. He is himself.
So you will always think that the authentic man has gone wrong, he has gone to the devil, while the false man goes on being worshipped because he can imitate. It is not difficult; every type of criteria can be imitated. Then the personality becomes double: when the public is watching he is one person, he imitates the outward manifestations of a religious man, and when he is alone, he is someone else. There is a division: a public face and a private face.
But as far as a real sadhu is concerned, he has no private self and no public selves. He is one. That becomes his difficulty. Whatsoever he is, he always is. He is bound to be anti-traditional, bound to be a nonconformist.
So the irony is that the false will be worshipped and the real will be condemned.
Why are Westerners becoming so interested in Indian religions?