And they are not innocent, but simply ignorant – and there is a very delicate, fine line between ignorance and innocence. A child is ignorant, not innocent. And when you are reborn in a spiritual way you become again like a child. Remember, I am saying “like a child.” I am not saying you become a child – you become like a child, innocent.
The division between ignorance and innocence is so fine, but the ignorant person is always trying not to be ignorant. These are the symptoms: he is trying to become knowledgeable. The innocent person is trying to be more innocent. If any knowledge has remained somewhere hanging around him, he is trying to throw it away. He wants to be completely clean.
One man came to me – and I know the person; certainly he is not a bad man, but that does not mean that he is a good man. He is simply a coward. He wants everything that bad people have, but he is cowardly. He wants all the riches, he wants prestige and power, he wants to become a president or a prime minister, but he is not ready to go through all the gutters that you have to pass before you become a president. It is a long, winding way through gutters and gutters, and it becomes more and more dirty the deeper you get into it. He does not want to do that. He simply wants to become a president because he’s a good man.
He wants to be the richest man, but he does not know that the rich man has earned through tedious effort, all kinds of cunningness, has been doing every type of cheating. All that makes him afraid, he does not want to go to jail. If you are afraid of jail, then forget about being rich. Richness means a certain boldness, a daredevil courage, a readiness to fight, to compete without bothering whether the means are right or wrong. The rich man, the powerful man, the successful man…for them the end makes every means right – whether you have to cut throats, kill people, does not matter. Your goal is absolutely to succeed, and you are ready to pay everything for it.
Now, this man wanted all these things, and also wanted to remain good, also wanted to remain virtuous, also wanted never to be cunning, never to be deceiving. You are asking too much.
If you are really in love with goodness, in love with innocence, in love with virtue, you will be ready to sacrifice everything for it – all success, all respectability, all prestige, everything. Even if the laws of existence change and it is declared from the skies that now only bad people will be able to enter into paradise and all good people will have to go to hell, you will be ready to go to hell but you cannot leave your goodness.
I am reminded of a beautiful incident.
It happened that Edmund Burke, one of the great historians of England, had a friend who was as famous as Edmund Burke, but as a theologian. Even the king and queen used to come to listen to his sermons on Sunday, but Edmund Burke never went.