If you avoid sannyas, that will be being serious. You have not understood that this is not the same kind of initiation. You have been into many schools, sects and you have gathered much knowledge about initiation and the mysteries – but this is not that kind of initiation. It is just the opposite: it is getting initiated into life, into ordinary life. Once your ordinary life becomes suffused with your meditativeness you are a sannyasin. It is not a question of changing only your clothes – that is only symbolic – the real sannyasin is bringing meditation into the ordinary affairs of life, bringing meditation to the marketplace. Eating, walking, sleeping, one can remain continuously in a state of meditation. It is nothing special that you are doing, but doing the same things with a new way, with a new method, with new art. Sannyas changes your outlook.
You listened to my advice and for nine months, you say you stopped almost everything and got good results from following the advice. But somewhere deep down you are still serious; otherwise you would have taken a jump into sannyas – nonseriously. Even to ask about it is to show your seriousness. You could not accept it playfully, with laughter.
Sannyas is just a play – leela. That concept is not known in the West; the West has missed much because of not knowing that concept. In the West, religion has no idea that God is not a creator but a player, that existence is not his creation but his play of energies. Just like the ocean waves roaring, shattering on the banks and the rocks, eternally, just a play of energy, so is God. These millions of forms are not created by God, those are just because of his overflowing energy.
God is not a person at all. You cannot worship God. You can live in a godly way but you cannot worship God – there is nobody to worship. All your worship is sheer stupidity, all your images of God are your own creation. There is no God as such, but there is godliness, certainly – in the flowers, in the birds, in the stars, in the eyes of the people, when a song arises in the heart and poetry surrounds you… All this is God. Let us say “godliness” rather than using the word God – that word gives you the idea of a person, and God is not a person but a presence.
Sannyas is not like becoming a Hindu or a Christian or a Mohammedan. In fact, it is dropping out of all these trips – Hindu, Christian, Mohammedan, all these trips. Sannyas is simply dropping out of all ideologies. Ideologies are bound to be serious; no ideology can have laughter as its spirit, because ideologies have to fight with each other, argue with each other, and argument cannot be done with laughter. Argument has to be serious. Argument is basically egoistic, how can it laugh? The ego knows no laughter at all.
Once it happened…
A great philosopher and thinker, Keshav Chandra Sen, went to see Ramakrishna. He wanted to defeat Ramakrishna, and, certainly, he was capable of great argument. He argued against God, against religion, against the whole nonsense that Ramakrishna was doing. He was trying to prove that Ramakrishna was a fool, that there is no God, that nobody has ever proved the existence of God. He talked and talked, and slowly, slowly he started feeling a little weird because Ramakrishna would only laugh. He would listen to the argument and laugh – and not only laugh, he would jump, hug Keshav Chandra Sen, kiss him and say, “Beautiful! I have never heard this argument! It is really intelligent, clever.”