Now he is asking me that he should be allowed to remain hidden from the public, he should be allowed to hide his mala, he should be allowed to wear other clothes so he is not in an embarrassing situation where people ask, “What has happened to you?” Then forget all about sannyas!
Here being a sannyasin is easy, in fact it can be very ego-fulfilling because thousands of sannyasins are here. In fact, not to be a sannyasin here is very difficult. You feel awkward, you feel out of tune, out of step. You feel a stranger, an outsider. So even those who are non-sannyasins here, they wear orange just at least to feel a part, so they don’t feel like strangers, so they can participate more easily.
The real difficulty is when you are in Berlin or London or Tokyo or New York, where people will ask, “What has happened to you?” And if you cannot accept your disciplehood there, you have not accepted it here either. You were just deceiving yourself.
A disciple rejoices in being a disciple, rejoices that he has found a master. But the ego wants to be a master quickly, as quickly as possible so that you are finished with being a disciple.
Just the paradox of it: Manjushri, Sariputra, Moggalayan, Mahakashyapa became enlightened and remained disciples; still touching the feet of Buddha – not touching his hand! And people asked them…even Buddha has asked Manjushree, “Why do you touch my feet? There is no need. Now you are as much a buddha as I am! You are absolutely free.”
And tears came to Manjushree’s eyes. He said, “Never say again to me, that you are free. Now is the point when I can really bow down to you, because now I can recognize you absolutely. In those dreamy days I had only a vague sense; the doubt was also lingering somewhere in the unconscious: Maybe he is enlightened, maybe he is not. Maybe I am just projecting. Maybe it is only my desire to find an enlightened master that has created the whole illusion. Maybe I am living out my dream because my need to depend is so much I may have projected the whole thing on this person. He may not really be enlightened.” It remains because the vagueness is there, so it remains somewhere lingering around on the periphery.
Manjushree said, “In those days I touched your feet, but it was not total. I touched your feet, I had tried in every possible way to trust you, but there was effort involved. Now the moment has come when I can really bow down to you and touch your feet with absolute knowing that you are the one that I have been seeking for many, many lives.
“And my enlightenment is nothing to brag about. I am grateful to you – it has happened through you. Although you go on saying that you have nothing to do with it, I know it has happened through you. You may not be the cause of it, but you triggered the process; your presence triggered the process.”