I call my approach the only holy approach. All other approaches up to now have been half-half. Mahavira, Shankara, Moses, Mohammed, all used the positive. Gautam Buddha used the negative. I use both, and I don’t see any contradiction. If you understand me clearly, then you can enjoy the beauty of both viewpoints, and you need not be exploited by your ego or be afraid of death and darkness and nothingness. They are not two things. It is almost as if I were to put a glass of water in front of you, half full and half empty, and ask you whether the glass is empty or full. Either answer would be wrong, because the glass is both half full and half empty. From one side it is empty, from another side it is full.
Half of your life is part of the mundane world, the other half is part of the sacred. And it is unfortunate, but there is no other way – we have to use the same language for both the mundane and the sacred. So one has to be very alert. To choose the mundane will be missing; if you think of the mundane, you will find the sacred life empty. If you think of the sacred, you will find it overflowingly full.
As you were talking about Indian and western sannyasins, I felt what you were saying was true – sometimes the Indians are too much of the heart. It is hard to say no to them, yet you cannot say yes to their expectations and theories. They are deaf.
Will you please explain why this is so?
The question has many parts. The first part: that the Indians are sometimes too much of the heart, that statement is wrong. One can never be too much of the heart; that is existentially impossible. The heart and its qualities are such that you can always have more of them. And there is no limit – not even the sky is the limit. But I understand your problem. You are saying that you are finding it difficult in certain moments, the people of the East are much too loving; you cannot say no to them and you cannot say yes either.
I am reminded of when I came to Mumbai for the first time, I was invited for lunch, I was new, and the people who had invited me here were new. None of us knew each other.
The man had come to Mumbai just two or three days before. He is one of the most beautiful men I have met in my life. Along with me, he had invited at least twenty more people. It was beautiful food, but the way they were forcing everybody to eat was just unimaginable. They were three brothers; two of the brothers would hold the person, and the third one would force him: “One laddu more.”
And the person would be trying to say, “I will die! Leave me!”
They would say, “Just one.” And this was something unending.
Even the women of the house were helping. People were trying to run out of the room and the women were standing in the doorway.
I asked the man, “Your love is good, and your sweets are good, but there is a limit. That man is saying he will die – and you are not concerned about his death, you are concerned about forcing more food on him.”
What he said to me I have not forgotten. He said, “If we don’t do this, my father’s soul will be very unhappy.”
I said, “My God! Is your father’s soul also present here?”