Hence your so-called saints escaped into the monasteries. It was out of fear. If they were in the marketplace they would be caught; it would be discovered that they are cheating, that they are deceiving, that they are hypocrites. In the monasteries they can maintain their hypocrisy and nobody will ever be able to detect it. And moreover, there are other hypocrites there; they can all maintain their conspiracy together more easily than each single hypocrite can maintain his alone.
Monasteries came into existence for escapists. But you can live even in the world in a monastic way, keeping people always at a distance, never allowing anybody access to your inner being, never opening up, never allowing anybody to have a peek into you to see who you are, never looking into people’s eyes, avoiding people’s eyes, looking sideways. And always in a hurry, so that everybody knows you are so occupied, you don’t have any time to say hello, to hold somebody’s hand, to sit with somebody informally. You are so busy, you are always on the go.
You will not even allow intimacy with those who are close to you – husbands, wives, children – with them also you will have a formal relationship, an institutional relationship.
Hence marriage has become an institution. It is really ugly to see something so tremendously beautiful becoming an institution. And if people look so miserable it is natural. If you live in institutions you will be miserable.
You ask me, “Can you explain to us the difference between emptying oneself and effacing oneself?” Effacing oneself is the way of the ego, emptying oneself is the way of understanding. In emptying yourself you simply understand the ways of the ego – and in that understanding, the ego disappears of its own accord. You don’t drop it, you don’t have to drop it. You don’t fight with it. It is not found.
When you look within with attention, with the light of awareness, you cannot find any ego there. So the question does not arise of why or how one should efface oneself. There is nothing to efface. That which is, is, and cannot be effaced. And that which is not, is not, and there is no need to efface it.
Emptying oneself simply means seeing oneself. And then many things start dropping, because you were unnecessarily carrying them. In the first place, they don’t exist. They are ghosts, nightmares; they disperse themselves when the light is brought in. Emptying oneself is a meditative process. Just looking in deeply, with no prejudice, with no prefabricated ideology, neither for nor against, just looking in, and emptying starts happening.
And when you have emptied all content – thoughts, desires, memories, projections, hopes – when all is gone, for the first time you find yourself, because you are nothing but that pure space, that virgin space within you. Unburdened by anything, that contentless consciousness, that’s what you are. Seeing it, realizing it, one is free. One is freedom, one is joy, one is bliss.