These two things: growing in the dirty mud, growing beyond the dirty mud and the water, and still never being touched…. That is the essential quality of a sannyasin: being in the world, but not of the world. Being in the world, but not allowing the world even to touch you.
The authentic sannyasin does not escape from the world. He is not a coward. But in the past unfortunately the cowards became sannyasins and they gave a bad name to the whole spiritual regeneration of man. Cowards found it very rational that they were leaving the world, because the world corrupts. But the world corrupts you only if you are corruptible, the world corrupts you because you are ready to be corrupted, in fact, you are hankering to be corrupted. If you are not ready to be corrupted, nothing can corrupt you.
These cowards created a strange situation for future humanity – for you, for everybody. They created a kind of rift between the ordinary world and themselves. They were spiritual beings, because they left the ordinary mundane marketplace and moved to the Himalayas or to the forests or to some desert.
But they were really moving away from a situation of which they were afraid. They knew that if they remained in the world, they were going to be corrupted. They were fully aware of their tendencies: their desires, their lust, their greed, their anger, their violence. They were fully aware of the whole range of things that corrupt your spirituality, that bring you down, deep into the mud.
But just escaping from reality does not transform you. You may live for thirty years in the Himalayas, and if you come back to the world you will find yourself the same man, with the same greed, with the same ambition, with the same anger, with the same lust. Perhaps in these thirty years you have gathered too much of all that made you afraid. You are more cerebrally sexual than you had been before, because thirty years of repression is going to collect the sexual energy and the sexual dreams and the sexual mind. And it will become such a great force that it will be beyond you. It is going to drive you insane.
And the same is true about all that is ugly – the greed, the desire for power, domination, anger, violence. Remember one thing always: whatever any man has ever done, you are also capable of it. If somebody has murdered, never think that you are not capable of doing it. If somebody has committed suicide, never think for a single moment that you are incapable of doing it. If somebody has gone mad, don’t feel good that you have not gone mad – you are also carrying the same possibility.
But as we all have the possibilities for evil, so we have the possibilities of becoming a Gautam Buddha. If one man was capable of becoming a buddha, an awakened one, every man from that very moment should remember he is capable of the same. But unfortunately, in the past, it became almost synonymous that to be a sannyasin meant renouncing the world. It was a very ugly and unfortunate association.