That’s why I say Charles Darwin is not right, because he starts categorizing man with other animals; the basic difference he has not even taken note of. The basic difference is: all animals are born with a program, only man is born without a program. Man is born as a tabula rasa, a clean slate; nothing is written on it. You have to write everything that you want to write on it; it is going to be your creation.
Man is not only free – I would like to say man is freedom. That is his essential core, that’s his very soul. The moment you deny freedom to man you have denied him his most precious treasure, his very kingdom. Then he is a beggar and in a far more ugly situation than other animals, because at least they have a certain program. Then man is simply lost.
Once this is understood, that man is born as freedom, then all the dimensions to grow open up. Then it is up to you what to become, what not to become. It is going to be your own creation. Then life becomes an adventure – not an unfoldment but an adventure, an exploration, a discovery. The truth is not already given to you, you have to create it. In a way, each moment you are creating yourself.
If you accept the theory of fate, that is also an act of deciding about your life. By accepting fatalism you have chosen the life of a slave – it is your choice! You have chosen to enter into a prison, you have chosen to be chained, but it is still your choice. You can come out of the prison.
That’s what sannyas is all about: accepting your freedom. Of course people are afraid to be free, because freedom is risky. One never knows what one is doing, where one is going, what the ultimate result of it all is going to be. If you are not ready-made then the whole responsibility is yours. You cannot throw the responsibility on somebody else’s shoulders. Ultimately you will be standing before existence totally responsible for yourself, whatsoever you are, whosoever you are. You cannot shirk it, you cannot escape from it. This is the fear. Out of this fear people have chosen all kinds of determinist attitudes.
And it is a strange thing: the religious and the irreligious are agreed only on one point, that there is no freedom. On every other point they disagree, but on one point their agreement is strange. The communists say they are atheists, irreligious, but they say that man is determined by the social, economic, political situations. Man is not free; man’s consciousness is determined by outside forces. It is the same logic! You can call the outside force the economic structure; Hegel calls it History – with a capital H, remember – and the religious people call it God; again the word is with a capital G. God, history, economics, politics, society – all outside forces. But they are all agreed upon one thing: that you are not free.
This is where a really authentically religious person differs.