A rebel who is not enlightened is a rebel who is blind – not only blind, but also drunk – and his rebelliousness is a kind of reaction. That is the original meaning of the word rebel – fighting against something, fighting back. He can see that something is wrong, something has to be destroyed. His life is not free, so there must be chains on his feet, handcuffs on his hands, and they must be broken; he has to free himself. But these are all assumptions.
One thing is certain: he knows misery, he knows suffering. He knows that his humanity has been reduced to almost the same level as animals; that his pride has been destroyed, his dignity has been completely erased. He is aware at least of what has been taken away from him and he starts fighting against it. His rebelliousness is a reaction, negative. It is fighting against something, not fighting for something.
I would like to add to the meaning of rebel a positive side too, which is not there in the dictionaries. The dictionaries are all, without exception, giving only one meaning: fighting back, fighting against. But what is the use of fighting back and fighting against, if you don’t have a clear perception – for what? If you don’t have a vision of the future, and a better future with more rejoicing, then there is no point in unnecessarily fighting. But the rebel who is not enlightened will remain negative in his approach; hence he will remain half.
The enlightened man who is not a rebel is, in the same way, also half. He knows what has to be achieved, he knows the potential of man, he knows the faraway distant glories possible to humanity. But he is not ready to fight against the existing society, the existing slavery, all the obstacles and hindrances that are between the future and the present, between the old man and the new man. This kind of enlightened man has existed, and he was worshipped – worshipped by the old people, traditional and orthodox, conventional and rooted in the ancient heritage.
This enlightened man has a vision of a better future, of a better man. But he has not the guts to fight for it – to fight against the traditional, conventional structure of society and the old mind, which is conditioned and rotten – because he lives on their charity, he lives on their respect, honor and worship. He is not courageous enough to renounce all the respectability that they are bestowing upon him; to forget being called a saint and a sage by the rotten old past. He cannot just be a nobody, condemned, perhaps crucified, but fighting against what is wrong, fighting for that which is right and will be a blessing to all.
So both have been there: the unenlightened rebel and the wise man, enlightened but not rebellious. I want you to understand it very clearly that unless a man is both enlightened and rebellious simultaneously, he is not whole. He is incomplete, he is not entire; something is missing. He is not rich, not as rich as he could have been if there were nothing missing in him.