How long has it been that you have not seen the face of your wife, although you are living together twenty-four hours a day? How long has it been that you have not seen the face of your husband, or your wife? It may have been years.
Now you take each other for granted: she has become a thing to you, you have become a thing to her. She uses you, just as you use her. You are both destroying each other; you are taking away the other’s humanity, their very soul.
True religion consists of giving life and soul even to things. You can touch this chair with love and respect; it won’t cost you anything, but it will give you immense insight into life. The religious man is the only magician in the world; whatever he touches becomes alive. It is not a question of what he touches, it is a question of what he pours into it. He pours his own life.
To live a religious life does not mean renouncing existence and escaping to the mountains. That is the way of the coward and the impotent, that is the way of the crippled and incompetent, that is the way of those who don’t have the intelligence to see godliness surrounding them everywhere. When you renounce life you are renouncing God – whom else can you renounce? When you are renouncing your wife or your husband whom do you think you are renouncing? And where are you going to find God?
In Gautam Buddha’s life there is an incident which Buddhists try to avoid; they don’t discuss it. When Gautam Buddha became enlightened… And what is enlightenment? – this very experience that the whole existence is divine, that it is the temple of godliness, and that everybody is either God-awake or God-asleep. But it makes no difference: one who is asleep can be awake within a minute, just a little cold water has to be thrown into his eyes. He may be annoyed in the beginning, he may shout at you – people even throw their alarm clocks.
I have been asked again and again, “Why are people so angry with you?” I say, “It is understandable. When people are asleep, they don’t want any alarm clock around them. And I am no ordinary alarm clock, I try in every way – even if I have to wrestle with the person, I will bring him out of bed. Even if he becomes angry it is nothing to be worried about; the moment he is awake he will understand that his anger was not right.
The moment Gautam Buddha became enlightened, the first thing he told Ananda was, “I would like to go to my kingdom. Twelve years have passed since I left my palace. I have left a small child, just one day old – my first child; now he must have become twelve years old. And all these twelve years my wife, Yashodhara, must have been very angry. She is a woman of culture, beauty and refinement – she may not even have expressed her anger to anybody, but in her heart she must be carrying the wound.
“The first thing I want is to go back, and to see my wife and my child and my father. He must be old, if he is still alive. He must have destroyed his eyes by crying, because I am his only son.”