What is the meaning of sannyas in the world today?
The word sannyas is one of the most significant in the human language. In the past it was given a wrong meaning. That wrong meaning destroyed its beauty, its joy, its laughter. The wrong meaning was renunciation. Renunciation of what? Renunciation of the body. Renunciation of all the pleasures of the body, the mind, the heart. Renunciation of the world, of the people, of those you love, of those you are grateful to. Renunciation of your parents who have given birth to you, who have sacrificed everything for you. Renunciation of your wives and your husbands who live for you and who die for you. Renunciation of small children who without you will not have a shelter in the world, without you will be orphans, beggars.
That was the old meaning of the word sannyas. It has destroyed humanity from its very roots.
On the one hand all the old religions say that God created the world, God created you, God created everything. And at the same time they say, renounce what God has created. It seems your priests are more wise than God. It seems that what God creates, your priests are against.
Let me summarize it in a single statement: all the religions and their priests are against God. If God is the creator of the world, then to renounce it or to teach renunciation is an act of sabotage. It cannot be called religious, it is not spiritual.
My sannyas gives it the right meaning it deserves. My sannyas does not mean renunciation, it means rejoicing – rejoicing in this beautiful world, rejoicing with totality, intensity, awareness, compassion, love, of all that existence has provided for you without any guilt, without any sin. All ideas about guilt and sin are created to exploit you.
Yes, man commits mistakes, but mistakes are not sin. It is human to err. Mistakes can be corrected, just a little intelligence is needed. You need not ask to be forgiven for your mistakes. You need not go to the Ganges, to take a bath to get rid of your sins – that is simply stupid. You need not go to Kaaba or to Jerusalem. All your mistakes need a little understanding so that you can avoid them.
I am reminded of a story….
A man used to sell Gandhi caps. And particularly at election times he earned enough to rest for five years. The elections were coming nearer, but the man was getting old. He was sick. He had prepared thousands of caps. He said to his young son, “I will not be able to go to the market” – which was a few miles away from his village – “you will have to go, but it is not a difficult thing. There is great demand for the caps, as the elections come closer.