There was a great shock, because people don’t speak what they feel; people speak only what other people appreciate. And I could feel the vibrations of Chandan Muni – it was a beautiful morning, there was a cool breeze, but he was perspiring. But he was a sincere man. He did not stand up to contradict me, on the contrary, I received a messenger in the afternoon, who said, “Chandan Muni wants to meet you, and he’s very sorry that he cannot come, because his committee will not allow it.”
I said, “There is no problem. I am not imprisoned, my wings are not cut. I don’t care about any committee, I can come.”
So the messenger said, “First let me go and make arrangements so that you can meet in privacy.”
I said, “What is the matter? Let others be there.”
But he said, “You don’t understand. Since this morning, Chandan Muni has been crying. He’s seventy years old, and he became a monk when he was only twelve years old. His father became a monk, the mother had died – now where was this child to go? This was the most convenient thing, that he also became a monk with his father; so he became a monk. He has never known what life is, he has never played with children, he has never seen anything that can be called pleasant.”
So I said, “Okay, you go ahead and make arrangements, I am coming.” Still, a crowd gathered. They had been suspecting since the morning that something had happened to Chandan Muni – he was not speaking and his eyes were full of tears. He had to beg of the crowd, “Please, leave the two of us alone!”
He locked the doors, and he said to me, “It was hard to hear your words, they were like arrows going directly into my heart; but whatever you said is true. I am not as courageous as I should be, and that’s why I don’t want anybody else to hear this, but I have not known life. I have not known anything. I have only learned from scriptures – they are empty. And now at the age of seventy, what do you suggest for me to do?”
I said, “I think the first thing is to open the doors and let the people come in. Of what are you afraid? You don’t have anything to lose. You have never lived – you died at the age of twelve. Now, a dead man has nothing to lose. But let them listen. They have been worshipping you; just because of their worship your ego was fulfilled and you managed to live this torturous life, this horrible nightmare that religions have called saintliness – it is simply pathology.”
He was hesitant, but still he gathered courage and opened the doors. And when the people heard that he knew nothing, rather than praising his honesty and sincerity, they all started condemning him, saying, “You have been cheating us!” They threw him out of their temple.
For truth it seems there is no home, but for hypocrisy, all worship, all respectability, is available.
This hermit reminds me of Chandan Muni. I don’t know what happened to him, but whatever may have happened must have been better than what had been happening before. At least he sacrificed his respectability for being sincere, for being truthful, and this is a big step.