The sage lives simply, spontaneously; there is no question of effort at all. He lives life just as you breathe. He is very ordinary; there is nothing special about a sage. But the saint is very special, because the saint is trying to do something. And of course he is making a great effort, because it is not his own understanding. So he is continuously torturing himself to behave rightly, violently forcing himself to behave rightly. Naturally, he expects much respect from you. He can go on doing all this masochism, this self-torture, if you give him respect. Just think: if the so-called respect given to the saints disappears, out of one hundred of your saints, ninety-nine point nine percent will immediately disappear. They are living only for the ego.
It is good, Govind, that you realize that you are a sinner. This is the beginning of something tremendously significant. You can be a sage; all that you have to avoid is being a saint! That is the trouble: the saint is the false coin which looks exactly like the real coin; in fact, it looks more real than the real one. It has to, because it has to deceive people. Avoid being a saint.
That’s what my sannyas is: living your ordinary life with only one addition, that of awareness – and the sinner will become a sage. The sinner becomes a sage through awareness; the sinner becomes a saint through cultivating a character.
I don’t teach you character, I teach you consciousness. Hence, I am not at all interested that you are a sinner and that you have been doing all kinds of sins – that is irrelevant. It is accepted that in your unconsciousness what else can you do?
I accept you with total love, respect.
Many times I have been told, particularly by the so-called saints, “You go on giving sannyas to everybody – this is not right. Sannyas should be given only to people of character!”
It is as if you go to a physician and he says, “My condition for giving you medicine is that I give it to you only when you are healthy. Come to me when you are healthy. I never give medicines to people who are ill, I never waste my medicines on ill people! First become healthy and then come to me.” You can understand the absurdity of that.
If I say to somebody, “First go and become worthy of sannyas, then come to me,” that means that if he can become worthy of sannyas by his own effort, then why cannot he become a sannyasin by himself? What is the need for him to come to me? He needs help, and anybody who asks for help should be given help, and it should be given unconditionally.
There is a beautiful statement of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, one of the greatest Sufi masters ever. Take it to your heart.
Come, come, whoever you are;
wanderer, worshipper, lover of learning….
It does not matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow a thousand times.
Come, come, yet again come.
Come, come, whoever you are…sinner, unconscious, living a life which is not glorious, divine, meaningful; living a life which has no poetry, no joy, a life of hell…. Whosoever you are, Mevlana says, “Come, I am ready to receive you. Be my guest!”