This world is a strange world, and the strangest thing is that we go on trying to change the inner by changing the outer – and it is not possible in the very nature of things. You can change the outer by changing the inner, but not vice versa. But the society cannot see the inner; the society can only see the outer. Hence the society emphasizes the outer and makes everybody a split personality, makes everybody in a certain way schizophrenic. You are one on the outside, you are totally another on the inside – not even different but diametrically opposite.
You can observe people on the surface and you can decide about their inner beings. More or less you can conclude and you will be on the right track: whatsoever they are on the surface, they must be the opposite of it in their innermost being. The so-called brahmacharins, the so-called celibate people, think continuously of sex and nothing else. That is bound to happen, that is natural, because celibacy has not arisen out of meditation. It is imposed, it is cultivated, it is not even skin-deep; hence they are always afraid of women. The Jaina monk, the Buddhist monk, the Hindu sannyasin, they are all afraid of the woman. A great trembling arises in them just by seeing a woman; hence the Buddhist rule: Don’t look beyond four feet.
Mahatma Gandhi has written about one of the incidents that happened in his ashram. He was reading the Ramayana, the story of Rama, and in the story of Rama there comes a passage where he became a little puzzled. The passage is that Rama, with his wife Sita and brother Laxmana, are going into the forest; they have been expelled by their father for fourteen years. Rama is the first, behind him is his wife, Sita, and behind Sita is Laxmana.
This way they roamed in the forest for years. Then Sita was stolen by Ravana. When Ravana was taking her away she wanted to leave a few clues for Rama to find out where she has been taken, so on the path, unnoticed by Ravana, she dropped her ornaments one by one. She was a queen and she had many ornaments, so she dropped ornaments all the way, and of course that was the clue.
Rama found those ornaments, but he was in such shock and his eyes were full of tears…he was almost going crazy. He was asking the trees, “Trees, tell me, please, where is my Sita?” He looked at the ornaments but could not recognize them.
He asked Laxmana, his younger brother, “Can you recognize these ornaments? Do they belong to Sita? If they belong to Sita, then this is the route which she has been taken on and we have to follow this route.”
Laxmana said, “I can recognize only the ornaments that she used to wear on her feet because those are the only ornaments I have ever seen.”
Mahatma Gandhi became very puzzled: “For years they have lived together, wandered in the forest, and Laxmana has not seen another ornament – from her hands or a necklace or something else. He sees only the ornaments of her feet. Why?”
Vinoba Bhave, one of his great disciples, suggested, “…Because Laxmana was following an ancient rule: Don’t look at any woman, because looking at a woman may create desire in you. So he was simply focusing on her feet, he was not looking up. And of course, he could recognize the ornaments on her feet because for years he had looked only at her feet. He must have touched her feet, bowed down to her feet; he must have seen those ornaments.”