"Life can be anonymous. If you live with others, you can compromise too much, you can imitate – but death is always unique because death is alone. You die alone. There is no society. They don't exist in your death. The crowd, the mass, is there when you are alive, but when you die you die absolutely alone, utterly alone.
"Death has a quality.
"So sometimes it happens that a man may commit suicide because he has become tired of the anonymous existence. He has become tired of all the compromises that one has to make in order to live. That's why van Gogh committed suicide – he was a rare man, one of the greatest painters ever. But he had to make compromises every moment of his life. He got tired of those compromises; he could no longer tolerate being part of the crowd mind. He killed himself in order to be himself. He was only thirty-three or something when he killed himself. If he had been in the East there would have been another alternative: suicide or sannyas. These are the two alternatives which every man who has some sense of life, of individuality, has to choose between.
"In the West nothing like sannyas has been in existence. If you become a Christian monk that is again a compromise; you still remain part of the society. Even if you go out of the society you remain part of it. The society goes on controlling you – it has a remote control system. It does not allow you to really go out of it. You remain a Christian, you remain a Catholic, even when you have moved to a monastery. It does not make much difference.
"In the East, sannyas has a totally different flavor. The moment you become a sannyasin you are no longer a Hindu, you are no longer a Mohammedan, you are no longer a Christian. The moment you become a sannyasin, you drop out of all collectivities. You become yourself. You will be surprised to know that in the East people don't commit suicide as much as in the West. And the difference is big – too big to be just accidental."