A Certain Milieu

First Question



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The first question:

Question 1


Sannyas can be given only to babies and children. The very idea of being an adult is a barrier. The adult mind is an adulterated mind. It is already corrupt.

The physical age is irrelevant. Somebody may be seventy years old and yet a baby, and somebody may be young and may not be innocent.

To receive sannyas needs a very, very innocent mind, one which knows nothing. Then the contact is immediate and the contact is from being to being, heart to heart. Otherwise the contact remains from mind to mind -- and from mind to mind there is no contact really, it is a deception. It only appears as if there is a contact. There is a constant conflict between two minds.

Listen to this small story....

One evening, Katz, a black cat who lived at Master Soen-sa's ashram, died. The seven-year-old daughter of one of Soen-sa's students was very troubled by the death. After the burial and chanting to Amida Buddha, she went to Soen-sa for an interview.

Soen-sa said, 'Do you have any questions?'

She said, 'Yes. What happened to Katzie? Where did he go?'

Soen sa said, 'Where do you come from?'

'From my mother's belly.'

'Where does your mother come from?'

She was silent.

Soen-sa said, 'Everything in the world comes from the same one thing. It is like in a cookie factory. Many different kinds of cookies are made -- lions, tigers, elephants, houses, people. They all have different shapes and different names, but they are all made from the same dough and they all taste the same. So all the different things that you see -- a cat, a person, a tree, the sun, this floor -- all these things are really the same.'

'What are they?'

'People give them many different names. When you are thinking, all things have different names and different shapes. But when you are not thinking, all things are the same. There are no words for them. People make the words. A cat doesn't say, "I am a cat." People say, "This is a cat." The sun doesn't say, "My name is sun." People say, "This is the sun." So when someone asks you, ' What is this?", how should you answer?'

'I shouldn't use words.'

Soen-sa said, 'Very good! You shouldn't use words. So if someone asks you, "What is Buddha?" what would be a good answer?'

She was silent.

Soen-sa said, 'Now you ask me.'

'What is Buddha?'

Soen-sa hit the floor.

She laughed.

Soen sa said, 'Now I ask you, "What is Buddha?"'

She hit the floor.

'What is God?'

She hit the floor.

'What is your mother?'

She hit the floor.

'What are you?'

She hit the floor.

'Very good! This is what all things in the world are made of. You and Buddha and God and your mother and the whole world are the same.'

She smiled.

Soen-sa said, 'Do you have any more questions?'

'You still haven't told me where Katz went.'

Soen-sa leaned over, looked into her eyes, and said, 'You already understand.'

She said, 'Oh!' and hit the floor very hard. Then she laughed.

Soen-sa said, 'Very, very good! That is how you should answer any question. That is the truth.'

She bowed and left. As she was opening the door, she turned to Soen-sa and said, 'Master, but I'm not going to answer that way when I'm in school. I'm going to give regular answers!'

Soen-sa laughed.

This is a deeper communion than can be possible between two minds.

The child understands in a very different way. First, the child has no knowledge. When there is no knowledge, when you know that you don't know, there is opening. When you know you know, you are closed.

When a child asks a question it is really out of his ignorance; when a grown-up asks a question it is out of his knowledge. The question may be formulated in the same way but the quality of the question is utterly different. When a child asks, there is purity. He does not know, that's why he is asking. When a grown-up asks, he knows, he already knows. The question is out of his knowledge.

When the question is out of knowledge it is impossible to answer it. When you already think you know, you are in conflict with anything that is going to be said to you. You have something at stake -- your knowledge, your past, your belief, your doctrine, your church.

A child has none of these hindrances. That's why Jesus says, 'Unless you are like a child you will not enter into the kingdom of God.'

So don't be worried about why I give children sannyas -- rather be worried about yourself. If you are not a child, even if I give you sannyas you will not receive it.

I go on giving sannyas to every kind of person. To say no is not my way. I hope even against hope. Even when I see somebody who is just like a rock, when I see him closed completely, there is no way to enter into him, then too I never say no. Who knows? Maybe tomorrow he will relax. Maybe just this gesture of his, that he wants to take sannyas, will begin a new chapter in his life. Who knows? Things change, people change. Those who are very, very soft become hard; those who are hard become soft. Life is a constant flux. Maybe in the past things have happened in such a way that the person has become rock-like. The future may be different, may have a different story to tell.

Just looking at the past -- because a man is just his past -- to deny him sannyas because of this past is to deny him any new future, is to deny him any possibility of changing. Who am I to deny? So to whosoever comes, even a rock-like person, I say yes.

To the lowest the highest remains possible. There is no way to go so far away from God that you cannot turn. The farthest point in existence from God is still in God; we cannot go out of him.

When a child comes I accept the child.

I understand why you have asked. You have asked because I say that the children should not be conditioned. But sannyas is not a conditioning, it is just the opposite. If I don't give the child sannyas, he is going to become a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan; he is going to become somebody who will be far worse. By giving him sannyas I allow him entry into a new kind of commune, a new kind of religiousness -- which is not religion but just religiousness.

I am welcoming him to a new kind of family where we are not going to impose any dogma, we are only going to give him a kind of milieu. This is totally different. To give a dogma conditions; to give a milieu is not a conditioning, to give a milieu is just to share.

If I have attained something I can do two things: either I can start conditioning you so that you also attain the same thing -- but through conditioning nothing is ever attained -- or I can start helping to create a milieu, just a climate, where if you want to open, you can open. It is just like the morning -- the sun arrives on the horizon. It does not go to each flower, it does not knock at each bird's nest, it does not order, 'Now start singing -- the morning has come. Now start opening -- the morning has come. Now be awake!' It says nothing. The sun simply stands there. It creates a climate.

That warmth, that life-giving warmth, spreads all over the earth. In that warmth trees start opening their eyes, birds start singing again, flowers open their petals. Nothing is being said, nothing is being conditioned -- it is just the presence.

When I am giving sannyas to you, child or not, what is going to happen by it? It is just that I am allowing you to be in my presence. I am simply allowing you to become friends with me. This is just a friendship in which something is possible if you are ready to move.

And a child is more ready to move, a child is more enquiring, a child still has wondering eyes, a child is still clean. Nothing is written on his slate yet. Sannyas is not a kind of imprisonment, it is just an attitude of coming out of all prisons. So why should the children not be allowed to become sannyasins?

I have no creed, no dogma, no catechism. I am simply a presence. In this presence you can share something, you can partake of me. Everybody is welcome -- a child of three months and an old man of ninety years. Everybody is welcome. Who-soever wants to go on the journey of the unknown is welcome.

And all that we teach here -- if you can call it teaching -- is love and meditation. Both are unconditioning, both are de-hypnotising. We don't teach a philosophy about love, we simply create the milieu where love can grow. And we don't give a ritualistic, formalistic form of meditation -- just the quality of meditativeness. Once you start drinking a little of meditativeness, a little of love. you start growing wings.

Sannyas is not the end of the journey, it is just the beginning. It is the first step. When you become a Christian it is the end, when you become a Hindu it is the end, when you become a Mohammedan it is the end. Then you can relax. Then you need not worry. When you become a Christian it is Christ's duty and responsibility to save you. Now he will do everything. Now you can go on your own way, you can go on doing your things -- you have left the burden on Jesus. He will carry your cross. Nobody can carry your cross, no, not even Jesus. Nobody can save you. How can anybody save you? The moment you start thinking that somebody else is going to save you, you are going to become a slave. The very idea that somebody else is going to save you creates slavery.

I am not a saviour. I don't deal in that kind of nonsense. I am not going to save you. You can save yourself. I will make available all that is in me, you can choose anything you like and love. And there is no enforced effort here to bring you all into the same mould. You can grow the way it happens to you. My trust is in the individual, I don't trust the crowd. The crowd is by its nature ugly. My sannyasins are connected with me individually. My sannyasins are not in fact connected to any organisation.

If you see any kind of organisation, it is just like the post office or the railway management. It is not a church, it is just to make me available to you more easily, more comfortably -- otherwise I would be crowded and it would not be possible to work at all. The organisation is there just like the postal department. It is needed. But it is not an institution. Its function is there, its utility is there, but it is not a church. My sannyasins don't belong to any organisation, they belong to me. And each sannyasin belongs directly to me, it is not via the organisation. The organisation is there only to facilitate things. It is not a party, a sect, a church; it is nothing of the kind.

And to each individual my answer is always different. hence you will find many contradictions. I don't have anything fixed. Whenever I face an individual I reflect him. I see into him. I don't have anything in my mind to enforce. I see into him; I respond to him.

When a child comes I respond in his way; when an old man comes I respond in his way. And each individual is so unique, so utterly unique, that you cannot give the same answer to everybody.


Next: Chapter 8, A Certain Milieu, The second question


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