The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Question: What about the so-called saints? They’re not real saints but considered to be by society.
Listener (L): I’ve got a beautiful expression about this, “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future”.
Acharya Prashant (AP): A saint is nobody special. We are saints. Now that breaks our own image in our mind. We are saints. Why are you not a saint? Prove that you are not a saint. How are you not a saint? Saints are undifferentiable. The Atman is the only Saint. We all are saints. You don’t have to go to a saint and we are also the so-called saints.
When you’re operating from the right centre, you are the Saint. When you’re operating from somewhere else, then you’re the so-called saint.
What if the person called a saint didn’t have words? What if he was not wearing a special robe? What if he was not keeping his hair in a special way? What if he was in normal civilian uniform and you meet him on a train and there are no words, how would you know him as a Saint?
L: Maybe you don’t!
L1: Usually people who are much evolved have a certain energy, certain radiation.
AP: Energy is a very physical quantity. It can be detected by instruments. There is nothing called the body giving out energy. Forget about it being Spiritual, it is not even Scientific.
L: Yeah, but it is still something I experience.
AP: Whatever one experience is a thing of the mind. One can keep experiencing anything. By imagining a beautiful woman, you can experience arousal. That does not mean that the beautiful woman is there.
L: Ramana Maharishi said you can’t recognize unless you yourself are. But maybe the best indication is you might feel peaceful in their presence.
AP: So, the fellow is just there wearing nothing special. Wearing a shirt and trousers and sitting adjacent to you on a train. How will that bring peace to you? My question is would any of these saints remain if they’re robbed of their vocabulary, their clothes, their prestige, and their podium? What if they’re sent to walk the streets…