The first question:
How can I know if detachment or indifference is growing within?
It is not difficult to know. How do you know when you have a headache and how do you know when you don’t have a headache? It is simply clear. When you are growing in detachment you will become healthier, happier; your life will become a life of joy. That is the criterion of all that is good. Joy is the criterion. If you are growing in joy, you are growing, and you are getting towards home.
With indifference there is no possibility that joy can grow. In fact, if you have any joy, that will disappear.
Happiness is health, and, to me, religion is basically hedonistic. Hedonism is the very essence of religion. To be happy is all.
So remember, if things are going right, and you are moving in the right direction, each moment will bring more joy – as if you are going towards a beautiful garden. The closer you come, the air will be fresher, cooler, more fragrant. That will be the indication that you are moving in the right direction. If the air becomes less fresh, less cool, less fragrant, then you are moving in the opposite direction.
The existence is made out of joy. That is its very stuff. Joy is the stuff existence is made of. So whenever you are moving towards becoming more existential you will be becoming more and more full of joy, delight, for no reason at all. If you are moving into detachment, love will grow, joy will grow, only attachments will drop – because attachments bring misery, because attachments bring bondage, because attachments destroy your freedom. But if you are becoming indifferent… Indifference is a pseudo-coin, it looks like detachment, but it only looks like detachment. Nothing will be growing in it. You will simply shrink and die.
So go and see: there are so many monks in the world – Catholic, Hindu, Jaina, Buddhist – watch them. They don’t give a radiant feeling, they don’t have the aura of fragrance, they don’t look more alive than you are; in fact, they look less alive, crippled, paralyzed. Controlled of course, but not in a deeper, inner discipline; controlled but not conscious; following a certain conscience that society has given to them but not yet aware, not yet free, not yet individuals. They live as if they are already in their grave, just waiting to die. Their life becomes morose, monotonous, sad – it is a sort of despair.