The work of the serpent
I'M AMAZED TO SEE HOW MUCH FEAR AND HOW MANY WOUNDS FROM MY HEART EVAPORATED, LISTENING TO YOU TALKING ABOUT SHEELA AND HER GANG LEAVING THE COMMUNE. NOW NOBODY WILL THROW ME OUT, AWAY FROM YOU.
BELOVED MASTER, I'M SO HAPPY THAT I'M LAUGHING AND CRYING TOGETHER.
PLEASE, JUST TELL ME ONE THING: WHY DID THIS SHEELA-VIDYA GANG HATE YOUR INDIAN SANNYASINS SO MUCH?
I can see you all are immensely happy. I came to know just a little late that you were dancing in the streets; otherwise, I would have joined you. I myself am feeling for the first time at home.
First the question, then a few more things.
I feel sad and sorry for Sheela and her gang. She has a certain hatred for Indians. The reason is she was raped when she was fifteen or sixteen years old by a man who was a friend of her father, and she had always thought of him as her uncle. Then she became pregnant.
And in India, in those days, pregnancy was a great problem. Abortion was not legal, so illegally, somehow, some physician managed the abortion.
That pain, that distrust, that ugly experience, and the trauma has remained as a wound in her. That is the root cause of her hatred for Indians.
Perhaps I am the only person from India whom she did not hate. The reason is clear, that I may have been born in India, but I am not an Indian. I don't belong to any tradition, any religion, any race, any color. The moment she saw me, heard me, she felt tremendous joy, that at least in the whole of India, of eight hundred million people, she can love one Indian.
The same phenomenon has caused in her mind a deep hatred for men too. Because of that old man she has been taking revenge on all men.
You may have observed that around her there were only homosexuals. Homosexuals are not men, homosexuals are not women. You cannot categorize them as men or women.
First I was thinking, why does she continue to be surrounded by homosexuals? Then I saw the point, that instead of men she would like homosexuals to be around her. They have dropped out of manhood. They are no longer polar opposites to the woman.
In India, she was consistently, for nine years, persuading me to come to America. I would have never come to America, but my physical health was bad. And her persuasion was right, that perhaps in the clean air, in a dry and cool place, my health will recover.
But in her own mind, the basic reason for me to leave India was the rape that had happened there.
She hated the whole country. Her excuse to bring me out of India was perfectly right, but behind the excuse was her psychology. She did not want to live in India herself. She did not want me to live in India. She did not want my people to live in India.
She still carried the same antagonism, and she found excuses to throw away Indians. Many Indians had come to the commune, and had gone back to India with tears in their eyes.
India is a poor country. To make arrangements to come to America, and then to be refused by the commune, is simply inhuman. These people had come by selling their houses, their lands, all their belongings - and they were not accepted.
But because I was in silence, I never came to know what was going on. She had sent away many Indian sannyasins in a very ugly way.
Now everybody can come, because nobody has raped me, nor have I raped anybody. I don't have any antagonism for anybody in the whole world. In fact, it was because of Sheela that Oregon became so hostile to the commune. I was silent. For five years I did not read any newspapers, did not listen to the radio, did not read any books.
It is all finished. I am keeping my eyes open only for you, just to see you and let you see in my eyes is enough. Whatever I had to achieve, I have achieved. I have loved enormously. I have been loved by millions of men and women. There is not any experience which was worth having that I have not passed through.
If death comes in this moment I will be going rejoicing, because it is not taking anything away from me. My life has been a complete contentment and fulfillment.
If I am still breathing, I am breathing for you, because before I leave I would like you to be in the same space in which I have lived.
So now nobody will be thrown out of the commune, and anybody who knocks on our doors has to be accepted.
Now there is no need for Oregonians to be hostile to us. Our hands will be always waiting for their hands, and our hearts will be always waiting for their hearts.
Sheela created this ugly situation because her life has been misery, anger, hatred. She created an unnecessary hostility.
But now I am speaking again. That hostility will disappear just like a dewdrop on a lotus leaf disappears in the early morning sun.
We are Oregonians. Now it is for Oregonians to become red! Why should those poor people choose to be dead rather than be red? We will change the whole situation. The whole world is ours - Oregon included. They are simple human beings reacting in simple human ways. There was no need to create what Sheela did.
It is past history and we have to erase it.
Just the other day I came to know that Sheela, and the whole gang that has escaped from here, were trying to kill three people who are very close to me: Devaraj, my physician; Devageet, who was my dentist in India; and Vivek, who has taken care of me for all these fifteen years as lovingly as no other woman is capable of. Twenty-four hours a day she has been just like a shadow to me, thinking of such small things - about my dress, about my bath, about my food.
You will not have seen any kitchen where a doctor is sitting and weighing calories of everything.
They are very miserly; they don't allow me more than three thousand calories per day. And I have to speak five hours, just on three thousand calories!
But they love me, and they don't want me to leave my body before my people are ready.
I may have died without Vivek, Devaraj, Devageet, anytime. They have taken every care to keep me alive as long as possible.
Now Sheela is gone and the whole gang is gone. Things were repressed out of fear. People who knew could not say, because saying meant they would be thrown out of the commune, and they did not want to leave me. Just to be with me they had to carry wounds in their hearts.
One sannyasin came immensely happy and told Vivek that there was a meeting a few months before.... Vivek, Devaraj and Devageet - all three should be killed by slow poisoning. And she could not understand, so she left the meeting. So she does not know what decision they came to.
But they must have decided to, because Vivek got one dose of slow poison and her heartbeat went absolutely berserk. It took three hours for doctors, medicine, to bring her heartbeat back to normal. This has never happened before. She had taken only one cup of tea at Jesus Grove, and immediately this happened.
In the meeting here, in the last ceremony, Devaraj was injected with poison. He is a doctor, has the highest qualifications from Britain. He immediately understood what had been done. He felt the prick. It happened when Shanti B. was by the side of him, telling him something, one hand on his shoulder, another hand near his body on the floor.
He immediately started saying that he had been poisoned, he had been injected. Nobody could believe it, but his situation was... he became pale as if he was dying. He had to be sent to Bend Hospital.
Hasya was there to take care of him. The doctors who were looking after him told Hasya that there seemed to be no reason for his sudden sickness, except that some poisoning had been done. They also said that the same case had happened with the attorney of Jefferson County last year, and they suspect it was exactly the same case of poisoning.
Now this gang was making it instead of a meditation camp, a concentration camp. And why did these three people have to be removed, to be killed? Just because they were close to me.
Sheela never wanted anybody to be close to me, for a simple reason: so I am never able to know what she is doing outside, what she is saying outside, in my name.
And you will be surprised and shocked, that even my room, my sitting room, my bedroom - they were all bugged. On the surface they were all saying that they love me and they are ready to die for me. What could be the reason to bug my room? And Vivek suspected it, because her room was also bugged. Hasya's house was bugged, and every telephone call was taped. Now, my people are not talking politics on telephones - perhaps with a friend, with a lover.
And when I suspected this, I asked her. She said, "No. We are simply tapping the phones of people whom we suspect are planted by the government."
I said, "In four years, how much information have you got? You show me."
They had not a single piece of information. So I said, "What is the point? For four years those thirty people were not phoning at all?"
And this is simply an excuse to listen to other people's conversations. And it is ugly, inhuman, undemocratic. It is a crime. It is interference in people's privacy.
I was not aware that they were even bugging my room. It will be difficult for you to believe - yesterday we discovered and disconnected a bugging device.
She was continuously insisting that my room should have a buzzer, an emergency buzzer, so that the guards know immediately if anything is wrong.
I said, "From inside what can be wrong? Guards are outside. If anything wrong is going to happen to me, it will come from outside. They should have a buzzer to inform me. I am living isolated. Nobody can even see me from the outside, and I cannot see anybody outside. The buzzer is pointless."
What she insisted was: in some emergency it may be needed. I said, "Okay, if you are so intent, it does me no harm." But the point was - just yesterday we came to know - when the buzzer was removed, there was a microphone. It was a bugging device.
I was seeing a few people once in a while. She never wanted for me to see anybody. But I said, "This is not possible. I have a certain message for somebody, certain instruction for somebody. And I don't think you are capable of doing it. So the person has to be called."
So that was the reason for bugging my room - what am I saying to people whom I have called?
She had created almost a fascist state. It was ugly. It was criminal. And the whole bunch has escaped. Knowing that once Sheela and the main people are gone, the others will be in trouble because soon these things will be discovered....
But we are not going to leave these criminals in the world. They will destroy other communes, other people. I am going to inform the government; I am going to inform the international police force; I am going to inform all the communes; I am going to inform the press media. These people should be treated as criminals.
One of our old sannyasins, Shunyo, has donated three hundred thousand dollars, after an attack on my life was made, to purchase a bulletproof car. Those three hundred thousand dollars were simply swallowed up by Sheela and her brother, Bipin. They went on saying, "The money will be returned, it will be returned within a month." Now almost eight years have passed, and not a single dollar has been returned to the commune. And I heard yesterday that, although Sheela and her whole gang has left, Bipin is still in Jesus house.
Geeta has proved a jewel. She was the secretary of Sheela. Sheela wanted her also to go with them; Geeta refused. She has seen the working of Sheela closely, and she did not want to be part of that criminal gang. She informed me that this Bipin is in the house. I told her, "Tell him to leave immediately - he has nothing to do here - because he may do more mischief."
These people could do all this harm, and much more about which we are not aware. But rumors are coming and soon people will start finding what else they have done.
It is just a rumor that they tried to poison the whole of The Dalles city by poisoning their water system. It is just a rumor right now. They did not succeed, but they made the attempt.
I am trying to make you absolutely apolitical, with no desire for power; and these people were using you and your strength for their own ambitions.
I have heard that some government office in The Dalles was burned, and it was the work of this group. These people could have done anything.
They could have killed me. Perhaps, after killing those three people who are taking care of my health, they would have started slowly poisoning me, so they become absolute dictators in the commune.
So it really feels fresh. The air seems to be totally different, and we are fortunate that they left by themselves. Perhaps they suspected that the time has come when they may be exposed.
Perhaps they have taken away money from the commune... because they have left the commune with a fifty-five-million-dollar debt. And strangely enough, three days before they left I asked Savita - because she was looking after the finances - "How much debt do you have?"
She said, "Nearabout two and a half million."
Just three days before, two and a half million. They became experts in lying. The night she was leaving, I asked her, "You tell me exactly how much debt, because anybody who is going to run the commune will have to take care of the debt."
She said, "It must be thirty to thirty-five million."
I said, "Strange. Just within two days, from two and a half million, to thirty to thirty-five million? What happened in these two days?"
She said, "I was not aware of the whole thing. Because you asked me, I looked into it."
I said, "But I have heard that you are leaving a fifty-five-million-dollar debt. And you are still saying thirty-five. Be true!"
Hearing the figure fifty-five million dollars, she said, "Perhaps it is fifty-five million dollars." Suddenly from thirty-five it becomes fifty-five - just there within two minutes. These people were lying to me.
These people were lying to you.
Your letters were not reaching exactly - only those letters they wanted were coming. My answers were not reaching to you exactly as I had dictated them. They were edited. They managed the answers according to their ideas.
One thing has to be remembered, that such a thing should never happen again in this commune.
For that reason, I am not going to be in silence again. Even if I die, just because of old habit I will go on speaking. Habits die hard; man dies very easily. But I am not going into silence. I have to keep completely acquainted with what is happening, so never again such a fascist thing happens to my people.
I love you so much. I could not conceive that anybody would do such criminal acts against you. And you have shown a great quality of trust, even in that group which was not trustworthy. I appreciate your trust. I condemn their acts, but I appreciate your trust.
But it is not going to happen again. And you all have to be aware that it should not happen again.
And if you see anything like it happen - even the beginning of it - now I will be available to you directly.
SINCE YOU STARTED SPEAKING AGAIN LAST YEAR, I HEARD YOU SEVERAL TIMES QUOTING THE STORY OF ADAM AND EVE LONGING FOR THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE, ALWAYS IN THE SENSE THAT THEY DID A GREAT JOB FOR MANKIND. BUT, ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE, IT WAS NOT JUST THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE, BUT THE TREE OF DETERMINATION OF GOOD AND BAD. WASN'T IT THIS DESIRE OF THE MIND FOR JUDGMENT AND SPLITTING INTO DUALITIES THAT CAUSED MAN'S LOSS OF INNOCENCE AND PARADISE THAT IS DESCRIBED IN THIS SYMBOLIC STORY?
For the moment, just for argument's sake, I will accept what you are saying - the story is about the tree of knowledge - but if you call it the tree of the determination of good and bad, it comes to mean the same thing.
What is it that determines, discriminates the good from the bad? It is awareness. It is your consciousness. So what name you give to the tree will not make much difference.
And don't try to befool yourself by saying that when man fell into a state of sin, he lost his innocence.
Let me ask you a question: Does your God knows what is good and what is bad? If your God does not know what is good and what is bad, then he must be a buffalo. And if God knows what is good and bad, then to know good and bad is a divine quality.
Do you mean to say - you must have a very fanatic Christian upbringing - do you want to say that your God has fallen into sin, because he knows what is good and what is bad?
Both the ways are open to you. Either you have to accept that he is just a buffalo chewing grass, not knowing what is good, what is bad.... That, of course, you cannot accept, because on the day of judgment how will he discriminate who is good and who is bad? How will he send his saints to heaven and the sinners to hell? He must have the discriminating power. He must be able to see what is white and what is black.
And if God is not committing sin, then what is the fear - why prevent Adam and Eve from knowing good from bad, discriminating? Because that is the only way to follow the good.
And what you call innocence... think twice. You are calling ignorance innocence. Ignorance looks like innocence; it is not innocence.
For example, it is said that the man who is awakened again becomes just like a child - innocent.
Mind the words, just like a child - not a child, because the child is not innocent, he is simply ignorant.
That's why the child can be exploited by you, by your society, by your priests, by your politicians, by everybody. He is ignorant. He knows nothing of what is right and what is wrong. So in every society, every religion, he is given ideas.
For example, Christians don't think alcohol is wrong. In fact, on their holy days they drink alcohol - and from the same glass. Just think of AIDS. AIDS has disturbed all your Christian ceremonies.
Mohammedans eat off one plate; that is a sign of friendship, love. But what about AIDS? Now it is not friendship to eat from the same plate. Nothing can be more inimical.
What is good and what is bad?
In ignorant children you can enforce any idea that "This is good." For example, in Jainism, the Jaina monk cannot use a simple thing like a razor blade, because that is using technology - high technology. He has to pull out his hair. And every year thousands of people come to see the monk pull out his hair. It is painful, stupid, but those people... you should see the crowd; they are crying with respect: "Now this man is doing something great. This is what a saint should be." They have conditioned their children that this is what it means to be a saint.
Unfortunately, I was born in this religion - Jainism. But it was going to be "unfortunately" anywhere I was to be born, because to be a Christian or a Jew or a Hindu or a Mohammedan does not matter.
In this matter, a child cannot yet find parents who will not condition him. A child cannot say, "I am born, fortunately, to parents who have not conditioned me, who have given me freedom, who have given me as sharp an intellect as possible, who have taught me how to doubt, how to be skeptical, how to be an agnostic, how to inquire and never believe unless I come to know myself."
In my childhood I have seen many Jaina monks pulling out their hair, and I used to say to my father, "I don't see anything good in it. It is not doing any good to humanity, it is not something creative. It is not making life more beautiful. In fact, that man is a masochist."
And my father would say, "You keep quiet. If you cannot keep quiet, go home, but don't say such things. A masochist?"
I said, "I cannot be quiet, and I cannot go away from here. I have to see the whole show of this masochism."
It is a known fact that mad people in madhouses pluck their hair. And you may know women - because they cannot do any other harm to the man they love, they start pulling out their own hair.
So this Jaina monk is doing something feminine too; he is not really a male. Pulling out your hair...
I don't see any beauty, any grace in it. Look at his face: it is distorted with pain. But he is doing it because thousands of people are applauding. His ego is fulfilled. For his ego he is ready to suffer.
In Jainism it is thought to be great, a good quality. What do you think? Is it great, a good quality?
This is what you have done to ignorant children. Their ignorance looks like innocence, but remember, ignorance is negative. It simply means they don't know. Innocence is positive. It has known everything and dropped it - it was not worth knowing.
You cannot corrupt an innocent person. Innocence is the highest peak of growth. The child cannot be innocent, that's why it is said "just like a child." The saint does not become a child - just like a child. It is only an example, to make you understand.
God wanted Adam and Eve to remain always ignorant? not to know what is good and what is bad?
And when you don't know what is good and what is bad, there is every possibility you may be bad, a fifty-fifty chance. And you may not feel that you are doing anything bad. You may murder somebody and you will not feel that you are doing anything bad.
No, whatever you call the tree, this God will not change me. You can call the tree anything.
It is just an idiotic story, because there is no forbidden fruit. It is supposed to be the apple - it was an apple tree. And just because it was an apple tree, I used to eat as many apples in the day as possible so that I would not remain ignorant. But I found that apples have no quality, no chemicals to make you more alert, more aware. What fruit can make you more aware, more discriminating, more knowing what is good and what is bad?
So you can play and change the name of the tree, but whatever name you put on it, I will hit on it without any difficulty. It does not matter. To me, what really matters is that God has not punished man for eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge, or from the tree of determining what is good and bad. He punished them because they disobeyed. Disobedience is sin.
Not always. If all the Germans had disobeyed Adolf Hitler, would you call it sin? Ten million people would not have died if Germans had eaten from the tree of discrimination of what is good and what is bad. It seems in Germany the tree does not grow. They obeyed a madman. And according to this obedience they followed whatever was said to them.
Do you think obedience is always a virtue and disobedience always a sin? No, there are moments when disobedience is a virtue, and obedience is a sin. In fact, in the sick society in which you are living, you will find more occasions for disobedience - if you want to be pure, innocent - than you will find moments for obedience.
And you seem to be offended because I am saying that it was something great, a great blessing for humanity. I repeat it again: it was the greatest blessing for humanity that Adam and Eve disobeyed your phony God. Otherwise, remember, you would have still been in the Garden of Eden chewing grass, not knowing what is right and what is wrong.
God wanted you to remain animals.
It is by the great revolutionary serpent - he is the first revolutionary in the world; whoever he was, he was the beginning of humanity - animals were transformed into human beings.
But you go on falling back into obedience, so I have to do the work of the serpent: to teach you doubt, to teach you disobedience, to teach you inquiry and to never be satisfied unless you know.
And eat as many fruits from the apple tree - they are good.
It is said, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Such a good fruit that keeps the doctor away - just one fruit.
The story is symbolic. All stories are symbolic, they are not historical facts, but they indicate something tremendously beautiful: the God who imposed obedience was just a fascist. He wanted them to be always just animals under his rule. But if man became aware of what is good and what is bad, what was the problem for God? Was man wrong?
The devil, they say, came in the form of the serpent. Strange. One who is bad would like people not to be able to discriminate between good and bad. One who is good would like people to discriminate between good and bad, so they can always do good.
If you look at the story without your Christian eyes, you will be surprised. The devil seems to be good and God seems to be bad, because the devil is for awareness, knowledge, discrimination, and God is not for freedom or disobedience. This God must be a fascist.
Humanity owes much to the serpent. Whatever we have attained, whatever has been our civilization, culture, art, literature, music, our creativity, science... you have to be in immense debt which cannot be paid - to the serpent, or to the devil.
If there was no devil, there would have been no humanity, no Shakespeare, no Goethe, no Michelangelo, no Albert Einstein, no Moses, no Jesus, no Buddha. There would have been nothing, just animals moving around looking for grass or water.
Have you thought of the alternative?
Every credit goes to the devil. If you want to worship somebody, worship the devil. He is your real creator.
God has made you just out of mud, that's why you are called human. The word "human" comes from humus. Humus means mud.
Not a very good job, not very respectful to human beings. God could have made you with something better - with gold, with diamonds, with emeralds, with rubies - nothing is impossible for God. Why make you out of humus?
And I always think that the humus was taken from the Big Muddy Ranch; otherwise, how could you create such a Big Muddy Ranch?
You were not really created, man and woman, by God. He created only animals. The transformation came through the devil. And you have to know that the word "devil" is not bad. It comes from the same Sanskrit root as divine. Devil means divine. Nobody knows what God means.
I was reading the book, WAITING FOR GODOT, and I thought "Godot" looks like "God" - but in what language is God called Godot? So I inquired of Haridas, because I suspected it must be German.
And Haridas said, "No. In German we call God, 'Gott!'"
Strange, nobody has got him, and Germans call him Gott! He has never been found anywhere. But Germans are strange people. They may have "gott" him. That's why nobody else can get him. And if ever they got him, they must have put him with the Jews in the gas chamber, because God is a Jew! The biblical God is bound to be a Jew.
So now I know. He is no more there, just holy smoke.