Be, known thyself, keep the measure
WE POOR MODERN GREEKS DON'T KNOW WHAT THE TRUE RELIGION OF OUR ANCESTORS WAS. SO-CALLED SCHOLARS HAVE NO ANSWER AS THEY ARE CONFUSED BY THE RICH MYTHOLOGY OF POETS. HOWEVER, AT DELPHI ONLY THREE ADMONITIONS WERE ENGRAVED ON THE ORIGINAL TEMPLE: BE, KNOW YOURSELF, KEEP THE MEASURE.
WOULD YOU, BELOVED MASTER, REVEAL HOW THESE THREE MYSTERIOUS PRECEPTS - INCLUDING MEDITATION, SELF-AWARENESS, ET CETERA, BUT NO GOD - COULD CONSTITUTE THE WHOLE RELIGION ACCEPTABLE TO MEN LIKE SOCRATES, HERACLITUS AND DIOGENES?
Amrit Theodorus, Greece lost its golden age not because of mythological scholarship or poetic imagination; it lost its golden age the day it decided to poison Socrates. It killed its own highest expression of spirit.
In the death of Socrates starts the decline of a tremendously beautiful and great civilization which has given to the world people like Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Epicurus, Plotinus and many more. The whole Western civilization owes its origins to the Greek genius.
To understand why it has become poor - not only outwardly but inwardly too - you will have to understand that when a civilization kills a man like Socrates, Socrates is not killed, that very civilization is killed.
Socrates' death has to be understood because without understanding it, Greece and its intelligence cannot come back to the heights it has already known.
Democracy was born in Greece but unfortunately we have not been able, up to now, to tolerate or forgive the giants amongst us. Their very presence becomes a deep wound in our being. Rather than becoming a challenge, a great invitation for a pilgrimage to the heights of consciousness, it becomes a wound. And it is very difficult to live with that wound. Something has to be done, and the easiest way is to destroy the man who makes you feel small.
The height of Socrates or Diogenes simply makes the ordinary man so inferior. But there are two ways to face this situation; one has never been used. The unused way is that the presence of Socrates or Pythagoras should become a deep certainty that "what can happen to another man can also happen to me. In their heights are my heights, hidden inside. In their freedom are the seeds of my freedom. In their sky, the stars have become clear - just a little effort is needed and my dark night can also be full of stars." Their presence should become a guarantee of human potential, of human growth, of possibilities which ordinarily look too far away.
But if Socrates can touch those stars, in his hands our hands are also hidden, because no two human beings are essentially different. All differences are non-essential; the intrinsic man is one and the same. But this path has not been chosen - because it was difficult, because it would have to be proved by traveling to the same heights on the same lonely path, to attain to the same light and the same consciousness.
Man chooses the easier. He does not bother whether the easier is truer or not. The easier is to remove the man like Socrates. His removal will take away the wound that his presence creates.
Then you can be happy in your ordinariness, then you can rejoice in your retardedness, then there is no one who can hurt your ego.
Socrates was not killed because he had committed any crime. His only crime can be that he attained what is hidden in you. He made reality what is only potential in you; he transformed the seed into a glorious flower, dancing in the wind and the sun. You cannot, the masses cannot forgive such a man. It hurts our ego very deeply.
And the masses are powerful as a crowd. Men like Socrates are alone; they are a majority of one.
The crowd could not prove anything against Socrates. Still, he was poisoned and killed. Even in his death he was great, and the people who killed him, even in their life proved to be very ugly, mean and small. But it creates a situation in which no other man will try to become a Socrates, because if to be Socrates means to be poisoned by the crowd, then why bother? Keep quiet. Don't annoy and irritate the ordinary and the mundane.
Once this settles in the mind of people, great people start disappearing. Slowly, slowly a country like Greece, which has brought humanity many flowers, became poor on both counts. The outer poverty is not so important, because it can be destroyed easily, but the inner poverty is very difficult. It is not easy to create Socrates or Heraclitus or Pythagoras. We have destroyed the atmosphere in which such roses blossom. By destroying these flowers we have destroyed the possibility of other flowers who could have blossomed. What is the point, if this kind of treatment is going to happen?
One Christian missionary - a great thinker in his own right, Stanley Jones - used to come to India.
I had become very friendly with him just by chance, because the church in which he used to speak was just near my house. I said to him once, "Jesus has promised to come back again, very soon.
Now it is too long. You cannot stretch 'very soon' that long - one year, two years but not two thousand years!"
He said, "I had never thought about it."
But I told him, "I have thought about it: he will never come!"
He said, "On what grounds are you saying this?"
I said, "If he is intelligent, then one experience is enough. What have you given to the man?
Crucifixion - and you are still expecting him to come?" And I told Stanley Jones to read a book that he had not read - Dostoevski's BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, one of the greatest books written by any man. But it is so big that very few people have dared even to start to read it. Just the voluminousness of the book prevents them. But it is so valuable that hundreds of BIBLES are of no value compared to it. Dostoevski has written it with his own blood.
In that book one character is Ivan Karamazov. There are three brothers, hence the name BROTHERS KARAMAZOV. One brother is very religious, almost saintly. Another brother is a rationalist, an atheist, absolutely against the other brother - thinks him naive, stupid - and his worship.
One day he tells him a story....
He says, "Have you heard that Jesus has come back?"
The other brother said, "I have never heard. Where is he?"
He said, "You are continuously reading THE BIBLE. You don't have time to inquire what is happening around. Jesus had come on a Sunday morning in Jerusalem, hoping, 'Now, I will be received and welcomed, because last time they were not my people. Now I am going amongst my own people.
My own priests and bishops and cardinals and the pope - they will celebrate my coming. And I had promised the second coming; I have to fulfill it.'"
The crowd was coming out of the church, the morning service had ended, so he stood there under a tree waiting to see whether they would recognize him or not. A crowd gathered around him - they recognized him not as Jesus Christ, but that "he seems to be some crackpot who is trying to pretend to be Jesus Christ" - and they started advising him that before the bishop comes out of the church, "It is better you get as far away from here as possible."
But Jesus said, "I am Jesus Christ."
And they all laughed.
He said, "This is strange. People laughed the same way eighteen centuries ago, but they were not my people. And you are my people, my sheep, my flock."
And people said, "Just get down. Don't pretend. We accept that you are a good actor, but that does not mean that you are Jesus Christ. What is the guarantee? Have you got any certificate, any message from God? It is just that you look like Jesus Christ. Anybody... and there are many who play the part of Jesus Christ in dramas, it is nothing new. Just don't be stupid. If the bishop comes to know, you will be in difficulty."
Jesus said, "Wait. You are ordinary, uneducated people. You cannot understand. But the bishop is my representative. He is bound to recognize me." The bishop came out and the crowd gave way for him.
The bishop shouted at Jesus Christ, "You idiot, get down from that platform and come into the church!"
Jesus said, "Have you not recognized me?"
He said, "I have recognized. Just get into the church."
Jesus followed him thinking, "Perhaps he does not want to recognize me in front of people, or he wants to talk to me privately inside the church."
And inside the church the bishop locked him into a room and told him, "I will release you only when you come to your senses - and I will call a barber to shave your beard and change your clothes.
This kind of thing cannot be allowed. It is irreligious."
Jesus could not believe. He said, "This is strange!"
In the middle of the night the bishop came with a candle, unlocked the door, fell at the feet of Jesus and said, "Forgive me. I had recognized you, but we are doing your business perfectly well. You are not needed at all. In fact, if you insist, we will have to crucify you - unwillingly - because people like you are always troublemakers. With great difficulty we have managed your empire. Almost half the earth follows you, not because of you but because you have the best managers - the priests, the bishops, the cardinals, the pope. What more can you do? We are already doing it! It is better you go back. Don't make unnecessary trouble; otherwise the second coming will become the second crucifixion."
This story from BROTHERS KARAMAZOV I told to Stanley Jones and asked him what he thought about it. It is fictitious, but I think it has a truth in it - if Jesus comes, this will be the behavior towards him....
I have heard that one early Sunday morning a young man looking like Jesus entered a church before the bishop entered. The bishop was almost in shock, but thought, "Perhaps he is just a hippie - these hippies are creating so much trouble. Now he is pretending to be Jesus Christ. What is he doing here?"
He approached the young man, and the young man immediately said, "Don't be misguided by your mind. I am not a hippie, I am Jesus Christ. You have been worshipping and you have been asking for me to come and now I have come. Last time, I had come to a very remote part of the world, uneducated. I thought this time, New York would be better."
The bishop could not figure out what to do. He said, "Wait a minute." He phoned immediately to the Vatican, to the pope, saying, "I am in great trouble. A man whom I think is a hippie, but he looks exactly like Jesus Christ... and who knows? He may be. I need your guidance."
The pope said, "Jesus Christ? Do two things: inform the police and look busy!"
It has not only happened in Greece, it has happened almost all over the world. Judea has not been able to create another man of the quality of Jesus, nor has Arabia been able to create another man of the quality of Al-Hillaj Mansoor.... Something similar, in different ways in different countries, has created a spiritual poverty.
In India we have not crucified Gautam Buddha but we have been more sophisticated in destroying him, far more clever - and it is bound to be so because India is a far more ancient land than Greece.
At least for ten thousand years India has been in existence.
Gautam Buddha and Socrates were contemporaries, but before Socrates there is emptiness in Greece. There were sophists, but sophists are not seekers of truth. There is not a single figure who can be compared to Socrates. Greece reaches its youth with Socrates - and dies young with Socrates. Much more was possible.
Gautam Buddha was not the first in the line but the last. Socrates was the first in the line. Gautam Buddha was not new to India - Krishna and Adinatha and Naminatha and Rama and Parasurama and Yagnavalka... and the story goes back at least ten thousand years. A far more sophisticated country, naturally. It has killed Gautam Buddha not by poisoning him, but by far more subtle means.
The Hindu scriptures say - and you can see it - that in India Gautam Buddha's influence has completely disappeared. The whole of Asia became influenced by Gautam Buddha - faraway countries like Korea and Taiwan and China and Mongolia and Japan and Sri Lanka and Burma.
The whole of Asia except India became Buddhist. What happened to India?
Buddhism simply disappeared from India as if Buddha had never been born here. The Hindu priest is more cunning than the masses who crucified Jesus and the masses who decided to poison Socrates. The Hindu priest is far more ancient, far more cunning, far more clever; he knows that if you kill somebody, then there will remain sympathizers. Then there is a possibility that a religion may become consolidated just because the founder was killed.
Christianity is not founded by Jesus but by the cross; hence I have always called it Crossianity. It has nothing to do with Jesus. If Jews had been a little more sophisticated, as Hindus were, they would have tolerated Jesus. He was not doing any harm. Even if he was saying that he is the only begotten son of God, what is the harm? Let him believe it. All that he needs is some psychiatric help. But crucifixion is not psychiatric help.
Hindu priests have written that God created the world - he created heaven and hell - and he appointed the Devil to rule over hell, but millions of years passed and nobody entered hell because nobody was committing any sin. The Devil became tired. He reached God and he said, "I resign!
What kind of job? Millions of years I am waiting... not a single soul has ever reached. You can appoint somebody else."
God said, "Don't be worried. Go back. I will make arrangements so that people start entering into hell. I will be born as Gautam Buddha in India and I will corrupt people's minds and they will start going astray from the authentic Hindu religion. Then don't blame me. Hell will be overcrowded and you will have to control it."
Since then, the Devil is perfectly happy, his empire has been growing. All the Buddhists that have disappeared from India are in hell. And this was a strategy: Gautam Buddha was condemned by the Hindus exactly in the same terms, but in a very cunning way.
Socrates was condemned by saying that he was corrupting the youth - and the same was the case about Gautam Buddha, but it was enough just to spread the idea: "He is a god so you can worship him. But remember, don't get influenced by him, don't follow him."
He is certainly a god - Hindus accept him as one of the reincarnations of God, but his reincarnation is to "corrupt people so that the Devil is satisfied." Do you see the sophisticated way? They don't deny Gautam Buddha's godhood, but they deny his philosophy, his religion. They say it is all corruption, to make people go astray from virtue.
It is a strange fact that Hindus have succeeded in destroying Gautam Buddha far more successfully than the Jews with Jesus, or the people who killed Socrates. They have all failed.
A time came just three hundred years after Gautam Buddha's death...
Three hundred years afterwards, Alexander the Great from Greece came to India. His teacher was Aristotle, one of the disciples of Plato who was a disciple of Socrates. And he was surprised that Buddhism had almost disappeared. Buddhists were either killed or converted or forced to leave the country.
Even in Bodhgaya - where Gautam Buddha became enlightened, and his followers have made a memorial temple - the priest is a brahmin because there was no Buddhist to be found, even to be the priest in the temple.
I have been to the temple. I asked the priest, the present priest whose family had been there generation after generation. His family have become the owners of the land and the temple where Gautam Buddha meditated, became enlightened, where he used to walk. Every place is occupied by the brahmins, and it has been so for eighteen centuries. You could not even fight the case. And they are AGAINST Gautam Buddha. They don't believe in his philosophy, but they worship Gautam Buddha because he is a Hindu god who helps the Devil to populate Hell. He is a god, but his philosophy is absolutely wrong and his religion is a corruption. Nobody in the world has killed a great philosophy like Gautam Buddha's with such subtle and sophisticated means.
It has happened all over the world that man has settled into a kind of mediocre, retarded state of mind. Now Gautam Buddhas don't arise, now Socrates is no longer heard. But because of these people's disappearance from the earth, we have become so poor, we have forgotten completely our innermost being. And this situation has helped the priests - which is the most corrupted, cunning profession in the world; it exploits people.
Your question is very significant. You say that in the ancient temple of Delphi, only three admonitions were engraved on the original temple: Be, know yourself, keep the measure. God is not mentioned, heaven and hell are not mentioned, worship and prayer are not mentioned.
In fact, within these three words the whole religion is complete. Other than these three words, all is non-essential rubbish which priests have been imposing. The garbage has gathered so much that the authentic is completely lost. Just a single word, be, is the whole of religion. The other two are explanations.
You are - that much is certain. Being is certain - but who you are, for that you will have to go on an inner journey. Hence the second statement: Know thyself.
And the third statement is of immense importance: Keep the measure. Unfortunately, nobody has been able to keep the measure. In fact it is very difficult for the so-called scholars to exactly understand the meaning. Why keep the measure? For what? A strange statement: Be, Know Thyself, Keep the Measure. You will have to look....
You are and the world is. You have one universe of your inner being and you have another universe outside you. Keep the measure means: remember the introvert has lost the measure, has forgotten the balance; the extrovert has also got lost. The West has lost balance because it is only extrovert; it only thinks about objective truth - the reality that is available to science. And the East has lost the measure because it only thinks of its own inner world; the outside is condemned as illusory, maya.
It does not exist, it only appears. Don't be bothered with appearances.
The East has decided for the inner and the West has decided for the outer. Both have forgotten what was engraved on Delphi's temple: Keep the Measure - a tremendously meaningful statement.
You are, but without knowing who you are, it does not have much meaning, significance.
Understanding, awareness that you are - just knowing this much, that "I am" - is not enough. It is not much knowing. You have to go into your inner being to explore the vast blissfulness and the peace and the silence and your divineness, your godliness. But don't get lost into the inner. The outer is also divine, the outer is also immensely useful.
Science and religion... unless they are together, they are going to create some kind of poverty. The West is poor spiritually. It may have immense wealth and all kinds of technology and all kinds of comforts, but what is the use? The whole house is full of things but the master is completely lost.
You don't know who you are.
And if you insist, "Who are you?" you will think that you are asking a significant question. Others will think, "You seem to be mad. I am a doctor. I am an engineer. I am a businessman... what more do you want to know about me? My family, my father's name, my name - what else?"
And certainly you are not your name; it is just a label - useful. You are not just your profession, you are not your job, and you are not your wealth. You are not your knowledge. Then who are you?
In this simple statement, be, is hidden the whole art of meditation. It means just being silent without any thought, simply drowning into your own consciousness, deeper and deeper, until you reach to the very center. And it has to be your own experience, you cannot borrow it. Without knowing it, you will remain poor. You will have many things, but you will not have yourself.
Knowing thyself is the only way to experience the meaning and significance of existence.
Now there are contemporary philosophers in the West, existentialists, who insist that there is no meaning, no significance; man is just accidental, it has no essence. These people are very influential today. In fact that is the only contemporary school of philosophers in the West. They represent the genius of the whole West. Their conclusion can only be suicide. If life has no meaning, if life is an accident, then why suffer? Why be miserable? Why be old and why be sick and why go into unnecessary anxieties, wishes, angst? There is no point.
According to existentialism, you are not needed, you are unnecessarily forcing yourself. You are just like mushrooms, grown up existentially, accidentally, because a cloud rained; otherwise you are not needed. You are not serving any purpose. Existence is perfectly happy without you. The stars will not miss you. Do you think they will miss you? Do you think they will miss if Niskriya is not sitting there like a Chinaman? - that without him everything will be disturbed?
No, existentialists say everything will continue to be as it is. You will not be missed, because you are unnecessary.
One wonders that people like Jean-Paul Sartre and Jaspers and Heidegger... why don't these people commit suicide? Perhaps the only reason is that there is no meaning in committing suicide either. So drag on, and wherever you go, in whichever direction you go, you will reach the grave, so what is the hurry? Why dig your own grave? Somebody else will dig it.
The West has lost all contact with the inner being and the East is poor, hungry, starving, because it has lost... Remember the third statement engraved in the temple of Delphi: Keep the Measure.
Remain balanced. The outer and the inner should be like two wings: with one wing you cannot fly like an eagle into the sky; you need both the wings.
Science alone is going to lead humanity to suicide, and religion alone is going to lead humanity to the same goal - suicide, starvation.
Just by the end of this century, in this country alone five hundred million people are going to die because there is not going to be any food. Already half of the country is starved, undernourished.
We have just seen in Ethiopia, one thousand people dying per day, and now there is another famine - and this is going to be a bigger famine than the last one. Perhaps two thousand, three thousand people will die every day. This is forgetting the immense, the significant balance: Keep the Measure.
These three words are enough.
You are asking, "Beloved Master... These may include meditation, self-awareness, et cetera, but no God. How then could they constitute a whole religion?"
God is not a necessity of any religion; God is a necessity of priesthood. God has nothing to do with religion. Buddhism has no God, Jainism has no God; there are religions already which have no God.
I don't see any point. If you are truthful, sincere, meditative, alert, and you know yourself - if you know the beauty of your being, the immortality of your soul, the eternity of your existence, God never comes in the way. Nobody has met God ever.
In those three precepts, Be, Know Thyself, Keep the Measure, God is not mentioned because God is not needed at all. It is an unnecessary hypothesis - not only unnecessary, but harmful. In the name of God, so much cruelty, so much violence, so many crusades: Mohammedans destroying Christians, Christians destroying Jews, Mohammedans destroying Hindus, Hindus destroying Buddhists. And the reason? The reason is that their hypothesis of God is different.
This is sheer stupidity - to fight for a hypothesis. And for centuries, millions of people have been burned alive, just because their hypothesis of God was different. Such strange behavior has been shown by the priesthood of all religions of the world and everything becomes possible in the name of God.
Just a few days ago, the Vatican pope gave a declaration to all the Catholics of the world: "You cannot confess directly to God." Strange. You have to confess via the right channel, otherwise the priesthood will be finished. If you start confessing directly to God, then what are thousands of bishops and cardinals and priests going to do? Their whole business is to be mediators between you and nobody.
In India there is a place, Surat, where there is a local, small religion, but of very rich people. Their high priest takes the money whenever somebody dies and writes a note in the name of God saying, "This money will be delivered to you when you reach paradise." The man dies and the written note is put in the pocket of the dead man, so when he reaches he can cash the money.
I used to stay in Surat in the house of a friend who belongs to that religion....
I said, "You must be utterly stupid. All that money is going to your high priest's pocket."
He said, "No, this is not possible."
I said, "Then let us go to your cemetery. We will have to open a grave and let us see whether the card is there, the man is there, or they have reached heaven."
He was hesitant. He said, "But this is very irreligious."
I said, "I don't belong to your religion. You stand aside, I will dig!"
So I pulled out a freshly buried man and took out the note. He had given three hundred thousand rupees to the high priest. I said, "Look. The card is there, the man is there, and in all these graves - whichever grave you want I can dig."
He said, "No, don't dig. Just get out from here. If somebody finds out there will be trouble. Somehow push this man inside the grave and put the card into his pocket. It is none of our business."
But I said, "Everywhere this is being done..."
Why is the pope insisting... concluding that it is a sin to confess directly to God? It is a strong statement. You have to confess to the priest and the priest will manage for God's compassion and he will give you some punishment - and punishment means a few dollars!
I have heard...
A bishop and a rabbi were great friends. They had decided to go to the golf course, so the bishop was finishing his business quickly. But there was a long line of confessors. The rabbi was waiting outside in the car. Finally he came into the cabin. The cabin is divided with a small window: on one side stands the confessor, on the other side sits the priest.
The rabbi said, "We are getting late."
The priest said, "I am doing the business as quickly as possible, but people go on and on. When they confess they don't confess in a summary way: long stories... It seems as if they enjoy it. They say in detail, 'I have done a rape. This happened and that happened....' It is a simple thing: you have committed a rape, put ten dollars in the box and get out!"
The rabbi said, "You get ready. I don't know, because in my religion this kind of thing does not happen, but nobody knows who is sitting on the other side. You get ready and I will finish the business."
But a rabbi is a rabbi. Another man came and he said, "Father, excuse me. Again I have committed a rape."
The rabbi said, "Just put twenty dollars in the charity box."
The man said, "But this is too much. Last time it was only ten dollars. Have the rates gone up?"
The rabbi said, "No, the rates are the same - ten dollars in advance. You can commit one rape more!"
Without the priest, who is going to collect these dollars? And where do these dollars go? The pope goes around the world at least three times a year, doing a very stupid thing which he can do in the Vatican as many times as he wants - kissing the earth. He can do it every day - what is the point of going to Australia, coming to India? Perhaps the taste may be a little different, but how much money is wasted? Each tour costs eight million dollars. Even when Queen Elizabeth went to Australia, it cost only three million dollars. When the pope went it cost eight million dollars - and they are all coming out of your pockets.
God is not getting anything! God is the creation of the priests to exploit you. God has nothing to do with religion. And the inscription on the temple of Delphi, Theodorus, is absolute in those three points. The religion is complete. All else is commentary.
Be authentic and true and sincere and yourself - not somebody else, not a personality but an individuality; not having a mask but your original face. Be, and Know Thyself. Look into your own inner world, of what it consists. It consists of eternity, it consists of blissfulness, it consists of ecstasy.
It makes you the richest person in the world. It consists of intelligence, purity, love, compassion - all that is great. But it will not help to make you rich on the outside. It will not create a marble palace because you know yourself. That is the meaning of Keep the Measure.
And there is no conflict, no contradiction. You can be meditative and you can be creative. In fact you can be more creative if you are meditative. You can create much more on the outside if your own roots have gone deeper in your being.
In these three words the whole religion is complete. But the people who have reached these heights, these riches, created antagonism in the mediocre minds.
Socrates was asked by the judge who pronounced his death sentence by poison - he must have been a man of some compassion and some intelligence - he said, "Socrates, I am helpless, because the majority of the people of Athens want you to be killed. But I can suggest to you a few alternatives:
you can leave Athens" - because in those days Greece was not one country, but every city was a state. So Athens was a state in itself, and once you crossed the boundary of Athens, the constitution of Athens or the law of Athens became invalid.
So the judge said, "I can manage. You simply get out of Athens. There is no need... I don't see the point in unnecessarily destroying yourself."
Socrates said, "Death is going to come anyway, and moreover I have lived in Athens my whole life.
This is the most civilized state in the whole of Greece. If this civilized state cannot tolerate me, who is going to tolerate me? In this old age, again to start my academy or my school somewhere else...
and the result, I know, is going to be the same. It is better at least to be poisoned by the most civilized part of the country."
The judge said, "I have another alternative: you stop speaking - because they are against you for the single reason that by speaking you corrupt people, you destroy their conditionings. You stop speaking, be silent. In old age it is good."
Socrates said, "Just because of fear I should be silent? No. You don't understand me. Without speaking the truth, what is the point for me to live? If I have to live, I have to speak the truth.
Don't unnecessarily be worried. If the majority decides to give me poison, perhaps this is the way existence wants to take me back."
A man of tremendous courage... but with him, Greece lost something very essential: the urge to seek the truth. In fact, unconsciously people must have become afraid even to mention the word 'truth'. If it leads to death, it is better not to bother about it and never to question the superstitions of the people. Just remain silently one with the crowd; it is safer, more secure.
And the moment any community of human beings loses the urge to search and to seek the truth, in a certain way, it dies. It vegetates, but it does not live. It loses dignity.
I have been to Greece and I have never been outside my house. Amrito, who was my host, is sitting just in front of me. She had found a very beautiful palace on a small island just by the sea.
Sannyasins from all over Europe had gathered. We had nothing to do with Greece or its politics; we were meditating, we were enjoying, we were dancing, and I never left the house in fifteen days.
And I was to be there only for four weeks, but the archbishop of the Greek Orthodox church started sending telegrams to the prime minister, to the president, to the newspapers - statements that I am corrupting people's minds. I had not even gone out of my house....
Finally, he threatened that if I was not thrown out of Greece immediately, he was going to dynamite the palace where I was staying with my friends. These are the people who teach "God is love." He was ready to kill people, to burn people alive who have done no harm to anybody. And the reason?
- that my stay in Greece is going to corrupt the youth, the same old reasons that were put against Socrates.
I could not believe it: how can I corrupt the morality and destroy the religion just in fifteen days? They have created the morality in two thousand years, and if the morality and the religion which has been created in two thousand years can be destroyed by a tourist in four weeks, it is worth destroying!
I was arrested. They did not have any arrest warrant; just the prime minister became afraid that my stay may rock his boat. On the airplane the police officer came to see my passport and he stamped on my passport "deported." I asked him, "Do you understand law? Are you aware that you are putting a seal of deportation on a man's passport who has not committed any crime?"
I took his pen and just crossed out his stamp that he had put on my passport. He said, "What are you doing?"
I said, "I am not deported. I am simply leaving - and you sign here!" He became so afraid.... I said, "If you don't sign, then tomorrow in the court you will have to sign. Otherwise, tell me what crime I have committed and give the evidence."
My passport has become a historical thing! He signed immediately out of fear and stamped again that I was simply leaving Greece, not deported.
At the international airport of Athens there were forty police officers with the chief of the police and all the high police officers - as if I were a terrorist! News media people were present and they wanted to ask me a few questions. I was answering them and I told them that these police officers are the same people, it seems, who must have poisoned Socrates, because the same is the reason.
But for me it is too early... At least Socrates had lived his whole life, a long life. He was not a tourist.
I was going myself in two weeks. And these people have no arrest warrant; just they had loaded guns against a person who had not even a paper knife.
The chief of the police came out of the crowd to interfere, and I said to him, "I don't like anybody interfering with me. Just get back to your place and keep your mouth shut, because these people are not taking your interview; they are taking my interview!"
And I was amazed.... He is the chief of the police, and he simply went like a dog, tail between the legs, back into his place! I could not believe it; I was thinking that he would argue - and I wanted him to argue because the whole news media was there, television from all over the world. Perhaps he was afraid that if he said anything... "This man seems to be strange! Nobody tells a police officer to 'Shut up and get back to your place,' so it is better to get behind the crowd."
I asked the men who had arrested me, "Can I stay the night in a hotel in Athens? It is late, twelve o'clock in the night. My plane is standing here; in the morning I will leave."
They said, "No. We cannot allow you to stay even a few minutes. You have to leave immediately.
That is the order from the prime minister" - just out of fear of an old idiot, the archbishop, who had been protesting from the very first day I entered Greece.
The archbishop had been threatening that "I will bring a protest," but he never did it, so I inquired, "Amrito, find out what is the matter. I am waiting for the protest and it never comes."
Amrito said, "He will never come, because nobody goes to his church except six old ladies, so he will look like an idiot leading a procession of protest of six old or almost dead ladies. He will only threaten. Who is going to carry out the threat that he will dynamite the house - those old ladies?"
Amrito and my other sannyasins and the intelligentsia of Greece, Nobel Prize winning people, are all protesting that this treatment of me has been absolutely illegal, unconstitutional. Their fight continues. And I have told Amrito, "Whenever you can manage, now this time I am going to come and I am going to invite all the sannyasins from all the European countries. Then we will have a protest and procession against this old idiot, and then we will see what he can do."
But it is strange.... When I was arrested I was asleep. My secretary, Anando, was standing outside on the porch. She said to the police officers, "You sit and we will wake him up. Let him at least change his clothes and then you can do whatever you want."
They said, "We cannot wait."
As I was awakened, I heard they started throwing stones against glass windows, doors. I had no idea what was happening. I simply thought perhaps the archbishop had come with his old ladies - I missed the scene it seems - dynamite was exploding. But it was just the police officers who were doing it - and they had dynamite too!
They have not answered the protest which was done on my behalf by the Greek intelligentsia. The politicians have nothing to say; they are simply silent.
Sitting here, I am fighting in twenty-five countries - wherever my people are - either in the courts or in protests or in parliaments. Perhaps it has never happened: a man who is sitting here, who never goes out of his house, who never enters even into this city...
But love has its own ways and love has its own weapons. Even though Socrates has been dead for twenty-five centuries, his fight continues. I am part of that fight. It is the same fight, with the same people; just the bodies have changed and nothing else.
Amrit Theodorus, now you have to become also part of this fight. Nothing illegal and unconstitutional should be perpetuated in any country which calls itself democratic, but listens to the threats of religious priests. If the country was really democratic, just because of his threat the archbishop should have been arrested. He has been committing a crime, or at least threatening to commit it.
Rather than punishing him, I have been punished. But I have been punished in so many countries that now I have started almost enjoying it!
It has been too Greek and too serious. For the change...
Paddy, Sean and Mick are going for a drink one day when just before they enter the bar a man comes flying out of the door and falls down the steps in front of them.
"My God," cries the man, "the bartender there is almost crazy. Whatever you do, don't mention his ears!"
The boys are curious, so they go inside taking a cautious look at the bartender, on their way to a table. The bartender is a mean looking character, with a completely shaved head and no ears - just two holes in the sides of his head.
Mick goes up to the bar first and not being able to look the man in the eye says, "Gee, I love your red velvet pants. Where did you get them?" The bartender lifts a huge fist and knocks Mick to the floor.
Sean tries next, and feeling uncomfortable looks down at the floor and says, "I like your shoes.
Where did you get them?" The man lifts his huge fists and knocks Sean to the floor.
So Paddy strides up to the bar, looks the man straight in the eye and says, "You wear contact lenses, don't you?"
The bartender takes Paddy's hand and shakes it vigorously, "Thank you," he says. "You are the first person all day who has had the guts to look in me in the eye and treat me as a human being. And yes, I do wear contact lenses. But how did you know?"
"Simple," says Paddy. "You could not wear glasses because you have no ears!"
Old man Finkelstein is determined not to grow old and senile. He hears about a clinic in Switzerland that claims to be able to make you younger. So he packs his bags and leaves on the next plane. At the clinic he is given hormonal injections, blood transfusions, animal implants and everything else that the medical profession can devise.
On his last day at the clinic, the doctor visits him. "Well, Mr. Finkelstein, that's the end of the treatment," he explains. "No more painful injections, no more operations. However, we have to do one or two more tests, so you won't be able to go home tomorrow, you will have to stay one more day." At this old Finkelstein breaks down and begins to cry.
"What is wrong?" asks the doctor. "Are you in pain?"
"No," sobs old Fink, "but what will Mummy say if I am late back to school?"
Yes, Beloved Master.