ON EVERY OTHER STREET CORNER IN INDIA, IT SEEMS ONE SEES BEGGARS WHO CLAIM TO BE SADHUS, RENUNCIATES. ARE THEY JUST PARASITES ANT EXPLOITERS, OR ARE THEY REALLY AUTHENTIC HOLY MEN?
Everything that can be helpful can be harmful also. For every authentic coin there is, a false coin can be interpreted as authentic. But it cannot be avoided. If it is understood, then the likelihood can be lessened, but it can never be absolutely avoided. The only way to avoid it is to throw away the authentic coin also. If the authentic is to exist, the false will follow inevitably because it is easier to be false, it is not so arduous.
To really be a sadhu is the most arduous adventure possible. It is the greatest demand and challenge to the human mind. But to be one of the so-called sadhus that you see all over India is not a demand, not a challenge. Once a country has seen people like Krishna, Buddha and Mahavir the image is exploited. To me, the exploitation shows that the authentic has existed. The false coin only shows that an authentic coin has been. The false is accepted because people have known the authentic The false can masquerade as the authentic. But the moment the authentic is lost, the false will disappear as well. Then you cannot be exploited.
If there was no such thing as an authentic sadhu, then the falsehood could not continue to exist. But one of the contradictions of life is that everything exists in opposition in relation, to something else.
Even a false sadhu has appear because the masses have known the authentic and the longing for the authentic lingers.
THEN HOW CAN ONE TELL IF A SADHU IS AUTHENTIC OR NOT?
There is no need. If someone becomes a sadhu, it is his own private affair. There is no need to pay any attention to him. Whether he is fake or authentic, it is his affair. His belief is a private affair, his being a sadhu is a private thing. Once it becomes public, there will always be fakes, there will always be false people who will exploit. If one is a poet it is his own affair, if one is a dancer it is his own affair, if one is a sadhu it is his own affair. He should not be worshipped - not even if he is authentic. If the authentic is worshipped, then the false will follow automatically and there will be those who exploit the phenomenon.
The need to recognize who is an authentic sadhu arises only when you want to worship someone.
If you want to worship, then you have to know whether the person is authentic or false. But if you are not going to worship, there is no need to question whether the person is authentic. He may be, he may not be. It is his affair.
Unless and until we learn that to be a sadhu is one's own affair - no one else need be concerned with it - the false cann
Only through respect and worshipping can the false exploit. To the false, being a sadhu is not the attraction. The attraction comes from the worshipper. No one should be worshipped. Sadhus must not be treated with any special awe. Once they are not given any special attention, the false will disappear and only the authentic will remain.
An authentic sadhu is one to whom the world has become unreal, to whom another dimension has come into existence, to whom this mara is not the reality. This is not a belief; it is his experience.
The whole existence has become divine. That is what the person has experienced; it has been an existential experience. To me, this is a sadhu.
No outward criteria will be applicable because an authentic person will never be an imitation. He will not be an imitation Buddha, he will be himself. So it is not important what he wears, what he eats, how he behaves. All that will come spontaneously to him. Only the false can imitate, never the authentic. The authentic is always individual so there can be no models and no predecessors.
This is also to be noted; that only a false sadhu will behave like a sadhu. The authentic will behave like himself. That's why, when a Jesus appears, he seems like an upstart.
Upstarts never seem like upstarts because they follow a fixed pattern. But an authentic man appears to be an upstart because he is not following the traditional pattern of other sadhus. He is himself.
So you will always think that the authentic man has gone wrong, be has gone to the devil, while the false man goes on being worshipped because he can imitate; it is not difficult. Every type of criteria can be imitated. Then the personality becomes double: when the public is watching he is one person, he imitates the outward manifestations of a religious man: and when he is alone, he is someone else. There is a division: a public face and a private face.
But as far as a real sadhu is concerned, he has no private self and no public selves. He is one. That becomes his difficulty. Whatsoever he is, he is always. He is bound to be anti-traditional, bound to be a non-conformist.
So the irony is that the false will be worshipped, and the real will be condemned.
WHY ARE WESTERNERS BECOMING SO INTERESTED IN INDIAN RELIGIONS?
There is a deep reason. Religion is the last luxury so only an affluent society can afford religion.
Religion is the flowering. When every so-called natural need is fulfilled, only then does the beyond become meaningful and significant. when body needs are fulfilled, when you are not in any struggle at the physical level, then a new struggle begins on a higher level. That is the struggle to achieve consciousness. So whenever a society becomes rich, only then does religion become meaningful.
A poor society can never be religious.
ISN'T INDIA RELIGIOUS?
Yes, India is religious. But India became religious when India was a rich country. Now it is just a hangover.
India was a rich country at the time of Buddha. It was at a peak, just like America is today. Patliputra was the same as New York is today. In the time of Buddha, India was at its golden peak. It could think in dimensions that are not confined to the body, not confined to the physical, visible world. So India could probe deeply into the ultimate mystery.
It is a strange fact that whenever a country becomes rich it becomes religious, and whenever a country becomes religious it is bound to fall back from its riches. When a country becomes religious it becomes other-worldly; this world becomes meaningless.
IS IT A VICIOUS CIRCLE?
I won't say 'vicious'; I will just say 'circle'. You have to look at many things. To become young, you will have to become old; if you want to be born, you will have to die. If you consider death bad, then do not be born at all. If you consider old age bad, then do not be young at all because to be young means that you are now on the way to being old. Life moves in circles. Nothing is bad.
A rich youth leads to a rich old age and a rich birth leads to a rich death. Religion is a flowering.
Whenever a society reaches a point of leisure, art, meditation, religion flowers. Religion is the last flowering. But every flower is a sign that now the tree will die.
CAN RELIGION OR MEDITATION HELP ONE TO BE MORE ECONOMICALLY WELL OFF? CAN IT MAKE A POOR COUNTRY RICH?
No, it cannot. It is not an economic movement; it is a religious movement. It has a specific dimension within which to work. It can help a person to become more conscious, it can help a person to be more silent, it can help a person to be calm and collected, but it cannot help economically in any way.
If you take life as a whole, then to waste life only in economics and politics is a great wastage.
If you take life as a whole then ultimately, whatsoever you achieve, what is inside you is the only achievement. All else is just superficial.
Religion and meditation cannot help to make a poor country rich in any way. It cannot. But it can help a poor man to be rich - in a very noneconomic sense. If riches only mean the outward thing then religion is absolutely irrelevant, but if you think in terms of inner consciousness, peace, a blissful attitude, a life lived as an inner celebration, ll then it can help. And to me, that is more meaningful.
WHAT ARE YOUR IDEAS ON SOCIALISM?
Socialism, to me, is a very non-psychological way of thinking.
There is a longing to be equal, but that longing only shows that human beings are not equal in any dimension. They are unequal; the inequality is a fact. The concept of equality is only a fiction and whenever society hankers after a fiction, it falls into a chaotic way of life.
So socialism is not possible. It is an impossibility. It can only be possible if two conditions are present. The first is if the human mind is destroyed and man becomes a human automaton instead.
Then socialism becomes possible because machines can be equal.
And socialists will go on trying to do this. They have been trying to wipe out the mind. Freedom of the mind will be the first target for socialism to clear away because freedom of the mind basically creates inequality.
WHAT ABOUT SOCIALISM NOT AS A MEANS OF CREATING EQUALITY BUT ONLY AS A MEANS OF PROVIDING EVERYONE WITH THE BASIC NECESSITIES OF LIFE?
This vision of providing the basic necessities of life cannot be fulfilled, because one of the basic necessities is to be unequal. It is one of the very basic necessities. To be unequal to be oneself, to not be just a number but a name - not even a name, but a signature. That is one of the basic necessities, more basic than food, Food seems to be basic because the world is poor, but the moment everyone is fed it will cease to be a basic necessity; it .will be forgotten. Clothes are not a basic necessity. They only seem to be because the world is naked. The moment plenty of clothes are available, it will not be a necessity.
Ultimately, mind is the only basic necessity. And it can never be fulfilled. The stomach can be fulfilled, naked bodies can be clothed and sheltered... Science has come to a point where socialism is not needed in order to provide these things They can be provided more easily without socialism.
For example, Sweden has fulfilled the basic needs of its people better than Soviet Russia. These basic needs must be fulfilled but that doesn't require socialism. Socialism has not fulfilled these needs. Rather, it has equalized poverty.
A poor man can be at ease with his poverty if everyone else is also very poor. Socialism has only equalized poverty. Even today, Soviet Russia is not a wealthy land. The poor in America are better off than the more successful people in Soviet Russia. But the poor person in America is not at ease because the comparison is there: others are rich.
Sudras were never as unhappy as they are now because everyone else in their world, in their class, was equally as poor. The world was taken for granted as being the way it was. It looked like a natural phenomenon, nothing could be done about it; it was determined by birth. It was taken for granted that to be a sudra was one's destiny. Competition was only possible between one sudra and another. But they were equally poor so they were at ease. The equal poverty was their consolation.
Now, when we have come to understand that a sudra is not born but made, the competition has moved from horizontal to vertical lines. The competition was very gentle between one sudra and another. Now the competition has become vertical. Everyone is competing with everyone else.
A capitalist society is a vertical society; a socialist society is a horizontal society. If you create a horizontal society, then the poverty will be evenly distributed. It is a consolation that everyone else is equally as poor, but the society will remain stagnant.
A socialist society is stagnant. That's why in the last five or ten years Soviet Russia has been moving away from socialism. That has been the basic controversy between Mao and Soviet Russia. Soviet Russia seems to Mao to be turning capitalistic now. It is no fault of Russia; it is because of a basic error in socialism itself. If socialism is to remain, it must become stagnant. The very inequality of individuals creates a restlessness to develop, to grow, to transcend. If everyone is equally placed, the society becomes stagnant. Then there is no motivation, there is no stimulation to work, to grow, to transcend. The motivation comes through inequality.
By and by, Soviet Russia will become capitalistic. It will have to. Otherwise it will die from stagnation.
To me, a capitalist society is a natural phenomenon. A socialist structure is not natural. It is something imposed, something conceived of through the mind. Capitalism developed by itself; socialism has to be brought about, it cannot come by itself.
Marx thought it would happen, but he was basically wrong. And he has proven to be wrong. He thought that socialism would be a natural outgrowth of capitalism - the more capitalistic a country is, the more possibility there is of a socialist revolution - but it has not happened that way What has happened has been quite the contrary.
The less successful capitalist countries and the undeveloped countries, the poor countries that have no capitalism at all, have become more and more socialistic, while America has not become socialistic. According to Marx, socialism is a natural outgrowth of capitalism so America should be the first socialist country. It has not been so.
Socialism exploits the jealousy of the poor. To me, it is the greatest exploitation that has happened on earth. Capitalism has exploited the labor of the poor and socialism has exploited their souls. It is through jealousy that socialism steps in. But through jealousy, no revelation, no transformation can be achieved. It can kill, it can destroy, but it cannot create.
Socialism is a fiction. It is not scientific. To me, only a capitalist society is a scientific society. I am not saying that capitalism will remain as it is. It will go on growing and changing and all that socialism promises to fulfill will be fulfilled naturally. When affluence is created - and capitalism creates it - all the basic needs of survival will be there.
Soviet Russia has become successful not because it is a socialist society but because it has become a technological society. Poverty does not exist because of exploitation; it is because of the absence of a technology that is capable of fulfilling the needs of increasing numbers of people. Even if there is no exploitation, poverty will be there. In a primitive society, people are poor - more poor than they are now.
Real change will come about only through technology. The more technology progresses, the less human labor will be needed. And the moment human labor becomes superfluous, the whole structure of society will have to change.
A scientific, technological society will not be a socialist society. Capitalism creates competition and through competition, technology develops. If there is no competition then there will be no possibility of any growth. New techniques, new methodologies, are invented only through competition.
Russia has not invented anything new as far as their inner economy is concerned. Everything new that they have invented has been because of competition with America. Through competition, new techniques are invented. Russia is capitalistic in relation to its competitions America and socialistic as far as its own economy is concerned. As far as the world market is concerned it is capitalistic, competitive. It is not socialistic - there are double standards.