America Is A Hypocrite
[NOTE: This discourse is published in the book: The Last Testament, Volume 1, as Chapter 24.]
Laura Parker POST INTELLIGENCER SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
QUESTION: HELLO. WHAT WE WOULD LIKE TO DO IS WRITE A STORY PROFILING YOU. THERE ARE A GREAT NUMBER OF READERS IN THE SEATTLE AREA WHO ARE NOT AS FAMILIAR WITH THE COMMUNE OR WITH YOU AS THE NEWSPAPER READERS ARE IN OREGON, AND SO I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND IN ADDITION TO SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU WANT TO SAY ABOUT RAJNEESHISM. I GUESS WE COULD START WITH: WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO SPEAK, AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO SPEAK TO REPORTERS?
ANSWER: I have never asked any "why" in my life. I simply do anything that I feel like doing. I am not a man of thinking. I function through my feelings. If I feel to stop speaking, I can stop in the middle of a sentence, I will not even complete the sentence. And if I want to speak, even from my grave I will continue.
Q: I'M SORRY, I DIDN'T HEAR ALL OF THAT....
A: Even from my grave, I will continue to speak.
Q: IS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU HAVE TO SAY TO THE MEDIA THAT YOU COULDN'T SAY THROUGH YOUR DISCOURSES OR BOOKS? DO THE REPORTERS CARRY A MESSAGE TO THE AUDIENCE IN AMERICA FOR YOU?
A: Certainly. Whatever I can say to my people, I say to them; but that is not going to reach to the people outside the commune. I would like them to be acquainted with what is happening here, and not to depend on rumors. I would like to invite them to be our guests, see our people, and see that there is a different way of life, too.
Q: IS THERE ANY WAY SOMEONE WHO HAS NOT COME HERE COULD UNDERSTAND THIS WAY OF LIFE?
A: It is almost impossible, because there are things which can only be experienced and cannot be explained. In fact, if you try to explain them, you explain them away.
Q: IS THERE ANY WAY THE PEOPLE IN OREGON.... WILL THERE EVER BE PEACE HERE BETWEEN THE PEOPLE IN OREGON WHO ARE SO OPPOSED TO THE RAJNEESHEES, AND THE COMMUNE HERE OR THE RANCH HERE? DO YOU SEE THAT EVER HAPPENING IN THE FUTURE?
A: I don't think of the future at all. Right now we are enjoying their opposition, their hostility, because this is the beginning of friendship. If they had ignored us, then I would have had to think of something....
Q: COULD YOU ELABORATE A LITTLE? IF THEY HAD IGNORED YOU, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN WORSE, THEN, THE HOSTILITY?
A: No. I would have created something so that they could not ignore. I can accept their hate, their hostility, their opposition; but I cannot accept their ignoring us, because it is easier to transform the hate into love, hostility into friendship. But there is no way to communicate with someone who is ignoring you. The people of Oregon have proved really receptive.
Q: IF WE COULD GO BACK TO INDIA, AND WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER.... I HAVE READ SOME THINGS ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND, BUT I DON'T KNOW VERY MUCH ABOUT IT. COULD YOU TELL ME... I HAVE HEARD THAT YOU LIVED WITH SHEELA'S FAMILY FOR A WHILE, AND I HAVE READ THAT YOU LIVED WITH YOUR GRANDPARENTS AS A YOUNG BOY. I'M NOT CERTAIN WHICH IS ACCURATE. COULD YOU TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CHILDHOOD?
A: Yes. My early childhood, up to six or seven, I was with my maternal grandfather and grandmother. I loved the place. It was a very small village surrounded by lush greenery and the house of my grandfather was just on the bank of a beautiful lake. After that, for three years I lived with Sheela's father. He loved me not like a small boy, but just like a contemporary friend.
It was a strange relationship -- he loved me, he respected me, too, which is very rare. I loved him, that was nothing new; I respected him, but I respected him more because he could respect a child just like a friend. And for three years it
was a tremendous experience, because I could never communicate or relate with my own age group. I had never played any game in my life. It all looked stupid.
Q: EVEN AS A VERY SMALL CHILD?
A: Never. As far back as I can remember, I loved only one game -- to argue.
Q: TO ARGUE?
A: To argue... about everything. So very few grownup people could stand me.
Understanding was out of the question. In Sheela's father, I found a man who was ready to understand me, and I never felt that he was tired or bored or not ready to answer. He never tried to shut me up. He never told me a single time, "These things you will understand only when you are grown up." If he did not know something, he accepted it: I don't know it, I am searching as you are searching. If in argument he could not convince me, and my argument was weightier than his, he was able to accept it without feeling insulted, humiliated.
He is a man of tremendous understanding, caring, and our relationship has remained the same. Now he is my sannyasin.
Q: THIS WAS WHEN YOU WERE TEN YOU LIVED WITH HIM, APPROXIMATELY?
A: It must have been nearabout... between six to nine.
Q: DID HE SEND YOU TO SCHOOL? WAS HE RESPONSIBLE FOR EDUCATING YOU?
A: No. Because I was never interested in going to school. That was the worst place. I was forced finally to go, but I resisted as much as I could, because there were only children who were not interested in things I was interested in and I was not interested in things they all were interested in. So I was an outsider.
Q: WHAT WERE YOU INTERESTED IN?
A: My interest has remained the same: to know what is the ultimate truth, what is the meaning of life, why I am here and not anyone else. And I was determined that unless I find the answer, I am not going to rest, and I am not going to let anybody around me rest, either.
So he was teaching me at home, because he loved me; if I did not want to go to school, then he would teach me at home. After living with him for three years, finally I had to go back to my house, because he -- Sheela's father -- left for England for his further studies.
Q: YOUR FATHER WAS A MERCHANT, IS THAT CORRECT?
A: He was a cloth merchant, and that's how he came in contact with Sheela's father. Sheela's father lived in Bombay, and my father used to come to Bombay for his business. And they immediately became almost like twins.
Q: WHEN YOU WENT TO SCHOOL, YOU WERE OLDER?
A: I was older than any child.
Q: HOW DID THE OTHER CHILDREN IN SCHOOL TREAT YOU?
A: Then they were afraid of me.
Q: THEY WERE AFRAID OF YOU?
A: They were afraid... and since then everybody is afraid. The students were afraid, the teachers were afraid....
Q: BECAUSE OF THE THINGS YOU WERE SAYING, OR BECAUSE OF YOUR ARGUING?
A: My argument was their greatest problem. They never accepted any argument from children.
Q: THEN YOU WENT TO THE UNIVERSITY, IS THAT CORRECT?
A: Later on I was in the university, but....
Q: WHY DID YOU CONTINUE IN SCHOOL AND GO THE UNIVERSITY IF YOU DIDN'T...?
A: I wanted to fight with everyone... from the primary school to the university.
And I wanted to know if all these knowledgeable people have something in them, or it is all borrowed. And I found that all they had was borrowed: not a single teacher or professor had any experience of his own.
Q: WHEN YOU WERE STUDYING AT THE UNIVERSITY, WAS THERE ANYONE WHO YOU READ, OR ANYONE WHO YOU FOLLOWED? -- I DON'T MEAN A TEACHER, BUT PERHAPS SOMEONE WHOSE WRITING THAT YOU PARTICULARLY READ?
A: No.... I have read so much that perhaps nobody in the whole world can compete. My own personal library slowly, slowly became so big that the day I left India it had 150,000 rare books. I have read VASTLY; in fact, it is difficult to mention the name of any book that I have not read.
Q: I THINK I READ SOMEWHERE THAT YOU STOPPED READING AT SOME POINT.
A: For the past five years I have not read anything.
Q: FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS?
A: Not even a newspaper, no magazine, no book. I simply stopped reading because I understood that all those books are just rubbish. You can be lost in the jungle of words, but you are not going to get any truth out of those books.
That was the time when I started feeling to go into silence for a group of years, just to give a gap, so that the life that I had lived before silence becomes completely separated from me. It is now completely separated from me. Now whatsoever I say, I say on my own authority. I say only that which I know. I don't believe in anything. I don't quote anybody unless he coincides with me.
Q: WHEN DID YOU MEET SHEELA?
A: Sheela's father was not even married when I started living with him. He got married after three months. Sheela came long afterwards. But Sheela's father has been trying to bring all his children to me, he wanted them not to miss me. His two sons are sannyasins, all his daughters are sannyasins. Sheela was studying in America for about ten years before. She was not interested in any search for truth, she was not aware that there is something to seek in life.
When she came to me, she was almost a TABULA RASA, a clean sheet, nothing written on her. That helped her immensely. Once she came to me, she never left.
And because she was open, clean, without any prejudice, she could understand me immediately. Her understanding has not been any mental effort on her side...
she simply absorbed me. She ate every word that I uttered to her.
Q: YOU TAUGHT AT THE UNIVERSITY, IS THAT CORRECT?
Q: YOU TAUGHT PHILOSOPHY? AND YOU WERE A YOUNG MAN IN YOUR TWENTIES?
Q: DESCRIBE THE YEARS THAT YOU WERE A TEACHER AND WHAT YOU WERE TRYING TO TEACH TO YOUR STUDENTS WHILE YOU WERE AT THE UNIVERSITY.
A: It was a very difficult situation. I was teaching my students everything that the university prescribed, and I was also teaching them how much in this prescribed teaching is bogus and bullshit. So it was a difficult job... I was teaching Aristotle and at the same time I was teaching them that Aristotle is not right. So my period was divided in two sections: first I would teach them what Aristotle means, and then I would say that he is wrong, that as far as I am concerned Aristotle has been a great calamity for humanity.
So I was complained against because this was a strange way of teaching, and the students were getting confused. They used to ask me: "What are we going to answer in the examination?" I said that they had to choose: If you feel Aristotle is right, it is up to you; if you feel I am right, it is up to you. If you feel we both are wrong and you are right, it is up to you. Choose. And I also recommended to the vice-chancellor not to bother about these complaints, because I am giving them a challenge, and it is the challenge to the mind that sharpens it.
Q: AND WHAT DID THE VICE-CHANCELLOR SAY TO YOU?
A: He said to me that those students had not come to know the truth, they had come only to earn a degree. I told the vice-chancellor, "Then accept my resignation, because I have not come here to make students clerks, teachers, station masters, postmasters... I am not interested in their degrees and examinations. My whole interest is to sharpen a student's intelligence, make him an individual, unprejudiced, open, available to reality." And I resigned.
Q: AND THEY ACCEPTED YOUR RESIGNATION?
A: They tried not to accept it. They tried to persuade me, but this is not my way.
Once I have done anything I never go back. I told them, "I can feel your concern for me, I can feel your respect and love for me, but once I have resigned, it is finished. Now I will be a wandering teacher."
Then for almost twenty years I was just a wandering teacher around the country and I found that it was foolish wasting time in the university teaching twenty students. When I can teach fifty thousand people in one single meeting, what is the point of wasting time in the university? So I have not been at a loss. From the university I moved to the universe.
Q: I WANT TO MAKE SURE MY READERS UNDERSTAND ALL OF THIS.
YOU BECAME ENLIGHTENED WHEN YOU WERE IN YOUR VERY EARLY TWENTIES, AND THEN YOU BECAME A TEACHER AFTER THAT. IS THAT
CORRECT? -- AND THEN TRAVELED AFTER THAT. COULD YOU DESCRIBE FOR ME WHEN YOU BECAME ENLIGHTENED, AND HOW THAT OCCURRED?
A: Enlightenment simply means an experience of your consciousness unclouded by thoughts, emotions, sentiments. When the consciousness is totally empty, there is something like an explosion, an atomic explosion. Your whole insight becomes full of a light which has no source and no cause. And once it has happened, it remains. It never leaves you for a single moment; even when you are asleep, that light is inside. And after that moment you can see things in a totally different way. After that experience, there is no question in you.
So for twenty-one years I was continuously questioning people, and after that day I have been continually answering people. I don't have any questions.
Q: WHAT WAS THAT DAY LIKE? WHAT WAS THE DAY LIKE WHEN YOU BECAME ENLIGHTENED? I WOULD LIKE TO EXPLAIN THE DETAILS TO PEOPLE WHO, AS I SAY, ARE NOT THAT FAMILIAR WITH BECOMING ENLIGHTENED.
A: It will be difficult for them to understand. Because when that experience happens, there are no words, no thoughts; and when you want to express it, obviously words are needed, thoughts are needed.
Q: WERE YOU A STUDENT AT THE TIME?
A: I was a student.
Q: DID YOU SHARE THIS WITH ANYONE?
A: No. For seven years, I kept completely silent about it because I was waiting for somebody to recognize it -- perhaps I had gone mad, perhaps it was just insanity.
I wanted somebody to recognize it, and there were a few people who started recognizing that something had happened which is rare and unique.
The first man to recognize was an old man who was almost silent for his whole life. Once in a while he would utter a word -- meaningless, you could not make anything out of it, but he was respected immensely. His name was Magga Baba.
People used to come to him from faraway places, and he never spoke. To have a contact with that man people used to massage his feet and just sit around him.
He might be sleeping and people would be sitting around him, because there was something radiating from that man, something that they could feel like a fragrance.
The first day I went to see him, he immediately hugged me and whispered in my ear, "My boy, so you have got it... and it is good that you have not told anybody.
Wait for the right moment to tell, because it immediately creates opposition, antagonism, and you are too young... you may not be able to fight. So just wait a little."
Q: COULD SHEELA'S FATHER TELL?
Q: DID YOU SEE HIM AFTER YOU BECAME ENLIGHTENED, BUT BEFORE YOU HAD TOLD PEOPLE?
A: Yes. The moment I met him afterwards, he immediately became a sannyasin.
Q: YOU SAID THAT THE OTHER MAN TOLD YOU TO WAIT UNTIL THE RIGHT MOMENT. WHEN WAS THAT MOMENT? WHEN DID YOU TELL?
A: When he told me, it must have been... I must have been twenty-eight. And once that old man had recognized it, I slowly started speaking about it. And soon I was in the world fighting, arguing against anything that prevents people from becoming enlightened.
So I have been fighting all the religions, all the politicians, all the educationists; and the more I have fought them, the more I have attracted intelligent people around the world towards me. My people are not like Jesus' apostles. My people are professors, engineers, doctors, writers, poets, musicians, painters, dancers.... I have the most talented group in the whole world.
Q: DESCRIBE FOR ME WHEN YOU WERE TRAVELING AROUND INDIA LECTURING.... WHERE DID YOU GO, WHAT WAS THE RECEPTION THAT YOU RECEIVED FROM THE GROUPS...?
A: It was different in different places, in different groups. For example, I was lecturing in different universities in India -- and India has almost one hundred universities. The students were the ones who got the point most. I was teaching in religious conferences. The people who gathered to listen got the point, but the organizers, the religious leaders, became my enemies.
So any conference, any gathering of religious people I have visited only once, I was not invited there again. Just in one visit I had disturbed their people so much, stirred so many doubts and questions in their minds. Because this is one of my basic standpoints: the way to truth is not belief, but doubt; not faith, but inquiry.
Because of this I say religion and science start from the same point, although their directions are different. Science moves towards the objective world, but its basic foundation is doubt. Doubt everything unless you come across something
which is indubitable. And religion moves inwards; but the basic point remains the same: Doubt, and go on doubting unless you come across something that even when you try to doubt it -- it is there in front of you -- all your doubts disappear.
So to me science and religion both meet at a certain point, the beginning. And if it is understood, it will not be difficult to help them to meet at the end, too. And it will be a great day of rejoicing when science and religion become fellow travelers.
Q: WHEN DID YOU START THE ASHRAM IN POONA? DID THAT COME MUCH LATER?
A: Much later in '73.
Q: SO YOU TRAVELED AROUND INDIA FOR QUITE A FEW YEARS?
A: Yes. I continuously went....
Q: WHY DID YOU STOP TRAVELING AND START THE ASHRAM?
A: Traveling, I was trying to find people who are ready to go with me to any end.
The moment I became aware that I had enough people in India, that I need not bother to go on traveling, I could now settle in one place and let people come to me.... As I became settled, Indians came... and soon people from around the world slowly, slowly started coming.
In Poona, there were ten thousand sannyasins living with me. It was a strange place, almost like an island; ten thousand people of different nations, races, colors, languages, and Indians themselves became a minority group. The moment they saw that what I am teaching and saying is not propagating Hinduism, I am not propagating anybody's religion, I have got my own experience.... The Hindu mind is the oldest mind and the most rotten, of course; it is so full of conditionings. When the people from the West came to me they were less conditioned -- particularly the young people. To have a communion with them was far more easy.
So I don't see any difference between Poona and Rajneeshpuram. In Poona, I was among non-Indians; in Rajneeshpuram, I am among non-Indians.
Q: WAS THE ASHRAM LARGE ENOUGH? OR DID YOU WANT TO EXPAND AT THAT POINT?
A: I wanted to expand it. It was large enough, but not large enough for the people who were going on coming. There were two thousand sannyasins living in the ashram itself, and the remaining eight thousand were living in hotels, guest houses, in other people's houses. The whole of Poona was overflooded
with sannyasins, and I wanted all of them to live together because they had been continuously cheated by people.
Indians proclaim themselves very religious.... That is just nonsense; they are the most materialist people on the earth. Rents went ten times higher as soon as they saw many foreigners coming. Prices of everything went high. In the market, if an Indian was purchasing a thing there was a different price; and if a sannyasin, a foreigner, was purchasing the same thing, it was ten times more. When I had started the ashram a huge bungalow with two acres of garden around it was available at $20,000. Soon it became impossible... even $100,000 was not enough.
People were asking absurd prices.
Q: FOR ADDITIONAL LAND?
A: For land, for houses, for food, for everything We were searching for land in India somewhere else; but the Maharashtra government would not allow me to leave Maharashtra. They had found a strategy to prevent me: one, that any property, any land, any house that we purchased was never allowed to be transferred into our names. Even now....
Q: SAY THAT AGAIN...?
A: Any property, any land, any house that we purchased, the Maharashtra government did not transfer it to our name.
Q: WHY NOT?
A: Simply so that we could not sell it. And we had invested so much money there that unless we could sell, it was difficult for us to move. So this was their one strategy. Now, even now, those properties are not in the name of the commune -- because still the commune exists there. And the second strategy was they were forcing the central government that we should not be allowed land anywhere else. The reason was that they were earning so much out of the visitors, Poona became the biggest tourist place in the whole of India. The people who now have gone to Poona say it looks a deserted place: hotels are empty, houses are empty, prices have fallen.
And you will be surprised to know that the people who were against me had arranged a Hindu ritual -- a fire ritual, which one hundred brahmins have to perform for seven days continuously, twenty-four hours of continuous prayer to God that I should be brought back. And these were the same people who had even made an attempt on my life!
Q: WHEN DID THEY PERFORM THIS RITUAL? RECENTLY, OR...?
A: Just two years ago.
Q: HOW DID YOU GET THE FINANCING TO START THE ASHRAM IN POONA?
A: I had so many rich friends all over the country. I don't have a single cent, and now I have people all over the world who have money and who have guts to risk that money with a dangerous man like me.
Q: WHEN THE GOVERNMENT WOULDN'T ALLOW YOU TO GET ADDITIONAL LAND, IS THAT WHEN YOU MADE THE DECISION TO LEAVE INDIA?
A: No. They were not allowing for seven years, so that was not the problem. I had no intention to leave India. If they would not allow us land outside, we would have gone on purchasing more and more properties in Poona without changing it into our name. The law in India provides that if somebody has occupied a house for nine months, you cannot throw him out, so it does not matter... who cares in whose name the property is? -- we are the users. So we went on purchasing properties. Still our people are growing there.
Since I have not been there, the opposition has died down. In fact much sympathy has arisen, so our people have purchased four hundred acres of land near Poona, and they are developing a new commune there.
Q: DID YOU WANT TO LEAVE POONA?
A: No. For me it makes no difference: wherever I am, I never go out.
Rajneeshpuram may be in the Soviet Union, or in America or in India. It does not matter to me, I don't know who is living outside.
Q: HOW IS RAJNEESHPURAM DIFFERENT FROM POONA, PHYSICALLY?
A: In many ways. First, it is 126 square miles of land; the Poona ashram was only six acres of land. It differs because all the sannyasins can live together here. In Poona it was difficult, they were living in separate places. Now they have their own home, and all are living together, working together, producing, creating.
The Rajneeshpuram commune is no longer dependent on anybody -- we are self- sufficient.
Right now five thousand sannyasins are here, but it changes. People go on coming, living here for three or four months, as much as they can afford. Each thing is made by sannyasins: the food, the clothes, everything is created by sannyasins with great love.
In Poona it was sad -- they were cheated, exploited. They were falling sick continuously because India is dirty, the water is polluted.
Here we have pure water, we have pure air, we don't have neighbors -- it is easy to love your enemies, but it is not easy to love your neighbors. We are alone here, in our own world, totally independent. In Poona, everything had to be done so that the old conditioned mind was not disturbed too much. Here, there is no problem. Even if people want to go to the lake and have a sunbath naked, nobody is bothered by that. If people want to dance and sing, nobody is bothered. In Poona it was a difficult problem: if people wanted to dance, then there were so many complaints from the neighbors, and soon the police were there, saying that they are disturbing the neighbors.
Now, at last, we are not disturbing any neighbors. And those who are disturbed, they are far away. Let them boil up within themselves. Let them enjoy... if they enjoy hostility. But they don't have even the guts to come here and see. They may be just thirty miles away, but they don't have the guts to come and see. Deep down they are afraid that perhaps we are right and they are wrong. That is the threat. Anybody who has come here has gone away with a different attitude, with a new attitude about the commune.
Q: YOU AND OTHER PEOPLE HAVE DESCRIBED THE POONA ASHRAM TO ME AS HAVING MANY LUSH GARDENS, AND WHEN THIS RANCH WAS FIRST PURCHASED IT WAS ALMOST WORTHLESS DESERT LAND.
Q:... WHAT DID YOU THINK, OR WHAT WAS YOUR IMPRESSION WHEN YOU FIRST CAME AND SAW THE LAND HERE?
A: I did not like it, because I have always liked greenery and this was a desert, so I was not impressed. I told my people that they have to change this place into an oasis, and in these four years we have done much. Just four years more, and it will not be a desert anymore. We will make it lush green.
Q: ALL OVER? YOU WILL TURN THE WHOLE RANCH INTO AN OASIS?
A: No. There is no need. Just Rajneeshpuram, the city. An over, I would like it as it is, as a remembrance; all over I will keep it as it is, as a remembrance of how it used to be and what we have done to it. Mountains have also their beauty, naked. The juniper -- that is the only tree around here -- has its own beauty and strength. We will make many lakes... we have already made one, one was already there. We will make many lakes, and we have created a small river just with rain water. We are growing our food, we are working in the fields, we have
our own vegetable gardens, our own flower gardens, our own greenhouses. So whatsoever we want to do we can do.
And now I can see that it was good to have a desert. It has given us a challenge, and challenge brings creativity to function. And it is far more enjoyable that all the trees and all the lakes and all the greenery have been made by us. It is our creation, it is not second-hand.
Q: IT HAS BEEN SAID TO ME THAT YOU LEFT POONA IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT. IS THIS TRUE?
A: Certainly true!
Q: THE IMPLICATION BEING THAT YOU SNEAKED AWAY, AS OPPOSED TO ANNOUNCING IT....
A: That is wrong.
Q: CAN YOU EXPLAIN FOR ME HOW YOU LEFT POONA?
A: I left in my Rolls Royce, and not in the dead of the night. I left Poona in the day, in the midday sun, with two Rolls Royces, three Mercedes Benz. With five cars I left in the middle of the day. I left BOMBAY at midnight, because the plane leaves at midnight. What could I do?
Q: DO YOU ENVISION RAJNEESHPURAM BECOMING A CITY THAT WILL BE ABLE TO HANDLE MORE PERMANENT SANNYASIN RESIDENTS THAN THERE ARE NOW?
Q: IN A SELF-SUSTAINING WAY, I MEAN; A LARGER VEGETABLE FARM AND...?
Q: HOW DO YOU ENVISION RAJNEESHPURAM GROWING AS A CITY? BY HUNDREDS, OR THOUSANDS, OR...?
A: Nothing can be said about that. But it is growing, and I don't see any reason except a third world war to prevent Rajneeshpuram from growing.
Q: CAN YOU DESCRIBE FOR ME WHAT YOUR DAY IS LIKE? GETTING BACK TO.... I'M SERVING READERS WHO DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT...
NONE OF WHOM, EXCEPT FOR A FEW, HAVE EVER BEEN HERE, AND THEY ARE CURIOUS ABOUT YOU.
A: It is all over ecstasy.
Q: I'M SORRY?
A: It is all over ecstasy. I enjoy everything. I enjoy my breakfast, I enjoy my lunch, I enjoy my supper, and I enjoy my sweets before I go to sleep. Just please don't tell my physicians.
Q: WHAT DO YOU DO DURING THE DAY?
A: I am completely engaged. In the morning I speak to my sannyasins for two and a half hours. In the night I meet media people as long as they want; and after the media has left, Sheela has her work -- she is my secretary -- for one hour, two hours, as much as she needs. A few things I have absolutely private: three hours in my bathroom, one and a half hours in the morning, and one and a half hours in the evening. That's my luxury. Sometime you should come and see my bathroom.
Q: I'LL ACCEPT YOUR INVITATION ANY TIME!
A: Good! Because it is almost a temple to me, and my people have created such a beautiful bathroom because they knew I love big things! I have a swimming pool only for myself, olympic size. You should see my garage -- almost one hundred Rolls Royces. And my people have improved upon them.
A: They have painted them better. They have changed many faults that were there. Even the president of the Rolls Royce company in America was here to see, and he remarked that there is no other garage where a Rolls Royce is treated in this way. Just because I use them, my people take care of them. They have painted my Rolls Royces in psychedelic colors.
Q: IF I COULD BACK UP FOR A MINUTE.... WHEN THE UNITED STATES WAS FOUNDED ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, AND WHEN THIS GROUP OF PEOPLE CAME TO OREGON AND WHEN YOU ARRIVED HERE, DID YOU HAVE ANY EXPECTATIONS OR WERE YOU SURPRISED AT THE KIND OF RECEPTION THAT YOU RECEIVED FROM OREGONIANS, WHO ARE AMERICANS, WHO ARE CITIZENS OF A COUNTRY THAT WAS FOUNDED ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM?
A: I was not only surprised, I was utterly disappointed, because I have always respected America. I had always thought that democracy really exists here. I have been always against the Soviet Union and its dictatorial government, but when I came here I found it is another Soviet Union -- perhaps the dictatorship is more sophisticated, the democracy only a mask -- because our people have been treated so badly, and they are continuously harassed for no reason at all. Their ways of harassment are really ugly, fascist.
Democracy exists only in the Constitution. Perhaps for Christians there is democracy and freedom of religion, but not for us. And I want the whole world to know that there is nothing much to choose between the Soviet Union and America, only that the Soviet Union is straightforward, frankly accepting that it is a dictatorship of the proletariat. America is a hypocrite.
Q: CAN YOU ENVISION YOURSELF EVER RETURNING TO INDIA?
A: No, for the simple reason that that's not my lifestyle. I never return to anything. What is past is past. I have changed places many times, in India too, but once I have left a place, I have never visited it again. So, seeing my pattern of the past, a logical conclusion is that I'm not going anywhere -- particularly because of this hostility, this hypocritical democracy I have to fight here. We are fighting in so many courts, and we will go on fighting up to the Supreme Court.
Either they have to be fair with us and democratic, or we are going to expose them all over the world as another dictatorship -- not of the proletariat, but of the super-rich.
Q: YOU DESCRIBED YOURSELF, I THINK IN AN INTERVIEW, AS THE RICH MAN'S GURU.
A: I am.
Q: CAN YOU EXPLAIN FOR ME WHAT THAT MEANS? AND HOW THAT WOULD BE DIFFERENT FROM, SAY, A POOR MANS GURU? ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT A STATE OF MIND, OR A STATE OF THE POCKETBOOK?
ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT STATE OF MIND -- THAT THE RICH HAVE A DIFFERENT STATE OF MIND THAN THE POOR -- OR ARE YOU MERELY TALKING ABOUT ECONOMICS?
A: I am talking in all the dimensions. A man can be reached in many ways, and economics is not excluded. He can be reached in music, he can be reached in poetry, he can be reached in wealth. All need a certain kind of intelligence to create; and when I say I am a rich man's guru, I mean I am the Master of all those who are creators in any dimension of life. Of course, the poor man cannot create,
he cannot even manage his physical survival. You cannot expect him to understand Van Gogh or the theory of relativity or Bertrand Russell. And if he cannot understand Bertrand Russell, he cannot understand me.
I have doubts whether Bertrand Russell would be able to understand me or not, most probably not, because he never meditated in his whole, long life. He lived almost a century, and he went on denying the existence of God without even bothering to look into himself Not a single moment in a century-long life did he sit down and look into himself to ask if he is only a body or there is something more to it. And if the body is just the outer shell of something which is not material, that means this whole existence is full of life. Even the soul has to be in a tree, if the tree is alive.
To me, life is God. There is no other God than life. And to experience life, there is no other way than meditation. So, naturally, it is difficult for the poor people.
You cannot hope that Ethiopians will come to meditate here; nor am I going there to teach them meditation. Their need is different. I fulfill the needs of those who are hungry for something higher than bread and butter.
And you ask me what it means to be a poor man's guru. It means Mother Teresa, Pope the Polack, these are the people who are the gurus of the poor, because those poor people can be converted to Christianity very easily. Just give them a little support economically, financially; give them schools, hospitals, free food, free milk for their children. That is enough, but that is not religion. That is simply purchasing people, making them Christians on financial grounds. They are simply playing a politics of numbers. They want that poor people should go on existing, because that is from where they can get Christians.
In India, I have not seen a single rich man who has converted to Christianity. I have seen beggars, poor people, hungry people, dying people, sick people being converted to Christianity, but I have not seen a painter, a musician, a poet, a wealthy man turning to Christianity. In fact, exactly the opposite is happening.
All the great painters of the West, all the musicians, all the dancers, all those who can think intelligently have dropped out of Christianity. With them I can have a communion -- very easily.
The pope cannot have a communion with Jean-Paul Sartre, it is impossible. The pope will look retarded before Jean-Paul Sartre. He will not be able even to understand what Jean-Paul Sartre is talking about: anguish, meaninglessness -- these are the poor man's guru. Up to now, the world was only divided into the poor and the rich. I have made a new division: the poor man's guru and the rich man's guru.
Q: A FEW YEARS AGO, YOU WERE QUOTED AS SAYING THERE WAS NO SINGLE PATH, THERE WAS NO EXCLUSIVE RELIGION. YOU EMBRACED ALL FORMS OF RELIGION. AND THEN, A FEW YEARS LATER, YOU SAID SOMETHING DIFFERENT, AND WHEN YOU WERE ASKED ABOUT THAT, YOU SAID THAT YOU WERE FULL OF CONTRADICTIONS....
A: I am a man of contradictions, and I am proud of it! Only an idiot is always consistent. The intelligent person goes on growing, finding new ground, new spaces. And when I go on finding new groovy spaces, naturally I have to talk about them. And if they contradict my past, so what? Past is dead anyway.
Q: I HAVE BEEN HERE BEFORE, AND I HAVE SEEN THE DRIVEBYS, AND I THINK I HAVE A SENSE OF WHAT SANNYASINS ARE EXPERIENCING DURING THE DRIVEBY. WHAT DO YOU EXPERIENCE INSIDE YOUR CAR WHEN YOU DRIVE PAST YOUR DISCIPLES?
A: I love them. Just to see them is a great nourishment to me. to see them dance, to see them laugh. Perhaps I start feeling: I am certainly the Blessed One -- so much love I don't think anybody has received ever. Jesus had only twelve fools around him.
Q: DO YOU HAVE DOUBTS THAT YOU ARE THE BLESSED ONE?
A: Not doubts... I am a perfectly Blessed One. I was just joking a little bit.
Q: YOU DON'T GO OUT DRIVING ANYMORE AROUND HERE, IS THAT CORRECT?
A: Not every day now. When I was not speaking, when I was in silence, I wanted to see my sannyasins every day... that's why the driveby was invented. Now I am seeing them in the morning for two and a half hours every day, so there is no need. But we have four celebrations around the year. In each celebration -- it will be a seven day celebration -- they will have driveby also.
Q: YOU DON'T DRIVE AROUND THE HILLS OUTSIDE RAJNEESHPURAM ANY MORE?
A: In the beginning I used to, but the county road that connects us is exactly the road that goes to hell. So I don't go. I dropped the idea.
Q: HAVE YOU SEEN THE SIGN AT THE LAST TURNOFF TO RAJNEESHPURAM RECENTLY? I SAW IT ON THE WAY IN TODAY:
"ABANDON YE ALL HOPE WHO ENTER HEREIN." HAVE YOU SEEN THE SIGN?
A: No, because I don't go there, but I have heard about it. It is right -- because what is the need of hope here? We are eating the cake, and they are simply hoping for it.
Q: I HAVE ONE FINAL QUESTION. IT'S A LITTLE FRIVOLOUS.... IN ORDER TO GO ON DRIVING, I KNOW YOU HAD TO GET AN OREGON DRIVER'S LICENSE. CAN YOU DESCRIBE FOR ME WHAT THAT WAS LIKE, TO TAKE THE EXAMINATION WITH THE OREGON TESTER, OR THE MAN WHO GOES WITH YOU AND GIVES YOU THE DRIVING TEST? I MEAN, WHAT HE WAS LIKE WHEN HE WAS GIVING YOU THE TEST?
A: There was really no need. The person who examined me could understand it clearly: I can drive from here to Madras, and I have an Indian license for driving, and I have an international license for driving, so he simply thought it was absolutely foolish. I could examine him! He just went around with me to show that an examination was being done -- a nice fellow.
Q: AND ON THAT NOTE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
A: Good... I was happy!
The Last Testament, Vol 1