[NOTE: This discourse will be in the book "India Coming Back Home", which has not been published, as of August 1992.
INTERVIEW by SUNDAY TIMES (Magazine Avivar?)
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
One cannot be certain even of the next moment. Life is such a flux, just like a river flowing each moment to an unknown destination. So I don't know whether I have come to India forever or only for a few days.
And I love this freedom, that I am not bound to be anywhere tomorrow.
Yesterday is dead; tomorrow is so full of life you cannot plan for it. And I love this unplanned opening of the future. It is a tremendous excitement, what tomorrow's sunrise will bring. I have never planned anything in my life. I have lived unplanned, and I am going to die unplanned.
HOW ARE YOU FEELING IN INDIA?
As far as my feeling is concerned, I am always feeling good. It may be heaven or hell, but my feeling will not change. That is the only point which is unmoving and unchanging.
It is said of Archimedes that if he could find the still point of this whole moving universe he could change the world. But he could not find the still point because he never looked in the direction where the still point is. The still point is within ourselves. There is a place, a space, where all is exactly the same always. Once you reach it, then you are only a witness. Things are happening around you, but they don't happen to you. You may be killed, but still you will be a witness. So as far as I am concerned, I am just great anywhere.
In America, the jailers were very much puzzled. On their part they were doing everything to torture me and harass me and, knowing my troubles - that I suffer from allergies - it was very easy to put me with somebody who is continuously smoking, and I am allergic to smoke; it was very easy to put me with someone who is using perfume, and I am allergic to perfume. But I remained silent with closed eyes those twelve days.
Every jailer asked me, "How are you feeling?"
And I said, "Great!"
They said, "This is strange. We have never come across a man like you. We are doing our best so that you should not feel great, but you go on feeling great.
What is great in this dark, dismal, dirty cell full of cockroaches?"
I said, "They are dead. I am here. They don't touch me, they cannot touch me."
And this is my whole life's work, to help people to experience this innermost point of their being, the center of the cyclone, upon which everything moves, but which itself remains exactly the same, eternity to eternity.
As far as India is concerned, there are good signs. A new group of people have come into the Indian government. If they are people of integrity, and they can remain non-political and still in politics, then India has a future.
ARE THEY STILL NON-POLITICAL?
It is very difficult. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and they are human beings with all the frailties and weaknesses of everyone. People don't know what they will do when they come to power; they themselves come to know only when they have power. It is a little early to say, because the bureaucracy is the old one, which has to be changed as soon as possible; otherwise it will change your non-political people who have come into politics.
And the non-political people who have come to join politics have to be made aware of the fact; otherwise, unconsciously they will turn political. If you live with a madman and you talk with a madman, it is very difficult to save your own sanity.
It happened in Egypt: one of the pharaohs, who was a great chess player, became mad. Nobody could cure him. But one wise old man suggested that if somebody played chess with him perhaps he might be cured. The greatest chess player was brought; they played chess, and after one year the pharaoh was sane but the chess player became mad!
When you are with certain kinds of people you have to learn their language, you have to learn their behavior, their strategies.
So I am making that point emphatically, that a good number of people have come into the political cage who are not basically political.
WHAT ABOUT RAJIV GANDHI?
Even Rajiv is a non-politician. And the situation was ripe, because for forty years India has seen what the politicians have done. They have made the country worse and worse. So India is ready to accept the non-political people on their merit.
Now that is the question: those non-political people who want to enter into power should be made fully alert that they should not change; they should remain non-political. Their approach towards problems should remain human, not political. They should promise only that which they can deliver. The politician makes great promises just to gather votes, and once he is in power he forgets all his promises. The new people have to be made alert: don't promise anything that you cannot deliver. Always promise something you can deliver - in fact, you can deliver more than you promised.
The signs are good. Rajiv is absolutely non-political. He never wanted to come into politics; it is just circumstances that have brought him into politics. That is a good sign that the inner being is not hankering for power, if the country supports him and helps him, and he has not to depend on politicians, he has a great future.
Rajiv is not the old Indian politician who was brought up under Mahatma Gandhi. That is something very valuable. I wanted India to be completely rid of Gandhism for the simple reason that he was the man who was propagating things which will never allow India to progress. Rajiv is good because he has no impact of Mahatma Gandhi on him.
Secondly, Rajiv is a contemporary man. The people who had come to power before him were really fighters for freedom. They had no idea what they were going to do when they became victorious. The fight for freedom was too much, they were so much involved in it. When suddenly the power came into their hands they were at a loss what to do, so they fell back upon the British system that was already there.
We have changed the high level politicians, but the system of bureaucracy is still British. Just as non-politicians have come to politics, non-bureaucrats have to be brought to bureaucracy. And it is not difficult, it is just a question of decision.
And a decision is very important, because if you don't decide now, every day it will become more difficult because the population goes on growing, problems go on growing. But there is still time.
My suggestion is: change the bureaucracy, make our politicians absolutely non- political. If somebody is an education minister then he should come from the educational world. If somebody is a health minister he should have the best medical expertise. If somebody is the minister for agriculture then he should know the latest technologies which are being used all over the world for agriculture.
What I am saying is that we should try for meritocracy rather than for democracy. Merit should be valued, nothing else. And my feeling is that after forty years' experience, it is possible; people are ready to do anything if their faith can be restored. This opportunity should not be lost.
So as far as India is concerned, I see some rays of hope, but they have to be made a reality. And the press, the media, can play a significant role in teaching the country, in teaching the politicians, in teaching the bureaucracy. The Indian press and media are not doing that. They have not even considered that they are the greatest educational system today. No university is as great as the media, because it reaches to millions of people who will never go to the university.
The media, in other words, is a university reaching to people's homes rather than bringing people to the university. And it has a great responsibility in such moments of change.
It should not live on sensationalism. It should not exploit people's ugly desires.
They read about rape, they read about murder, they read about crime, and it is a wellknown psychological fact: while people are reading these things they somehow enjoy it. They also want to murder someone but they cannot. Reading about the murders, they become identified with the murderer.
IF SOMEONE KILLS SOMEONE, THEN SHOULD IT BE REPORTED IN THE MEDIA OR NOT?
My feeling is: if we want to change the human mind - and it is an absolute necessity - all that is evil should be ignored, because once you report it, it is magnified a millionfold. A small evil - somebody kills someone - reaches to millions of people; and every day they read that somebody is being killed, somebody is raped. Slowly, slowly, it becomes clear to them that rape and murder and suicide are normal. And this idea of their being normal is dangerous. They can rape. If everybody is raping, if everybody is murdering, then what is the point in going on unnecessarily being a saint and torturing yourself?
My feeling is that all evil should be completely ignored because it helps in no way. If somebody has murdered someone, he should be punished by the court; that is their business. But what business is it of the people to know about it - all the gory details of it?
THEN THE PROBLEM WITH THIS IS: WHEN MRS. GANDHI IS ASSASSINATED AND WE DON'T REPORT IT, THEN HOW WILL THE PEOPLE RELY ON ME?
Your reporting of Mrs. Gandhi's assassination - do you know how many Sikhs have been killed just for one woman? If you had not reported that, thousands of Sikhs would not have been killed. You are responsible for it. And Mrs. Gandhi was going to die sooner or later, so what is the big mess about it? The legal authorities are there - let them take their measures. It is not your business.
It would have kept India more healthy, more sensible, because Mrs. Gandhi's assassination that you reported changed the whole political character of the country. It killed thousands of Sikhs, it killed freedom of thought. I have nothing to do with Khalistan, but I have much to do with freedom of thought.
I feel that evil should not be reported because it becomes magnified. It should be completely ignored. Legal authorities are there to take it in their hands. The function of the media is to teach people that life does not consist only of evil - there are good things also. The roses are still flowering, rivers are still singing and dancing. People not only rape; people still love. Millions of people love and you don't report it. A single person rapes and you report it. Rape becomes more important than millions of people loving.
My feeling is that evil should be given to the legal authorities - that is their domain - and the media should become a university, spreading the good news, making people feel that the world is not wrong, that to do wrong is not normal, to do good is normal. And if everybody is doing good, it acquires an impetus. By reading good things every day you start feeling that you have to do something - you are also a human being, and you should not lag far behind the whole humanity which is being so progressive and going forward. Right now the situation is such that it seems as though the whole humanity is criminal.
The media has to change its attitude completely. For example, there is no need to give so much importance to politicians; they should be given the fourth page, not the first page. The first page should be given to creative people. There are painters, there are poets, there are sculptors, there are musicians, there are dancers - there are so many beautiful creative people, and you don't care about them, you ignore them.
POLITICIANS ARE NOT CREATIVE?
They are just functional, not creative. A creative person never goes into politics.
You cannot make Picasso a politician. You cannot make Ravi Shankar a politician, because what will politics give him? His sitar gives him so much bliss; what can politics give him? No creative person goes into politics. Only people who are uncreative, suffering from an inferiority complex, having no other talents or genius, no qualifications for any other job in the world, become politicians. And you make them the main news - their pictures are there every day. Whatsoever nonsense their secretaries have been writing is published as their speeches - they cannot even write their own speeches.
No, politics should not be given so much importance. By giving it importance you are making people run towards politics. What I mean to say is that politics should be put where it belongs - on the last page. The first page should belong to the creative people - and there are so many beautiful things.... Of course the journalist will need to have a new sensitivity to find out the good, the beauty, the truth of life.
Let people feed on the best things. These are the people who tomorrow will be choosing your politicians, and if they are acquainted with the good, the best, the creative, they cannot choose the rotten people they have been choosing all along.
They will ask for talent, they will ask about what you have created, what you have done, what your qualifications are, what your expertise is. They are not just going to satisfy your will to power. Your will to power simply proves you are an inferior human being.
WHAT SHOULD THE INDIAN PEOPLE EXPECT FROM YOU? WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS?
I don't have any future plans, and nobody should expect anything from me, because I never expect anything from anybody. I just enjoy doing things absolutely spontaneously. That's why I'm never frustrated.
Frustration comes only when you plan and the plan fails. I don't plan. I simply enjoy doing something - whether it fails or succeeds has no concern for me. I did my best and I enjoyed doing it; that is my reward - not success or failure. Of course while I am here something is bound to happen - I don't know what.
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE TO REMOVE POVERTY FROM INDIA?
It is very easy. The easiest thing in India is to remove poverty - which the politicians and the leaders are making the biggest problem.
The first thing is that India should not think in terms of becoming a big nuclear power. Already we are wasting seventy-five percent of the national income on war machinery.
AND WHEN PAKISTAN ATTACKS?
I understand you. That is what Pakistanis say - I have been talking to them too.
They say, "We stop and India attacks." Somebody has to take the initiative, and I think India is the best country to take the initiative.
Seventy-five percent of our resources go in the service of killing, in war; naturally the country will remain poor. Without Pakistan attacking you, you will die through your own poverty.
My feeling is that India should make a historical decision - that we cease all war efforts and we put our whole energy into destroying poverty. We will fight poverty, not human beings - even if it means that other countries can attack us.
But it does not necessarily mean that. Switzerland has not seen a single war in one hundred and fifty years, and Switzerland has not any great military power.
What has happened? If it can happen to Switzerland, a country that has no great power to prevent invasion, it simply means the good will of the Swiss people, their loving nature, has helped them.
So rather than depending on weapons, why not depend on human qualities?
Create a country which has no poverty, no beggars, no uneducated people - a country which is joyous, loving, dancing. And I have every certainty that nobody can attack you, even the people you think can attack - Pakistan. The population of Pakistan will attack the government of Pakistan: if it can happen in India, why is it not happening there? We just have to make our position absolutely clear to the world.
Right now, even if you have weapons, nuclear weapons, there is no guarantee that Pakistan will not attack; there is no guarantee that China will not attack. If it could be a guarantee then I could have considered it. But the war machinery has come to such a point that any war is going to be a total war. It will destroy our whole humanity. That is a very significant point. That means now there is not going to be a great war because nobody wants to die, nobody wants to destroy humanity - neither America nor the Soviet Union nor anybody else.
My own suggestion is that India should make its ties with the Soviet Union as deep as possible and declare itself really a nonviolent country - taking the risk of the whole country being destroyed. But I don't think destruction can happen because the whole world would be on your side. Just guts are needed, and the poverty will simply disappear without any trouble.
You are putting your whole energy into war, and people are poor. And you go on asking: what can we do about poverty? So one thing, the most important, is that India should become actually - not just verbally - a nonviolent country. Its armies should move to agriculture and factories. It should drop its weapons and declare to the world, "We are absolutely without weapons; we want our people to live joyously, even if it means the death of the country. But we will die dancing, we will not die fighting and killing human beings."
That declaration, in reality, will have a sympathetic echo all over the world. And if one country can do that, other countries will follow, because every country is in the same trouble - they have to keep creating more weapons than the enemy, and those weapons are consuming everything and leaving the poor poor.
Secondly, India should be educated in population control. The effort was made but in a wrong way. People were educated for it forcibly, and whenever you do anything forcibly - even if it is good - the result is going to be bad. People should be taught, and now better methods of birth control are available. There is no need to create dozens of children. And people should be approached in such a way that they don't feel that their independence, their freedom, is being hampered, but on the contrary that their freedom is hampered by two dozen children! They destroy their whole life. Not only that, they are destroying their two dozen children's lives also: they will be beggars on the streets.
We have to make our people understand that to have a small family gives you more freedom, more comfort, more education, and a better future for your children. They will not end up in Mother Teresa's orphanages and become Catholics. Of course Mother Teresa will not like the idea of birth control. Now Pope the Polack is coming to India. He should be rejected everywhere, because Catholics are not interested in humanity; their whole interest is in how to create more children. Naturally they will be poor, naturally they will be on the streets - and then they can be turned into Catholics.
I have looked around the whole country: it is strange that not a single rich man has ever been converted to Christianity. If Christianity is such a great religion, then why doesn't a rich Hindu ever convert? Christianity is a thirdrate religion in comparison to any other religion. The people who get converted are those whose concern is not religion, but whose concern is bread and clothes.
And I am surprised that these people are welcomed by the country - that awards are given to these people who are increasing the poverty of the country and side by side increasing the Catholic population. It has been their deepest desire for two thousand years to make the whole world Christian - and now this is a great opportunity. The poor are bound to fall into their trap. They don't want poverty to be removed, and the best way is to tell people that using birth control methods is against God.
One of the bishops was talking to me, and he said, "It is against God."
I said, "Your God is omnipotent, all-powerful, omniscient; he can see past, present, future; he is omnipresent, everywhere present. Cannot he remove a small pill, or change the quality of the pill? If he can make man out of mud, cannot he change the pill into mud? Such a great god, and the pill defeats him?
You are talking nonsense. If God wants children to be there, then no birth control methods can succeed; and if they succeed, that proves there is no God."
But we are supporting these people. Now preparations are being made to receive the Pope. These kinds of people should be expelled from India. They are not friends of this country, they are enemies of this country. Anybody who teaches people that birth control is irreligious is against our future. Birth control should be accepted as an intelligent method - and intelligence is God-given.
Just these two things - birth control and no more pouring of money and energy into war - and poverty will disappear. And you will make history. India has not been making history for two thousand years. For two thousand years you have been slaves. Although you had weapons and you had armies, still you have been slaves.
I ask you, what is the fear? Take the risk, and declare to the world that the land of Buddha and Mahavira and the Upanishads is still capable of risking its own life for the sake of the whole humanity. It will be the greatest thing that has ever happened, perhaps that ever will happen. And we have nothing to lose. We have already been slaves for two thousand years; what difference do a few years more make?
YOU SAID THAT YOU LOVE INDIA.
I have never said I preferred India; it is still not worth living in. I have just come here to stay for a few days before I can get a place somewhere in the world; somewhere where I can be absolutely free - because here also I see freedom is impossible. For simple things, freedom is impossible.
Just the other day I was talking to a journalist, and I told him that India has never been one country. It was only under Mohammedan rule that they forced the country to be one; then, too, it was not completely one. It was only under British troops that India became one - the whole credit of India's becoming one goes to British slavery. And Churchill was right when he said that the moment Britain leaves India, India will fall apart into small pieces. His prophecy is coming true.:
Pakistan has separated, Bangladesh has separated, Nagaland is asking for freedom; soon others will be following.
The journalist suggested to me, "You should not say such a thing because you can be immediately imprisoned." If this is the situation, do you think India is worth living in? I don't think so.
It is absolutely against my conscience not to say the truth. Any country where truth is not valued is not worth living in. It is my country, I would love to live here, but I would love to live here only in my own way. And I am ready to argue with anybody. But imprisoning me is not an argument; it is simply your defeat.
You cannot argue, you don't have anything in your support. In forty years you have not been able to manage one national language; how can you manage one nation?
If simple things cannot be said I would rather die than live - but I cannot tolerate such kinds of stupid attitudes.
So I had said India is not worth living in. I still say it is not worth living in. And the burden is on them - the government, the politicians. If they want it to be worth living in and they want me to say so, then they have to behave; otherwise, the whole world is there, and it will be far better to suffer somewhere else. At least I will not feel that my own mother country cannot give me freedom of speech.
WHY ARE YOU CONSTANTLY MISUNDERSTOOD BY INDIAN SOCIETY?
YOU HAVE SPOKEN A LOT ABOUT THE GITA, RAMA, THE KORAN, LAO TZU, BUDDHA, BUT THE INDIAN PEOPLE THINK THAT YOU TALK ALL THE TIME ABOUT SEX.
I am reminded of a psychologist who once, talking to a patient, drew a line on the table and asked him, "What does this remind you of?"
The patient said, "Sex, of course."
Even the psychologist was shocked. He made a triangle and asked, "Now?"
The man said, "It reminds me more of sex."
The psychologist made a circle.
The man said, "What are you doing? You will drive me crazy. It is perfect sex!"
With the Indian society, the same is the problem. It has repressed sex for thousands of years, and whenever you repress something it is always there.
I have almost four hundred books published in my name, only one book is about sex. Three hundred and ninety-nine books, which have nothing to do with sex, which are only lines and triangles and circles - nobody bothers about. Just one book is about sex, and even that one is not advocating sex - that is the strangest thing. The book is really anti-sex. The whole philosophy of the book is how to transform sex energy into spiritual energy. It is against repression. If you repress sex then you cannot transform the energy into spiritual energy - because it is the only energy you have got. You are born of sex, every cell of your body is part of sex. To repress sex means to destroy your possibility of ever becoming a spiritual being.
So the book says, don't repress sex; sex is natural, it is part of your whole being.
It should be given its due, and you should not feel guilty about it; rather you should try to meditate on your sexual energy. That's what Tantra is. The whole philosophy of Tantra is that while you are making love, simultaneously you meditate, so that meditation and sex become one. The moment they become one, sex, instead of going downwards into procreation, starts moving upwards, taking you to new discoveries of your own being, to the final stage of becoming enlightened.
It is strange that people think my books are about sex, that I am advocating sex.
You can ask my sannyasins - the more they have meditated, the less sexual they have become. Those who have been with me for long have almost lost all interest in sex - because it is simply a wastage of energy. The same energy can give them such ecstatic experiences; why should they waste it?
But the problem is that with the priests of all religions - Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian, Jaina, Buddhist - their whole investment is in sexual repression. If they condemn sex, saying that it is something evil, they have condemned you; now the burden is on you to destroy sex - which you cannot. It is not in your hands to destroy it; it is your physiology, your biology. So when you cannot destroy it you start feeling guilty. This is a guilt-producing process, and once a man feels guilty he is bound to be in the hands of the priests. Because you don't know where God is - nobody has ever known - so to whom to go for forgiveness that you are a sinner? And these cunning priests, popes, shankaracharyas, imams, they are the mediators. They say they have direct communication with God: you just listen to them, follow them, and you will be forgiven.
So all the religions are using sex repression as a strategy to keep the priesthood's hold on people. That's why they were angry at me - because I was destroying their very roots. And they spread the whole idea; otherwise I am the most anti- sex man in the whole world.