[NOTE: This discourse will be in the book "India Coming Back Home", which has not yet been published, as of August 1992.]
INTERVIEW BY THE TELEGRAPH (CALCUTTA)
CAN YOU TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT THE TRUTH?
The most basic truth is: Do not believe in anything unless you experience it.
Secondary to it, and supporting it, is that your growth should depend not on belief or on faith, but on doubt, reasoning, and meditation.
All the religions of the world have said just the opposite. They say, "Believe, and you are delivered." The very word belief means you do not know.
You do not believe in the wind, you do not believe in the sound of running water; you know. There is no question of belief. But in God you have to believe; in heaven, in hell, you have to believe.
This was the most difficult thing for religious people to understand in me. I was saying to them, "Just as the wind goes through the trees singing its song, godliness can go through you singing its own song. And you are capable of it.
Then why decide on a third-rate belief when you can experience the whole shower of godliness and be renewed by it. When your whole vision can be changed and you can see that you are immortal, part of godliness itself, then why go to a temple and worship before a man-made statue?"
To me, truth is an individual experience; belief is a social lie.
Truth comes very simply and very silently. All that you need is to prepare yourself to receive it. It comes to you almost every moment, but your doors are closed, your mind is full of thoughts, your heart is full of emotions.
So all that is needed - what I call meditation - is to empty the mind, empty the heart, and wait in absolute patience. It surely comes. It has come to me. And this is the only way it has come to anyone ever. Nobody has ever said when he was open, available, patient, thoughtless, silent that meditation did not come. In the whole history of literature there is not a single statement which can disprove what I am saying.
The process of meditation is very simple. You just learn to watch things. Sit silently by the river and just listen to the sound, forgetting everything else, and suddenly you feel a transfiguration - you are no more the same tense personality; a great relaxation has happened to you.
DOES EVERYONE HAVE THE POTENTIAL?
Everyone has the potential.
THE POOR ALSO?
The poor also. The poor man may not try, he may not get the opportunity - that's another thing. But every human being, just as he is capable of life, so he is capable of godliness.
The poor man is also capable of life, but his life is very limited, his life is just about getting bread. He will never think of the music of Mozart; that too is part of life. He will never think of the beauties of the Himalayas, that too is part of life. He will never think of the paintings of Van Gogh, that without seeing them he has missed something in his life. But he has the potential; just the opportunities are not there.
BUT MEDITATIVENESS IS AVAILABLE TO EVERYBODY?
Not to everyone. Just ask a beggar who is hungry. When he sees the full moon in the night he sees bread, not the full moon. On the surface it seems the full moon is available to everybody, but it is not; a full stomach is needed, then only the full moon is available. If you are starving for three days, you cannot see the full moon; you will see bread floating in the sky.
Watching, start from the outside world, which is easier. That's why I said listen to the sound of the river or the music of the wind passing through the trees. Then come closer. Watch your own body - the way you walk. Remain a watcher.
Don't go on walking like a robot, as we all do.
Once you become aware of your own body and its movements, you will be surprised that you are not your body. This is something of a basic principle, that if you can watch something then you are not it. You are the watcher, not the watched. You are the observer, not the observed. How can you be both?
So when you can watch your body eating, walking, going to bed, doing anything - as if in the room there are two persons, your watcher deep inside looking at what your body is doing - slowly, slowly, a tremendously meaningful experience arises, that you are not the body. This is the beginning of true religion.
Then the next step is to watch your thoughts. The process remains the same, it only becomes different because of the object that you are watching. Thoughts are more subtle than the body, but if you are capable of watching the body, you can watch the thoughts. Just close your eyes and see your thoughts floating on the screen of the mind. Don't become involved. Remain aloof, no judgment - no thought is good, no thought is bad, because if you say, "This thought is good," you have already jumped into the stream of thoughts. You remain silent just like a mirror. A procession of people are passing, the mirror reflects them without any judgment - who is beautiful, who is not, who is man, who is woman, who is a thief and who is a stranger. It has nothing to do with them, it simply reflects.
The day you succeed, and it is not difficult, it is very simple, because thousands of my people have succeeded.... The moment you succeed in becoming an absolute watcher with no attachment with the thoughts, the thoughts disappear.
It is your identification with the thoughts that gives them life. When you are completely cut off, they fall like leaves falling from the trees and they leave a pure, vacant, silent mind. This is a great achievement.
And just a little more you have to do in the third step. Watch your emotions, moods, feelings - which are below the level of thinking, below the level of ordinary awareness. People are sad and they don't know they are sad unless the sadness is too much. In fact, people remain sad their whole lives. They become so accustomed to it that they don't feel that there is any problem unless they see somebody laughing and enjoying and happy, then they start feeling, "Is this man mad, or is there something missing in me?" But when your thoughts are not there, you can see very easily your feelings, your moods. Now watch them. And they are very delicate, just a slight watching and they disappear.
The ultimate fourth step is not to be taken by you; hence I call my way the way of the fourth.
In ancient India it was called turiya. Turiya means the fourth. It is not a name, it is a number.
Up to the third you are capable. Up to the third you arrange your house for the guest to come. Now you are ready, and whenever you are ready the guest always comes; in fact, he comes even when you are not ready. He has been coming, but you were not aware of it. Now you will see the guest coming.
When the feelings and emotions disappear, there is a quantum leap. Your own awareness, watchfulness, now has nothing there to watch. It turns upon itself, and becomes a circle. It is as if in a room a candle is burning and there is nothing in the room; the light of the candle only shows the candle. When watchfulness only shows itself, you have arrived home. This I call meditation, and this is the highest peak in human consciousness. Many things become revealed, many secrets become open, many mysteries are no longer mysteries. You know that you are not going to die, you know that there is no God, but there is a quality which is far superior to God - that is godliness.
God is a person, godliness is a quality. God is bound to be limited. Howsoever big you make God, it is bound to be limited - it is a person. It will have two eyes or one thousand eyes, two hands or one thousand hands - it does not make any difference. But there will be limitation.
Godliness is like love - no hands, no eyes, but only a tremendous overwhelming feeling of peace, bliss, eternity. And it is not only in you. The moment you feel it in yourself you suddenly become aware of it in everybody else. But people are blind, they are not looking at it. The flame is everywhere, but people are looking somewhere else.
The difference between a meditator and a non-meditator is not much. The non- meditator never looks in, he always looks out; hence all the people who worship God in the temples, in the mosques, in the churches, are non-meditators. They are still looking outside. Their God is outside; it is a thing.
A meditator looks in, and inside he finds not a thing but life itself, its very source, and that transforms his whole approach to everything. Now he's no more a Hindu, no more a Mohammedan, no more a Christian. He's simply a human being, and just to be a simple human being has such grandeur, such innocence, that it is indescribable.
Everywhere I have a commune, it is a commune of meditators; and meditation is the greatest revolution possible. All other ashrams are just hocus-pocus. Either they are Hindu or they are Mohammedan or they are Christian. Now the politicians cannot create trouble for a Hindu ashram; otherwise they will lose the votes of the Hindus. They cannot create trouble for the Christian ashram for the same reason.
I am in a totally different situation. They can create any trouble for me and they will not be losing any votes. My people don't vote because what is the point of voting for one idiot against another idiot?
I have never voted in my life.
YOU ARE ONE OF THE MOST WELL-KNOWN RELIGIOUS LEADERS IN THE WORLD. DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A SUCCESSFUL SHOWMAN?
I am not a showman. It has been said, because to people I may look a showman - I am worth seeing!
I am very wellknown just because of the opposition I have around the world.
People are not so dumb or idiotic. They can see one point very clearly, that I am the only man against whom all the religions are agreed. Hindus, Buddhists, Mohammedans, Christians, Jews - they don't agree on anything, but they agree on one thing, and that is me. All the politicians - communists, socialists, democrats, republicans - they don't agree on anything but they all agree on me; that this man should be destroyed, his words should not reach to the people.
Now the whole world can see that this is strange. A single man against the whole world, and the world is afraid and the man is not afraid. There must be something wrong with the world, wrong with the politicians and the religious heads.
I have challenged the pope, I have challenged Mother Teresa, I have challenged shankaracharyas that, "I am ready to have a discussion with you, before the masses." Nobody accepts the challenge because they know they cannot refute what I am saying, and what they are saying I can refute in a thousand ways.
They are afraid because what they are saying is not their own experience, it is borrowed from some book, it is a quotation. I am not afraid because what I am saying is my own experience. I am not quoting any book.
So naturally the whole world by and by has become aware of the fact that a single man - who has no armies, no nuclear weapons.... Now there are six hundred million Catholics. Why should the pope be afraid of me? And if he is really the representative of God, and I am an ordinary simple man, how can I defeat him in any discussion? I am ready to come to the Vatican, amongst his own people; but still he is not ready - knowing perfectly well his own hollowness. There is nothing: no content, no experienced truth.
The world is not blind. People can see it; hence, I am known around the world.
People can love me. People can hate me. But people cannot be indifferent to me.
HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THE WORLD-WIDE PUBLICITY ABOUT YOU?
It is bound to be, because if there is any man in the world who deserves publicity I am the man - because I am against everything the society stands upon.
My ideas should be placed in front of the whole world to decide - because if you go on living the way you have been living, you are going to die very soon. If you don't listen to me, there is no way to avoid the third world war.
PEOPLE ALL AROUND THE WORLD ARE TALKING AGAINST NUCLEAR WAR. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE ALONE IN THIS CRUSADE?
The peace movement and the pacifists are just meaningless. In the first world war there were peace movements, pacifists, and they could not do anything. In the second world war they were there, and they could not do anything.
Now again they are there, and I know they cannot do anything. If you see a pacifist protest you can see they are all violent people - their shouting, their screaming, their throwing stones. If they had nuclear weapons they would use nuclear weapons to prevent war. These are not peaceful people. These are just frustrated people, frustrated politicians, who could not get to the power. Now at least they can throw stones at the politicians who have been successful. But these are not peaceful people, and they are not pacifists at all, because they don't know what peace means.
What I am saying is not a question of protest against the powerful. My effort is to create peaceful people. If the whole world loves peace, enjoys peace, if all violence disappears from the world, the politicians will be at a loss what to do, with whom to fight and for what. Even their own people will not be participants in any destruction.
Pacifists cannot do anything. They have proved it in two wars already. Yes, they enjoy shouting - it is good exercise, shouting and enjoying in the open air.
I used to know a man in Jabalpur. I was surprised to see that he was always in all the protest marches - whether it was communist, or socialist, or the Congress, whether it was some Hindu group or some Jaina group, or even if it was a student's protest - and he was not a student, he was a businessman. But he was always there with a flag, and he would shout louder than anybody else.
One day I caught hold of him, took him to the side of the road, and I asked him, "Which party do you belong to?"
He said, "Who cares about the party? Open air, shouting, it gives me so much joy that I don't care where they are going, what they are doing. It comes to nothing at all. But to me, it gives me good exercise - the whole day sitting in the shop, you know...."
These people cannot create peace in the world.
DO YOU THINK YOU AND YOUR FOLLOWERS ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO HAVE THE RIGHT ANSWER?
I am not saying that we are the only people who have the right answer. On the contrary, the right answer has got us and we are the only people it has got.
Now, what can we do?
BUT IS THIS NOT A DICTATORIAL ATTITUDE?
No, that's why I denied that only we have the right answer. That's why I denied it. But what can we do? The right answer has got us. It may get other people, but that I have not seen so far. Perhaps it is perfectly satisfied with us.
EVERY DICTATOR OR GROUP HAS THE FEELING THAT THEY ARE RIGHT OR THE RIGHT ANSWER HAS GOT THEM. ISN'T THAT A DANGER?
No, that is not at all a question. No. Because we are not organized, we don't have any religion, we don't have any organized party, a committee that dictates. Each individual remains individual, and we accept him as he is. We do not ask him to be different in any way. We do not dictate anything.
This is something which is difficult for people to understand; that just out of love people can be together without being dictated to.
You just meet my people. I have not dictated anything to any person, I have not ordered him to be this way or that way, that he has to drop this or drop that. My own understanding is that if he is meditating, growing silently, spiritually, all that is wrong will drop by itself.
YOU HAVE GUIDED YOUR PEOPLE ON MANY SUBJECTS. DO YOU GIVE THEM AN IDEA OF WHAT IS RIGHT AND WRONG?
No. I don't give any idea of right and wrong, because what is right today may be wrong tomorrow; and what is wrong today may be right tomorrow. So the people who have given these ideas are enemies of humanity.
For example, Mohammed married nine wives, which was right in his time - because in the Arab countries people were continuously fighting and killing each other, so the proportion of men to women had fallen to such a degree that there were too many unmarried women and very few men. And I think Mohammed was perfectly right to allow Mohammedans to marry at least four women; otherwise, those three remaining women would have created prostitution, immorality.
He was right, but now he is absolutely wrong. But Mohammedans won't listen.
They will listen to the Koran which was right at the time but now it is out of date; now women and men are almost equally proportioned. To marry four women is dangerous because three men will be left without wives, and they will do something - they will rape, they will steal women from others, they will elope with women, they will have illegal relations with women, or they may turn homosexual or have all kinds of perversions. And the whole responsibility will go to these idiots who cannot see that right and wrong are not fixed things, they change. As time changes so right and wrong changes too.
So I don't give any idea to my people of what is right and what is wrong. Rather, I give them an insight, an understanding, which will make them capable to decide in any moment what is right and what is wrong. That will be their decision.
It's as if some blind man comes and asks me, "Does light exist?" It's an intellectual thing. I can say yes, but I cannot convince him. How can I convince him? He cannot touch the light. He knows things by touching - he cannot smell the light, he cannot taste the light, he cannot hear the light. Those are the only four ways that he can have some contact with light. I will not give him an intellectual argument about light. I would rather try to take him to an eye surgeon so that his eyes are again available for him to see. Then he can see what is light and what is darkness without my giving him any fixed answer.
This is my situation with my people. I give them the insight, the touchstone, the consciousness, so they can find in any situation what is right. And right and wrong are not qualities of things; in every new situation and context they change. But consciousness can always see where the way is.
So I am not giving any discipline, any creed, any principles. No. This is a totally different phenomenon. That's why there is so much opposition and so much fear about me - because I don't fit into any category. All the religious leaders have given lists - what is right, what is wrong, ten commandments. I don't give a single commandment. Even the word commandment I think is ugly.
Jesus tells his people what to do and what not to do. I don't think that is right.
Jesus pretends to be the savior of the people and he could not even save himself.
And he is not sensitive enough. He says, "I am the shepherd and you are my sheep." Now this is humiliation. To call another human being a sheep and propound yourself as the shepherd to me is ugly, disgusting.
BUT YOU SAID YESTERDAY THAT YOU ARE NOT A GURU BUT A FRIEND.
I am not a guru. I am not a prophet. I am not a savior.
BUT YOUR FOLLOWERS OR YOUR FRIENDS, THEY'RE ALWAYS LOOKING AFTER YOU AND WORSHIPPING YOU FROM WHAT WE HAVE SEEN.
YOU'RE IMPARTING SOMETHING AND THEY'RE TAKING SOMETHING ELSE. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THAT?
That you have to ask them, because that is not my problem.
SO YOU DON'T FEEL THAT YOU ARE WORSHIPPED?
No. I simply feel loved. To others it may seem different because they are accustomed to devotion, worship. To me it simply seems to be love. They love me. I love them.
DO YOU THINK YOU WERE AS MUCH A RAJNEESHEE AS THE RAJNEESHEES IN THE COMMUNE?
No. I am just a friend, and they are my fellow travelers. The only thing that exists between us is friendship. There is nobody who is my follower.
I have never followed anyone. I have never had any guru. How can I do that injustice to my own people?
BUT REMEMBER, THEY'RE WEARING A LOCKET WITH YOUR FACE IN IT. YOU'RE NOT WEARING YOUR OWN OR SOMEBODY ELSE'S.
Because I don't need it. My face is right here.
EXACTLY. THEN WHY DO YOU MAKE PEOPLE WEAR IT?
They love me. I have freed them; they need not wear it. They need not wear orange clothes, they need not wear the mala, the locket.
IT'S CLEAR THAT YOU ARE THEIR SOURCE OF INSPIRATION EVEN IF YOU DON'T CALL YOURSELF THEIR GURU OR THEIR LEADER.
I am simply telling them whatever I have experienced. It is up to them to take it or not to take it. I do not say, "You have to believe it, otherwise you will go to hell; if you don't believe it you will fall into eternal darkness. If you follow me and believe me then you will be inheriting all the pleasures of paradise." I don't give any fear; I don't give any greed.
HOW DOES WEARING THE MALA HELP THESE PEOPLE TOWARD ENLIGHTENMENT?
They love me. Have you loved anybody?
I DON'T SUPPOSE IN THAT FASHION.
No, that's the problem. Some day you will love, and then, even a small thing given by your friend will become immensely valuable. It may be just a one rupee small gift, but you will not be ready to sell it at any price. Nobody is able to see the point, why a lover clings to such a small thing?
BUT WHY SHOULD ONE MILLION PEOPLE JUST LOVE ONE PERSON WITHOUT THAT BEING RECIPROCATED SPECIFICALLY? I'M SURE YOUR DEVOTEES LOVE EACH OTHER TOO, BUT THEY DON'T WEAR EACH OTHER'S LOCKETS. SO YOU ARE DIFFERENT.
I am not different from them except that I am awake and they are asleep.
But what is the difference between an asleep person and an awake person? Just shake him and he will be awake. So I don't make much fuss about it. You can close your eyes, and I can keep my eyes open - that is the only difference. But you can open your eyes at any moment. Or I can throw ice cold water on your eyes and you will open them - and the difference disappears. So the difference is not something that matters, and my insistence that it does not matter is for a particular reason. And that is that all the people in the past have been making it clear that they are different, and that difference made religions, cults and created thousands of wars. Except for bloodshed, that difference has not brought anything.
There is certainly a difference, but the difference is only between a bud and a flower; and in fact the bud is in a better condition because the flower will soon be withered away. The bud is coming to bloom. The flower is going to disappear.
They are the sunrise, and I am the sunset - they are in a better position.
CAN YOU SAY WHAT YOU MEAN BY THE NEW MAN?
I have been speaking all the time about the new man. The new man will be without any religion, without any nation, without any race, without any distinction between woman and man, without any distinction of any kind. The new man will be completely free from his animal inheritance.
Charles Darwin may not be right in detail, but essentially he is right. Man has evolved out of the animals, and those animals are still living in your consciousness. Those animals erupt in murder, in rape, in wars.
The new man will be able through meditation, to get rid of the old animal inheritance which he is carrying in the unconscious. The only way to do it is to become full of light - and that's what meditation does. As you become more and more a witness, every corner of your being becomes full of light; and that light kills all that is ugly in you, it disinfects you.
The new man will really be man. We are half man and half animal. I am the new man, and my people are growing towards the new man. You are invited too!