[NOTE: This discourse will be in the book "India Coming Back Home", which has not been published, as of August 1992.
INTERVIEW BY DHARMAYUG WEEKLY MAGAZINE
WERE YOU CHANGED BY YOUR EXPERIENCES IN AMERICA?
I am the center of the cyclone, so whatever happens around me makes no difference to me. It may be turmoil or it may be the beautiful sound of running water; I am just a witness to both, and that witnessing remains the same. As far as my innermost being is concerned, in every situation I am just the same. This is my whole teaching: that things may change, but your consciousness should remain absolutely unchanging.
Things are going to change - that is their nature. One day you succeed, one day you fail; one day you are at the top, another day you are at the bottom. But something in you is always exactly the same, and that something is your reality. I live in my reality, not in all the dreams and nightmares that surround reality.
WHAT IS THE BASIS AND THE MEANING OF THE WORD BHAGWAN?
The basis is this: in India there are three religions. Hinduism uses Bhagwan to mean God. Buddhism and Jainism also use the word Bhagwan, but the meaning is not God because neither Buddhism nor Jainism believe in any god. There is no god in those religions, but Buddha is called Bhagwan Gautam Buddha and Mahavira is called Bhagwan Vardhman Mahavira; they have a different meaning for Bhagwan. Their meaning is the blessed one - one who has reached to the ultimate peak of consciousness. So there can be as many Bhagwans as there are beings; this is everybody's birthright.
In Hinduism, the god is a monopolist, he is a fascist. In Jainism and Buddhism, Bhagwan is simply your potential. The problem arose because I was born a Jaina, and to me Bhagwan has never been a god. It has always been to me the highest consciousness achievable by everybody. The misunderstanding is not only about me; it is thousands of years old.
For example, Hindus will not accept Mahavira as Bhagwan because he has not created the world, he is not even a partial incarnation of God. They will call Rama a partial incarnation of God, they will call Krishna a full incarnation of God, but for Jainas and Buddhists he doesn't exist as Bhagwan because Krishna's whole philosophy is violence. The Gita is the only book which teaches the philosophy of violence so clearly. In fact it shows that Mahatma Gandhi was almost retarded. He talks about nonviolence and the philosophy of nonviolence; and he calls the Gita his mother. He never could conceive that the Gita is full of violence.
Krishna's whole teaching to Arjuna is to go to war, to fight: "This is your religion.
You are a warrior: to kill and to be killed is your life, and this is what God wants."
I myself would not call Krishna Bhagwan, in my sense of the word. He is a politician, and a very cunning politician. I would not call Rama Bhagwan. To call Rama Bhagwan is to degrade the meaning of the word Bhagwan, because he was the man who poured melted lead into an untouchable's ears because the untouchable had heard some mantras from the Vedas while hiding behind the trees - and that was a great sin.
If a man who has reached the highest consciousness could behave in such a way, if even for him an untouchable has to be punished in such an ugly fashion... I cannot conceive of Rama as Bhagwan.
So the controversy is thousands of years' old. I am on the side of Gautam Buddha and Mahavira, not on the side of Rama, Krishna and Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi is again a politician, just with a mask of religiousness. It is Mahatma Gandhi and his mask of religiousness, saintliness, that created Pakistan; otherwise, Jinna was a member of Congress and had never thought that Mohammedans should separate from India.
But seeing Gandhi behaving like a Hindu saint, calling the Gita his mother but not the Koran his father, Jinna naturally became afraid that this man was going to create a Hindu monarchy and Mohammedans will not have any say in this country. So I don't make Jinna responsible for Pakistan; Mahatma Gandhi and his so-called nonviolence, which was bogus, are responsible for Pakistan. The Gita and nonviolence cannot go together.
Have you ever heard that in Jaina mythology Krishna is still in hell for teaching that philosophy to Arjuna and creating the greatest war in Indian history? After this war, India could never recover - it simply broke India's very backbone. In Jaina scriptures, Krishna is suffering in hell; the question of calling him Bhagwan does not arise. Mahatma Gandhi was again playing the same role. The mask of a saint, the talk of nonviolence, and still the preaching of the Gita. Even the Koran is nonviolent in comparison to the Gita. Even Mohammed is nonviolent compared to Krishna.
So Mahatma Gandhi did two things: one, he created a fear in the Mohammedans that this country was going to be ruled by the Hindu religion; secondly, because he was talking about nonviolence, he repressed the whole country's violence.
And as the British moved out and the country was divided, all the violence that Mahatma Gandhi had been repressing for forty years exploded. One million people were killed - and I again point my finger towards Mahatma Gandhi. He is responsible for all this.
When my people started calling me Bhagwan there was no question of me being a god. God is an absolutely nonsensical concept, it has no meaning; it is not even a hypothesis. There is no God in existence; existence is enough unto itself.
Bhagwan to me simply means everybody's ultimate potential. Your Bhagwan may be asleep, my Bhagwan may be awake, but as far as our Bhagwatta is concerned, there is no difference.
WHY DO YOU HAVE MORE NON-INDIAN SANNYASINS THAN INDIAN?
In fact, I do not believe in nations. To me the whole earth is one and the whole humanity is one. The moment you start thinking of Indians and non-Indians, you create unnecessary divisions which ultimately lead to war and violence, hatred, inferiority, superiority and all kinds of ugly attitudes.
It is true that there are more - in your language - non-Indians, for the simple reason that there are more non-Indians in the world. What can I do about it?
Indians are not so many - out of six men one is an Indian. And I think I have kept the proportion perfectly well; out of every six disciples you will find one Indian. Even if I live in India, it won't change.
The reason is that whatever I am teaching needs a certain intelligence, a certain education, a certain culture, which unfortunately most of India is missing. So if I say something like what I said about Rama, that will be enough to cut me off from many Indians. They cannot give any counter arguments, they cannot explain to me that it is not perfectly justified. But their unconscious conditioning is such that anything said against Rama simply condemns me in their eyes. I become their enemy - and there is the difference.
In America, I have been criticizing Jesus as nobody has ever criticized him, not even the Jews. They crucified him, but they never criticized him. And particularly now, nobody dares to criticize Jesus in that Christian country. But still, five thousand Christians were listening to me, trying to understand, trying to see the point. I cannot conceive of five thousand Hindus listening to me criticizing Krishna or Rama. The Indian stopped growing long ago. He stopped with Manu, five thousand years ago. Since then he has not grown - he is very retarded.
The Western mind has continuously gone on growing. It is capable of understanding an argument, even though it goes against one's ideology. If it is true, if it appeals to one's reason, then the Western mind is ready to drop its ideology and accept the concept. So even if I am in India, more foreigners will be here. There will be Indians - there are thousands of Indian sannyasins - but these are the people who have a certain culture, a certain education and a certain open mind.
For example, it is very difficult to find a Mohammedan among my sannyasins. I have a few Mohammedan sannyasins, but their number is negligible for the simple reason that Mohammedans cannot think of any possibility beyond the Koran. For them history stopped fourteen hundred years ago. Since then they have just been living posthumously, unnecessarily. Now there is nothing to seek and nothing to search for.
My own experience has been very strange. Of my sannyasins, forty percent are Jews. Now I can understand why Jews get more Nobel prizes: they are really intelligent people, and because they had lost their homeland, they dispersed to different countries. Their roots in a particular land became loose and, losing their roots, they became in a certain way very free.
This whole century has been dominated by the Jews. Karl Marx was a Jew - and now more than half of the world is under his impact. Sigmund Freud was a Jew - - and anybody who thinks himself intellectual is bound to be influenced by Sigmund Freud. Albert Einstein was a Jew: Hiroshima and Nagasaki are his creation. And I have been criticizing Judaism as harshly as possible, but not a single Jew has left sannyas. Hindus don't have that open mind which is ready to drop anything that appears wrong to the reason. Those who do have it are coming to me.
I have almost one hundred thousand sannyasins in India, and when I have been here a while that number will increase. But the trouble with them is that they all have a certain idea. If I support their idea then they are with me - but they are not really with me, they are with their idea.
My whole work consists of destroying all your ideologies so that you can be completely fresh and free and move on your own.
I don't give you anything in its place, I simply deprogram you: you can call my religion the religion of deprograming. And then I leave you alone, without giving you a new program. I respect your individuality, I respect your freedom. I don't want to put any kind of cage around you, because I know that the bird in the sky and on the wing is a totally different being than the bird in a beautiful golden cage. The cage may be valuable, but the bird is dead - its freedom is gone.
Just yesterday somebody brought two birds to present to me. When they brought them to me both were dead - actually dead. I told that person that he took away their freedom, and at that very moment they died. Their freedom is their spirit.
My function with my sannyasins is not to create a religion or an organization, but to create individuals who are capable of standing on their own feet, of flying into the sky as far as their longing can take them. So anybody, Hindu or Christian or Jew, it does not matter... only somebody who is open can reach to me.
But mostly the Indian mind is a closed mind. I have never expected anything better from them. In fact, deep in their hearts they must be joyous about whatever has happened to me. If I were killed they would have made it into a celebration.
The American press was absolutely sympathetic; the whole world press was absolutely sympathetic, except the Indian. It is unfortunate to be born in India.
THE PRESS DISTORTS YOUR VIEWS ON SEX. ARE THEY IGNORANT OR JUST EXPLOITING PEOPLE?
They are exploiting people, because people have been taught for thousands of years that sex is sin, that it is to be repressed. And these people who have been taught for centuries that sex is sin have become split.
Sex is your energy; you don't have any other energy. You are born out of sex energy, you create out of sex energy, you reproduce out of sex energy. All the great creators are more sexual. You cannot point to a single impotent man who has created anything in the whole history of man - a beautiful poem or a painting or a statue. The impotent man has not even managed to be a saint - which he should be, because he has no problem with sex. If all these condemners of sex are right, then only impotent people are blessed by God; then impotency should be thought of as something spiritual. But not a single impotent man has been recognized as a saint.
What does it show? It shows that all your energy is the same. Whether you reproduce children or you paint or you compose music or you become a buddha does not matter: it is the same energy in different forms, in different expressions, in different dimensions.
So when I said that sex should not be repressed, that on the contrary it should be accepted as part of our natural being - only then can we transform it, can we take it to higher levels - then immediately the whole Indian press became interested. I have written four hundred books and only one book is about sex.
Three hundred and ninety-nine books don't exist for the Indian press; only one book exists, and that too, not all of it. The name of the book is FROM SEX TO SUPERCONSCIOUSNESS. They only heard the first part, sex. They have not even bothered that the book is not about sex. The book is about the transformation of sex into superconsciousness: that sexual repression has to be dissolved, and that only then transformation is possible. I am the most anti-sex man in the whole world. But wonder of wonders, look what the Indian press has done: it has made me just the opposite of what I am!
I don't read Indian newspapers or magazines, simply because they are third-rate - to read them is a sheer waste of time. They are exploiting people, they are creating sensationalism, they are telling lies, they are putting things out of context.
But the same is not the situation with the world press. And the point should be emphasized, that when I was speaking to the American news media I could see that they were not going to distort my words; and they did not. On the contrary, I was no one there - a foreigner. Even if I was tortured in the jails, why should the American press be bothered about it? But the whole press - television, radio, newspapers, magazines - were surrounding all the jails, wherever I was put.
And it was because of the news media that the government could not harm me.
They were afraid.
The Indian government is not afraid of the Indian press. The Indian press has not come of age; and in fact the Indian press should ask the government that television and radio should not be under its control. The government is part of the news media, and it should be public. I was protected by the American news media. Even the US marshal told me, "We cannot touch you. You are absolutely saved because the whole world news media is watching. If anything is done to you, America is condemned." But the same cannot be said about the Indian press.
There are beautiful people in Indian journalism. When I see people like you - and there have been many people like you - I simply wonder how you manage to fit in with your newspapers. How can you humiliate yourself? There are enough beautiful, intelligent people in the news media, but they are just fitting in with the organization; they are not rebellious enough.
I would like the first change to be that radio and television should not be under government control, because they are the latest news media and the fastest growing. And particularly in countries like India, people cannot read, but they can see and listen. But television and radio are under government control. Other news media are not available to the majority of the population; the government propaganda is the only media available to them.
The American authorities were surprised: in one jail the sheriff told me that it was surprising that the Indian government was absolutely silent. For twelve days I was tortured and, finally, just two hours before I was going to be released by the court, one young man from the San Francisco consulate reached me. He said he had been sent by the Indian ambassador to inquire if I wanted anything.
I said, "You have come too late. I am going to be released within two hours.
Where have you been for twelve days?"
I was released, and then the ambassador in Washington phoned: "Do you need any help from our side?"
I said, "What help can you give me now? Where have you been for twelve days?"
For twelve days all the media were continuously hammering on one point: "Why is he being unnecessarily tortured? - without any trial, without any arrest warrant, without showing any cause for arrest - which is absolutely illegal. And why was a man who was empty handed arrested with twelve guns surrounding him?"
The Indian ambassador sat silently and when I was released he asked, "What help do you need?"
I said, "I don't need any help. If you need any help, you can ask me. I can help you. You should be ashamed and resign. You could not even raise your voice.
You should have given a television interview saying that this is absolutely illegal; you should have pressured the American government." But they never did anything. On the contrary, I have heard just now from a very reliable source that the American government has purchased two members of the Indian parliament so that they can oppose me in case parliament tries to help me in any way.
Sometimes it feels that to be called an Indian is ugly. Once in a while I have been thinking of going through plastic surgery so that my skin is no more Indian. I feel really ashamed.
IS THE GOVERNMENT TRYING TO KEEP YOU AWAY FROM THE COMMON MAN?
Yes. The press is keeping the common man away from me; the politicians and the religious leaders want the common man to be kept away from me. Now they are worried - this state is worried whether they should allow me to be here. The Indian government is worried about where I should be allowed to settle. No province will be ready for me to settle there, for the simple reason that whatever I say goes against the vested interests. I am not a politician; I cannot just go on saying nice things about everybody.
If the worst comes to the worst I will leave this country, but I will not be an uninvited guest in my own homeland. It was at least a solace in America that I was a foreigner and they were mistreating me. It is not a solace in India; it is my country and they are mistreating me.
I think the press can be of immense help; just a little courage is needed. I have not committed any crimes, either here or in America. Here perhaps a criminal can be forgiven, but not a rebellious man. But about that I cannot compromise on any grounds. I will remain rebellious, and I will go on saying and doing things which to my consciousness seem to be right, unless somebody proves them wrong or argues against them. And I am always open for any argument with anybody - politician or religious leader or anybody.
Whatever I say comes from my own authority. I don't depend on the Gita and I don't depend on the Koran, I depend only on my consciousness. But it seems that to have eyes in the valley of the blind is dangerous.
YOU CONTINUE TO SPREAD YOUR MESSAGE AND THE REST OF THE WORLD REMAINS THE SAME. PLEASE COMMENT.
With each man becoming enlightened some consciousness in everyone is raised higher. But one buddha cannot transform the whole world; at least two hundred buddhas are needed.
Two hundred buddhas around the world can certainly change the whole climate of the human mind. Religions will disappear, nations will disappear, wars will disappear; and man will be able to breathe freely for the first time, without any repression, without any condemnation. Man can be accepted as he is. There should be no 'should' or 'should not' imposed upon him. He will be loved and respected in whatsoever way he grows.
But at least two hundred enlightened people are needed, and that is one of my basic works. I have one million sannyasins around the world, and now I have opened the doors for more people who were sympathizers but could not change their clothes, their jobs, their families, because of the society. I have now opened sannyas for everybody. You need not change your clothes unless you want; you need not have a mala unless you want - but you can meditate. ... Because clothes don't matter - it was simply a strategy to make sannyas recognized as a fact in the world. It is recognized; now there is no point.
I have opened the doors, and if there are one million sannyasins, I hope there are at least three million people waiting to be sannyasins. They were just afraid of the clothes and of the mala; otherwise, they are sympathizers. And in four million people there is a possibility which has never existed before.
Buddha never went out of Bihar; Mahavira never went out of Bihar. In fact the name Bihar came because of Mahavira and Buddha wandering there; it means wandering.
If Buddha could manage at least twenty enlightened people in a small place like Bihar, after twenty-five centuries, with far more sophisticated methods of meditation.... Jesus never came out of Judea. When he died he was only thirty- three; his ministry lasted only three years. Ramakrishna remained confined to Bengal. But I have created a belt around the world. Every nation now has communes, and there is not a single nation where there are not sannyasins - even in Soviet Russia, even in other communist countries.
There is a possibility - and it is time - that two hundred buddhas can be created; otherwise this earth is going to die. Politicians are ready to destroy it, creating more and more nuclear weapons. Religions are not interested in saving the world; they are more interested in converting poor people to Catholicism, to Hinduism, to this-ism, to that-ism. Nobody seems to be concerned about the ultimate death that is just on the horizon. But two hundred enlightened people can certainly change the whole atmosphere.
WHY DOES MAN NEED GOD?
It is out of fear. God is not needed at all. Man has lived in so much fear that he has needed some protection. There was fear of disease, there was fear of death - mostly it is death that makes man so afraid. He needs somebody who is beyond death to protect him.
God is not a discovery, it is an invention. Priests found it very convenient to exploit in the name of God. The Vedas say that they are written by God, and there are such stupid things in the old Vedas that if God has written them, then God is condemned along with the Vedas.
Christians say The Bible is written by God, and if The Bible is written by God - there are at least five hundred pages of sheer pornography in The Bible - then God is the greatest pornographer in the whole existence. If you look in the Hindu PURANAS you will find just pornography. Hindus have even made shivalinga a god. It is good that Sigmund Freud never came to know about shivalinga - that there are people who are worshipping phallic symbols in their temples without any idea what they are worshipping.
There is no God. All the arguments for God are refuted. Those who have really reached to the highest point of consciousness have never accepted the idea of God. Patanjali, the man who single-handedly created the whole science of Yoga, does not believe in God. Buddha, perhaps the greatest man who has ever walked on the earth was, as H.G Wells wrote about him, "the most godless person yet the most godly."
There is not a single argument in favor of God. It is an absolutely useless hypothesis, and it will be good if we drop that hypothesis completely, because with that dropping, Mohammedanism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity - all simply disappear. And their churches and their thousands of cardinals and bishops and popes, who are simply nothing but parasites on humanity, also disappear.
God is the greatest calamity. Yes, people should be godly - that means they should be truthful, they should be sincere, they should be loving, they should be conscious. That makes them godly, but that does not make them God.
I am destroying God and spreading godliness to every human being. It is better that it is spread far and wide as a quality, as a fragrance, rather than being confined to a statue in a temple and worshiped.
When you can be it, why worship it?
Come back again. And try to see that journalism in India comes to the same level as it is in the rest of the world. It should not lag behind. It can be a great protector of freedom, of individuals against the vast machinery of bureaucracy. A single individual cannot do anything.