IN YOUR VISION, IS CHARITY A PART OF RELIGIOUSNESS? IF SO, WHAT WOULD CONSTITUTE CHARITY? FOLLOWING THE CATHOLIC CONCEPT, THE INDIAN LEGISLATURE SPECIFIES: 1) RELIEF FOR THE POOR, 2) EDUCATION, AND 3) MEDICAL RELIEF, AS BEING CHARITY.
WHAT IS THE CONCEPT OF CHARITY IN THE EYES OF A BUDDHA?
Om Prakash, the concept of charity in the eyes of one who is awakened is bound to be totally different from the so-called Catholic idea of charity.
The Catholic idea is relief for the poor. The idea of the buddha will be: there is no need for any poverty in the world. Poverty is man-created, and it is in our hands to destroy poverty. But all the religions - and most prominent of them is Christianity - have emphasized relief for the poor. Relief for the poor is not charity; it is not love.
Why, in the first place, should poverty exist? It exists because there are a few people who are too greedy. Poverty is a by-product of greed. One part of society goes on accumulating; naturally, the other part of society becomes poor. And man has lived for centuries under this exploitation. This exploitation can be completely destroyed.
Whatever the society produces belongs to all. And the most surprising thing is that the poor are the people who produce, and the rich are the people who do not produce. Those who produce are hungry and starving and dying. Just to give them relief is a very cunning idea: it protects the exploitation; it protects the capitalists. It protects those who are the criminals, and it also protects the poor so that they go on producing and go on fulfilling sick ambitions of pathological people.
A man who accumulates money, seeing clearly that it is going to destroy millions of people, cannot be called healthy. To call him religious is a mockery - he is not even human. And particularly now, when science has developed to a point that the whole earth can be comfortably rich, there is no need of any relief for the poor.
What is needed is a revolution of the poor, a deep understanding among the poor that "It is not because of your past lives' evil deeds that you are poor; it is not your fate that makes you poor.
It is a few people who are pathologically sick, who have lost all compassion, all sensitiveness, whose hearts have become inhuman - it is because of these people you are poor." And just a great understanding among the poor can bring a revolution in the world.
I don't advocate any violent revolution. There is no need, because the poor are in the majority, and the rich are very few. Just by democratic means, the power can be in the hands of the poor, and we can create a society which is classless, where everybody's needs can be fulfilled.
Greed is not need. And there is no way to fulfill greed, it goes on growing. Just for a few people's sickness, the whole society suffers. But the priests are servants of those who are rich. Naturally, in a country like India, where for thousands of years poverty has existed, there has not been even a philosophical idea of revolution, to say nothing about an actual revolution happening. There has not been even a single philosopher to say that a revolution is needed.
Just to go on giving the poor a little relief keeps them alive at survival level. I would not call it charity.
It is really to keep them alive so that they can go on producing for those who are rich and want to be richer.
I agree totally with Karl Marx on this point, that religion has been the opium of the poor. It has drugged them with hopes for a better life in the future, after death, if they remain content with their poverty now.
Naturally, the rich people have been the protectors of the priests, of the missionaries. They have made great churches and temples for God, because they have seen the point, that if religion prevails over people's minds, there is no possibility of any revolution. What you have been told up to now is charity, is simply the suicide of all those who are poor and suffering. It has been in the service of the rich; it is not in the service of the poor.
I teach you love. And love is not blind; love can see the whole structure - how poverty happens.
And love can bring the revolution; a revolution brought by love, not by violence, is charity to me.
The Catholic concept also says "education." But what education? In the advanced countries, almost everybody is educated, but that has not transformed man. Man remains as miserable as before - lives a life of anxiety and anguish.
Education is not bringing peace and silence and blissfulness to people. There is something missing in it; it is only education in subjects which do not touch your interior being at all. They may make you doctors, engineers, professors, but they do not give you the insight that can create a Gautam Buddha in you. The true meaning of the word "education" is "to draw out." But all that your so-called education does is to force in. From outside, borrowed knowledge is being forced into the minds of innocent children.
In my vision, education is nothing but another form of meditation. All that usually goes on in the name of education is secondary. The priority should be given to meditation - education of the inner.
Unless you become acquainted with yourself, all your knowledge is useless.
So before education I would put meditation. Education is trivia: geography, history, arithmetic. It is good as far as the mundane world is concerned, but it is not good as far as your interiority is concerned. You go on accumulating degrees and inside you remain empty. Your degrees can befool people, may even befool yourself, but you cannot have the joy, the blissfulness, the peace, the silence, the compassion of a Gautam Buddha.
And unless education has two wings, it cannot fly in the sky in total freedom. Right now it has only one wing; the other wing is missing. Why is it missing? Because the priests don't want you to become meditators.
Once you are in meditation, you are soon going to be free from all priesthood, from all churches and synagogues, temples and mosques. What is the need to go to a church when you can go inside yourself - to the real temple of God? What is the need for a priest? What is the need for a pope, when you experience God directly, immediately, within your own being?
When God becomes your personal experience, naturally you are free from being a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan; hence, no religion wants you to be meditators. They want you to be educated in physics, in chemistry, in biology. No university in the world has a department for meditation. And without meditation, a man remains incomplete. This is one of the root causes of our misery.
To me, charity first means the education of the inner; and only secondarily, it means education of other things. "Know thyself" must be the most precious education, and then you can become acquainted with everything else. A man who knows himself will never misuse his education in the outer world. Otherwise, when you don't know yourself, you are going to use your education to exploit people, to create poverty.
If you know yourself, you will create a society where poverty does not exist. All your religions have failed in creating a society where poverty does not exist. And one of the most fundamental reasons is that none of your religions has been emphasizing the education of the inner - the journey into one's own self.
The moment you are at the very center of your being, you have such clarity about all the problems of life that one thing is certain: you will not create any problem; and another thing is certain: you will spread your vision, your understanding, to other people.
All problems are our own creation.
In our ignorance of ourselves we have created them. In our consciousness, they will dissolve just like dewdrops disappearing in the morning sun.
And third: Catholic charity has the idea of "medical relief." There is nothing wrong in medical relief, but why do so many diseases exist? Look at the wild animals and you will not find a single deer who is suffering from cancer or from tuberculosis or from any psychological problem. You will not find a deer murdering another deer, and you will not find a deer who is trying to commit suicide.
It is strange that man, who is the climax of existence and consciousness, suffers so much. Perhaps we only help to remove the symptoms and we never remove the causes.
For example, when I was in America they passed in Texas a resolution that homosexuality will now be a crime, because of the fear of AIDS. And the whole of America must have been shocked, because one million homosexuals protested outside the state legislature of Texas. Texas is a backward state in America. One would never have conceived that one million people are homosexuals.
They declared, "If homosexuality is a crime then we are going underground." You cannot write on anybody's forehead that he is a homosexual; neither are there any signals that show that a certain person is a homosexual. And they said, "Right now, we have our homosexual clubs, homosexual restaurants, homosexual meeting places. We will go on being what we are, but no longer in the open."
A problem becomes more difficult if it goes underground. It is better to know that a certain person is homosexual. And homosexuality itself is only a symptom. But nobody in the world has the courage to say the right thing - that it is celibacy that has created homosexuality. Nobody can say it, because it goes against all the religions. Nobody wants to be condemned, like me, by everybody in the whole world. But I have really enjoyed this condemnation.
No animal in the wild ever goes homosexual. Why? - there is no need. But in zoos it has been found again and again that animals become homosexuals, because the female is not there. What are you supposed to do with your sexual energy? It is a natural phenomenon. It needs some outlet.
All the religions have been teaching celibacy as one of the greatest religious qualities, and all the societies have been respecting virginity as something spiritual - these are the causes which have created homosexuality and lesbianism. And out of this homosexuality has come the disease AIDS, for which the scientists are finding no cure.
But still, no priest in the world, no political leader in the world, no man who has any international status has said clearly that celibacy should be the crime, not homosexuality.
But I want to say it: Celibacy is the crime. Homosexuality is only a symptom.
And if you repress the symptom, then the possibility is that something worse may happen, because the same energy that has turned from heterosexuality to homosexuality can turn towards sodomy.
People can start making love... they have been making love for centuries, there are descriptions even in the OLD TESTAMENT and other scriptures about people making love to animals, particularly shepherds who are living in deep mountain forests where they don't have anybody else except their animals. And animals are not going to report to the police. If homosexuality has created AIDS, then sodomy - making love to animals - can create something far worse.
Medical relief is good, but it is very superficial. The man of real charity will try to find out the causes that are creating so many diseases, and those causes should be removed. They can be removed!
It has been found that people who eat too much live only half the normal lifespan. If they were going to live for seventy years, they will die when they are only thirty-five. But people who eat less live longer than is normal. The norm may be seventy - they may live one hundred years. You don't understand a simple thing: that whatever you eat, your body has to digest... it is a great labor for your whole digestive system; and if the digestive system becomes tired, you are going to die soon; and if your digestive system remains untired and young and fresh, of course you can live longer.
And there are people who are living longer. In the Caucasus, there are thousands of people who have passed one hundred and fifty years of age, and there are a few hundred people who have reached almost one hundred and eighty years. And they are still young; they are still working in the fields. Scientists say that looking at the mechanism of the body, everybody should easily be able to live for three hundred years; but so many diseases go on destroying the possibility.
People are eating things not for nourishment; people are eating things only for taste. People are not eating things in proportion; they may be eating something which is not needed in the body and they may not be eating something which is absolutely needed. For example, vegetarians are missing certain vitamins which are absolutely necessary for intelligence and its growth. It is not a surprise that not a single vegetarian has ever won a Nobel prize. In fact, they should have won more than anybody else, because they eat the purest food. But the problem is that their intelligence never grows; it needs certain vitamins which are missing. Substitutions can be found; without eating meat, substitutions can be found.
I have been telling the vegetarians, "Just by eating unfertilized eggs, you are in a far better position than meat eaters; and the unfertilized egg is just vegetable, there is no life in it."
They have been getting angry with me, saying, "You are teaching people to eat eggs."
I said, "You don't understand. I am saying unfertilized eggs" - but they don't hear the word "unfertilized." Just the word "eggs" is enough to freak them out.
Right food.... Humanity is almost mature; it should not live on lollipops. But there are people... I have seen even old people with lollipops! People are filling themselves with ice cream and all kinds of nonsense, junk.
Real charity consists in making people more educated about how to take care of their bodies, how to be more loving towards their own bodies. Medical relief should be a secondary thing.
Because of this Catholic concept of charity, even the Indian constitution has accepted the idea of charity in the exact same words: "Relief for the poor, education, and medical relief." It is even more shocking that the people who made the Indian constitution are not aware of their own Eastern tradition, of their own heritage. They have not put in it anything which is their own; otherwise, how have they forgotten meditation?
The man who was mainly responsible for making the Indian constitution was Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. He converted thousands of untouchables to Buddhism and he wrote a great book on Buddhism, and I don't think he knows anything about meditation. Without meditation, Buddhism is just a corpse - without the very flame of life. And even Dr. Ambedkar did not add to the constitution that helping people to be more meditative is the greatest charity, helping people to become enlightened is the most important charity.
It has been a problem for us: the Indian government cannot accept our mystery school as an institution of charity because of this definition. It is so strange that meditation is not included in charity. What can be more valuable than to be a light unto yourself? And all that they have included are very superficial things.
The constitution needs something much deeper to be representative of the East. It looks as if a Catholic missionary has written it; it does not look as if we have Gautam Buddha, Mahavira, Adinatha, Kabir, Nanak, Farid. These people are not charitable; Mother Teresa is the only charitable person in India, because she goes on raising the orphans. But she is against birth control.
If you have a little understanding, you can see the point: if you don't want orphans, then birth control should be the most charitable thing. Spread the idea of birth control, distribute the pill to as many people as possible, so there are no orphans. It is a strange thing that first you prevent people from birth control, and then they create children which they cannot raise, and you come in to become a great saint because you are doing a great, charitable act. If birth control methods are used, there will be no orphans.
If medical science is not working under religious conditions and is allowed freedom from religions, many diseases will disappear.
There are thirty million people in America who are in the hospitals because they eat too much; they have gathered so much weight, they cannot even move. And it is charity to take care of them, so thousands of doctors and nurses and hospitals are engaged in taking care of these idiots. And exactly the same number, thirty million people, are dying of starvation on the streets.
If this is the situation of America, which is the richest country in the world, what to say about the poor countries? Thirty million people have no shelter, no food, no clothes, and another thirty million people are being served by doctors and nurses and hospitals and the whole of medical science because they go on eating too much. They cannot be sent back home, because at home nobody can prevent them - they will go to the fridge!
These thirty million people who are in the hospitals should be left on the road, and the thirty million people who are on the road should be put into the hospitals and should be taken care of - that would be charity! These idiots would come to their senses soon - and you would be saving sixty million people just by a small change.
Man needs to understand that our problems are our own creations, and if we want to get rid of them this superficial Catholic so-called charity is not going to be of much help. These charitable missionaries and institutions have existed for thousands of years but poverty goes on growing, sickness goes on growing, madness goes on growing. It is time to realize that we are doing something fundamentally wrong.
All these people teach something against your body, that the body is the enemy. And if this concept goes into your mind - that the body is your enemy - then naturally you are not going to take care of it.
I say unto you: The body is your greatest friend. Take care of your body. And remember, you are not suffering from any fate; there is no fate as such. And you are not suffering from your evil deeds of a past life, because each action brings its result immediately.
I was talking with a Jaina monk, and he was very insistent that it is past karmas which create poverty.
It was a winter night in the Himalayas. We were sitting near the fireplace, so I told the monk, "You put your hand in the fire."
He said, "Why?"
I said, "I want to see whether you get burnt now or in your next life. That will be decisive."
He said, "Are you mad?"
I said, "This question you should ask about yourself."
Each action is related with its consequence. It does not wait so long that when you die and are born again - perhaps sixty years or eighty years afterwards - you will suffer because you have done something wrong. Each wrong act brings its own suffering, and each good act brings its own reward and its own blissfulness. But people have been deceived, and deceived by those in whom they have believed so much.
To summarize, I would like to say that charity is to make the poor aware that poverty is created by the few people who are greedy.
Those who are accumulating too much should be behind bars, and those who are producing should be the owners of their product. The land should belong to the one who toils on the land, and the garden to the one who works there, and the factory to those who pour their very life into creating things.
Just two percent of the people in India can be called rich, and these two percent are keeping ninety- eight percent of the people poor. You will not believe it, but half the wealth of the whole of India is in Bombay. Just one city has half the wealth, and the whole country - a continent of almost nine hundred million people - has the other half. It seems we have lived in such a way, geared to such a style, that we have come to accept that those who are rich are being rewarded because of their past good karmas, good actions. I want to destroy this whole ideology.
Education is certainly needed; but before education, meditation is needed. Anybody who becomes a graduate - either an engineer or a doctor or a professor - should not be able to have his degree unless he also passes his examinations in meditation. Each university and each college should have classes for meditation for the students - and for people from outside also; they may not have been able in their youth to learn meditation, but now they can learn.
Education is a vast phenomenon. Each hospital should have a certain department where people who are going to die should be taught meditation before death - just as people who are going to live... when they pass their examinations in the university, they should be taught meditation - how to live dancingly, joyously, beautifully, without greed, without jealousy, without anger, without hatred.
Then comes another point, when a person is dying. When the doctors feel that only a few months are left, he should be taught meditation as a preparation for the eternal journey he is going on. Soon he will leave the body. Before he leaves the body, he must understand, experience, that he is not the body. Then he can die joyously.
Living joyously and dying joyously - if we can create this atmosphere, I call it the greatest charity.
And that is what we are doing here. Whether the government accepts it or not does not matter; whether the constitution goes on superficially.... It will have to change. We just have to create people who are evidence of right education. An education is complete when it is inner and outer both. And we have to create people who can change this whole exploitative structure with love and compassion in a democratic way. There is no need for any violence. The poor just have to be made aware: It is time for you to wake up; everything belongs to you.
IN THIS PAST YEAR, I HAVE BEEN APART FROM YOU FOR MANY MONTHS, LIVING IN THE WORLD. I LEARNED HOW YOU AND YOUR MESSAGE HAVE BECOME AN EVERYDAY LIVING EXPERIENCE IN ME, INDEPENDENT OF TIME AND DISTANCE. IN SOME STRANGE WAY, YOUR LIFE HAS BECOME MY LIFE AND MY LIFE YOUR LIFE.
BEING CLOSE TO YOU IS UTTERLY DELICIOUS. WHEN YOU TALK OF LEAVING US, ALTHOUGH MY TEARS COME, I KNOW YOU HAVE DONE YOUR WORK WELL. YOUR VISION WILL LIVE ON LONG AFTER YOUR BODY HAS RETURNED TO THE EARTH.
I DON'T HAVE A QUESTION, JUST A GRATITUDE FOR YOUR TREMENDOUS EFFORTS TO WAKE US UP.
P.S. PLEASE TELL THE CAPTAIN OF YOUR SHIP TO CRUISE AROUND FOR A LITTLE BIT LONGER. HE HAS WAITED SO LONG THAT A FEW MORE YEARS WON'T MAKE MUCH DIFFERENCE.
P.P.S. HERE'S MY QUESTION: AM I BEING SELFISH IN WANTING YOU TO BE HERE FOR A WHILE LONGER?
Devageet, it is not being selfish at all, wanting me to be here for a little while more. It is a simple longing, as your journey is not complete yet. You have entered on the path and you are growing well, but you still need the gardener to take care of you.
And do not be worried about the captain of my ship, because he is not my servant; he is also my disciple. He himself wants me to linger a little longer here. And there is no problem. If you need me I will be here until your need is fulfilled. And even if I am gone, if your love is deep enough I will be present for you. Whenever you close your eyes, you will find me beating within your heart.
I have sown the seed. It is only a question of when the spring will come - and it always comes. Just remain open, available. I will be here to help you. If I am not in the body, still I can be here to help you. In fact, I can be of more help when I am freed from the body. Then my consciousness will be spread all over.
Those who have loved me - they will become part of me. They have already started melting and merging with me. So the only question that should be important to you is: not to hinder the process of your merging and your melting. Whether I am in the body or not, you should not wait for tomorrows.
Today is the day.
This moment is the moment.
And this is my promise: I will try to linger on this shore as long as possible. And even when my ship is gone, whenever your tears will call me, or your laughter, I will be with you. And whenever you will dance and sing, you will find my shadow also present there.
FOR ME, AFTER TEN YEARS OF BEING WITH YOU, YOU ARE THE MOST INTIMATE BUT ALSO THE MOST DISTANT PERSON TO ME. WHAT IS THIS PAIN OF LONGING CAUSED BY YOUR PHYSICAL DISTANCE WHICH DOES NOT GET LESS OVER THE YEARS? IS IT REALLY ONLY DESIRE AND ATTACHMENT?
Yachana, it is not only desire and attachment. It is your longing to know yourself. To be close to me is, deep down, a desire to be close to yourself, because I am nothing else than your future; you are nothing else than my past. One day I was in the same darkness in which you are; one day you will be in the same light which has happened to me. We are not apart. All distances are false.
You find yourself deeply intimate with me and yet very distant. There is not a contradiction in it, because your past and your future, although far away, are connected with one another. You find me deeply intimate with you - in your love, in your longing, in your dreams. But because you find yourself so intimate, you can also see that you have only come close to me but not become one with me. And love desires to become one.
Howsoever intimate it may be, there is a distance, a vast distance. And love does not want that distance at all. The only way to go beyond the distance is to be yourself, utterly naked of all conditions, of all expectations, just silent and pure and innocent - and suddenly you will find that you have become one with me.
This is the last stage of the disciple. His first stage is the student, where he is just intellectually interested. He has many questions and he wants the answers, and his whole effort is to accumulate knowledge. Out of hundreds of students, only a few turn out to be disciples.
Disciples are those who become aware that just knowledge is not going to help - one needs a transformation. The disciple comes closer to the master. He is no longer interested in accumulating knowledge, his longing has changed; he wants to be more authentic, more sincere, more truthful, more himself.
There is one more stage ahead: that of the devotee, when the disciple drops the idea of himself completely and becomes only a pure presence. In that pure presence, the devotee is not distant from the master. They become one. And only in becoming the devotee does this duality of intimacy and distance disappear.
Yachana, it is going to happen. I have given you the name Yachana. That simply means: a longing for the ultimate.
THERE IS SUCH A SWEET AND DELICIOUS EXPERIENCE IN SIMPLY BEING NEAR YOU. IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THE VERY PRESENCE OF YOU, LIVING IN THE VIBRATION OF YOUR FULFILLMENT, DULLS MY THIRST FOR MY OWN ENLIGHTENMENT?
Devageet, this is the beginning of enlightenment, when even the desire for enlightenment disappears. That is the last barrier - the desire for enlightenment. The moment that too disappears, there is no hindrance.
You are blessed that you feel a sweet, delicious experience simply being near me. You are asking:
"Is it possible that the very presence of You, living in the vibration of Your fulfillment, dulls my thirst for my own enlightenment?"
Enlightenment is neither mine nor yours. The closer you come to me, the more available you become to me, the more you will find there is only enlightenment; there is only light, eternal. It does not belong to me, it does not belong to anybody else.
Right now, it seems to you that it belongs to your master. But when you merge with the master, you will know there has never been any master and there has never been any disciple, but only an eternal delight, an eternal life which knows no limitations.
It is in our ignorance that divisions exist - I and thou, the master and the disciple, the lover and the beloved. The moment you wake up, all these distinctions will evaporate. And it is good that the desire for your own enlightenment is disappearing. It is really you disappearing; hence, how can you carry on your desire for enlightenment?
And it is not my presence - it is simply the presence. I have disappeared a long, long time ago.
And the same experience is going to happen to you now. What you call my "presence" is really my absence and God's presence. The moment you also become absent, God's presence becomes your presence.
We all live in the same ocean - just that a few are asleep and once in a while somebody becomes awake. One who becomes awake knows it is one ocean. Those who remain asleep go on thinking in their dreams, in their sleep, of all kinds of separations, of all kinds of desires and goals.
Awakening is such a fire that it burns everything that is false, and only the pure gold remains.