From Darkness to Light 29

TwentyNinth Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - From Darkness to Light by Osho.
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America has been likened to Rome prior to its fall. Is it appropriate to see the fall of these two powers as being connected to the predominance of Christianity at the time?
History has moved, up to now, in circles. That is what is meant when it is said that history repeats itself. It need not be so, it should not be so, but unfortunately it has been so up to now.
There is a certain law behind this phenomenon of history moving in circles. I call it the law of mediocrity, because anybody who has any intelligence could have seen that we have been making the same kind of mistakes again and again and again. The mistakes are the same, the situations are the same. It is unbelievable how mediocre the human mind is.
First let me explain to you the law of mediocrity. I have said to you that religion comes into existence only when a society reaches the peaks of luxury.
Religion is the ultimate expression of all luxuries.
It is simple to understand and obvious. There are physical needs which should be fulfilled first, because without the body the soul may melt and merge into the cosmos, but it cannot live on the earth.
Jesus says man cannot live by bread alone. This is only half of the truth – and remember, half-truths are more dangerous than complete lies. At least they are complete, and because they are lies, sooner or later they will be found out. But the half-truth is dangerous because in the first place it is half, and truth cannot be half, just as a circle cannot be half.
You cannot say, “This is a half-circle.” Circle means complete. If it is half then it is only an arc, not a circle; it is just part of a circle. It will only be a circle when it is complete. The half-truth is dangerous in the first place because the truth can only be when it is total, whole, it cannot be half. But because it pretends to be the truth, you will not be able to detect it as a lie either.
The half-truth has some fragment, it may be an arc only, but still it is part of the circle. It is not a circle but it is part of a circle. In some way it is a fragment of truth. That fragmentariness is very deceptive. You can go on believing in it for centuries.
Jesus says, man cannot live by bread alone. It is a half-truth. It will be whole only when the other half is also added to it. Yes, it is true man cannot live by bread alone, but it is even more true that man cannot live without bread either. In fact, man may be able to live without music, art, religion, literature, science, but man cannot live without bread. Bread is a basic necessity.
So when the physical needs are not fulfilled no great music is born, no great literature is born, no poetry is written. Hungry stomachs don’t produce poetry. Dying bodies cannot dance. So when the society is poor and its basic needs are not fulfilled, there is no possibility of an authentic religion. Yes, there will be something in the name of religion, but that religion will be a religion not of affluence, of overflowing ecstasies; it will be a religion of the beggar.
You can look at poor countries: their religion consists of demands, their prayers consist of asking God, “Give us this, give us that. Give us our daily bread.” Their rituals are continuously to persuade God about something or other. Perhaps the rains have not come and they will do some religious ritual. Or perhaps too much rain is there and it has to be stopped; they have to pray to God. One thing is certain: whatever they do in the name of religion is concerned with their physical needs. God is just a father figure, and they believe that the father will help them in times of need.
Poor societies, civilizations, cultures, have a very poor religion too. It is a kind of compensation. What they are missing here they project onto heaven.
Look at the ancient scriptures: they say that in heaven there will never be starvation. Those people must have been starving, whoever has written that must be starving. We don’t know who wrote that but this can be said absolutely, that he was starving, his society was starving, and they were trying to find some consolation: “It is only a question of a few years; they will pass. In heaven there is no starvation, nobody will be sleeping hungry.”
All the religions in their scriptures provide things in heaven which are being missed here: beautiful palaces – and to people who don’t have even grass huts or bamboo huts, to these poor people they are giving the hope of marble palaces in heaven! You can see the simple strategy. They are giving them dreams. And all poor societies have lived out of those dreams; hoping, hoping, hoping – and then death comes. And nobody knows what happens after death; nobody comes back, so the others continue to hope.
In Indian scriptures heaven is air-conditioned. The word is not used because the word was not available at that time. Air-conditioning is a new phenomenon, and this is the first ashram in the whole history of man which is air-conditioned. In a centrally air-conditioned ashram three thousand sannyasins have never lived before! But air-conditioning was in the mind….
In a hot country like India, where people die from sunstroke every year, hundreds of people, a hope was needed that in heaven it would always be cool, neither hot nor cold – because the poor person suffers from both. When it is too hot he suffers because he has no protection, no shelter; when it is too cold he suffers because he has no clothes, no shelter. Cool, just the morning cool when the sun rises, and there is no heat…in heaven it is always sunrise time. It never becomes noon, evening, no; the sun is simply hung there for eternity and cool air continues to blow.
There is no dust in heaven, obviously. If you have lived in India you will know – in heaven, if there there is also dust, then what is the point of the religion and all the practices and all the prayers? No perspiration…. You can see the psychological strategy. In India everybody is perspiring the whole day, it is so hot. They have to compensated there, they have suffered enough here. So their heaven has to be just the opposite of here.
Poor people, poor countries, have a very bogus religion. It is not religion, it is a psychological compensation. It is selling dreams to hungry people, just trying to convince them: Don’t be worried; blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Jesus gives no argument why the poor are blessed. It is strange that nobody ever asked this man, “What
qualifications does poverty fulfill? It must be fulfilling some qualifications. As we see it, it is just the opposite: cursed are the poor. Who says blessed are the poor? They are condemned and cursed – these are actual facts. To cover it up, just the opposite is proposed: blessed are the poor.”
Why did nobody ask the simple question, “What are the reasons that you call the poor blessed? – because we see all the blessings are with the people who are rich.” And Jesus says that “even a camel can pass through the eye of a needle but a rich man cannot enter into the kingdom of my God.” Naturally, the rich people were very few, and they were not even bothered about this carpenter’s son – uneducated, illiterate. Jesus was trying to convince the ninety-nine percent of the people, who were poor.
It was worth sacrificing the one percent. To make his statement “blessed are the poor,” he has also to make another statement, “cursed are the rich.” What greater curse can there be than not to be able to enter into the kingdom of God? What more punishment can there be? They will be falling into hell for eternity.
At least Eastern religions have some arithmetic; Christianity has none. Eastern religions have some logic; Christianity has none. Eastern religions believe that you have thousands of lives. Naturally, when you live millions of years you can commit an immense number of sins. But still the Eastern hell is not eternal. They say you will suffer in hell to the degree that you have committed sins. Once your sins have been punished and your punishment is equal to your sins, you will be released.
In Christianity there is only one life; seventy years, eighty years, ninety years, a hundred years. In a hundred years’ time how can you commit so many sins that the punishment will be eternal? Do you see that Christianity lacks all arithmetic?
But Jesus was not interested in, nor was he capable of giving, a logical, rational explanation. He was exploiting people through their emotions, their sentiments.
The poor were happy to hear that they were blessed. They felt proud of being poor. Why should they inquire: “What qualifications do we have which make us blessed?” They were afraid themselves; if Jesus could not prove his statement then all their hope was lost. So the poor would not ask. And the rich people never came to listen to him, they never bothered about him; he was nobody, a nonentity. The poor were happy that they were blessed and the rich were cursed.
So it is only a question of waiting a few years, not even a few lives. In the Eastern religions you will have to wait thousands of lives. In Christianity one life is all, so it is only a question of a few years. You have already passed so many; you will pass others also and then will come the day of compensation, which Jesus calls the day of judgment. It is really the day of compensation.
The poor will enter heaven and the rich will be thrown into the depths of hell. I call it the day of compensation. The rich have enjoyed enough, now it is time for them to suffer.
It is strange why enjoyment…is it a sin? – that you have to suffer for it? Is suffering a virtue? – that you will be blessed because you suffered? Then the natural conclusion is: suffer more, be miserable more. The more miserable, the more anguish, the more you will be blessed.
In fact I sometimes have been thinking that there are so many poor people, who will be first in the queue? It is going to be almost impossible to decide who is the poorest. Ethiopians I think are going to defeat everybody. Americans are going to hell without question; they need not wait for the judgment day – I give the judgment. They are bound toward hell. Ethiopians are really blessed…according to Christianity.
These religions are just exploiting people, giving them dreams and hopes. And because you give them dreams and hopes you become messiahs, prophets. You gain out of it. You give them empty dreams – and they make you great leaders of humanity.
The law is: when a country is poor, its religion is false. Its real need is material. A poor country needs science and technology. So whatever is said on the surface is one thing, but a poor country goes on trying to become rich. In India you can see that.
People from all over the world were coming to me, but the number of Indians coming was very small. Once in a while an Indian was puzzled, and he would ask me, “What is happening? People from all over the world are coming to you, and Indians…?”
I would say, “Once in a while they also come, but their needs are different. They come here to get some financial help from me or from my followers; some recommendations because they want to go for studies to England, to America, to Germany. They want to become engineers, doctors, professors. They were not coming to me for meditation.”
Just the other day I received a letter – and I receive letters almost every day – from a famous Indian film actor, Shashi Kapoor. He had come to see me for ten minutes, one time only, in 1970. After that I remained in Bombay…where he lives and has his studio and produces his films; he is one of the topmost film people in India. After that I lived for four years in Bombay – he never came back. For seven years I lived in Pune; he never came to see me – and he was always coming to Pune to shoot his films.
On the contrary, he was telling people everything possible against me. I came to know it because he was working as the hero in Hermann Hesse’s novel Siddhartha, which was being made into a film. Some English producer wanted to see me, and Shashi Kapoor was his hero. Kapoor discouraged him; he said, “There is no need. This man was really “Bhagwan, the blessed one” before he was known as Bhagwan. Since he became known as Bhagwan and he has not denied it, he has fallen. He is no longer in the same state of consciousness.”
So he was very much against me being called Bhagwan. He wanted me to make a public statement that I am not what people think I am. It was really a dilemma for me. I can say that, but it will be a lie. I don’t want anybody to call me anything, but specifically to say that I am not the blessed one would be to lie. And that I cannot do.
Yesterday I received his letter. He is now in great financial trouble; four million dollars he needs. Now he remembers me. This was the situation in India, this is the situation here. Now he is immensely interested – but the interest is not in me, the interest is in four million dollars. Now he knows that this is one of the richest communes in the world. We have already poured into this Big Muddy Ranch almost two hundred million dollars, so naturally he can think that four million dollars is nothing for us.
But to approach me for finances is idiotic. I don’t possess anything, I am the poorest man. In fact, if blessed are the poor, then the Ethiopians should remember I will be first in the queue, because howsoever poor they may be they must possess something. I don’t possess anything. I simply use things, I don’t possess them. You cannot find another man as poor as me.
For almost thirty years I have not had any pockets because there is nothing to keep; I told my tailors, “Drop the pockets, because unnecessarily some pickpocket may follow and waste his time – he would finally find an empty pocket, because I don’t have anything. I don’t need pockets even to keep my hands in, because if I keep my hands in the pockets then I cannot talk. Pockets are absolutely useless. “So for thirty years I have not been having any pockets. I don’t possess a single cent.
But the Indians are poor. Their religion today – I am not talking about their past – is a poor religion. They go to the temple to ask God for something. And whenever you go to the temple or the church to ask, that’s an indication of a false religion. Whenever you go to the temple to give something then it is the sign of a real religion.
The authentic religion has nothing to ask.
It has much to share, much to give.
To understand the law of mediocrity you will have to see this. The poor country remains interested in science, technology, engineering, medicine; and of course if it continues to remain interested in these things sooner or later it will become rich. When it becomes rich then of course its interest changes; it starts thinking of painting, of music, of art, of literature, of poetry. If it goes on becoming richer, which is a simple process…once you know how to be rich then you go on becoming richer and richer. Money goes on attracting more money, money goes on producing more money.
It is something autonomous: once the wheel starts moving then it goes on moving of its own accord. When you are satisfied with all the pleasures of the body, then certainly your psychological needs are there which can be fulfilled by music, art, dance, drama, literature, sculpture. Soon they are also satisfied, because these are limited needs. The body has a limitation, its pleasures are very few: food and sex. How much can you eat? And you cannot eat gold, you cannot eat diamonds – what a shame! You have gold, you have diamonds – all these beautiful things and you cannot eat them.
You can have sex, but there again is the trouble: there is a limitation. By the time a man becomes rich he becomes impotent – or almost impotent, which is even worse. If you are really impotent you are finished with it, and you know it. But if you are almost impotent then you mind goes on thinking of it, trying to find some panacea, some doctor, some plastic surgeon – a Leeladhar; some hope that something can be done…some injections, some hormones. You are in real misery.
But even if you don’t become impotent by the time you become rich, or perhaps you are born rich with a silver spoon in your mouth…. This idea of a silver spoon in the mouth must have arisen in a poor country; otherwise, why not a golden spoon in the mouth? Why say silver spoon? It must have arisen in a very middle class society where silver is something very valuable. Why not a diamond-studded spoon? Your proverbs, your words – everything has a history and a psychology behind it.
If you are born rich then there are even more problems, because then you can have as many relationships with as many women as you want. And that is one of the calamities that can happen to a man. Monogamy is really something very protective, protective of your dreams, hopes; protective of your flights of imagination. Stuck with one woman you are certainly fed up with her, she is fed up with you. But both are free in their imaginations and both can enjoy, in imagination, other men, other women. Both can go on thinking, “that man, that woman, is a real beauty.”
Once can never think of one’s wife as a beauty. When Mulla Nasruddin got married…. Among Mohammedans this is a tradition: as the wife enters the husband’s house the first thing she asks the husband is – because Mohammedan women use burqa, a black veil on their face…. You cannot see them, they just have two small holes in their veil so they can see. You cannot see them.
The tradition is that the woman asks her husband the first thing, “Before whom am I allowed to open my veil?” The husband’s permission is needed. So he tells her, “Before my father, or before my brother, or before my uncle – these are the people before whom you can open your veil, there’s no problem. Except for these people you have always to keep yourself veiled.”
Mulla Nasruddin’s wife asked him. He said, “It is very simple: except for me you can open you veil to anybody. Just forgive me – anyway, in the daytime I will never be home. And in the night I cannot see, it is dark; moreover, my eyesight is not right. But in the day, if by chance I have to come home, please, don’t open your veil.”
You are not interested in anything that you have got, your interest is only until you get it. In fact, it is an egoistic trip, a challenge. In monogamy, every other woman is a challenge to you, every other man is a challenge to you. You cannot get them, and they look so beautiful, so smiling, so happy, that when you compare them with your wife who is always nagging and is always bothering you for this and for that….
When you compare these beautiful women on the beach, smiling in the wind, in the sun, you feel so sad. But you don’t know that these women’s husbands are also in the same trap. These women on the beach turn into bitches when they go home – these same women.
So monogamy is really very protective, it keeps your interest alive. Men remain alive thinking of women, women remain alive thinking of men. All poetry, pornography, novels, films, are filled with only one thing: the love story, because that is the only thing that is missing – everybody is missing it. At least in the story you can have a certain satisfaction. You can get identified with the actors, with the characters, and forget your personal misery for two hours while you are looking at a movie, sitting in a moviehouse.
If you are rich enough you can have as many women, as many men, as you want – and that is the tragedy. When you come in contact with many women, you are surprised that it is the same woman again and again and again. She comes in all shapes, all sizes, but it is the same woman – just scratch a little bit and you find the same woman again. And the same is true about men.
They may look different, but that is only the container. Containers can be different, just like American cars – Cadillac, Lincoln. Just the containers are different, the content is absolutely the same. Under the bonnet…don’t look. I have never looked under the bonnet and I am not going to look, ever; why unnecessarily kill your dreams? It is murderous.
I never go to the garage. Avesh is waiting – he is the director of my garage; he is waiting. I am not going to come, because to see under the bonnet is so disappointing. But when you are rich you open so many bonnets…and it is nobody’s fault, it is just that you have money enough so you can open many bonnets; and under the bonnet it is always the same mechanism.
You get fed up with food, with sex. You start looking for something higher. That’s when you start moving into higher dimensions, psychological satisfactions. The physical world is finished; now you would like Beethoven, Leonardo da Vinci, Dante, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy. Then many dimensions open.
Of course the psychological world is wider than the physical, but it is not unlimited; soon that is finished too. Soon you know all the best music, all the best literature, all the best art: then what? That is the point when real religion enters life – the spiritual need.
The real religion happens only in a very luxurious, rich, affluent society. Now, I can explain to you the law of mediocrity.
When somebody becomes interested in religion, really involved and committed to a search for truth, for some experience of consciousness, he realizes that he wasted his whole life unnecessarily in food and sex, in music and in literature; it was all a waste. He could have been in this ecstasy for all that time. He starts condemning. He condemns food, he condemns sex, he condemns music, he condemns literature, he condemns every body and mind need. And these are the topmost people, the geniuses of society, who have reached to religious consciousness. When they all start condemning, the circle starts moving downward.
The society listens to them – and they are evidence of what they are saying. Everybody is miserable and they are not; everybody is in suffering and they are so blissful. There is no need for any other argument; they are their argument.
It happened…one of the most famous logicians of this century in India was Keshav Chandra Sen. He was really the same type of man as Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein, men who could go to any depth arguing. Ramakrishna was at his highest peak of samadhi, superconsciousness. Keshav Chandra said, “I will go and put that old idiot….” Ramakrishna was illiterate and Keshav Chandra was world famous, everywhere recognized as one of the finest logicians who had ever existed.
It was a challenge, because people were going to Ramakrishna – they both lived in Calcutta; the whole of Calcutta was moving toward Ramakrishna, and nobody was coming to Keshav Chandra. This was a great challenge. He informed Ramakrishna, “I want to argue with you, because I can prove there is no God, I can prove there is no heaven, I can prove there is no superconsciousness, I can prove there is no soul; it is all nonsense and you are exploiting people. And if you cannot prove them, then you will have to become my disciple. If you do, I will become your disciple.”
Ramakrishna’s disciples were very worried and concerned. Ramakrishna was a simple man, innocent, childlike; so childlike that even in the middle of the street, if somebody uttered the name of God, he would go into ecstasy, he would start dancing there in the middle of the road. The whole traffic would be blocked. The policeman would come and say, “Paramahansa Deva, please, this is the road….” But he was such a simple man, so innocent, loved by everybody.
All his disciples were very much afraid – it was difficult to face Keshav Chandra. What would Ramakrishna do? What would he argue? He had never given any argument for anything. But Ramakrishna was very happy; he said, “Tell him to come tomorrow, or come right now. Why wait?”
Keshav Chandra came with all his great logician disciples to show them how he could dismantle this old idiot who was dominating the whole of Bengal and had become the topmost religious leader in the country. Many people from Calcutta came just to see what was going to happen because it was a rare occasion. Perhaps never before had it happened that a man of the quality of Ramakrishna and a man of the qualities of Keshav Chandra, argued.
Ramakrishna, seeing Keshav Chandra, ran and hugged him. That was enough to make Keshav Chandra embarrassed; he was not expecting that. When Ramakrishna said, “I am so happy – so you have come to defeat me? Great! Nobody comes…. At least you thought of me, so kind of you – just come and defeat me.”
“But,” Keshav Chandra said, “how to defeat you? First give some argument.”
Ramakrishna said, “Argument? I am the argument. You defeat me.”
There was absolute silence in the crowd. Keshav Chandra looked silly. He had never thought that a man would say, “I am the argument, you defeat me.” But Keshav Chandra was also a sincere man, not just a poor logician. He looked into the eyes of Ramakrishna and fell at his feet. And he said, “I am defeated if you are the argument. And certainly you are the argument, I can see it.”
When a religious man is there his presence creates a climate.
And when there are many religious people, the whole country is vibrant with their being.
They all, up to now, have been condemning everything that has really led them to their state of consciousness. So when all the religious leaders of a country condemn materialism, attachment to body, attachment to this, attachment to that, and start teaching people tastelessness, celibacy, the country starts shrinking. It stops being creative. It drops its sciences, its technology. It starts following these great religious people, not knowing that you cannot follow them. You are destroying the very ladder they have climbed up on!
And it is very easy for them, standing on the roof, to tell you, “Destroy this ladder, it is useless. It wasted so much of our time. On each rung of the ladder we wasted our life. Just burn it.” It is so easy from the roof. And these poor idiots burn the ladder and destroy the very basis upon which religion becomes authentic. The country starts becoming poor again. Civilization disappears, culture disappears.
This is the circle, the vicious circle. The country will continue to become poorer and poorer and poorer and poorer, till the very last, when poverty means death. One more step into poverty and there will be death. It is at that moment – but it takes centuries to reach that state. And by that time all those dwellers on the roof have disappeared. Nobody is there to condemn. They start again from the very ABC: technology, science, wealth, how to be rich. The circle moves again.
This is the circle – I call it the law of mediocrity.
Poor countries go on trying to become richer; richer countries start becoming poor.
This has been the case up to now. History has moved in circles. It should move in a line. It should be linear, not circular. When it is linear then it cannot be repeated, then you go on and on. But that needs intelligence; to break out of this law of mediocrity you need intelligence to understand how it has been happening up to now.
The East was very rich. Then its Gautam Buddhas, Lao Tzus, Mahaviras, they condemned riches; it became poor, it became dependent on other people. Now it has reached the very depths of poverty.
Talking in India about meditation I have felt as if I am committing a crime. People are hungry and they ask me, “If we do meditation will our financial situation become better?” And that’s what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi goes on telling them. These charlatans have some nerve! Maharishi Mahesh Yogi teaches people that his transcendental meditation will make them prosperous in all possible ways: materially, spiritually, psychologically. Whatever your need is, he has the panacea.
I cannot say that, that meditation will fulfill your physical needs. It is impossible for me to cheat in such a way. So even in India, while I was traveling, I was speaking only to the very rich people. I was condemned as the rich man’s guru. I said, “This is not a condemnation, this is really the fact. I am the rich man’s guru because only the rich man can understand what I am trying to say, to convey.
“The poor man has needs, I know. But what I can offer to him will not meet his needs. I am not for him. Mother Teresa is for him, I am not for him. What can I do if I deal in some higher things? I don’t own a grocery store. I cannot give you anything less than ultimate consciousness. But for that you have to be hungry – and you are not hungry for that. I have something to offer to you; but you are not ready to receive it, so it is not my fault.”
Naturally, people from all over the world started coming to me, but these were all from rich countries, rich cultures, well-educated, very intelligent people, young people. To them I could convey. Something was possible now; they were ready, they were open, they were finished with the marketplace, the pleasures of the body and the pleasures of the mind. They had had enough of it. They were at a point that if something else was not possible then only suicide was the way to get rid of this whole nonsense called life.
Sannyas is possible only when you are ready to commit suicide – only at that critical moment, when nothing else matters.
The old life is finished.
Unless a new life begins – you are not going to continue to live in the old pattern – you will finish yourself.
This is the moment when a man becomes a sannyasin.
Your question is that Rome, its civilization, its great culture, suddenly fell and disappeared, leaving only beautiful ruins. It happened at a time when Christianity was at its peak and Rome had become the citadel of Christianity. Yes, Christianity is responsible for Rome’s fall. You will have to understand a few things.
Roman people were pagans, they had never been religious. They had never been interested in airy-fairy things, they were not esoteric at all; very earthbound, very earthly people, solid. Christianity condemned them, condemned their paganism, condemned their life of “eat, drink and be merry.” That was their whole religion in three words – the simplest religion in the world. You cannot make a more condensed catechism than this: Eat, drink, be merry. That is the whole Roman philosophy.
Christianity condemned them, condemned them so much that they stopped being pagans and started becoming religious. They dropped their old way of living joyously, luxuriously. They dropped being warriors, they dropped being imperialists; they dropped expanding, they started shrinking.
When they became Christians they started believing, “Blessed are the poor.” And they wanted to get through the doors of heaven, so they started becoming poor. First psychologically you start shrinking, and then outwardly you start shrinking.
There was a time when all roads led to Rome, Rome was the world capital. Now Rome does not matter at all: whether it exists at all or not will not make any difference. Who bothers about Rome now? This is what Christianity has done to the Roman empire, culture, civilization, just with the condemnation of their material life, the condemnation of Zorba – and the Roman people were just zorbas.
The trouble is that just by condemning the zorba you cannot transform people into buddhas. If you condemn them as being zorbas then you simply destroy them. You are not a help, you are simply poisoning them. The zorba has to be made into the foundation for the buddha. Don’t condemn the foundation; otherwise the whole edifice will become impossible. Christians committed the crime, and Rome suffered.
The same is the situation of America today. It is at the peak of its wealth, scientific knowledge, technological expertise – and it is getting caught in the hands of the Christians. Christians have never been so powerful in America as they are today.
Americans should learn a lesson from Rome; otherwise history will be repeated and the law of mediocrity will go on functioning; but I don’t think Americans are going to listen.
The American president, Ronald Reagan, is a fanatic Christian, and is trying in every possible way to make the country as Christian oriented as possible. In fact he thinks that Christianity is the only answer to communism. He is wrong.
Christianity is not the answer to communism.
In fact, communism is a by-product of Christianity.
It is that idiotic statement, “Blessed are the poor,” which is the base of the whole communist philosophy.
But Ronald Reagan is not a man of intelligence. He was just a poor, third-class, cowboy-film actor. I have not seen a single statement from him which seems to be coming from an intelligent source. His going to the Vatican, his meeting with the pope…and he is continually talking about religion and Christianity and Christ. His idea is that you don’t have anything parallel to the ideology of communism to use against Russia. Democracy is not such a strong thing that it can make anybody fanatic.
Have you seen any fanatic democrat? It is a contradiction in terms. If you are a democrat you cannot be fanatic. So who is going to fight against the fanatic communist? Yes, a fanatic fascist can fight, a fanatic Christian can fight, a fanatic Mohammedan can fight. But remember one thing: it is really fanaticism that is going to fight. Communists are fanatic. They have an absolute faith that they are going to take over the world.
I had one communist friend – he was really a great intellectual. He had written many, nearabout a hundred, books, all on the communist theme but in a very indirect way: they were novels. But through the novel he was preaching the communist theme, so indirectly that you would be influenced by the novel. The novels that he has written are first rate – he was a first-rate creative writer – but the result ultimately will be that he will be pulling you toward communism.
His name was Yashpal. I told him, “Yashpal, you are against all religions” – and communism is against all religions, it is an atheist philosophy. “But the way you behave and other communists behave simply proves that communism is another religion.”
He said, “What do you mean?”
I said, “I simply mean that you are as fanatic as any Mohammedan, as any Christian. You have your trinity: Marx, Engels, Lenin. You have your Mecca – Moscow; you have your Kaaba – the Kremlin; you have your holy book – Das Kapital. And although Das Kapital is now a hundred years old you are not ready to change a single word in it. In a hundred years economics has changed totally – Das Kapital is absolutely out of date.”
He was ready to fight. I said, “It is not a question of fight. Even if you kill me that will not prove that you were right. That will simply prove that I was right and you could not tolerate my existence. You give me arguments.”
Communism has no argument.
I said to him, “Your whole philosophy is based on the idea that the whole of humanity is equal. This is psychologically wrong. The whole of psychological science says that each individual is unique. How can unique individuals be equal?”
But communism is fanatic. He stopped speaking with me, he stopped writing letters to me. I used to pass through his city, Lucknow. He always used to come to the station to see me – he stopped coming to see me.
When many of my letters were not answered I wrote a letter to his wife. She was a very loving woman. She wrote to me saying, “You can understand – there is no need for me to tell you that he is a fanatic. And you touched his weakest point. Even I keep myself alert not to say anything against communism. I can do anything, I can say anything against him, but I should not say anything against communism because, “That he cannot conceive, that anybody can be against communism.”
He told me once, “We are going to take over the whole world.”
I said, “Your project is a very small one, this earth is very small. Why don’t you join in my project?”
He said, “What is your project?”
I said, “My project is very simple. I am a man of very simple taste and very easily satisfied. I am just going to take over the universe. Why bother about a small earth which will be included in the universe? No need to be worried about it.” But communism believes it is going to take over the whole earth, and almost half of the earth they have already taken.
Their fanatic attitude will create the reaction in America to become fanatically Christian. That seems to be the only alternative for Americans, but they don’t know…. You can survive communism, but you cannot survive fanatic Christianity.
Just trying to save yourself from one danger your are falling into a greater danger.
I can show you the way to survive communism – not only for you to survive communism, but for you to help the whole world to get rid of communism. it is very simple: just make people more rich. Let poverty disappear, and there will be no communism left.
Marx, in his best book, The Communist Manifesto, declares in the end, “Proletariat of the world, unite: you have nothing to lose but your chains; you have the whole world to gain.” I am saying, if you want the world not to be communist, let everybody have something of value to lose and he will never be a communist.
Make people richer – and you can do it. Now there is no difficulty. If you divert your attention from fighting with communism, and pour your energies into making people richer and richer, the whole country will become rich, so rich that even the iron curtain of Russia cannot prevent the people of Russia from seeing what is happening in America. They are poor; it just has to be made clear to them that the only way to be rich is capitalism – and the only way to remain forever poor is communism.
Christianity cannot do that – only capitalism.
Christianity will kill you; before communism kills you, Christianity will kill you. Christianity is really the father of communism. Trying to save yourself from the son, you are getting into the clutches of the father, who is far more dangerous, who has destroyed many civilizations before.
But I doubt that any intelligent thing is going to be heard. The circle seems to be repeating itself. We have to be just helpless spectators because these idiots will not hear; even if they hear they will not understand; even if they understand, they will not follow it.
It is such a strange situation. In Russia I am thought to be an American agent sabotaging communism in the name of religion. In America they think I am certainly a communist, and by creating a commune I am creating the basis for communism – “communism” comes from “commune.” The original idea in Marx’s mind was of a commune.
Because of the commune and the red robes…. Just two days ago one of our Australian communes tried to purchase a holiday resort there. It has a huge building, and they wanted to make it a school for sannyasin children – it could manage at least one hundred and fifty children – and the resort could become a beautiful commune. The commune is in the city but they wanted to move out and to spread.
The fear went all over Australia. The whole media – television, the newspapers – was full of the same fear. Just as we have heard here that we are going to take over Wasco County…. I am sitting here, and they are saying in Australia that I am planning to come to Australia and we will try to take over. Already there are posters in Australia: Better dead than red. Strange, that red color seems to have become the monopoly of the communists.
Communists think that I am against them; capitalists think that I am against them…sometimes I wonder, am I against myself?
But if there is even a little bit of intelligence in America then it is time to stop now; otherwise, the country is going to have the same fate as that of Rome and Roman civilization.
In these last ten years all the decisions of the Supreme Court of America have become more and more favorable to the government against individual freedom. They have been more protective in these ten years; it was not the case before. Before, ten years ago, the Supreme Court of America was really a fair institution, and it was protecting the individual – who is helpless against the state, against the government.
The individual has to be protected. His freedom of speech, his freedom of thinking, his freedom of living, have to be protected. The Supreme Court exists for that; otherwise the state, the monster of state, can simply destroy your freedom, your democracy, your individuality. It is just a steamroller, it can go on killing you.
But in these ten years there has been a trend continuously toward the Supreme Court supporting the government against the individual. And particularly at this moment they are supporting the government too much, for a simple reason: five Supreme Court judges out of nine are going to retire this year. It is a rare thing. The people who made the constitution had never thought about this. They had provided in the constitution that the Supreme Court judges will be appointed by the president – and for their whole lifetime, so they are not under any pressure.
Once they are appointed, even the president cannot do anything to them. And they should not be elected, because elections mean politicians. They should not come through bureaucracy, just by seniority, because seniority means by the time a person becomes senior enough he is also senile enough. To become a judge of the Supreme Court, if he has to move from the lower courts to higher courts, state courts, state Supreme Court, then by the time he reaches he is bound to be sixty, sixty-five, almost senile.
That’s how it happens in India: Supreme Court judges there are almost senile. One of my friends became the Supreme Court chief justice. He was first chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh Supreme Court; Hidayatulla was his name, a Mohammedan. We became friends in a very strange way. I used to organize a world religious conference every year while I was in Jabalpur. I invited prominent intellectuals from all over the country. Hidayatulla was a very cultured man and he had just come to Jabalpur as the chief justice of the Supreme Court, so I phoned him and asked him for an appointment.
I invited him to preside over the conference at least one day. “The conference is going to be for seven days and there will be seven presidents; one day you preside, any day you choose, whenever you are free.”
He said, “I would love to, but the problem is, being chief justice, I should not participate in anything public. I should not come in contact with the public, I should not become intimate with people. I should not have friends because that can put pressure on my judgment.”
I said, “I don’t know about your situation but I am determined to have you for one day as president.”
He said, “How can you have me if I am saying no?” I said, “We will see.”
Next day I told a press conference that Hidayatulla was going to be the president for the first day. And I sent one taxi with a loudspeaker, with a student in it, and told him, “The whole day you go around Hidayatulla’s house declaring the same thing again and again. Unless he comes out, drive him insane.”
So that student went around his house declaring, “President Hidayatulla is going to preside over the first day of the world conference of religions.”
Of course he was getting…. In the newspaper he read it, on the radio he heard it. He said, “This is something!” And then this man was continuously….
His wife told him, “You better preside. That is simple, that is not such a big deal. And these people are not going to leave you alone. You go out; otherwise they will drive the whole family mad.”
He came out, and told the student, “You go and tell your professor that I will be coming, but let this be the first and the last time.”
The student said, “We never ask anybody to be the president of the conference twice. We never do that, don’t be worried.” That’s how we became friends.
Finally he became the chief justice of the Supreme Court of India, but by that time he was seventy. When I saw him in New Delhi, he could not even recognize me. I said, “Hidayatulla, you have gone really senile.”
He said, “Perhaps, because I go on forgetting everything. But I have to pretend; otherwise I will lose the job; so I keep quiet. I don’t say anything in case I may say something wrong. I am simply pretending, just passing time – it is only a question of two years more. Why lose a good job, the greatest, highest salary, and the most prestigious position?” – because he gives the oath to the president of India, so in a certain way he is higher than the president.
The American constitution decided something really very significant, that the president will appoint the judges. But history does not move according to your constitutions. They have never though of a situation where five judges will be retiring in one year. If one judge retires, eight judges are there. Even if the president puts his man in it makes no difference because those eight judges will be the majority.
But this year it is going to happen that five judges are going to be appointed by Ronald Reagan. They are all going to be Christian fanatics. And seeing this, all the judgments of the lower courts, state Supreme Courts, are going in favor of Ronald Reagan. Whatsoever he says now is right, because now everybody is hankering to be appointed to the Supreme Court. And he will appoint only those five people who are going to support him in every way.
Now the majority in the Supreme Court will be in his hands. For the first time in American history the Supreme Court will be under the thumb of the president…and the president is such an idiot!
He is influencing the Supreme Court continuously, and it is becoming more and more a government agency rather than a protector of individual freedom. It is no longer fair, it is no longer the same institution it used to be. America has lost one of its most beautiful things, the Supreme Court. And if the Supreme Court is in Ronald Reagan’s hands, then he can enforce anything upon this country – and he wants to enforce Christianity.
But let this be a reminder to all:
Christianity means committing suicide, and nothing else.

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