The Last Testament Vol 2 24

TwentyFourth Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - The Last Testament Vol 2 by Osho.
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John Dettinger,
California magazine, Los Angeles, CA,

Glad to meet you.
When I came out of simple curiosity to the Ranch in May, it never occurred to me that I might be sitting here having your full attention. I had dreamed of such a thing perhaps, but I find the moment quite moving.
I know. I can feel your heart and your tears. So there is a possibility of authentic communion. You are no more a journalist; I can talk to you now heart to heart. Otherwise, journalism is something superficial. The moment it becomes a communion of the heart…
I know with your help I'll be up to that challenge. I've not tried that way often before.
It is very rare, because journalists try to remain true to their profession, and their profession is superficial. Journalism does not become literature for the simple reason that it is so superficial. By the evening the newspaper is worthless.
But if it is heart to heart, then journalism can also become art and literature. And it should become.
I'd like to try.
I'd like to talk about the Commune.
I'd like to know how many communes are there and where are they located?
It is difficult for me to give you very detailed information because I myself don’t know. But in almost every country of the world there are communes. Germany has the largest number of communes; Holland has perhaps the second largest number. England has, Italy has…India, Japan, Switzerland. Other than communes there are ashramas, which are smaller communes with very few people living in. And then there are centers where only one or two sannyasins are living, but other sannyasins come to meditate, to listen to the tapes, to read, to discuss.
In all we have almost one million sannyasins around the world. Of these one million sannyasins, nearabout two hundred thousand sannyasins are underground. That means they are either in Russia, in communist countries, or in countries where they cannot come into the open.
Even in communist countries we have communes, but underground. You cannot declare, you cannot use the red clothes. Even in a red country you cannot use red clothes! My sannyasins are being persecuted by the KGB in Russia. Their books have been taken away, their tapes have been taken away, and they are constantly interrogated, harassed, to give more information about other sannyasins who may be having literature. My literature is banned. But that does not make any difference. In fact, it creates more excitement, more curiosity, particularly in the intelligentsia.
So I have one million very intelligent people around the world, deeply interested, and not only intellectually interested but existentially interested. They want to be transformed into a New Man. And that is the function of sannyas.
Do you suppose, or would you care to speculate, on why so many come from West Germany, why most of…the largest number of communes are in West Germany? Could it have anything to do with Adolf Hitler and the holocaust?
It has certainly something to do with Adolf Hitler. He prepared the ground for me because he cheated and deceived the whole country. The youth of Germany is no longer interested in politicians.
On the other hand, Adolf Hitler was also ambitious to be known as a religious leader. He declared himself to be the reincarnation of the Old Testament prophet Elijah, and Christian heads of Germany prayed for his victory. The leadership that he gave to the country almost changed people into robots.
So the new generation is very frustrated with politicians, religious leaders, with anybody who would like to impose a discipline on them. And that’s the reason why they are interested in me. I don’t have any discipline to impose on anybody. My teaching is fundamentally for freedom of thinking, being. I have tremendous respect for individuality. The society is not more important than the individual. The society exists for the individual, not vice versa.
I don’t have a dogma, I don’t have a God in which you have to believe. I am not a prophet, I am not a messenger. I am simply a human being who can see a little more clearly than you. And I am ready to share my clarity and I am grateful if you allow me to share my clarity with you. You are not obliged; I am obliged.
So that is the reason why most of the German intelligentsia is immensely interested in me. And the German politicians and the government is in the same proportion afraid. They are afraid that anybody who comes to me never returns to Germany. They are afraid that I have more influence on their youth than they have.
I have never been in Germany, but still the German politicians have put a few cases against me so that I cannot enter the country, or, if I enter, then I can immediately be arrested.
I have no desire to go anywhere.
On what grounds would they arrest you?
They have made stupid cases against me in the courts. Summonses are there with arrest warrants, that I am saying something which is hurting somebody’s religious feelings. Now, anybody can put a case on that ground. Even in America, the president – I was not thinking that there would be an American Nazi party – but the president of the American Nazi party wrote a letter to me that, “You speak against Adolf Hitler and it hurts our religious feelings.”
I could not believe it! Adolf Hitler and religious feelings…how does he manage to join them together? Then I discovered that he was the reincarnation of the prophet Elijah, and they believe that he had come for the salvation of humanity. That’s why they have put cases against me. There have been cases in India against me…
That is surely a civil suit between you and the Nazi party.
A civil suit, yes.
Oh, that would…because our government is well known for its religious tolerance.
There is nobody who has religious tolerance. If you have a religion you cannot have religious tolerance. Only a man like me, who has no religion, can have religious tolerance. So it does not matter to me – it is simply rubbish.
But any man who is attached to any religion cannot really have religious tolerance. He has already decided what is right, what is true. Now he can show a hypocritical mask of tolerance, but if you look even just at the word tolerance you can see there is the taste of intolerance already present in the very word.
If I say I simply tolerate your presence here, what does it mean? It simply means I do not rejoice in your presence here. You are not welcome. I do not respect you as you are; I simply tolerate you.
But tolerance is not a great quality. It is a very third-rate value.
It beats persecution. Governments elsewhere have been known to persecute on religious grounds.
In fact, persecution is better than tolerance, because persecution at least recognizes you on equal grounds. Persecution really means that the people who are persecuting are afraid of you; they are afraid that if you are both allowed to exist together, soon the other party is going to win. They have the truth and you don’t have it. So before it becomes known, they have to be destroyed.
But when you tolerate somebody you have already accepted that they are inferior to you; there is no fear about it.
I would love rather to be persecuted than to be tolerated. Persecution simply means you are afraid, you are threatened.
That seems to be the attitude of the German government at the moment.
Yes. They are threatened. They discuss me in their parliament, against me – a person who has never been in their country. But if I am there, they are going to persecute me like anything. But I love it! I enjoy it.
I am being persecuted here in America, what to say of Germany!
So then you are persecuted here…never mind tolerated?
Yes, there are so many cases going in the courts against me – false, utter lies. And we are defeating all those cases, because they are against their own laws, against their own constitution.
You mean the constitution of the United States?
We've been most impressed in Los Angeles, in California, at how well the commune has won each case and insisted upon the American way being served.
We will fight.
Even in Oregon there's a grudging respect for your triumphs.
Certainly. They have to respect it, because we are standing for the constitution and they are standing against their own constitution. It is a strange fate, that we are to protect the American constitution against the Americans.
May I ask you: with so many sannyasins – a million of them worldwide – I understand that you personally choose each Sanskrit name for each sannyasin. Is that correct?
I used to.
Because obviously my question would be: how do you arrive at the appropriate name for each sannyasin? How do you manage that? And if you could also, of course, explain what is the value of taking a different name than one's family name.
In India I used to give new names, because mostly names in other languages are either meaningless or silly. For example, just the name of one American evangelist, Jerry Falwell – now I cannot understand why fall-well should be given as a name to anybody. It is simply silly.
So I was giving meaningful names to people. From all over the world people were coming there and I was giving them meaningful names which can have a certain significance for them, a certain relatedness to their personality, a certain message for their future growth.
If I saw a person that was very sad, long-faced, carrying many frustrations, disappointments, and out of that frustration and disappointment he has come to me but that long shadow is still with him, then I would give him something just the opposite of what he has been up to now, because I want him to be discontinuous with his past.
For example, I may call him Anand Prem. Anand means bliss, Prem means love: a blissful, loving personality, that is his goal. And drop all this sadness and all this frustration. Whatever has passed has passed; now nothing can be done about it. Only one thing can be done about it: it can be dropped. And you can start anew. The new name is simply symbolic of a new birth. When you are born you come without a name; then your name is given to you.
Sannyas has to be a new birth. So symbolically the new name indicates that the old person is dead and you have to start living, from this moment, a new way of life.
I have given thousands of names. Now I don’t give sannyas myself. But sannyasins who have been with me for fifteen years and are perfectly capable of reading the mind of the man, the personality of the man, they are giving sannyas. And I have given so many names that out of all those names they can find what name will be suitable. I have initiated every kind of person and every kind of mind into sannyas, so they don’t need to bother about new names. I have given thousands of names; they have the whole list and they can find it and they can work it out.
But it is certainly significant. Sometimes very small things are very significant. For example, your clothes. It is not anything important, what kind of clothes you are wearing or what color. But when you are mourning you use black; somehow it fits with your mood, somehow it shows others your situation. In a black mourning dress it will be difficult to have a hearty laugh; it will look just absurd.
So small things – I have given my sannyasins the color red. There are only two basic colors in existence: red and green. All other colors are in a minority. The basic is green – the trees, the forest – and red. Strangely enough, red is almost always the color of the flowers. It represents blossoming, flowering, life. Very few people reach to the stage of flowering. They remain barren; they die without any fruition, without any flowers.
I want to remind my people continuously. They will be using the red twenty-four hours a day. They have to flower. Before death comes, flowering has to happen. They have to work hard for it.
Does the mala have healing powers?
I've read in a book on Rajneeshism that I got here at the ranch that there was a…
For the sannyasins it can have thousands of meanings. For a non-sannyasin, no meaning, because it is a question of your love, your trust. Then anything can have healing power. If you trust me, then just a glass of water from my hand will have the healing power. It is not in the water, it is not in my hand. It is in your trust.
So to a sannyasin the mala is certainly of many meanings. In sickness he can have healing through it, just holding it. In fear, just holding it and he will feel courage. In a moment of loneliness, just holding it and he will not feel lonely, he will feel he is with me. But it all depends on his trust, it has nothing to do with the mala itself. The mala is only an excuse.
I have heard that when the commune began here in Oregon there was a day off, but then something happened that caused you to institute a seven-day work week. Could you talk about that?
No, in the beginning people simply started working the way they worked in the outside world. The outside world has followed the routine because in the biblical story God worked for six days, and the poor fellow got tired so the seventh day he rested. And since then nothing has been heard about him. He went to eternal rest.
I don’t want my people to go to eternal rest. I said, it is better to continue working; the seventh day is dangerous. I was just joking, but the reality was that we had so much to do that even seven days are not enough.
We came into a desert. When we came there was only one house, dilapidated, and no greenery, just barren hills. And we had to make it an oasis. Tremendous work was needed. Soon we found six days are not enough – even seven days are not enough.
Our people are working twelve hours per day, and in festival times, four times a year, for months they work fourteen hours a day – but with great joy. It is their commune, it is their creation. It is not ordinary work in the ordinary world. It is just like a painter or a musician who goes on playing and practicing for hours without getting tired. In fact, the more he practices the finer becomes his music and the greater is his joy.
We are creating an oasis. It is similar to creating poetry or music or sculpture. And in four years we have changed the whole color of the scenery. Now it is green. Birds have come, deer have come, of their own accord, seeing that we have managed dams and made big lakes, seeing that so many people are here – and harmless people. So we have thousands of deer now. And if you go in the street in the night you will find them standing, and they will not move. You will have to get out of the car and push them, because they know these people don’t harm anybody!
In my garden I have three hundred peacocks. Even my car takes so much time to get into and out of the house, because they are all standing in the way, dancing. And they are not worried that the car is there and it is not a place to dance – but they know that nobody is going to harm them.
My chauffeur was just saying that in this place there is only one sin: that is, don’t run over a peacock.
I said, “That’s right!”
If I may, just for a moment go back to…
Yes, you can go anywhere.
You mentioned that on the seventh day people fall into oblivion. Perhaps I've gotten a modern mythology about the ranch, but I have heard a story and I would like to know if it is true. I heard that when there was a six-and-a-half-day week, on the half day off there was a tragic accident, and that a sannyasin who was a member of the commune drowned. And it was from then on – perhaps lest he fall into oblivion – that the seventh day…seven-day work week was instituted.
No. It had nothing to do with that. It may have been a coincidence, but I don’t remember that it had anything to do with that. Accidents can happen any day. It is not a question of…
But our work is so great because we want to be self-sufficient. We don’t believe in poverty, we believe in luxury, comfort. This is the only commune in the whole history of man where five thousand sannyasins are living in fully air-conditioned houses. And we have made all these houses; we have made all the roads, we have made the hospital, the school, the university – whatever is our need.
We cultivate our own food, we cultivate our vegetables; we have all our own milk products. We are vegetarians so we produce vegetarian eggs because that is an absolute necessity for all the vegetarians of the world. Unless they start eating vegetarian eggs, their intelligence will lag behind others’. So not a single vegetarian has received a Nobel prize up to now, for the simple reason that his intelligence cannot grow. It needs certain proteins which are missing in his food. So we have our chicken farm and we are now perfectly self-sufficient.
We have our own cars for every sannyasin who ever wants to use one; we have our buses, we have our airplanes, we have our airport – we have everything that we want for every sannyasin. And we will go on producing more and more, because my approach is that true communism is possible only when capitalism comes to its peak. When there is so much wealth that nobody wants to hoard it – there is no point in hoarding it; nobody hoards the air, so much is available – then only there can be a natural communism. And I am all for a natural communism which will not come from a revolution but which will come from evolution. When capitalism evolves to its totality, this will be a simple matter.
Russian communism is not true communism. It is distributing poverty equally. And I would like everybody to be luxurious, not equally poor. What is the point of equal poverty?
So we are working and we are being successful. And the strangest thing is that you will not find my people sad or grumpy after working for twelve hours a day; they will be laughing and dancing and singing in the evening. They still have enough energy after twelve hours work. If work is something that you are not doing under compulsion, that you are doing out of your own choice and joy, it is never tiring. In fact, it is nourishing and it makes you stronger. So after working for twelve hours they are still able to dance for hours, sing for hours, and enjoy the evening late into the night.
My approach towards life is that we have to create the paradise here and now, because there is no other paradise. Don’t hope for things which don’t exist. For thousands of years people have been told to hope, and because they have been hoping they have not used their time to create it here. If it is available ready-made after death, and you have just to go every day to the church or every Sunday to the church, or do a certain mantra every day in the morning five times and there is ready-made paradise after death, then who bothers to work twelve hours and create a paradise here?
My reasoning is that you create paradise here, and if there is any paradise after death you will be the only person to enjoy it, because all others will be absolutely untrained amateurs – they will not know how to dance!
Just think of your saints: how will they dance? How are they going to hug a beautiful woman? Impossible! They will close their eyes. This kind of paradise…and they have to live eternally there with all beautiful women and rivers of wine. What will your saints do? They will try to commit suicide – where have they come to?
Only my people will be immensely joyful. They will immediately start making it better.
You've made some suggestions to your sannyasins, both recently and in past history, especially those who live in California. I believe it was 1982 that you suggested to the Californian sannyasins that they move out of the state. Could you tell us about that?
Yes. I had asked my sannyasins in California to move out because California is now the most sexually perverted place in the whole world. And I have always thought that sexual perversion is finally going to lead to something which will be incurable. And now it has come. It is not a disease, because a disease can be cured. AIDS is not a disease; it cannot be cured.
There is only one thing which cannot be cured and that is death. So I call AIDS a slow death. And California is the leader in that matter. Homosexuality, lesbianism, sodomy, other kinds of sexual perversion – California is at the top. Just in L.A., one person dies of AIDS every day since almost one year. The government continues to repress the information about how many people are suffering from AIDS in California. How many people are homosexuals – the government does not supply the information.
In fact, every government is trying to repress information about homosexuality and AIDS, because that makes them look so ugly, sick. But whatever you do, sooner or later you will have to face the fact.
In Texas, just a few days ago, they have made a law against homosexuality. Homosexuality is now a crime in Texas. The politicians of Texas think that they have done something great. They are being simply idiotic. Because of their law, one million homosexuals protested. It is just because of their law that we came to know that there are one million homosexuals in Texas.
Are you referring to the law that the L.A. city council passed recently that makes it a civil offense to fire a homosexual who has AIDS or a person who has AIDS not for health reasons?
No, I am not referring to that. In Texas…
No, I mean in California.
Yes. I don’t know about that.
So they have driven those one million homosexuals underground. That is more dangerous. Now you will not know who is homosexual, and nobody will turn up for tests in the hospitals. Hospitals are afraid…
So I had called my sannyasins here, and they are here and they are safe. Perhaps this is the only place which is safe. Every sannyasin has gone through tests; six thousand sannyasins have been tested, and only two persons have been found to have AIDS. This must be the lowest rate in the whole world. Among six thousand people, only two persons.
And we are taking care of those two persons, giving them all that they need. We have given them the best houses, the most scenic place. They can come to the discourses, to the meetings. They have been told just not to spread the disease in any way. Don’t come in physical contact with people – because AIDS is passable through kissing, through tears, perhaps through any liquid coming out of the body.
Four other sannyasins from other places have just arrived, because the moment it was known they have AIDS, hospitals were not willing to admit them because nobody wants to take the risk. Their own families – their wives, their children, their parents – don’t want them to enter the house anymore. For them they are already dead. Their friends have turned into enemies.
Hearing about this – that we have made a special place for our AIDS patients – four sannyasins have come. We have accepted them, told them that, “This is perfectly good. You are simply victims; you should not be condemned.” So in the commune there is no condemnation for them. They are victims of a society which has been in many ways driving people into homosexuality.
For example, all the religions are teaching celibacy as something spiritual, which is simply nonsense. Celibacy is not even possible. Celibacy is not in your control, that you can be celibate or not. Your body goes on creating male sperms; your body has no idea that you are a celibate monk. So what are you going to do with your sperms? When they collect they have to be released.
My understanding is that homosexuality was born in monasteries, where religions put men and women separate. That’s where both lesbianism and homosexuality were born. These are religious diseases, and if anybody is responsible it is the founders of your religions and the teachers of celibacy. And they are still doing it. They should be punished by law. Celibacy should be declared illegal, and anybody staying celibate should be imprisoned immediately. But rather than punishing the celibates, you are punishing poor homosexuals.
All the religions have forced marriage, monogamy. Now, man is an intelligent being, he is not a buffalo. The buffalo is satisfied with eating the same grass her whole life, chewing the same grass the whole day every day. She is never bored. You never see any buffalo bored, nor do you see any buffalo laughing. Both those things go together. It needs intelligence to be bored, it needs intelligence to laugh.
Now, man has immense intelligence. And intelligence has grown with the ages. We are evolving. In this state of evolution it is absolutely wrong to force one man and one woman to stick together for their whole life. That creates lesbianism, that creates homosexuality, because the woman is watching – she will not allow you to talk to another woman and laugh with another woman and go to the movie with another woman. But if you are going with a friend, a male friend, then there is no problem – but she does not know that you are both are queens! This is a problem. If your wife is going with some man you become jealous, suspicious, angry, outraged. But if she is going with a woman it is perfectly okay. But they may be lesbians.
So it is the responsibility of the society and the religion who are enforcing marriage and monogamy on people.
In my commune we take marriage as just a legal game, because the whole idiotic society is there with their laws, so we accept their laws but we are not serious about them. Their laws are absolutely inhuman, unintelligent. So here there is every freedom, and it is good that once in a while your wife stays with some man and you stay with some other woman – just for a change. It will not disrupt your marriage. In fact, it will make it stronger. And there is no need to hide it. You love each other, you give freedom to each other, and you would like each other to have more experiences of life. You would like your wife to know more men because you are not all men. You have your individuality; other individuals have their own uniqueness. Loving them will make her richer – you will have a richer wife, and she will have a richer husband because he has known so many women. Experience is never bad. The bigger the experience the better.
So in my commune there is no problem. It is taken for granted that people get bored. They are intelligent. But if you don’t allow them then they will find some substitute, but that substitute will be a perversion.
Religious leaders, political leaders, are the criminals, but they will not be punished. Homosexuals, who are simply victims, will be punished.
I call my people to come from California because California is the worst place right now.
It is a strange paradox. We in California had thought it was an enlightened policy to – as with San Francisco and West Hollywood – incorporate cities that had a large voting population of gay people and protect their civil rights. Now, the amendment that I was talking about, the L.A. city council last week passed an ordinance, a city ordinance, that made it a finable offense to dismiss and thus endanger the civil rights of a person who is afflicted with AIDS from any job, including jobs where he may be handling food, dealing with the public on a personal level like that. It is naturally quite controversial. What do you think of that?
Before AIDS became known, all the homosexuals and the lesbians were thinking that they are more progressive, avant-garde intellectuals. Heterosexuals are backward people just clinging to the biological heterosexual relationship. They have evolved higher; they are in a better intellectual position. So they were proud. They were having conferences, they were publishing books, they were publishing periodicals, newspapers. And they were trying to prove that their way of sex is better than the ordinary kind – the ordinary kind is animal, it has nothing human in it.
But now they cannot say that. AIDS has proved that they were simply perverted. And they were not progressive, not intellectual; they were simply stupid and retarded.
To me, every child between the ages seven and fourteen has certain homosexual tendencies. Between fourteen and twenty-one – because the society does not allow marriage yet, because they have to be educated – the danger is that they may either become auto-erotic or they will become homosexuals. But after the age of twenty-one they get married and they simply forget all about it.
But a few people remain stuck there. Their mind never grows beyond their homosexual state. So they are retarded people, they are not progressive people.
Is that a hopeless retardation?
It can be helped.
I don't think you have many gay people in your commune.
Yes, and we are trying to help them. We are trying to bring them back to heterosexuality.
In 1979 the American Psychiatric Association declared that homosexuality was not a medical disease, and the presumption was that since it was a sexual preference it need not be helped.
In fact, all these psychiatric societies are not sciences either. So whatever they say should be understood as a statement coming from some vested interest. There are so many psychologies and so many psychotherapies and so many kinds of psychiatrists – it cannot be science. Science has to be one.
And all these people, most of them are themselves perverted. Their statements make no sense at all. Just look at this fact: that in comparison to any other profession, twice as many psychologists go mad, twice as many commit suicide. Then madness and suicide, because they are committed by a psychiatrist, should not be a medical problem! And no profession can compete with them – they are doing double the job in comparison to any profession.
So in the first place I don’t accept psychiatry and psychology as a science. And now with AIDS they will have to swallow their own saliva that they have spit on their hands. So tell them to swallow it and take back their statement. It is not only a medical disease, it is an existential disease. It is pure death.
And they have been supporting it because homosexuality was growing and these were their patients. It was their vested interest. To say anything against homosexuals means losing their job, their profession. Now let them come out and say something in favor of AIDS. Then we will know whether they have any guts or not.
Gay people – lesbians, homosexuals – these constitute the major part of the patients of psychiatrists and psychologists. Now, these are their clients and they are living on them. Naturally their associations cannot condemn them But because they have not condemned these people, in my view they have condemned themselves as simply professionals interested in business, not interested in humanity and health.
California has been thinking itself a very enlightened state, because more homosexuals, more lesbians, more womens lib members, more Indian gurus and their followers…and all kinds of idiotic things claiming to be therapies like primal therapy.
I have heard about one therapy in which hugging and kissing is the only methodology. I have heard of another therapy in which you act like an animal, naked on all fours. You move in the room with your tongue hanging out, shouting like an animal, a wolf or a dog.
All these things… Werner Erhard’s EST, in which the only important thing is that you have to sit for six hours without pissing. Naturally it gives an enlightenment when you go to the bathroom! It is such a relief. And for two hundred and fifty dollars, it is worth it. Ordinarily you don’t get such a relief. But there is no need to join EST; it is freely available, you can manage it yourself. And there are even more enlightened people who start pissing sitting there in their seats. Then it is an even better relief because then they don’t care about anybody; they are freed of any respectability or anything.
But these idiotic things don’t make any state or country or people enlightened. It simply means that people are rich enough, gullible enough, and there are always cunning people around to cheat you.
When my secretary Sheela was searching for a place for me, I said that, “Not California. Anywhere is okay but not California, because all the idiotic Indian gurus who don’t have any hold in India, who don’t have any intelligence – I don’t want to get mixed up with that lot.”
I have chosen Oregon because this poor state has not known a single enlightened man in the whole of history.
Paul Bunyan.
I have one last question about this very subject. You've told me that only two sannyasins have so far come up with AIDS, although four more have come in…making a total I presume of six at the hospice.
Um hmm.
Can you call it a hospice, the place in Desiderata where they are…?
No, we are not calling it anything, because we don’t want to discriminate them in any way.
But it is a place where they can…
…come to spend their final days?
Yes. There they will be, but they can come into the commune and go to the disco and go to the restaurant, go to the meetings. They are not prevented anywhere, because everywhere we are taking preventive measurements. Everybody going in the restaurant will have his hands sprayed by alcohol…
Whether or not they have AIDS.
That doesn’t matter. They have to. And anything they use for eating – like spoons – which touches their saliva, will go for sterilization. So there is no problem. But we don’t want to separate them, that is inhuman.
They were…
We have given them a faraway place, but we will not call it a separate thing. It is part of the commune.
Can non-sannyasins enjoy that hospitality? If a person has AIDS and is not a sannyasin, could he come to the ranch…?
…and stay in that faraway place?
That will not be possible.
I remember when I first heard you describe this last month, this program of caring for victims of AIDS who are sannyasins, that you thought at the time – and I believe that you even said, please don't ask me why – that because these people had nothing to lose they could make love with each other and perhaps through that could be cured.
They are allowed to. They are allowed to make love with each other because nothing more can happen. There is no harm. If something good happens, it may be a great revelation for the whole world. If nothing happens, they are going to die anyway.
And we are making arrangements for them to see films, to listen to talks, to read books. All that they have desired their whole life we are trying in every possible way to provide them with, because that is their final time – six months, eight months, perhaps at the most two years.
And simultaneously we are teaching them meditation. That is something very essential, because people go on postponing meditation and things like that for tomorrow. Today they have so many things that meditation goes on being postponed. But these people cannot postpone meditation for tomorrow. There is no tomorrow for them.
So we are teaching them meditation. If they can die meditatively, then their AIDS may have proved a blessing in disguise, because even the richest man cannot afford two years with no work, rest, listening to beautiful music, or swimming or going into the mountains, into the hills, into the forest, reading – we have given them the best opportunity that is possible to meditate.
And they will meditate more intensely, more earnestly, because death is so close. If they can become centered in their being – that’s what meditation is – then death will come but not to them, only to their body. Then they will be able to experience death and experience at the same time the eternal source of life that moves on, that never dies.
So I would like that anywhere there are special arrangements for AIDS people – hospitals or AIDS homes – they should make it a point that these are not sick people; these are people on the verge of death. They don’t need medicine, they need meditation.
And you will be surprised to know that both the words come from the same root: medicine and meditation. Medicine is for the body to heal and meditation is for the soul to heal. But both mean the same in the original root.
If there is no medicine, at least give them meditation.
How is your health?
My health is really great.
I have heard…you complained earlier about…less than a year ago that you were ailing from a variety of causes.
No. I have been suffering because my sickness is not something that I can say I am cured of. It is allergy, so it can erupt any moment.
What symptoms does it take when it does?
Dust can create it, perfume – most dangerous. And there are a few things which I should not eat – any things which have acids. So if I just avoid them… And in the commune everybody is aware of my trouble, so nobody will use perfume, nobody will come close to me if he has been smoking. Nobody will come to me if he has been perspiring, because any smell is enough to provoke it. And what it does is it starts breathing trouble; my breathing becomes abnormal, difficult.
Yes. And then coughing starts. Then the coughing will continue at least for two hours to six hours. It is a problem in the night; then I cannot sleep. So this disease is such that I can never say I am cured. And I can never say that I am sick; only once in a while when something happens I am sick for a few hours. Otherwise I am perfectly okay.
The second problem I had was my back. So my people have arranged for that too, because no medical treatment was helping. In India we had called experts from England who had worked their whole life only on backs, but they also said that, “This is strange.”
I knew that they would not help and I told them that, “The problem is, it is not a sudden thing – somebody slips and falls down and the back comes out. Then you can fix it. My problem is that I have been sitting in this kind of chair for almost thirty years. The chair changes but the shape remains exactly the same. So the back has got a certain curve, and if that curve is disturbed, then I am in trouble.”
I cannot sit on your chair. It is more comfortable, but my back will not fit with it. I can use only one car. I have used all the cars, the best in the world; the seat of just one car, one of the models of Rolls Royce, the Silver Spur, fits with me perfectly. It is not their costliest car; their costliest is the Corniche, then the Carmargue. And then the third is the Silver Spur. So I tried a Corniche – they didn’t work, my trouble started. But with the Silver Spur it has settled completely.
So up to ‘89 I can use it at least, because in ‘89 they are going to change the model. I have persuaded the president that, “Don’t change the seat” – and he has to listen to me because I am the only person in the whole world who has ninety Rolls Royces!
Why do you have such an abundance? Surely you can only ride in one at a time.
I believe in abundance.
Isn't that a bit of overkill, though?
These ninety are not yet enough.
I understand that…
My people are trying to arrange for three hundred and sixty-five, so that every day they can give me a new car.
California is Los Angeles…people in Los Angeles will truly appreciate that. You know, they say that there's more Rolls Royces in Los Angeles than there are…
Yes, not in Los Angeles or anywhere else.
So ordinarily I am perfectly okay if I take care, and I do take care. Just the problem was that I was moving among the masses, going outside. That was creating trouble so I had to stop. Now I live in the commune and everybody is aware of my problem, so everybody keeps clean, non-smelly.
Some of my friends who are not sannyasins, when they speak of you find it difficult – particularly because California is such a health-conscious place, such a robust, active sports-minded place, possibly because of the climate – they find it hard to resolve the fact that you have poor physical health and yet are enlightened.
They don’t understand enlightenment. In fact, anybody who has been enlightened has had poor health, for the simple reason that enlightenment is something which goes beyond ordinary biology, physiology, chemistry. It is a great disturbance in your whole natural system.
The ordinary man’s consciousness is completely in tune with his biology. But once you become enlightened, you have a distinction between your biology and your consciousness.
The ordinary man follows biology, which is part of nature. It is healthier. The enlightened man follows consciousness, which is not part of nature, so many times he has to go against biology, against physiology. But he cannot go against his consciousness. That creates the rift.
So no enlightened people have ever been healthy.
Could you give some examples of the consciousness going against biology and natural instinct and that sort of…?
The ordinary man has no awareness that he has something in him which is not part of the body yet is in the body. And that space which is not part of the body and yet in the body is your real being. So once you get to it, it becomes your direction for everything. Then the body cannot dominate you, physiology cannot dominate you, biology cannot dominate you.
And people go on in their blind way. So in fact now you are on two tracks, and to keep them together is the problem that creates unhealth, sickness.
Buddha was sick and continuously had a private doctor with him. Wherever he was going the doctor was with him – and the best physician of the times. One king had presented his own physician to him saying, “Take care of him because he is in a fragile state.” A small unbalance and he will be out of the body.
The strings between the being and the body become very loose as you become enlightened. The old tightness is no longer there. Just a slight shock and the being and the body will fall apart.
So it is a wrong notion that is around. Many people think like that, that the enlightened person should be perfectly healthy. They don’t understand. That means people like Muhammad Ali should be enlightened.
Yet there are some yoga teachers, particularly in…
They are not enlightened. Not a single yoga teacher is enlightened. Yoga teachers are healthy, but yoga teachers are just experts in an old gymnastics, nothing else. It does not lead to enlightenment or to self-realization or anything. But it certainly leads to better health.
Do you practice Hatha Yoga?
I understand that you swim for your health.
I swim.
How often and where and what do you wear?
I don’t wear anything. I used to swim twice, but for two months I had to stop it because my physicians became afraid. The water going into my ear was creating trouble, and my ear drums may get hurt or some trouble may arise. And it is possible because I have been swimming from my very childhood for hours. It may have damaged my ear drums.
So for two months I have not been swimming. My pool is there, Olympic size, just for me. That’s how I live, in abundance! But if you want to swim in it, you are welcome. Just you will have to not wear anything.
I would enjoy it, to use that invitation, sir.
Yes. Okay?
Thank you.
You can come. My photographers will be there.
We'll run it on the front page.
Something more?
Oh yes, if I may. I have a short list of prominent American people, and I was hoping that you might be able to give just a brief impression, one line or so, about each, if I might run it down. For instance, what do you think of Johnny Carson?
I don’t think of idiots at all.
Nathan Pritikin.
Have you collected the names of all the idiots?
Mm, it seems so.
Jerry Falwell?
They are all the same. I don’t think about any of them. And for five years I have not read any book, I have not read any magazine, any newspaper, because for fifty years I have been reading so much that finally I saw that ninety-nine percent is rubbish, and to find the one percent you have to move into the ninety-nine percent of garbage. I stopped it.
And as far as that one percent is concerned, I have it. So there is no problem.
The reason I asked is because so many people spend their lives in front of television sets and in movie houses. Do you watch movies? I understand that sometimes they bring cassettes to the ranch.
Once in a while if my people feel that some movie is worth seeing – very rarely. Then I see one.
Have you any favorites? Any movies that you've enjoyed? Or actors?
Anything that is really great literature, great art. For example, I enjoyed Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov.
The David Brooks production.
Yes. I have enjoyed the book, I have enjoyed the film too. I enjoyed the film, Ten Commandments.
The Cecil B. De Mille version?
The one with Charlton Heston?
Or the early…he did two, you know. He did one that was silent, I believe.
I don’t know which one it was. But whichever it was, it was really done with great insight and art. And my people brought it so they must have brought the best one. So once in a while, if they see…
They watch. They have movies here and they also have television, so whenever they see something good they bring it to me. Otherwise I am not interested.
So if I might ask, then, if any of these names are…have you seen these recently, because they are at least top of the charts in terms of American popularity.
No. I have not seen them.
Neither Woody Allen, for instance? Or Prince? How about Jesse Jackson? Now, he's a politician, and surely…
I have just heard the name, but I know nothing about. The Prince – I think I have seen that film and the book. And another book similar to The Prince, which was really my autobiography: The Difficulties of an Ordinary God. That I enjoyed very much.
Is it made by sannyasins?
No. It is not made by a sannyasin. It is some outside production. But it simply is my difficulty. I am so ordinary and yet I have found in ordinariness the greatest blessedness, the most beautiful experience of divineness.
I don’t believe in God but I have experienced godliness, certainly – as a quality, not as a person. Every enlightened person experiences godliness, not God. And those who claim that they have experienced God simply indicate they have not reached enlightenment yet. They are still hallucinating about a God of their belief. They are still projecting a Christ, a Krishna. But that is their projection.
In the moment of enlightenment there is no projection. It is absolute nothingness – but not empty; utterly full of light, love, blissfulness.
So I enjoyed that film the most. It is not a great film. It is just a small film but tremendously humorous – the Difficulties of an Ordinary God. I would suggest you see it.
Where might I find a print?
You will find anywhere. If I can find it in this desert, you can find it anywhere.
I wanted to ask you about the university because I took three courses there. And I understand that when the university began with you in Pune, some called it Esalen East. Esalen is a growth center in California. How does your university differ from California growth centers?
Absolutely, because the founder of Esalen had come to be initiated in Pune, to become a sannyasin. He became a sannyasin. And he could see the difference, that what they were doing was just intellectual work, and what was happening in Pune was existential and experiential work.
In Esalen there was nothing like meditation, and meditation has been my central teaching. Nothing else is needed. One simply has to come to a space within oneself where there is no thought, no feeling, but utter silence, and that comes through a very simple method: by watching your thought process.
So there are three steps in it. Start from the easiest: watch your body movements. For example, I can watch my movement of the hand. Either I can do it mechanically or I can do it with full awareness. So walking, eating, swimming, doing anything with your body – chopping wood – just remain watchful. Don’t get lost in the activity. Be as if you are somebody else standing by the side, not the person who is chopping wood. You are seeing the person who is chopping wood.
Once you get accustomed with the body, then the second step is very easy. Then sit silently once in a while and watch the process of your thoughts, the constant traffic on the screen of your mind. The method is the same: just watch. Don’t judge, don’t condemn, don’t evaluate. Whatever is passing just see it.
And the strangest thing is, if you don’t judge and can just see, thoughts start becoming less and less. There are gaps. A thought comes and for a few moments there is no thought. And then the gaps start becoming bigger and bigger. When the gap can be as big as forty-eight minutes, then you can move to the third step. Then there is no difficulty at all.
The third step is to watch your feelings.
So one is for the body, one for your head, and the third is for your heart. The process is the same.
When for forty-eight minutes your feelings are no longer there, a quantum leap happens on its own accord: the fourth step. But you don’t take it, it happens. Suddenly you find yourself standing in the innermost core of your being. And it is so full of light, so full of delight, so fragrant, that you cannot conceive that anything can be more than this.
You have come home.
This was missing in Esalen. There was no meditation. Therapy alone is superficial.
The prognosis at the university in my particular case was that I had the California syndrome. I was one who professed a great eagerness to change, to transform myself, to drop the mask, to discover my original face. But though I proclaimed that, I was unwilling simply to do it. I find myself still on the cusp. How can I move?
Um hmm. The best way will be just to come for an unlimited time. Don’t decide the time limit. And just be here. Don’t do therapies; just work with the sannyasins, meditate, enjoy, dance, and forget all about that you want to do all this, that you want to drop the mask, that you want to change. Forget all about it. Just live in the moment here for a few days. And don’t decide how many days, because your decision of the number of days beforehand will be a hindrance.
So just come and be here, and when it happens you can go. It can happen the next day, it may take one month. It all depends on you, how quickly you can get absorbed into the commune and its work and forget about this self-transformation. That is one of the most hindering thing. The more you want to transform, the more difficult it will be, because who is it who wants to transform? It is your ego, and ego has to be dropped.
Now, that’s the very crux of the whole process. The ego wants to change, the ego wants to transform, the ego wants to become new, the ego wants to be enlightened – but the ego is the only barrier.
So what has to be done is to put aside all enlightenment, all change, all transformation, and just drown yourself in the work in the commune. Suddenly one day you will find what you have been searching and trying to find is there. And you may be dancing on the street because you have found it!
There is a saying of Jesus: Seek and ye shall find. I say to my people: Seek and ye shall never find. Do not seek and it is there.
It is always there. It is because of seeking that we go on missing.
Jesus says: Ask and it shall be given. I say: Never ask, otherwise it shall never be given to you.
Be silent and it is there.
Nobody gives it to you. You have it, you have brought it with you as an intrinsic part of you.
Jesus says: Knock and the door shall be opened unto you. I say to my people: Don’t knock, because the doors are already open.
If you knock, that will prove only two things: either you are standing before a wall or you are blind. But one thing is certain: you can’t see that the doors are open. They have never been closed.
Must one come to the commune to do this? It seems a heavy price to give up the world as I know it, to enter the alternative society.
Whenever it feels that it is worth giving anything, only then you can get it. If you feel the price is great, then wait. Soon you will know there is nothing except frustration and AIDS. Just wait.

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