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Chapter 1: The Anguish of Contemporary Man

We have to create a gathering of friends, not an organization. In the gathering everybody is equal and has equal value. Nobody is an authority, nobody is respectable, nobody is higher and nobody is lower; and each person has only come there out of his love. Except for love there are no other commandments which he has to follow; nor are there any oaths and pledges which he has to fulfill; nor are there any vows and precepts to which he commits himself. He has joined in only out of his love and individual freedom; and he can leave the moment he wants to do so. And even when he is part of the gathering, he is not bound by any dogma or ideology; even then he is free to have different opinions, to have his own thought, to follow his own thought, to follow his own wisdom. He is not there to be somebody’s follower. So a gathering of friends, Jeevan Jagruti Kendra, may come into existence; we have to think along these lines.

Certainly, the rules by which a gathering of friends is formed, are different from the rules by which an organization is formed. The gathering of friends is totally what we may call an anarchic institution. An organization is a well planned system bound by rules, principles and laws. I do not intend to bind people by laws, rules or principles, because I am fighting against these very things. Such organizations already exist all over the world; what is the point in creating one more of them. Certainly in an organization, there is more efficiency, there cannot be that much efficiency in a gathering. But to have efficiency at the cost of freedom is an expensive bargain. Democracy is not as efficient as a dictatorship, but efficiency can be sacrificed, freedom cannot be sacrificed. A gathering of friends means that it is a voluntary get-together of free individuals. If there are to be some minor laws and systems within it, they will be below the individuals not above them. They will be functional, they cannot be the goal. We will be free to disrupt them at any moment. They should never be capable of disrupting us. The laws will be for us, not the other way around. It is important to keep this in mind.

Now, some friends think that there should be a charter. Certainly there should be a charter but not the way it would be for an organization. It should be formed keeping in mind that it is for a gathering of friends. It will be very much functional; it will be utilitarian, and it will be outlined for this purpose, but there will be no insistence on clinging to it. It can be thrown and burned at any moment. And it is important to bear in mind that howsoever valuable the charter may be, our individual friends are more valuable than it, because this charter has been formed for the sake of these friends; they have not gathered here for the sake of the charter. So, we have to create a gathering of friends where the value and dignity of each and every individual is preserved. Obviously, the greater the number of individuals, the more varied their ways of thinking and understanding will be. The bigger the gathering of friends, naturally, the more dissimilarities there will be among them.

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