Chapter 6: Goodness Is a Luxury
Can power corrupt a powerful man? - never, because he is already powerful. If power could corrupt him, power would have corrupted him already. Power corrupts only if you are weak and your goodness comes out of weakness. Lord Acton has said, “Power corrupts and corrupts absolutely.” But I would like to make it conditional; this statement is unconditional, not categorical, it cannot be. Power corrupts if goodness comes out of weakness; if goodness comes out of strength, no power can corrupt. How can power corrupt if you know it already, when it is there already? But it is very difficult to find from where your goodness comes. If you are not a thief because you are afraid of being caught, the day you become certain that now nobody can catch you, you will become a thief, because then who will prevent you? Only your fear was preventing you; you were not going to murder your enemy because you knew you would be caught. But if a situation arises where you can murder the man and you cannot be caught, you cannot be punished for it, you will murder him immediately. So it is only through weakness that you are good.
But how can goodness arise out of weakness? Goodness needs overflowing energy. Goodness is a luxury, remember, saintliness is a luxury: it comes out of affluence. When there is too much energy, so much that you are flooded with it, then you start sharing it. Then you cannot exploit because there is no need. Then you can give out of your heart because you have so much that really you are burdened. You would like to share and renounce, you would like to throw everything and give all your life as a gift.
When you have something you would like to give it. Remember this law: you cling to something only when you don’t really own it; if you own it you can give it. Only when you can give something happily are you the owner. If you are still clinging to it, then deep down you are afraid and you are not the master of it. You know deep down that it does not belong to you, and sooner or later it will be taken away from you. That is why you cannot give. So only when a person gives his love does he show that he has love; only when a person gives his whole life does he show that he is alive. There is no other way to know it.
Out of weakness much goodness appears. It is an appearance, it is a false coin, and a false coin is just like a paper flower or a plastic flower. Whenever a tree flowers, it flowers only because it is flooded with too much energy. Flowers are luxuries; a tree flowers only when it can afford to. If water is not given in the right proportion, if fertilizers are not given in the right proportion, if the soil is not rich, then the tree may have leaves but it cannot have flowers.
There is a hierarchy: the highest can exist only when there is energy to move to the highest. If you are not fed well, intelligence will disappear first because that is a flowering. In a poor country the real poverty is not of the body, the real poverty is of intelligence, because if the country is very poor intelligence cannot exist: it is a flowering. Only when all the bodily needs are fulfilled does energy move higher; when the bodily needs are not fulfilled, the energy moves to fulfill the bodily needs first, because the base has to be protected first, the root has to be protected first. If there is no root there cannot be any flowering; if there is no body then where will the intelligence exist? And compassion is even higher than intelligence, and meditation still higher.
In India, Buddha and Mahavira were produced when the country was very rich. Since then so-called saints have existed, but not a man like Buddha. Difficult, very difficult, because such a flowering is possible only when there is useless energy, energy which cannot be used; only then does the energy start enjoying itself. And when energy starts enjoying itself it begins to turn inward, it becomes an inner turning. Then it becomes meditation, then a Buddha is born, then ecstasy exists.