Chapter 4: You Are Ancient Pilgrims
So finally I made it a point - why wait for my father to say it? Anybody who came, I would touch his feet before he ever said to. Then he started telling me, “You need not touch everybody’s feet.” I said, “Why make any distinction? And why give you the trouble of telling me again and again? Now I will touch everybody’s feet, whosoever comes. It doesn’t matter - it is just a physical exercise. It is good for the body - just bowing down and standing up again and again. And the whole day people are coming, all kinds of stupid people. And they feel happy, so it is good - they enjoy it.”
In India it is just a formality, it means nothing. Respect means nothing. And it is dangerous too, because when you respect somebody, deep down you start imitating because you would also like to be respected, the ego wants to be respected. So whomsoever you respect, sooner or later, unconsciously, you will start imitating him, because that is the only way to get respect from people. Respect creates in you a desire to imitate; you become carbon copies.
It is good that you love me. Forget the word respect; love is absolutely right. And don’t be puzzled.
You say: “How come I love you? I respect you because you are my master.”
Yes, respect always has a “because”; love has no “because.” Love is simply there for no reason at all. Respect is logical; you can say why you respect a person: he eats only once a day; he has renounced the world, his wife, children, family, everything; he sleeps for only three hours or maybe he remains awake the whole night; he is continuously chanting the name of God, things like this. Or he serves the poor, or he goes to the ill people and serves them.
What will happen if poverty disappears? It will be a great loss to your saints. In fact, you will not believe it - one of the very respected Hindu saints, Karpatri, has written a book against socialism, and the reasons that he has given against socialism are all so stupid. The most stupid reason of all of them is that socialism will destroy poverty; it will create equal distribution of property and possessions. And if there are no more poor people, whom will you serve? And without service, how can you be a saint? Without service there will be no virtue.
This is a great argument. This means poverty is needed, very essentially needed - needed for the existence of the saints. Ill people are needed, lepers and blind and lame and deaf people are needed, otherwise whom will the missionaries serve? And without serving you cannot reach heaven; service is the ladder. So let people be poor.
And when these people serve poor people, you respect them. In fact they are the causes of poverty in the world. The poverty can be removed any day; now science has made all the technology available that can remove poverty from the earth absolutely. But then how will Christian missionaries be able to convert poor people to Christianity?
In India, not even a single rich person has been converted to Christianity, only poor people, very poor people. And they are converted to Christianity not because they love Christ but because they love bread and butter. The Christian missionaries can supply them with a little food, clothes, shelter, a school, a hospital. Now Christian missionaries will not like it at all if poverty disappears from the world, neither will the Hindu saints like it.