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Chapter 17: Gorbachev: A New Beginning

But life is full of mysteries. In the first place, Karl Marx, the founder of communism, had not even dreamt that communism would happen in the Soviet Union. If he is awakened from his grave and told about the Russian Revolution he will be shocked because it is against all his calculations, against all his arguments. That’s what I mean when I say life is full of mysteries. It never follows the logical, the mathematical way; it goes zigzag, like a river moving in the mountains towards the ocean. Life does not run like railway trains on settled rails - it is not predictable.

According to Karl Marx, communism was going to happen in America, and logically he was right. Where one part of humanity has become immensely rich and another part has become immensely poor, where the division between the poor and the rich is so big that it becomes, at a point, intolerable, it has to be changed, the society has to go through a revolution. America should have been the first to go through the revolution. But that is what logic predicts. Life has its own ways. It happened in a very backward country which was not even capitalist.

According to Karl Marx, communism can happen only when there is a very developed form of capitalism and a class struggle. Russia was still a pre-capitalist country, still living under feudalism, under the czars. There was no capitalist class, and there was no proletariat. Karl Marx could not have logically conceived that Russia would be the first communist country, the first to have the great revolution. But it happened like that: Russia was the first and China was the next - and Marx could not have thought either of Russia or of China.

Perhaps it is going to be again a mysterious phenomenon. People think America is a democracy - which is utterly false. And people think that in America there is freedom of expression, freedom of individuality, that what the constitution of America says is not only written in the constitution but is lived by the country, and that the government exists for the people, by the people, of the people. Nothing can be farther away from truth. America is the most hypocritical society today in the world, and the most dangerous to the human future.

Gorbachev’s coming into power is a great hope, because the man does not seem to be a politician. He is a man in politics, but he is not a politician. His vision is for a better humanity - it is not confined to the Soviet Union alone. And he is slowly relaxing the dictatorial bureaucracy that has grown up like a monster in the past sixty years.

He is taking one of the most risky steps. If he succeeds.and I hope that he will succeed For sixty years half of humanity has lived under such tremendous slavery that it can be expected that a second revolution will come. And a second revolution will be bigger than the first, greater than the first. The first revolution in the Soviet Union destroyed feudalism; the second revolution will destroy the dictatorship and the slavery of millions of people.

Gorbachev to me is almost a reincarnation of Lenin. In the world of politics, he is the only man I have any respect for.

It will not be a long time until the Soviet Union becomes an open society, and it will be possible for my sannyasins to come to me. It will be possible for them to be sannyasins openly.

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