Chapter 9: Your Politicians Are Responsible
Political fear. Just to be associated with a man like me needs courage, because all those who are my enemies will become your enemies. And all those who are your friends may stop being your friends just because you are associated with me. The last time she came to Pune, she told Laxmi, “This time, whatsoever happens I am going to manage to come.” But when Laxmi went to see her, she said, “There are so many engagements, I cannot find time.”
And this was a lie, because she went to Kohlapur - four hours drive - to meet the shankaracharya, the head of the Hindus like the pope is the head of the Catholics. She found time to go to the shankaracharya - four hours going, four hours coming, and just two minutes to touch the feet of the shankaracharya. But that was politically helpful.
Thousands of Hindus had gathered for the shankaracharya. He was an old man from the south, very much respected by the Hindus because he was absolutely fulfilling all their demands of how a religious person should be. He was an ascetic, a masochist - those were the qualities that Hindus were asking for: intelligence has never been asked. Scholarship, yes: he could recite Hindu scriptures without reading, he knew them by rote. He was very much respected and he was very old, eighty or eighty-five.
Now, Indira lied that she had no time but the reality is that she had no courage - even to meet the person who was the only one who supported her when she was defeated and lost her premiership. The whole country was against her, it was a tremendous defeat, and when she stood in a by-election, I was the only man to bless her. No shankaracharya blessed her, not even Vinoba Bhave, who was her political guru, blessed her. Now they were afraid: to bless her means to lose many friends.
She went to the shankaracharya again to get his blessings; he did not speak a word, she was told that he had taken silence for the day. This was simple diplomacy: if he has taken silence, good, when she touches his feet he can bless her with the hand - that is not breaking your silence. But no, he remained sitting just like a statue - because it was a problem for him too. If he blessed Indira, then all the Hindus who were against Indira would be against him. It is a simple rule: the enemy of your enemy is your friend.
So I would like to say to you that your question is only “if” - Ronald Reagan cannot come, cannot have the courage. But from my side I have no ifs, no buts. If he wants to come, he is welcome; but he has to remember that here he is not the president. He has come here to seek advice, to learn something. He has to be here like a disciple. If that much humbleness is there, then certainly my advice can reach to his heart, otherwise, it is meaningless.