Chapter 28: Unless Your Feet Are Holy.
Once a country allows me to work, allows my people to come and transform the whole atmosphere - to bring peace and silence and tranquillity, love and compassion - the Soviet Union is not going to be so stupid as not to see it. And their conditioning is a very thin layer, it can be dropped.
So there is no need to be worried about the Soviet Union.
You spoke the other morning about how much importance we may attach to where we sit in relation to you during discourse.
We seem to do this kind of thing, whatever the circumstances or the group of people we happen to find ourselves with. The compulsion to judge also seems symptomatic of a need to categorize people, to compare ourselves, and thus come to some definition of who we are.
Would you talk about the difference between this avid and non-ending struggle to have some kind of identity - howsoever superficial and transitory - and the search that becomes spiritual, the quest to know “Who am I?”
It is something very ancient in man. It must be a heritage from his animal ancestors. A position gives power, gives identity. In sitting in front it seems to you that you are more important; those who are sitting at the back are less important.
But at least with me you have to drop this animal heritage. Be a human being. Rather than depending on the place, turn the wheel completely: wherever you sit, that place is important. Why make the place important, and yourself unimportant and dependent on the place? Have some self-respect - and self-respect has nothing to do with sitting in the front row. It has something to do with your inner understanding, that wherever you are, you are yourself, and you accept yourself. The place where you sit becomes more important just because you are sitting there.
There is a story about Nanak, a great mystic, who founded the religion of Sikhism. He traveled far and wide. And he was more generous in his attitude; he allowed anyone who wanted, to be in his world. Even Mohammedans entered it, Hindus entered it; all kinds of people from different religions became part of it. The man had tremendous charisma.
He went to the holy place of Mohammedans, the Kaaba. It is said that every Mohammedan at least once in his life should go to visit the Kaaba; otherwise he has missed something tremendously important. And even poor Mohammedans go on collecting money - they will starve, but they will collect money. They will sell their houses, their lands, and will go on a pilgrimage to the Kaaba. And they are given tremendous respect for it, those who go to the Kaaba.
The pilgrimage is called haj, going to the source. It was at the Kaaba that Mohammed first proclaimed the basic elements of his religion. And the person who goes and comes back is given the title haji, which is just like holy.