Chapter 14: India: The Eternal Pilgrimage
Your vision of bringing paradise to earth took you to America and there you succeeded in realizing the whole of humanity’s centuries-old utopian dream. Would you please tell the Indian people of the achievements of Rajneeshpuram, the American commune?
It was necessary for me to leave India in order to remind India of India. That which is too close can be easily forgotten. Nobody listens to one’s own. Who cares to seek out that which is already there within the house itself?
For some twenty years I traveled to every corner of India and all I received were wounds to my heart. Those whom I tried to awaken were in a deep sleep. And nobody likes his sleep to be disrupted, nobody likes his dreams to be disturbed. Stones were thrown at me, attempts were made on my life. But all this was acceptable to me and I understood that this was inevitable, and I was not disturbed with any of it.
But one thing certainly made me unhappy and that one thing is not concerned with those who pelted stones or threw knives at me. It concerns those who cheered upon hearing me speak. Those wounds are still fresh; they simply refuse to heal. Those people were not cheering for me - that what I was saying was the truth - they were cheering for me because what I was saying was satisfying their egos. They were not ready to bring what I was saying into their lives. They were only clapping and using what I was saying as an entertainment, they were being amused by it. My words became a cover-up for their own wretchedness, their own inferiority, their poverty and their slavery. That’s why I had to leave, so that perhaps a call given from afar might be heard by them, and that perhaps in faraway America I could experiment and create a small India.
And I chose America because the very heights of consciousness that India had attained were attained at a time when it was affluent. They had been attained in times when the whole world called India a golden bird. Those heights were not of a helpless, poor, beggarly and enslaved India; for when there is not even stale bread to eat, it is not possible to long for a flight toward the stars and to open one’s wings to the sky.
These circumstances were ripe in America. People there had reached the same height of affluence as India once had, and had also discovered what we had discovered at the height of our affluence: that wealth can buy everything but not love, not godliness; that wealth can buy everything but not bliss, not the taste of immortality; that wealth can buy everything but not meditation, peace, or silence.