It has been always my understanding that amongst all the crimes that Christianity has committed, communism is also one of them – not directly, but indirectly. It is because of Christianity – its stupid superstitions, its exploitation of the people, its protection of the richest and its consolations for the poor – that Karl Marx had to say that religion is nothing but opium for the people. This is perfectly true for organized religions, but this is not true about men like Zarathustra, or Bodhidharma, or Basho. They are the pinnacles of consciousness.
Gorbachev’s greatest contribution will be to introduce the people of the Soviet Union to the immense varieties of religious experiences, and not to remain confined to Christianity. Christianity has nothing of religion in it. The West has not produced any religions; its whole consciousness is extrovert.
My message to Gorbachev is: Introduce meditations in the schools, in the colleges, in the universities; open the doors for Zen, for Tao, for Hassidism, and let people see that the essential religion is not a bondage, but the ultimate freedom. All other freedoms are small – political, economical, social. The only freedom that cannot be destroyed by anybody, and cannot be taken away by anybody, is of the spirit. He is trying to introduce political freedom, freedom of expression. These are good, but they are not enough; they are all superficial.
The Soviet Union is in a very special state. For sixty years they have been denied…. There is a deep longing for truth, for freedom, for love – it is almost like a land that has been lying unused for sixty years, waiting for its spring, waiting for someone to sow seeds. It has gathered so much potential and power that if you sow the seeds this land can produce the most beautiful flowers, the richest crops.
Gorbachev himself has to be introduced to the art of meditation, and he has to open the doors and the windows to all the dimensions that have been closed for sixty years, so people can choose the method to find themselves. A spiritual realization has to be made available to the people of the Soviet land. That will be the greatest contribution Gorbachev can make.
You are asking, “If he had enough courage to welcome you, and your people, would you consider going there?”
Absolutely, unconditionally! I would love to go there, to take my people…. And if he has courage enough I would like to create a commune in the Soviet Union to show America, “The day you destroyed the commune there, you have yourself committed suicide.”
And you can see, Ronald Reagan has not the same prestige as he had when the commune was there; he cannot hope to become the president again. Governor Atiyeh of Oregon was very powerful just because of the commune – because he was opposing it, and people were supporting him. He could not gather courage even to run for the second time. He is no longer the governor; if we had been there, he would have been the governor still.