It is difficult for me to give you very detailed information because I myself don’t know. But in almost every country of the world there are communes. Germany has the largest number of communes; Holland has perhaps the second largest number. England has, Italy has…India, Japan, Switzerland. Other than communes there are ashramas, which are smaller communes with very few people living in. And then there are centers where only one or two sannyasins are living, but other sannyasins come to meditate, to listen to the tapes, to read, to discuss.
In all we have almost one million sannyasins around the world. Of these one million sannyasins, nearabout two hundred thousand sannyasins are underground. That means they are either in Russia, in communist countries, or in countries where they cannot come into the open.
Even in communist countries we have communes, but underground. You cannot declare, you cannot use the red clothes. Even in a red country you cannot use red clothes! My sannyasins are being persecuted by the KGB in Russia. Their books have been taken away, their tapes have been taken away, and they are constantly interrogated, harassed, to give more information about other sannyasins who may be having literature. My literature is banned. But that does not make any difference. In fact, it creates more excitement, more curiosity, particularly in the intelligentsia.
So I have one million very intelligent people around the world, deeply interested, and not only intellectually interested but existentially interested. They want to be transformed into a New Man. And that is the function of sannyas.
Do you suppose, or would you care to speculate, on why so many come from West Germany, why most of…the largest number of communes are in West Germany? Could it have anything to do with Adolf Hitler and the holocaust?
It has certainly something to do with Adolf Hitler. He prepared the ground for me because he cheated and deceived the whole country. The youth of Germany is no longer interested in politicians.
On the other hand, Adolf Hitler was also ambitious to be known as a religious leader. He declared himself to be the reincarnation of the Old Testament prophet Elijah, and Christian heads of Germany prayed for his victory. The leadership that he gave to the country almost changed people into robots.
So the new generation is very frustrated with politicians, religious leaders, with anybody who would like to impose a discipline on them. And that’s the reason why they are interested in me. I don’t have any discipline to impose on anybody. My teaching is fundamentally for freedom of thinking, being. I have tremendous respect for individuality. The society is not more important than the individual. The society exists for the individual, not vice versa.
I don’t have a dogma, I don’t have a God in which you have to believe. I am not a prophet, I am not a messenger. I am simply a human being who can see a little more clearly than you. And I am ready to share my clarity and I am grateful if you allow me to share my clarity with you. You are not obliged; I am obliged.