Donkeys are absolutely stubborn – no intelligence; you cannot teach them anything. You can go on loading the donkey with your holy scriptures; he will carry the weight, but will never understand the meaning. And of course, below the donkey there is only the Yankee. And you all know about the Yankee; there is nothing to be said about the Yankee. You have to start from the Yankee – at least become a donkey.
The Yankee is absolutely phony. The donkey is at least authentically real. He may not listen to you, but he follows his nature, his instinct, without any interference from anybody.
In my village there were many donkeys – of course, in every place there are many donkeys – and I loved to ride on donkeys. In India, that is not right. In other countries, for example in Judea, Jesus was riding on the donkey always, it was acceptable. But in India, the donkey is thought to be the worst kind of animal – they don’t know about the Yankee. After even just touching the donkey you have to take a bath.
I became enchanted with the donkeys. Why should the poor animal be abandoned? I started finding donkeys in the night, and I would ride on them. And I was amazed to know that it is wrong, the idea that the donkey is without intelligence.
If you ride on the donkey, he will never move in the middle of the road. He will go to the sides and move so close to the walls of the houses that your whole leg is almost crushed. It is very difficult to keep him in the middle. Right or left – either he is a rightist or a leftist, but never has the donkey listened to the advice of Gautam Buddha, that exactly in the middle is the right path.
And then I recognized that they are intelligent people. To get rid of me – he has no weapons, but he has found a way. If I see my leg being rubbed against a stone wall, I am bound to jump off and leave the donkey to himself.
I was trying all the donkeys of the town. Slowly, slowly they became really acquainted with me, and then I could see even a deeper layer of intelligence. They became aware even of my footsteps in some miraculous way. The donkey may be fifty feet, a hundred feet away, and I would move very slowly, very cautiously so that he did not become aware that I was coming – but he immediately would start running. He knew my steps, he felt in some way my presence.
Other people would be just passing by him and he was not worried. And I was a hundred feet away, taking every care not to disturb the poor fellow, but he would start escaping. He knew who was coming, he knew what my purpose was. He knew there was going to be trouble, because when I saw that these donkeys are cunning, not so dumb as people think, I started to take them into the fields where there were no walls. Then the donkey, of course, was at a loss. What to do? Whether he was rightist or leftist, it did not matter; there were no walls.
Because I started taking them to the fields outside the town, they became very sensitive about my presence. Even donkeys have a certain intelligence.
Camels, howsoever ugly they look, are very gentlemanly. And in the deserts they are very friendly – to the point that if you are dying of thirst, they are ready to sacrifice themselves. When in the desert a camel is killed – because he keeps a reservoir of water inside himself….