But just to think of the idea: that you will put a man in such a situation. And the man must be in trouble because why should he be ready, for five rupees, to destroy his whole life? Maybe his mother is dying, maybe his wife is in hospital, maybe his father had an accident and those five rupees are very essential for medicine, for food, for something. And every day there is a line: not all the people get in. There are only a hundred cots; those who get in are fortunate. And these people who are paying them are earning virtue. Their bank balance in the other world is growing – they have saved so many bedbugs from dying. A strange love affair with bedbugs! And they don’t think about this man, the whole night being tortured. No, they have paid him, so there is no guilt about that.
I want you to remember: a man believing in nonviolence need not be necessarily life-reverent. But one who reveres life is bound to be non-violent – that is its necessary corollary. But his non-violence will have a totally different flavor. It will not be Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolence.
For example: Gandhi is continually trying to teach nonviolence to his disciples, and following it himself. He is not a fraud; whatsoever he believes may be wrong, but he does it with his totality. His intention is always sincere, you cannot doubt his sincerity, but his intelligence is not so indubitable. And a man with strong intentions, but not a high quality of intelligence, is more dangerous than anybody, because the intention is blind. Gandhi thought that he was teaching nonviolence, but in fact he was teaching people to be violent to themselves.
This cannot happen to my way of life. Reverence for life does not exclude me. If I am full of reverence for life all around, how can I be irreverent towards my own life?
In deep silence there is no mine and no thine. Life is simply life; it is one flow. We are joined together by invisible threads. If I hurt you, I hurt myself. If I hurt myself, I am hurting you all.
I want the distinction to be clear. It is delicate. The man who believes in nonviolence will be very careful not to be violent to anybody – too careful! But because he has not experienced reverence for life, it is only an ideology. Rationally he has concluded that this is good, that this is the right path, and he is going to be very violent to himself. In fact his violence towards others will turn upon himself but the proportion will remain the same.
I have experienced it in people, for example hunters, who are violent people, killers. Just near my university, two hundred miles away, was a forest reserve – one of the most beautiful forests in India, Kanha Keshali. For hundreds of miles, all kinds of wild life – you could find every kind possible, imaginable. Hunting was prohibited except for special guests of the viceroy, of the governor, and later on, of the prime minister, the president, and the chief minister. For special guests hunting was allowed, otherwise it was completely prohibited.
Whenever I had time I used to drive to Kanha Keshali. The rest house in Kanha Keshali was in such a beautiful place, on a vast lake, surrounded by greenery as far as you could see. And for days you would not come across or see a man, but you would see thousands of deer passing in the night. And in the night the deer’s eyes become almost flames. A thousand or two thousand deer passing in the night, if it was a full-moon night you could see thousands of small lights moving in line. And they had to come to the lake in the night to drink water. All the animals would come in the night; you only had to sit in the rest house and you would be able to see lions and tigers.