In India we have many languages – thirty languages. It is almost a continent like Europe, and each language has as many people as European countries. In India, the parallel to the French are the Bengalis. They have the same attitude that their language is best, their literature is best, their philosophy is best…and they do not have to learn anything from anybody.
You will be surprised…
I have been visiting Calcutta for thirty years continually, but in thirty years I could not manage to have any communion with the Bengalis. In Calcutta, non-Bengalis were coming to see me, non-Bengalis were listening to me, non-Bengalis were becoming sannyasins. And I inquired again and again, “What is the problem? Calcutta is the capital of the Bengalis. It is their homeland, but I don’t see a single Bengali.”
They said, “The difficulty with the Bengalis is that they have very closed minds.”
The same is the situation with the French mind in Europe. In Europe almost every other nation has thousands of sannyasins except France. They think they do not have to communicate with other human beings; they are self-satisfied. It is a dangerous disease to be so closed.
If you know…if your philosophy is the best, if your literature is the best, if your language is the best, then too you have to share, you have to communicate. You have so many good things – are you going to hoard them?
Remember a fundamental law of life: Anything that you don’t share dies. Share and it grows; share and it gets new dimensions to it.
So I am not saying the French don’t have great philosophy; they have. I am not saying that they don’t have great literature; they have. I am not saying that their language is not one of the most beautiful; it is. But these are not reasons to close your mind, these should be reasons to make you more open so you can share.
Howsoever great a philosophy is, it is never perfect. Nothing is perfect in this world, and you can always learn from others. You can always make it more perfect, you can always give it more juice, more life.
So I do not have much personal contact with the French people; hence I cannot say much about them. But I am going to come, and I will try my hardest to break the ice. And there must be a few people who are ready to be open and friendly. I just need a few people, and if they are put aflame, then the fire becomes wild very soon and it spreads to every corner of the country. I feel perhaps the closed mind is afraid.
I remember, I was traveling with a friend and the ticket collector came. I showed him my ticket, and my friend started looking in his bags and luggage and this pocket and that pocket, but I saw that he was not looking in the right pocket on his coat. He was looking everywhere and I said to him, “You are forgetting to look at the right side pocket of your coat.”
He said, “Don’t mention it.”
I said, “Are you mad? You are looking for the ticket!”