I was the first person in the whole world who talked about AIDS, its dangers and how to prevent it. I was the first to invite every commune member to go through medical tests: “And if you have AIDS, don’t feel guilty, don’t feel ashamed. We will take care of you.” And we found two persons who had AIDS. We made them the most beautiful houses on the best scenic spot in the commune, just by the side of the lake, with forest surrounding them. And nobody disrespected them, nobody condemned them – because they were victims of the Christian monks, monasteries; they needed all our compassion, and particularly because they were not going to live more than six months.
I told them, “Do whatsoever you always wanted to do but went on postponing. And the commune will provide everything that you want – the food you want, the clothes you want, or anything that you need. It will be difficult for you to live in isolation, far away from the commune.”
I allowed them to come to every discourse, to every meditation and told them, “Just look: the commune is so loving toward you. You should also be careful that you don’t contaminate any other human being with your disease.”
And they were grateful. They asked, “Sitting the whole day is difficult. We need some work also, and we don’t want to be a burden on the commune.” So I told them, “There is so much work. You can create beautiful gardens around your houses.”
They created gardens, rock gardens around their houses. And I told them, “You are not separate from the commune, it is the disease that can be dangerous to your brothers and your sisters, your beloveds.” Sheer understanding is needed.
The whole American press laughed when I was talking about AIDS. The politicians laughed, the neighboring American cities laughed – “These people are strange. In the whole world, nobody is concerned about AIDS. Why should they be?”
And we had made a big campus where three thousand people could have been accommodated. We wanted to open the first nursing home for people who are suffering from AIDS, but we were prevented. The commune was destroyed.
Now almost every government in the West is doing the same – and without mentioning the name of who started it! They are following exactly the same rules that we made for the commune, that while making love, you should be very careful to use condoms.
But to go to a medical store or to a doctor, one feels ashamed to say, “I am trying to prevent AIDS and I need condoms.” We had our own hospital – but still the human mind is the human mind, so we put in every toilet, the whole package which can prevent the disease. And when journalists saw that in the toilets there were condoms, that you could just go and take them without having to ask somebody, those journalists were writing negative articles about it!
Now the same is being done by every parliament in Europe, in America, but not with such humanness. You have to go to the doctor, you have to purchase condoms from the druggist, and one feels ashamed.