Mohammedans have converted millions of people just by forcing them with the sword; their only argument was the sword. Now the world has changed; its strategies have changed. If you go to somebody with a sword you will be imprisoned.
Christian missionaries are still doing the same thing, with a little change: in one hand is the Holy Bible, in the other hand is bread and butter. The world is so poor…and these people want the world to remain poor because they have been able to convert only the poor. This point has to be remembered: Christianity has not been able to convert a single cultured, educated, high-class person around the world. It has been able only to convert the beggars, the orphans, the starving, the dying, the sick.
Those people are not choosing Christianity, they are choosing bread and butter. They are hungry. They are choosing medicine and hospitals. They are choosing schools for their children. They have nothing to do with Christianity, but if all these things can come only through Christianity they are – unwillingly – ready to accept it.
But willingly or unwillingly, they go on increasing the number of Catholics in the world. That makes the pope more and more powerful: wherever he has the majority of Catholics, that nation is under his thumb. Its politicians have to listen to him.
You cannot compare my trip around the world to a political trip of the pope. In fact I am traveling around the world against the political structures.
For example, in your own land, in Germany: I have never been there, and they are so afraid – of a man who has never been there, who has never even applied for any visa for any tour – that they have made a law that I cannot enter Germany. Strange world! I have not committed any crime on their land, I have not been there; I have not even asked them. They could have refused the visa; there was no need to make any law, but to be on the safe side…
I am taking a trip around the world, not to convert anybody – I have never converted anybody in my life; it is the ugliest thing to do.
You have to understand the inner reality of converting a person. First you accept that you are right and the other is wrong, and he has to be put on the right path – by any means. Nobody has any right to decide that. Any effort to convert somebody is against the basic right of human beings. It is interfering in their freedom, thinking; it is trying to enslave them.
You can express whatever ideology you have and then leave it to people. If it is better than their own, they may accept; if it is not better, they may reject. But whether they accept it or reject it is not your concern.
Conversion is a beautiful name for spiritual enslavement.
I have never converted anybody.
The people who have become sannyasins have become sannyasins on their own. It was their decision. They felt something, they recognized something, they experienced something.