So to a sannyasin the mala is certainly of many meanings. In sickness he can have healing through it, just holding it. In fear, just holding it and he will feel courage. In a moment of loneliness, just holding it and he will not feel lonely, he will feel he is with me. But it all depends on his trust, it has nothing to do with the mala itself. The mala is only an excuse.
I have heard that when the commune began here in Oregon there was a day off, but then something happened that caused you to institute a seven-day work week. Could you talk about that?
No, in the beginning people simply started working the way they worked in the outside world. The outside world has followed the routine because in the biblical story God worked for six days, and the poor fellow got tired so the seventh day he rested. And since then nothing has been heard about him. He went to eternal rest.
I don’t want my people to go to eternal rest. I said, it is better to continue working; the seventh day is dangerous. I was just joking, but the reality was that we had so much to do that even seven days are not enough.
We came into a desert. When we came there was only one house, dilapidated, and no greenery, just barren hills. And we had to make it an oasis. Tremendous work was needed. Soon we found six days are not enough – even seven days are not enough.
Our people are working twelve hours per day, and in festival times, four times a year, for months they work fourteen hours a day – but with great joy. It is their commune, it is their creation. It is not ordinary work in the ordinary world. It is just like a painter or a musician who goes on playing and practicing for hours without getting tired. In fact, the more he practices the finer becomes his music and the greater is his joy.
We are creating an oasis. It is similar to creating poetry or music or sculpture. And in four years we have changed the whole color of the scenery. Now it is green. Birds have come, deer have come, of their own accord, seeing that we have managed dams and made big lakes, seeing that so many people are here – and harmless people. So we have thousands of deer now. And if you go in the street in the night you will find them standing, and they will not move. You will have to get out of the car and push them, because they know these people don’t harm anybody!
In my garden I have three hundred peacocks. Even my car takes so much time to get into and out of the house, because they are all standing in the way, dancing. And they are not worried that the car is there and it is not a place to dance – but they know that nobody is going to harm them.
My chauffeur was just saying that in this place there is only one sin: that is, don’t run over a peacock.
I said, “That’s right!”