Keshav Chandra came with all his great logician disciples to show them how he could dismantle this old idiot who was dominating the whole of Bengal and had become the topmost religious leader in the country. Many people from Calcutta came just to see what was going to happen because it was a rare occasion. Perhaps never before had it happened that a man of the quality of Ramakrishna and a man of the qualities of Keshav Chandra, argued.
Ramakrishna, seeing Keshav Chandra, ran and hugged him. That was enough to make Keshav Chandra embarrassed; he was not expecting that. When Ramakrishna said, “I am so happy – so you have come to defeat me? Great! Nobody comes…. At least you thought of me, so kind of you – just come and defeat me.”
“But,” Keshav Chandra said, “how to defeat you? First give some argument.”
Ramakrishna said, “Argument? I am the argument. You defeat me.”
There was absolute silence in the crowd. Keshav Chandra looked silly. He had never thought that a man would say, “I am the argument, you defeat me.” But Keshav Chandra was also a sincere man, not just a poor logician. He looked into the eyes of Ramakrishna and fell at his feet. And he said, “I am defeated if you are the argument. And certainly you are the argument, I can see it.”
When a religious man is there his presence creates a climate.
And when there are many religious people, the whole country is vibrant with their being.
They all, up to now, have been condemning everything that has really led them to their state of consciousness. So when all the religious leaders of a country condemn materialism, attachment to body, attachment to this, attachment to that, and start teaching people tastelessness, celibacy, the country starts shrinking. It stops being creative. It drops its sciences, its technology. It starts following these great religious people, not knowing that you cannot follow them. You are destroying the very ladder they have climbed up on!
And it is very easy for them, standing on the roof, to tell you, “Destroy this ladder, it is useless. It wasted so much of our time. On each rung of the ladder we wasted our life. Just burn it.” It is so easy from the roof. And these poor idiots burn the ladder and destroy the very basis upon which religion becomes authentic. The country starts becoming poor again. Civilization disappears, culture disappears.
This is the circle, the vicious circle. The country will continue to become poorer and poorer and poorer and poorer, till the very last, when poverty means death. One more step into poverty and there will be death. It is at that moment – but it takes centuries to reach that state. And by that time all those dwellers on the roof have disappeared. Nobody is there to condemn. They start again from the very ABC: technology, science, wealth, how to be rich. The circle moves again.
This is the circle – I call it the law of mediocrity.
Poor countries go on trying to become richer; richer countries start becoming poor.