In India I was teaching about birth control for thirty years, and the only reward that I got was stones thrown at me, shoes thrown at me, knives thrown, attempts to kill me were made. The last attempt before I left India was made before ten thousand sannyasins in a morning discourse. Ten thousand eyewitnesses – it is a rare case to find! And twenty topmost police officers were there, because they got the news from some anonymous source that something was going to happen, so, “Go there immediately.”
So twenty police officers were there. They caught the man who threw the knife at me and they presented the case. We were out of it; we said, “It is a police case. The police have caught the man red handed. They have the knife, they have the person.” But still the court released him. Ten thousand witnesses don’t mean anything; twenty police officers unanimously saying it, the proof is there… The man belongs to the same Hindu fanatic group that killed Mahatma Gandhi. Still, he was honorably released, with no charge.
But the magistrate must have started feeling guilty. It was such an injustice that through a common friend he asked my forgiveness. I said, “There is no need to ask for forgiveness. This way he will not get rid of his guilt; he has done something far more dangerous than murder.”
The friend said, “But the magistrate’s situation is that he belongs to the same religious group, he believes in the same religion. The religious leaders are pressing him, the politicians are pressing him that that man should not be punished. And his promotion is due. If he punishes that man, of course, they will release him in the higher court, but his promotion will be gone.”
I said to the magistrate’s friend, “Tell him, ‘Don’t feel guilty, just enjoy your promotion. As far as I am concerned, now there is no longer any promotion for me. I have reached the very end of my consciousness, now there is nothing more. So if anybody kills me it should not be considered a murder, because he is not preventing me from anything.’”
The last time I heard you talk was at the news conference, and at that time there was talk of a gun in the audience. And the question of your being killed came up at that time too. Is this something that you can think about a lot? Is this something that…
I don’t think.
…is in the minds of your people?
I don’t think of it at all. But every day we go on receiving phone calls, letters, every day we receive threats. So it is not on our part. We don’t care about those letters, we simply give them to the police. We don’t bother about those telephone calls – we are not at all worried. We are doing our thing so totally that nobody has any time for any nonsense.