He thinks in terms of scriptures, not in terms of real life. He thinks that he can discuss with me, because in the Hindu scriptures the idea is that a woman whose husband has died has to jump into his funeral pyre. To him, it proves that sati pratha is right. To me, it proves that the scripture has to be thrown into the fire! On what grounds can we discuss?
Even so-called great saints, avatars – I don’t bother how ancient they are: the more ancient, the more rotten.
A single act is enough to prove that all the statues of Rama should be removed from all the temples. He killed a young harijan boy, because Hindu scriptures say that the poor harijans cannot read the religious scriptures. This boy – although he was not reading, because they have never been allowed any education – was curious. A few brahmins were doing a ritual, chanting Sanskrit mantras, and this boy, out of curiosity, hiding behind the bushes, heard the Vedic scriptures. That was his crime.
And a man of the quality of Rama, whom Hindus believe to be a god, poured hot, liquid lead into the ears of the boy because he had heard the holy scriptures, which was prohibited. The boy died – and still nobody has objected to Rama. To me this is enough to prove that this man is a politician and nothing else.
The letter that I have received is an absolute lie. He says, “I challenged you twelve years ago.” I have been in Pune from 1974 – twelve years means somewhere near 1976. I have not received any challenge. And anyway, there is still time, but what is he going to prove to me? I encountered him in 1965 in a world Hindu conference in Patna, and criticized every point that he was making. And I asked one hundred thousand people who had gathered for the international conference, “Are you in agreement with me? – then raise your hands!” Not a single person there did not raise his hand. He is already defeated!
But he is old, and getting more and more senile. To me, just because something is written in a book does not mean that it has to be right. The criterion for its being right has to be humanitarian.
The Hindu scriptures say that women have to be categorized just like animals. The great Hindu saint Tulsidas says that every woman has to be beaten at least once a week. Just because it is written by Tulsidas, it does not become a truth. It simply shows the stupidity of the man, the inhumanity of the man. His book should be burned. At least all the women around the country, wherever they find Tulsidas’ book, should immediately burn it. It is male chauvinistic.
For me, who is not part of any religion, there is no prejudice: everything has to be clear-cut and straightforward, no politics in it. That’s what the Shankaracharya is doing, and opposing him, another Hindu sannyasin, Swami Agnivesh, is doing the same. Politics is such a game, it makes people like footballs. Their interests are different; Agnivesh is against the Shankaracharya. I am against both, because they are two polarities of the same politics.