Man’s history is full of strange turns. On this point all Hindu scriptures are in favor of the shankaracharya. The politicians who are supporting the entry of harijans into Hindu temples should burn all the Hindu scriptures. But everybody’s concern is votes. Nobody is concerned with the untouchables, the harijans, or their entry into the temple.
The real question is: should they remain part of Hindu society? Their number is twenty-five crore. They are one fourth of Hindu society. Even a man like Mahatma Gandhi was against giving harijans a separate vote, by which they could have a certain independence from centuries of slavery.
My own understanding is: in the first place, no harijan should enter into any Hindu temple. He should avoid Hindu temples, scriptures, and these so-called shankaracharyas He should simply declare himself independent of Hindus. There are enough harijans – twenty-five crore – they can rule over the country!
Even political parties want them to remain Hindus because they are their strength. They are even willing to condemn the shankaracharya, who is right as far as Hindu tradition is concerned; he is perfectly right, because for five thousand years no harijan has ever entered into any Hindu temple. But the political parties are suddenly against the shankaracharya because he is creating trouble. If these harijans separate themselves from the Hindu fold, the whole destiny of the nation will be different.
They are poor, uneducated; they have not been allowed any education, they have not been allowed any other job than the one they have been doing traditionally – the lowest jobs: cleaning people’s toilets, making shoes, butchering animals. They cannot move into any other profession.
But even Mahatma Gandhi was afraid. And I don’t know why people go on calling him mahatma. The word means “the great soul,” but the soul was not very great. It was absolutely political, diplomatic. He fasted for twenty-one days against harijans getting a separate vote. The separate vote was only symbolic: for harijans it would have created a strength of their own. They wouldn’t have to become Christians, they wouldn’t have to become Mohammedans, they wouldn’t have to become Buddhists.
Nobody needs religion, everybody needs only individuality, awareness, one’s awareness. This is a good chance for harijans. But such is foolishness! – although for centuries they have been pushed back from the temples, burned alive if found reading the scriptures, they still go on clinging and asking to enter into Hindu temples.
There is no need for anybody to enter any temple, any synagogue, any church, any mosque. This whole universe is your temple and your being is the only scripture you have to read.