And do you know, now the scientists have recognized the fact that life exists on at least fifty thousand planets. We don’t know what colors it has taken there – what shape, what beauty, what kind of beings have evolved there – but one thing is certain, that existence is overflowing. With everything it is luxurious. It is not a poor existence, no. Poverty is man’s creation.
And the people who come here to see the commune must be coming with a certain idea in their mind. Perhaps they have just seen the film Gandhi – they have heard about the ascetics of the East. I am not an ascetic. I am not that stupid. I am not a Mahatma Gandhi. I am absolutely against him. People like Mahatma Gandhi are responsible for poverty in the world.
Yes, nobody can ask such a question in Gandhi’s commune. If you go there you will simply feel sad and sorry. The small ashram still exists where Gandhi used to live. Gandhi’s son Ramdas was very much interested in me, so once he invited me. I went there – it was after Gandhi’s death. Thirty, thirty-five people were there – the whole group was there that had lived with Gandhi – and I told Ramdas, “Why are you torturing these people? This is sheer masochism and nothing else. In the name of poverty, in the name of simplicity, you have completely deprived these people of life.” What they were eating was absolutely tasteless, because taste, in India, for the religious man, is one of the things to be abandoned. Mahavira has given five great principles: one of the five great principles is tastelessness. Great principles! With truth, nonviolence, nonpossession, nonstealing…tastelessness.
And of course Mahatma Gandhi improved upon it. It is not only tasteless, it is nauseating. In India there is a tree called the neem, which is the bitterest tree in the whole world. Its leaves are so bitter, once you have tasted it you will never forget it – for a few lives at least. Now, it was a rule in Gandhi’s ashram that neem chutney – neem sauce – should be provided for everyone. Another rule for the ascetic in India is that nothing should be left on your plate; you cannot leave anything, you have to eat everything. So it was not possible that you could leave that big cup full of neem.
When an American, Louis Fisher, was visiting Mahatma Gandhi – he was very much attracted to his philosophy, and he wrote the most beautiful book on Gandhi – he was a special guest, so Gandhi himself took him to the kitchen. That was a great privilege – somebody sitting by the side of Gandhi to eat. He saw this cup full of something green; he asked, “What is it?”
Gandhi said, “This is the most precious thing. You taste it.” He tasted it; he had never tasted anything like this. And he saw Gandhi eating it so happily, and everybody else eating it happily.