And the people who believe in Terapanth, who have not become monks, are continuously feeling guilty that they are breathing. I used to stay with a few Terapanthi friends in Bombay and this was the great burden on their soul, that they were not yet capable of renouncing the world and becoming monks – because unless you become a monk and renounce the world, you cannot avoid committing sin. If even breathing is a sin, then you can think anything can be a sin.
One of the oldest senators in India was my friend. He was known as the father of the Indian parliament. From 1916 up to ’78 he was a member of the parliament. Only one man in the whole history of the world was his competitor, and that was Winston Churchill; otherwise he has defeated everybody – just the length of time and continually being chosen. But he was a very mediocre man. Perhaps that was the reason people were choosing him again and again. He was not cunning; he was not really capable of being a politician; otherwise a man who remains a member of the parliament for more than half a century would have become a prime minister, a president, naturally. But he could not even manage to become a minister or a governor of a state. He was simple – better to say he was a simpleton.
What brought him to me was the death of his son. His son was also a politician, and very promising. He was already a deputy minister and in the next election he was going to become a minister. And the father – his name was Seth Govinddas – was projecting all his ambitions on the son. He could not become the prime minister of India, but his son was going to be. And he was very young, so there was every possibility that by the time he was fifty, sixty, he would become the prime minister.
But he suddenly died when he was only thirty-six. His death was a great shock to the old man. He was very rich. The British government had given Seth Govinddas’ father the title of Raja, the title of a king, although he was not a king. But he had so many riches and so much land, and he served the British government in every possible way, so the government recognized his services and gave him the title of Raja.
Seth Govinddas was the son of Raja Gokuldas, and his prestige was because he revolted against the British government and became a freedom fighter. That was his only quality, and the reason why people went on choosing him for parliament. That was enough for the poor people: that he was so rich, and that although the government respected his father so much, he had revolted against his father, revolted against the government, and his father had disowned him. These became his qualifications; otherwise he had no quality, intelligence, or anything. And because of him, his son went into the same profession. The son was cunning and intelligent, well educated.
His death was a great shock to Seth Govinddas. He started going to saints and asking, “Why has it happened?” And wherever he went – the simple answer of all pseudo-religions is the same – they all said, “You must have committed a sin in your past life. This is a punishment.”