I am reminded of one of my friends who was in a concentration camp in Germany. He is a Jew…. It is strange that I have more Jewish friends in the world than anybody else. Many times I have thought that these people don’t seem to be the people who could have crucified Jesus. One third of my sannyasins are Jews. I have many rabbis initiated into sannyas.
This Jewish friend was telling me that he survived because before the date fixed for his death, the war ended. Germany was defeated and all prisoners were released. Just two days before – two days more and he would have been just a black smoke in the sky. But he had seen thousands disappearing through the chimney of the gas chamber.
He was saying to me, “Many things became clear which were never clear and may have remained unclear for my whole life. That concentration camp made me aware of many things. The first thing was that as my death started coming closer and my friends started disappearing – every day a few numbers were gone….”
And people were known by numbers, not their names. All their things which made any difference between them were taken away. A doctor, a professor, an industrialist, an engineer, a beggar – you would not have been able to tell who is who.
That was one of the basic things in the concentration camp: to destroy your personality to such an extent…. Even people who had gold in their teeth, the gold was taken out – because that makes a difference, you look richer.
And before they went for their final meeting with death they were shaved and all their clothes were taken away. Everything – their shoes, their watches, clothes…everything was taken away. And then they had to pass along a corridor made of mirrors on both sides.
My friend was saying that it was a revealing experience to see oneself naked with hundreds of naked, shaved people. You cannot recognize yourself in the crowd. Who are you in this crowd? If you look in the mirror you cannot pinpoint that “this is me.” They all look alike. So all the differences were just in the persona. All the differences were in the packing but not in the content. The rich man, the beggar – they were both absolutely alike.
So he was saying, “This made me feel that man is born classless, and is forced by the society to become part of a class, of a caste, of a religion; otherwise a child comes into the world without caste, without nationality, without religion, and without anybody as an enemy or anybody as a friend – he comes without any ideology. And deep down he remains the same; you just have to take the coverings off and you will find the same human being.”
If this is so just by removing your clothes, what will be the situation when your body is also removed? Are there poor souls and rich souls too, and on what grounds will they be poor souls and rich souls? – because their bank balances won’t count anymore.
On what grounds is Jesus talking this nonsense, “Blessed are the poor”? Marx seems to be bringing Jesus to his senses. He says, “If the poor are going to inherit the kingdom of God, then why not here? When they are the real inheritors then let us start it right now, in this life. Why wait for death?”