The purpose was…in India they were significant, because in India for thousands of years red has been the symbol of spiritualism, and I wanted to destroy that idea. I wanted my sannyasins to be as materialistic as they were spiritual. The dichotomy, the division between spirit and matter, between this world and that world, is against my ideology. I don’t see any division. A man can live both dimensions fully. They are not opposed to each other; on the contrary, they are helpful to each other. A healthy man is capable of getting deeper into meditation than a sick man.
What does fasting signify? – and all the religions have been teaching fasting. In India I have seen people who have been continuously fasting. In their eyes you don’t see any intelligence, in their answers you don’t see any genius speaking. In their faces you don’t see any aura of growth, any luminosity, that they have arrived at something beautiful within themselves. All that you see is a very crippled, sick person. But he is worshipped, because he is fasting for days together; then he eats one day and again fasts. All his spirituality consists of committing slow suicide. I don’t consider it spirituality.
So I wanted my people to wear the same red clothes and destroy the old idea that red clothes represent one who has renounced the world. On the contrary, red clothes represent one who rejoices in everything of the body, of the mind, of the soul. He is an organic unity. So in India it was significant.
But when I came to America I came in silence, and I remained in silence for three and a half years. I wanted this gap for my own health, and I wanted this gap also to get rid of those people who were only intellectually clinging to me. I have told them again and again, “I am not here just to satisfy your intellectual curiosity. That you can do in any university, in any library – I am not needed for that. If you want to go deeper than your intellect, if you want to go deeper than even your heart, if you are willing to reach to the very center of your being, then only be here; otherwise don’t waste your time.” But they became addicted to my words. Three and a half years’ silence helped them. By and by, seeing that I was going to remain silent my whole life, now there was no point… The people who were not addicted to my words, the people who were more in love with my presence, who were just happy to be with me – whether I was silent or speaking was not the condition – remained. This was one of the reasons.
The other reason was that I was speaking before on Jesus, on Zarathustra, on Buddha, on Krishna, on Mahavira – almost all the founders of religion and all the great so-called religious people – for the simple reason that everybody is already divided into some group. You cannot find fresh people anywhere. Unless I speak on Jesus, the Christians are not going to listen to me. The moment I started speaking on Jesus, Christians started coming to me. Even Christian bishops told me that they have never thought that this much profoundness is there in the statements of Jesus. I was laughing inside, because it was just a strategy! Jesus’ statement was there, but all profundity was my creation. But that was the only way to get people who can listen directly to me.