The third question:
In a recent article in the International Herald Tribune, William Borders, a longtime observer of this country for the New York Times’ office in New Delhi, wrote of how we are an embarrassment to “image-shy India.” What is it about India that makes Indians so concerned about their international image? And why cannot India be proud of you? Never has there been a religious leader in history that has received so much publicity abroad.
India is a very poor country. It has nothing else to claim except its so-called spirituality. That’s its only ego. And each country needs a certain ego; otherwise the country need not exist. Each nation exists as an ego, and the ego needs some supports.
That’s why I am against all kinds of nationalism, because its root is ego. It divides people, it makes people fight each other. It creates antagonism, enmity. I am against all nationalism, against all nations.
I would like to see one world where all these egos, the Indian and the Japanese and the German and the English and the French, have disappeared, because these are illnesses. The ego is like cancer, but even cancer needs something to feed upon; it cannot live on nothing. The ego needs something to nourish it.
The West can claim science, scientific knowledge, technology, great, beautiful Cities, good roads, airplanes, man’s reaching to the moon, and a thousand and one things. The West has many things to support its ego, India has nothing. It can only claim spirituality. And that’s its fear: that spirituality is also bogus.
It is very much afraid. If that spirituality is exposed as bogus, then it has nowhere to stand, no shelter; then it will fall flat on the ground. It respects, feels proud of, the people who go on claiming its spirituality and its spiritual greatness. It is proud of Vivekananda because he helps its ego to be strengthened. It is proud of Radhakrishnan. It is proud of Mahatma Gandhi. They all give support to its illusory idea of being spiritual.
How can it be proud of me? I am taking the last prop away from it. I am telling the world that this whole spirituality that India claims is bogus.