What is significant if a man goes on a fast? Mahatma Gandhi used the strategy his whole life: It was nothing but catching the attention of the whole nation. And if he was going to fast unto death, the whole world’s attention was immediately caught. Otherwise there is no spirituality in fasting: millions die starving. Millions are going to die in the coming ten, twelve years from starvation. Nobody will give any honor or respect to them. Why? Because their starvation is inevitable. They are not starving willfully but because they don’t have food; they are simply poor and starving people.
But Mahatma Gandhi had everything available to him, although he lived like a poor man. One of his intimate followers, a very intelligent woman, Sarojini Naidu – has a statement on record that to keep Mahatma Gandhi poor they had to spend treasures on him. It was not a simple poverty, it was a managed show.
He would not drink the milk from a buffalo because it is rich, rich with vitamin A and other vitamins. He would not drink the milk of a cow because that too is rich, and poor people cannot afford it. He would drink only the milk of a goat, because that is the cheapest animal and poor people can afford it. But you will be surprised: his goat was being washed twice a day with Lux toilet soap! His goat’s food consisted of the richest nourishment that any rich man may feel jealous of. It is such an insane world! The goat was given the milk of a cow to drink. Cashew nuts, apples and other nourishing fruits were her only food; she was not living on grass. Her daily food in those old days cost ten rupees per day; that ten rupees per day in those days was enough for a man to live for a whole month.
And Gandhi was traveling third class. Naturally, he was attracting attention – a great man is traveling third class! But nobody saw that the third class compartment, which could have carried sixty people at least, was carrying only a single man; it is far more costly than the air-conditioned compartment. But it attracted attention.
He started using clothes just like the farmers of India – they are eighty percent of the people in the country. Because he was using farmer’s clothes – the upper body is naked, only the lower body has a small piece of cloth to wrap around – the poor people of this country became immensely respectful and started calling him Mahatma, the great soul.
But I have been looking into his life as deeply as possible. I don’t find any great soul; I have not found even a little soul – just pure politics in the name of religion. Knowing perfectly well that India can be impressed only by religion, he was doing devotional songs every day in the morning and in the evening, but it was all to attract attention.
Attention gives you tremendous nourishment for the ego. And there are instances…his secretary – private secretary, Mahadeo Desai – has written a whole diary of the many years that he spent with Mahatma Gandhi as his secretary. Many times there are mentions about J. Krishnamurti, with such sarcastic remarks that one cannot believe that Mahatma Gandhi had any insight into meditation or awareness: otherwise he cannot be sarcastic.