Power is not the cause of corruption, but only the opportunity for its expression. Hence, I say that basically, fundamentally, Lord Acton is wrong. Who becomes interested in politics? Yes, people go into it with beautiful slogans, but what happens to those people?
Joseph Stalin was fighting against the injustice of the czar. What happened? He himself became the greatest czar the world has ever known, worse than Ivan the Terrible! Hitler used to talk about socialism. He had named his party the Nationalist Socialist Party. What happened to socialism when he came into power? All that disappeared.
The same thing happened in India. Mahatma Gandhi and his followers were talking about nonviolence, love, peace – all the great values cherished down the ages. And when power came, Gandhi escaped. Mahatma Gandhi escaped because he became aware that if he took power in his hands he would no longer be the mahatma, the sage. The followers who came into power were all later proven as corrupt as anywhere else, and they were all good people before they were in power – great servants of the people! They had sacrificed much. They were not bad people in any way; in every possible way they were good people. But even good people turn into bad people – that is something fundamental to be understood.
I would like my sannyasins to live life in its totality, but with an absolute condition, categorical condition, and that condition is awareness, meditation. First go deep into meditation, so you can cleanse your unconscious of all poisonous seeds, so there is nothing to be corrupted and there is nothing inside you which power can bring forth. Then do whatsoever you feel like doing.
If you want to become a painter, become a painter. Your painting will have a difference; it won’t be like Picasso. Picasso’s paintings are insane; he is insane. In fact, if he had been prevented from painting he would have been in a madhouse. Through his paintings he is catharting, throwing out his insanity onto the canvas, getting rid of it. Yes, he feels better as it is a kind of vomiting. After vomiting one feels better but what about others who look at the vomit? But the world is so stupid that if Picasso vomits, people say, “What a great painting, something never seen before, something unique!”
Vincent van Gogh really went insane, had to be hospitalized for a year, and then he committed suicide. And he was not more than thirty-seven. Now, what kind of paintings had this man been doing? Certainly he had the art, the skill, but the art and the skill were in the hands of a suicidal madman. Looking at his paintings you will feel restless, uneasy. Keep a Picasso painting in your bedroom and you will have nightmares.