Chapter 1: The Future Belongs to Krishna,

Question 3



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Question 3


Whenever there is a crisis like this, one finds it difficult to decide which side in the conflict is right and which is wrong. This was not easy even on the eve of the Mahabharat. Not all the people on the side of the Kauravas were bad; a great soul like Bhishma was with them. Similarly, not all those who were on the side of the Pandavas, who were being guided by Krishna, were good; there were bad people as well. So, in a matter like this, there is always some difficulty in coming to a decision.

But some values clinch the issue. Why was Duryodhana fighting? What was his motive in forcing such a great war? It was not that important whether the people on his side were bad or not, the important thing was his intention, his objective, the values for which he forced the war. And what were the values for which Krishna inspired Arjuna to fight bravely?

The most important and decisive value at stake in the Mahabharat was justice. The war had to decide what was just and what justice was.

Again today we have to decide what is just, what justice is. In my vision, freedom is justice and bondage is injustice. The group or class that is bent on forcing any kind of bondage on mankind is on the side of injustice. Maybe there are some good people on their side, but all good people do not necessarily have clarity and farsight. Often they are confused people, people who don't know that what they are doing is going to serve the side of injustice.

Freedom is of the highest; it is the most significant, most decisive issue today. We need a society, a world where man's freedom can grow and blossom. And we don't want a society, a world that will destroy man's freedom and put him in shackles. This has to be clearly understood.

It is natural that people wanting to impose bondage on others would not say so, would not use the word "bondage". The word has a bad odor; it is hateful and repelling. They will find a word or a slogan that will put people into bondage without letting them know it. "Equality" is such a new slogan, and it is full of cunning and deceit. Thus they sidetrack the issue of freedom and shout, instead, for equality. They say they stand for equality between man and man. They argue that equality is basic, and that freedom is not possible without equality. And this argument is appealing to many who are led to think that as long as people are not equal they cannot be free. And then they consent to forego freedom for the sake of equality.

Now it is very strange logic that equality has to be had for freedom to come, and that freedom has to be sacrificed for equality to come. The truth is, once freedom is lost it will be impossible to restore it. Who will restore it?

You all are here listening to me. I tell you that in order to make you all equal it is necessary to put you in shackles first. I tell you that without putting you in fetters it will not be possible to equalize you. Maybe someone has a bigger head than others, another has larger arms and a third one has longer legs -- they all will have to be cut to equal size. And this painful operation will not be possible without first depriving you of your freedom. And it sounds very logical.

But people forget that the person who will make them all equal will himself remain tree and unequal; he will remain outside them all. He will have no fetters on his feet and, besides, he will have a gun in his hand. Now you can well envision a situation, a society where most people are in shackles, maimed and crippled, and a handful of people are free and powerful with all the modern instruments of suppression and oppression at their disposal. What can you do in a situation like this?

Marx held the view that in order to achieve equality in society it would, in the first place, be necessary to suppress political freedom, destroy individual liberty and establish a dictatorship. And he thought that after the achievement of equality, freedom would be restored to the people. But do you think people with such enormous power in their hands that they can equalize everyone will ever give you back your freedom? We don't see any sign of it in the countries where such experiments have been conducted. In fact, as the power of the rulers grows, and as the people, the ruled, ate systematically suppressed and debilitated, the hope for freedom becomes increasingly dim. Then it is difficult even to raise the question of freedom. Nobody dares ask a question, speak his thoughts, much less dissent and rebel against the established tyranny.

In the name of equality, and under the cover of equality, freedom is going to be destroyed. And once it is destroyed it will be neatly impossible to win it back -- because those who destroy freedom will see to it that the chances of its being revived in the future are also destroyed.

Secondly, you should know that while freedom is an absolutely natural phenomenon, which everyone must have as his right, equality is not. Equality is neither natural nor possible. The concept of equality is unpsychological; all people cannot be equal. They are not equal; they are basically unequal. But freedom is a must. Everyone should be free to be what he is and what he can be. Everyone should have full freedom and opportunity to be himself.

In my view, Krishna is on the side of freedom; he cannot be on the side of equality. If there is freedom it is possible that inequality will diminish. I don't say equality will come with freedom, I only say in equality will gradually be reduced. But if equality is forced on people then their freedom is bound to diminish and disappear. Anything imposed with force is synonymous with slavery.

So basically it is a choice of values. And in my vision the individual is the highest value. So freedom of the individual is of the highest.

The camp of evil has always been against the individual and in favor of the group, the collective, The individual has no value whatsoever in the eyes of evil, and there is good reason for it. The individual is rebellious; he is the seed of rebellion. You will be surprised to know that if you want some evil act to be done you will find it easier through a group than through an individual.

It is very difficult for an individual Hindu to set fire to a mosque, but a crowd of Hindus can do it for fun. An individual Mohammedan will find it hard to stick a knife into the chest of a Hindu child, but a horde of Mohammedans can do it without a qualm of conscience. In fact, the bigger a crowd the less soul it has. But it is the sense of responsibility that forms the kernel of the soul. When I go to push a knife in somebody's chest my conscience bites at me. It says, "What are you doing?" But my soul does not feel disturbed when I am with a crowd, killing people recklessly and burning their property. Then I say it is not me but the people, the Hindus or Muslims, who are doing it, and I am just keeping company with them -- and tomorrow I will not be held individually responsible for it.

The side of evil always wants to attract the crowd; it depends on the crowd. Evil wants to destroy the individual whom it feels is a thorn in its flesh. It wants the crowd, the mass to live and grow. Good, on the contrary, accepts the individual and wants him to grow to his supreme fulfillment and, at the same time, it wants the crowd to disappear gradually from the scene. Good stands for a society of individuals, free individuals. Individuals will, of course, have relationships, but then it will be a society and not a herd, not a crowd.

This needs to be rightly understood. Only free individuals make a society, and where the sovereignty of the individual is denied, society turns into a herd, a mob. This is the difference between a society and a crowd. Society is another name for the inter-relationship of individuals, a cooperative of individuals -- but the individual has to be there, he is the basic unit of society.

When an individual freely enters into relationship with another individual, it makes for society. So there cannot be a society inside a prison; a prison can only have a crowd, a collection of faceless individuals. Prisoners also relate with each other, exchanging greetings and gifts among themselves, but they are definitely not a society. They have just been gathered together and forced to live within the four walls of a prison; it is not their free choice.

Therefore I say that Krishna will choose the side where freedom and the sovereignty of the individual, where religion and the possibility to seek the unseen and the unknown will be available in predominance. I say "in predominance" because it never happens that one side has all these values and the other side is wholly devoid of them. The division between good and evil is never so clear-cut, even in a battle between Rama and Ravana. Even in Ravana there is a little of Rama, and there is a little of Ravana in Rama too. The Kauravas share a few of the virtues of the Pandavas, and the latter a few of the vices of the former. Even the best man on this earth has something of the worst in him. And the meanest of us all carries a bit of goodness in him. So it is always a question of proportion and predominance of one or the other.

So freedom and the individual and the soul and religion are the values with which the intelligence of good will side.


Next: Chapter 2: Krishna is Complete and whole, Question 1


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