Nelson Mandela, the legendary South African leader, was once asked how he kept himself from hating his tormentors. Mandela answered, “Hating clouds the mind… leaders can’t afford to hate.” I wish more politicians had this wisdom. It was an enigma for everyone close to him how he did not carry any malice or grievance against captors who tortured and humiliated him. This unique spiritual quality made Mandela tower over his detractors. His fight was not merely against white people but was a fight to reclaim the dignity and freedom of people of color. Mandela was an unusual politician who was in search of himself.
He did not speak publicly about his interest in meditation, but his magnanimous heart and his behavior with his fellow men had the fragrance of a maturity that can only blossom within the being of a meditator. He turned his twenty-seven years of incarceration into a retreat, where meditation transformed him into a rare human being.
Meditation has to become the foundation, the essence of human life, particularly in today’s chaotic, terrorized, cunning world. The days are gone when meditation was the prerogative of a handful of people who had renounced all in order to strive for their personal salvation; now it has to be brought into daily activities and circumstances if we want to change the quality of human life. Especially for people who hold the key to their countrymen’s destiny, internal factors are more crucial than ever in their development as a human being: honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, purity, generosity, absence of vanity, and readiness to serve their fellow men. If they meditate regularly, they can rise above their personal greed and lust for power; they will have clarity and sensitivity towards the situation of the common man.
This is exactly what Osho has proposed for everyone in power, particularly politicians who have the high responsibility of looking after those around them.
“As far as I can see, all politicians should be meditators, should know something of the inner world. They should be more conscious, more compassionate, and should know the taste of love. They should know the experience of the silence of existence, and the beauty of this planet, and the gifts of existence. And they should learn to be humble and grateful. The world needs only one thing – not great scriptures, just a simple method of becoming silent, of becoming yourself, of coming to your innermost center. Every politician should be forced to participate in some school of meditation, and unless he graduates from there, he cannot stand for any political post. All politicians, unless they are meditative, are disqualified. If they have any sense of dignity, they should renounce, they should immediately resign from their posts. They don’t know themselves; what are they doing there? They don’t know themselves, and they are controlling millions of people and their lives.”