One friend has asked, “There is so much corruption, so much bribery, so much favoritism going on in the present capitalism! Do you support this as well?
This bribery, this corruption, this favoritism is not because of capitalism. Its causes are entirely different. They have nothing to do with capitalism.
If a country where there is so much poverty can be without corruption, that will be a miracle. That is not possible. Honest people in a place where it is so difficult to survive is a difficult proposition. Yes, a rare honest individual may exist. Some man of real will may exist. But all don’t have that much will power – and you can’t blame them for that.
Where meaningless conditions have to be imposed in life for living.
Here we are sitting in this big room and if there were two dozen chapattis here and we were all hungry, do you think some etiquette would survive? And if the etiquette did not survive, would you curse the building, that it is this building which is causing corruption?
The building is not causing the corruption, it is the twenty-five chapattis and twenty-five hundred hungry people that is causing the corruption. This room is not at fault, this building is not at fault.
It is not the fault of the system of capitalism that corruption is there.
The reason for corruption is different. The reason is that the quantity of chapattis is less and the quantity of hunger more. The naked bodies to be covered are more, the cloth less. There are more people and fewer houses. The means for living are less and the number of people who live goes on growing everyday. The tension that grows through it is bound to bring corruption in. No political leaders can abolish this corruption, because their thinking is that the corruption can be abolished directly. The way they think. Somebody forms a “Sadhu Sevak Samaj” (a society of voluntarily serving mendicants) thinking they will eradicate corruption through it.
It seems we simply fail to look at the mathematics of life the right way up. Will you be able to destroy corruption by forming Sadhu Sevak Samaj? Will corruption cease just because these mendicants will go all over the country and explain to people not to practice corruption? Is this an issue of explanation – that you can just say, “Do not follow corrupt practices”? If it were just an issue of explanation, we would not be practicing it in the first place.
It is an existential problem, related to living. One’s very existence is at stake. It is not to be solved by discourses whereby all the mendicants of India go from village to village and explain to people not to practice corruption and they will stop it. There is no shortage of education or teachings here. And it will not happen this way, that you get all the children to remember Gita or Ramayana by heart and impart moral education in every school and corruption will disappear. They will read Gita or Ramayana, but corruption will not disappear because the causes for the birth of corruption are hidden in existential problems. It is not a matter of doctrines and principles.
And your leaders go on shouting that they will abolish corruption from its very roots. No matter what safeguards they create, those safeguards themselves become corrupt. The most interesting thing is that those leaders shouting loudly and pledging from high pulpits that they will abolish corruption don’t reach those pulpits without practicing corruption. In order to reach the pulpit from where they deliver speeches about abolishing corruption, they have to pass through the ladders of corruption.
There is such complexity involved that it is not going to be accomplished by giving doctrines and principles. The very root of this complexity has to be grasped. And if we do that, many things can become clear.
We should accept it that in today’s India it is useless to talk about honesty. Neither the political leader should do it nor the holyman.
We should accept it that dishonesty is the rule. We should not make any fuss about that. We should not quarrel about that. Then, at least, the dishonesty will become a straightforward, clear cut matter; meaning if I have to put my hand in your pocket, I can do it directly instead of, unnecessarily, first having to wait until you go to sleep, then I enter your house in the night, put my hand in your pocket and then go to the temple in the morning to sermonize that stealing is sin. There is no need for all this complexity. The dishonesty is there in today’s social fabric of India; without it either the society will fall apart or we will die. The dishonesty is functioning as a lubricant at this point in time. It just lubricates the wheel and keeps it in movable condition. If this country swears to be honest, it will die. It cannot stay alive. And the people who swore to remain honest — go ask them if they are still alive or have died. Most probably you wouldn’t hear their voice because they must already be dead.
Corruption is an inevitability in this social structure of ours, in this poverty-stricken and wretched condition of our society, in this starving condition of our society, in this technology-less, industry-less, wealth-less society. There is no need to make a hue and cry over it, nor is there a need to curse anybody.
I was reading a small booklet from Japan about the rules of etiquette. It says, “Do not ask a person about his salary.” I was surprised as to what was the matter. Japanese seem to be less advanced than we are. We, here, not only ask about the salary one gets, we even inquire if there is any extra income besides. They seem to be perfectly uncultured. They don’t even know that in a well-cultured and civilized country like India, not only is the question asked about one’s salary, but also what one receives apart from the salary. Not only is the question asked, but also the questioned one even answers it: that he receives nothing else, or he receives not much, only a small amount.
In the footnote in that book, it says, asking someone about his salary could be humiliating, because maybe his salary is small and he is being asked to disclose it in front of others. Or maybe the person feels ashamed and he tells a lie about it. So one shouldn’t ask anyone about their salary.
In this country, in the prevailing situations, one shouldn’t raise questions about bribery and kickback money and so on and so forth….
To do that will be against etiquette – deeply uncouth here. Corruption should be taken as a normal thing, this should be an accepted norm. There should be no controversy over it.
Yes, there remains the point that if we accept it we can eradicate it. If we accept it, we can go into its basic roots as to what is the matter. No one wants to be a bad person. Evil is always born out of a situation of compulsiveness or helplessness. Yes, there will be few people who enjoy being evil. They are sick. They can be treated. But the majority of people are not evil for the sake of being evil. When it becomes very difficult to survive, then they embrace evil as a means to survive.
The presence of this much evil indicates only one thing: the country is in a state where survival has become impossible for people. So thought should be given to how shall we make survival possible? How shall we make survival easy? How shall we bring in affluence? Do not even think of how to destroy corruption. You should think of how to make life affluent, easy, how to improve life towards betterment. You should worry about how life can reach new peaks of affluence every day. Do not indulge in the meaningless prattle about corruption and the like.
These are only indicators. For example a man is in fever. Now, if there are only fools in the house, or if the majority of people are of Indian mentality, then to pour cold water over the man should be the treatment. Because his body has become hot, cool it down by pouring cold water over it. But fever is not the key point. Fever is only an indication of a sickness inside. So if someone’s body has gone into high temperature, do not pour cold water on him. By doing that, the sickness will disappear because the sick person himself will disappear.
Fever is only an indication that some struggle has arisen somewhere in the body. The body has become hot because of that struggle. Some conflict has arisen in the body, the harmony of the body is disturbed – the body is no longer a capitalist, it has turned into a socialist.
Something has gone wrong, the harmony is destroyed, a class struggle has arisen – two kinds of germs have gathered. It is because of their fight that the body has become hot. Heat does arise in a fight. That heat is not to be force-cooled. You have to reach within and kill those germs so that the struggle ends and the body comes down to the normal temperature on its own.
Corruption, bribery, black marketing, smuggling — these are all only fevers. The temperature of the society’s body has gone up. But where to look for the real disease? These are not the real disease in themselves, but all our political leaders and all our so-called wise are busy treating only these, after all they are Indian – pure, one hundred percent Indian. They are treating the fever and they say they will completely cure the disease.
But nobody is aware that this disease in India has not just suddenly appeared today. This disease in India has grown over five thousand years and has manifested itself fully now. Five thousand years of history in India says that if you want to pass the exams, then bribe Hanumanji, offer him a coconut. Tell him, “I will offer you a coconut worth five annas if you pass my son. And if the son passes, he offers a five annas’ coconut. Now, what is this? What is this if not bribery? Do you understand what this is? You are saying to God, “I will build a temple for you if I can have a child born to me.” What is this?
Yes, from bribing gods and deities, it evolved to bribing humans also – and that is a different matter. All you are doing is saying to an official, “I will offer you a coconut if you get my work done.” From early on we have been getting work done this way. And if we have been getting things done by God so cheaply, then what is so great about this official? If even God gets allured and consents to a coconut, then if this officer doesn’t he must be a non-Indian. He must consent, otherwise that will be against etiquette.
The mind of the Indian is steeped in bribery. He gives bribes. He is a flatterer. He has always flattered God, deities and kings. Now, neither God is to be seen anywhere nor deities nor kings. Only these poor cabinet ministers, et cetera, are seen, officers are seen; so he flatters them. He sits at their doors with folded hands as a beggar.
The country is poor, impoverished; naturally he sta. And now even wagging the tail has become a difficult matter; one has to have as much intelligence about it as the dogs normally have. Have you ever seen a dog wagging his tail? If it comes across a stranger, it does both the things – it wags the tail and it barks. It plays the double role. Because it is not yet certain if the stranger will show a friendly attitude or a non-friendly one. If the stranger takes an attitude of a foe, he will stop wagging the tail and increase the barking. But if the stranger takes the attitude of a friend, he will stop barking and put more energy into wagging the tail. These days it is not certain at all as to which political leader will remain a leader and for how long; when will he suddenly behave stern; when will he suddenly become a “former” – nothing is certain. So people bark a little and keep on wagging the tail also. If the leader’s position proves to be stable, one can wag the tail more vigorously, and if he goes, one will show him his place by barking really loud. Nothing is certain these days.
But this is nothing other than an Indian characteristic. These are our racial characteristics. The responsibility of these racial characteristics of ours does not fall on capitalism. They are much more ancient than capitalism, and the roots of these ancient characteristics are very deep.