It has been said that in times of great stress – social, economic, religious – that great good is possible. Would you speak on this?
“Yes, a time of crisis is a very valuable time. When everything is established and there is no crisis, things are dead. When nothing is changing and the grip of the old perfect, it is almost impossible to change yourself. When everything is in chaos, nothing is static, nothing is secure – nobody knows what is going to happen the next moment.
In such a chaotic moment you are free, you can change. You can attain the innermost core of your being.
“It is just like in a prison: when everything is settled it is almost impossible for any prisoner to get out of it, to escape from the prison. But just think: there has been an earthquake and everything is disturbed. Nobody knows where the guards are, nobody knows where the jailer is, all rules have dissolved, and everybody is running on his own. If in that moment a prisoner is a little alert, he can escape very easily; if he is foolish, then he will miss the opportunity.
“When the society is in a turmoil and everything is in crisis, chaos pervades, this is the moment when you can escape from the prison – if you want to. It is so easy because nobody is guarding you, nobody is after you. You are left alone. Things are in such a state that everybody is bothering about his own business; nobody is looking at you. This is the moment. Don’t miss that moment.
Much enlightenment has always happened in great periods of crisis.
“When the society is established, it is almost impossible to rebel, to go beyond, not to follow the rules. Then enlightenment becomes very, very difficult because it is freedom, it is anarchy. In fact it is moving away from the society and becoming individual.
“The society doesn’t like individuals. It likes robots who just look like individuals but are not. The society doesn’t like authentic beings. It likes masks, pretenders, hypocrites, but not real people because a real person is always trouble.
“A real person is always a free person. You cannot force things on him; you cannot make a prisoner out of him; you cannot enslave him. He would rather lose his life than lose his freedom. Freedom is more valuable to him than life itself. Freedom is the highest value for him. That’s why in India we have called the highest value moksha, nirvana. Those words mean freedom, total freedom, absolute freedom.
“Use whenever the society is in turmoil – when everybody is attending to his own business, has to attend – to escape. In that moment the doors of the prison are open, many cracks are in the walls, the guards are not on duty; one can escape easily.
Twenty-five centuries ago, at the time of Buddha, the situation was the same. It always comes in a circle; the circle completes in twenty-five centuries.
“Just as a circle completes in one year – again the summer comes back, after one year’s circle the summer is back – there is a great circle of twenty-five centuries. Every time after twenty-five centuries the old foundations dissolve; society has to lay new foundations. The whole edifice becomes worthless; it has to be demolished. Then economic, social, political, religious – all systems – are disturbed. The new has to be born; it is a birth pain.
“There are two possibilities. One is the possibility that you may start fixing the old falling structure: you may become a servant of the society, you may start making things more stable. Then you miss, because nothing can be done: the society is dying. Every society has a life span and every culture has a life span. When a child is born, we know the child will become a youth, will become old, and will die – seventy years, eighty years, at the most a hundred years. Every society is born, is young, becomes old, has to die. Every civilization that is born has to die.
These critical moments are moments of the death of the past, the old; moments of the birth of the new. You should not bother; you should not start supporting the old structure. It is going to die.
“If you are supporting it, you may be crushed under it. This is one possibility: that you start supporting the structure. That is not going to work. You will miss the opportunity.
“Then there is another possibility: you may start a social revolution to bring in the new. Then, too, again you will miss the opportunity, because the new is going to come. You need not bring it in. The new is already coming. Don’t bother about it; don’t become a revolutionary. The new will come. If the old is gone, nobody can force it to remain.
“If the new is there and the time has been reached and the child is ripe in the womb, the child is going to be born. You need not try any Caesarian operation. The child is going to be born; don’t bother about it. Revolution goes on happening by itself; it is a natural phenomenon. No revolutionaries are needed. You need not kill the person; he is going to die himself. If you start working for a social revolution – you become a communist, a socialist – you will miss.
“These are the two alternatives in which you can miss. Or you can use this time of crisis and be transformed, use it for your individual growth.
“There is nothing like a critical moment in history. When everything is tense and everything is intense, and everything has come to a moment, to a peak, from where the wheel will turn.
Use this door, this opportunity, and be transformed. That’s why my emphasis is on individual revolution.”
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