I have been talking about an incident that is absolutely important in order to understand my life and its workings…and it is still alive for me….
By the way, I was saying I can still remember, but the word remember is not right. I can still see the whole incident happening. Of course I was just a young child, but that does not mean that what I said is not to be taken seriously. In fact it is the only serious thing that I have ever talked about: suicide.
To a Westerner, it may seem a little rude to ask a monk – who is almost like a pope to the Jainas – such a question: “Why don’t you commit suicide?” But be kind to me. Let me explain before you conclude, or stop listening to me.
Jainism is the only religion in the world which respects suicide. Now it is your turn to be surprised. Of course, they do not call it suicide; they give it a beautiful metaphysical name, santhara. I am against it, particularly the way it is done. It is very violent and cruel. It is strange that a religion which believes in nonviolence should preach santhara, suicide. You can call it metaphysical suicide, but after all, suicide is suicide; the name does not matter. What matters is that the man is no longer alive.
Why am I against it? I am not against the right of man to commit suicide. No, it should be one of the basic human rights. If I don’t want to live, who has the right to force me to live? If I myself want to disappear, then all that others can do is to make it as comfortable as possible. Note it: one day I would like to disappear, I cannot live forever.
Just the other day someone showed me a car sticker. It says, “I am proud that I am an American.” I looked at it, and when afterwards I cried over it. I am not an American, and I am proud that I am not an American. Nor am I an Indian – then who am I? I am proud that I am nobody. That is where my whole journey has brought me – to nobodiness, to homelessness, to nothingness. I have even renounced enlightenment, which nobody has done before me. I also renounce illumination, for the illumination of that German idiot! I have no religion, no country, no home. The whole world is mine.
I am the first citizen of the universe. You know I am crazy. I could start issuing passports for universal citizenship. I have been thinking about it. I am thinking about an orange card, which can be issued by me to my sannyasins as a passport for universal brotherhood, as opposed to nations, races and religions.