You teach your sannyasins to take care of themselves before they try to take care of others. This seems to go against many of the religions in the world that teach service to humanity and it must appear a very selfish attitude to them. Can you speak on this?
It not only goes against many religions, it goes against all the religions in the world. They all teach service to others, unselfishness. But to me, selfishness is a natural phenomenon. Unselfishness is imposed. Selfishness is part of your nature. Unless you come to a point where your self dissolves into the universal, you cannot be truly unselfish. You can pretend. But you will only be a hypocrite, and I don’t want my people to be hypocrites. So it is a little complicated but it can be understood.
First, selfishness is part of your nature. You have to accept it. And if it is part of your nature it must be serving something very essential, otherwise it would not have been there at all. It is because of selfishness that you have survived, that you have taken care of yourself; otherwise humanity would have disappeared long ago.
Just think of a child who is unselfish, born unselfish. He will not be able to survive, he will die – because even to breathe is selfish, to eat is selfish, when there are millions of people who are hungry and you are eating, when there are millions of people who are unhealthy, sick, dying, and you are healthy.
If a child is born without selfishness as an intrinsic part of his nature, he is not going to survive. If a snake comes close to him, what is the need to avoid the snake? Let him bite. It is your selfishness that protects you; otherwise, you are coming in the way of the snake. If a lion jumps upon you and kills you, be killed. That is unselfishness. The lion is hungry, you are providing food – who are you to interfere? You should not protect yourself, you should not fight. You should simply offer yourself on a plate to the lion. That will be unselfishness. All these religions have been teaching things which are unnatural. This is only one of the things.
I teach you nature. I teach you to be natural, absolutely natural, unashamedly natural. Yes, I teach you selfishness. Nobody has said it before me. They had not the guts to say it. And they were all selfish; this is the amazing part of the whole story.
Why is a Jaina monk torturing himself? There is a motivation. He wants to attain to moksha and to all the pleasures therein. He is not sacrificing anything, he is simply bargaining. He is a businessman, and his scriptures say, “You will get a thousandfold.” And this life is really very small – seventy years is not much. If you sacrifice seventy years’ pleasures for an eternity of pleasures it is a good bargain. I don’t think it is unselfish.
And why have these religions been teaching you to serve humanity? What is the motive? What is the goal? What are you going to gain out of it? You may never have asked the question. This is not service.