Why don’t you address your audience?
There is a certain basic foundation for it. There is no audience to be addressed. As far as I am concerned, we are not separate. To you, I am separate from you; hence the question. But to me, you are just part of a vast continent of consciousness – in the same way that I am part of it. Who is going to address whom?
There is a famous story of a Zen master. Every day, waking up in the morning, he would shout his own name. His disciples were very much puzzled. Finally they gathered courage and asked him.
The master said, “Because only I am, there is nobody else to be called for. So I declare as I wake up, ‘Aha! So I am here again!’”
I cannot address you because I am part and parcel of you – and not a mechanical part. The commune is an organic unity.
The right hand never calls for help from the left hand; it comes of its own accord. The body is an organic whole. There is no need for any part of the body to address any other part of the body. The body functions in a tremendous unity. A commune is an organic body; hence, forgive me, I cannot address you.
And what is there to use as an address? People address the audience as “Ladies and Gentlemen.” Both words are bogus. The gentleman has not yet arrived. Civilization is still a dream. If you scratch the so-called gentleman a little bit, you will find the animal there – not even a human being.
And gentle, certainly man is not; otherwise, who has been fighting all these wars? Who has been killing millions of people? Who has been torturing the whole humanity and pushing it towards the ultimate global suicide? You call these people gentlemen? Then what will be the definition of a barbarous man?
And have you ever met a lady? – full of jealousies, full of ego. What is there? Just look inside a man or a woman and you will find only two biological animals. Do you want me to address you, “Dear Biological Animals”? – because that will be the truth.
I am reminded that the first Hindu sannyasin to come to America was Swami Vivekananda. He was the disciple of Paramahansa Ramakrishna. He had come here to participate in a world religious conference. Christian priests spoke, Jewish rabbis spoke, Mohammedan imams spoke – and they all addressed the people, “Ladies and Gentlemen.”
Vivekananda was very young, so his turn came last. And do you know what happened? He addressed them as, “My brothers and sisters of America.”