A Gathering of Friends
- A Gathering of Friends
- December 23, 1967, Lonavala
We have gathered here to consider a few very significant matters.
I had no idea that what I am saying to individual people would some day also need to be made public. I had never thought about it. I talk to people according to my capacity and capability, about whatever feels blissful to me and whatever it seems may help them. But slowly, slowly having the opportunity to come into contact with hundreds and hundreds of people, I came to realize, I began to see, that I have my limitations; and no matter how much I may wish to, I cannot bring my words to all the people who are in need of them. And many people have a tremendous need of them. The whole country, the whole earth is extremely thirsty and in distress.
Even if we leave the rest of the planet aside, this country itself is in a spiritual crisis. All the old values have shattered, respect and regard for all the old values has disappeared and no new values have been given birth to. Man is simply standing with no idea where to go or what to do. In such a situation it is natural that man’s mind should become very restless very distressed and very unhappy. Each individual is carrying so much misery within him, that if we were able to open his heart and look into it, we would be at a loss. The more people I have come in contact with, the more puzzled I have become to see that man is carrying within him exactly the opposite of what he appears to be from the outside. His smiles are false, his happiness is false and all his so-called rejoicings are false. And an enormous hell, a deep darkness, much unhappiness and misery have accumulated in him.
There are ways to destroy this anguish, this pain. It is possible to be free of them. Man’s life can become a life of heavenly peace and melody. And since I started to perceive this, I also felt that if we don’t bring that which can take man’s life towards peace, to those who are in need of it, we are in a way committing a crime. Knowingly or unknowingly we are committing sins of omission.
So I started feeling that it is necessary to take anything that can transform people’s lives to the maximum number of people. But I have my limitations, my capabilities and capacities have limitations. Alone, no matter how much I run, no matter how many people I reach , no matter how extensive it may be, seeing the vastness of life all around, and this society with its deep anguishes, there is no way to deal with it all. If we drop some color on the seashore, a small wave may become colored, but it does not make any difference to the vast ocean. And the interesting thing is that the small wave which may become colored, is in no time also going to be lost in that great ocean and the color too will disappear.
So we have gathered here to discuss how the color of peace may be spread far and wide in this vast ocean of life. But along with this, I am also aware that a person who becomes interested n his own peace alone, can never become peaceful in the true sense, because to be interested only in oneself is one of the causes of disease. To be only self-centered is one of the fundamental reasons for disease. A person who becomes self-centered and is interested only in himself and is oblivious of everything else around him, is like someone who builds a beautiful house and does not want to bother with the piles of garbage surrounding the house. He may create a beautiful garden in his property without bothering at all that it is stinking all around his house. If the whole neighborhood is dirty, his garden, his flowers and their fragrance will not mean much. That stink will enter into his house, and drown the fragrance of his flowers.
Man should not only be interested in himself, but also in his environment. A religious person is not only interested in himself, he also takes an interest in everything around him. I also feel that it is not enough to be only concerned with ones own peace: it is necessary to be concerned that the breezes of peace reach to all sentient beings with whom we are inter-related, with whom we are connected. This should also be of interest to us. And a person who becomes eager and thirsty to bring all of life around himself towards peace, will discover that he may or may not succeed in making others peaceful, but in the very effort he himself certainly becomes peaceful.
There is an anecdote in the life story of Buddha, perhaps it is a fictitious story but it is very beautiful. When Buddha attained to nirvana, the ultimate liberation, he reached the door of moksha, salvation, and the gatekeeper opened the gate. But Buddha stood with his back towards it. So the gatekeeper asked, ‘Why are you standing with your back towards moksha?’ Buddha said, ‘There are many people behind me, and until they all attain to moksha, I will stop here and wait. I am not so hard, so cruel and violent that I can enter salvation alone. All the peace I have attained is simply saying to me, that I should be the last person to enter moksha, first all others should enter.
It is a very beautiful story: the story goes that Buddha is still waiting at the gate of moksha, so that all others may enter first; he himself wants to enter last of all.
The heart of someone in whom such a feeling has arisen, has already attained to moksha, he need not enter any gate of moksha. For him, all notions of moksha become irrelevant. One in whom such feelings of compassion have arisen has already attained to moksha. Only those people become peaceful in whose life a strong inspiration to spread peace all around starts functioning.
I feel that those friends who have become interested in this direction, should not remain only interested in themselves, but they should become interested in other people and their environment too. Because this interest may benefit others, and even if it does not, it will still be very meaningful for them themselves; it will be helpful for them to enter deeply into great peace, and into great blissfulness, because one of the reasons for disease lies in becoming self-centered. And someone who spreads out from his center to all those around him starts moving towards becoming peaceful. So we have gathered here so that I can discuss with you in what ways the message of love, peace and compassion can be spread to as many people as possible. What methods can we find to make sure that the message reaches them? Is it possible? It is not to be propaganda, it is not to create a cult, it is not to create an organization, or a group. We are not to create a center which becomes powerful in itself, but we are to spread the message as widely as possible, without becoming a group, without becoming a cult, without becoming an organization, without creating any centralized power. And this needs a great deal of contemplation.
If one wants to create a cult then there is not much need to think about it; if one is to create an organization, there is not much need to think about it – everyone in the world knows how to create groups and organizations. Thousands of cults have already been created. We are not going to create another cult among all those cults. That is why it has to be thought through thoroughly, so that we do not create a cult or an organization and yet we want to be able to share with everybody what we love and what feels blissful to us. We don’t want to become propagandists and at the same time it may be possible to disseminate. Hence it is a very delicate issue and it needs to be thought through very carefully and with great sensitivity. It is like walking on a tight rope. One option is not to disseminate at all, because there is the danger of becoming a cult. This means we simply do not spread the message at all to anybody. And the second alternative is that we spread the message, but end up creating a cult. That danger also exists.
We have to spread the message, but it is absolutely necessary to take care that a cult is not created. So it is a question of making the dissemination possible without propagandizing, without becoming a cult, or an organization; so that the necessary transmission, the vital message reaches to the maximum number of people. This is what you have been invited here to discuss. In the coming sessions, I will gradually tell you about the things that I can see. And I will also expect you to think along these lines. I will say a few basic things to you so that you can think them over. The first thing is that our gathering of friends today is not as big as the message is. An organization is not needed, only a gathering is needed. And the difference between an organization and a gathering must be clearly understood. A gathering means that everybody is free, has come out of his own freedom and can leave of his own freedom. The meaning of a gathering is that everybody is equal, nobody is higher or lower, nobody is in any hierarchy, nobody is a follower, nobody is a leader. This is the meaning of a gathering. We are to create a gathering of friends, not an organization in which there are authorities, hierarchies, higher and lower people. And an organization has its own infrastructure, there is a hierarchy from the bottom to the top, there are rungs and positions, and along with it all comes politics. Because politics is bound to enter wherever there is status and position. Those who hold a position become scared that somebody may replace them. Those who do not hold a position become eager to reach a position. So the organization has its own hazards. We have to create a gathering of friends, not an organization, In the gathering everybody is equal and has equal value. Nobody is an authority, nobody is respectable, nobody is higher and nobody is lower and each person has only come there out of his love. Except for love there are no other commandments which he has to follow; nor are there any oaths and pledges which he has to fulfill; nor are there any vows and precepts to which he commits himself. He has joined in only out of his love and individual freedom, and he can leave the moment he wants to do so. And even when he is part of the gathering, he is not bound by any dogma or ideology; even then he is free to have different opinions, to have his own thought, to follow his own thought, to follow his own wisdom. He is not there to be somebody’s follower. So a gathering of friends, Jeevan Jagruti Kendra, may come into existence; we have to think along these lines.
Certainly, the rules by which a gathering of friends is formed, are different from the rules by which an organization is formed. The gathering of friends is totally what we may call an anarchic institution. An organization is a well planned system bound by rules, principles and laws. I do not intend to bind people by laws, rules or principles, because I am fighting against these very things. Such organizations already exist all over the world; what is the point in creating one more of them. Certainly in an organization, there is more efficiency, there cannot be that much efficiency in a gathering. But to have efficiency at the cost of freedom is an expensive bargain. Democracy is not as efficient as a dictatorship, but efficiency can be sacrificed, freedom cannot be sacrificed. A gathering of friends means that it is a voluntary get-together of free individuals. If there are to be some minor laws and systems within it, they will be below the individuals not above them. They will be functional, they cannot be the goal. We will be free to disrupt them at any moment. They should never be capable of disrupting us. The laws will be for us, not the other way around. It is important to keep this in mind.
Now, some friends think that there should be a charter. Certainly there should be a charter but not the way it would be for an organization. It should be formed keeping in mind that it is for a gathering of friends. It will be very much functional; it will be utilitarian, and it will be outlined for this purpose, but there will be no insistence on clinging to it. It can be thrown and burned at any moment. And it is important to bear in mind that howsoever valuable the charter may be, our individual friends are more valuable than it, because this charter has been formed for the sake of these friends; they have not gathered here for the sake of the charter. So, we have to create a gathering of friends where the value and dignity of each and every individual is preserved. Obviously, the greater the number of individuals, the more varied their way of thinking and understanding will be. The bigger the gathering of friends, naturally, the more dissimilarities there will be among them.
So, we should not attempt to create uniformity, otherwise an organization starts coming into existence. And the more we try to create a uniformity the more the individuality of the person, his dignity and his freedom begin to be destroyed. The concern is not for uniformity, but for the respect for all friends, even for their differing opinions. Because my whole vision is that free thinking may be born all over the country. So if the people who want to give birth to free thinking are themselves trapped within controlled thinking, then there will be danger. So, even towards me this gathering of friends should not show any special reverence. Towards me too, there should not be any feeling of reverence. Towards me too, there should be a rational approach and an intelligent approach. If what I say seems right to you, if it is to your liking, if it appears useful, only then you should communicate it to people. Do not commit the mistake of communicating to people what I say just because I have said it.
The gathering of friends is not to be centered around an individual either, because that person, I or anyone else, may become the center of worship. We will neither have any worship, nor will we be anybody’s followers, nor will we have any leader. Collectively, we are in love with a vision, a message, and it feels that if it reaches more people they will be benefitted; that is why we friends have gathered, wishing to bring this vision it people.
So first of all we will talk a little about organizations. We don’t want to create an organization, only a gathering of friends. And we will try to understand the subtle difference between the two. It will be the responsibility of every individual that he tries to save the gathering of friends from becoming an organization. It is not in my hands alone. I can only say it, but it is not in my hands alone. And if we are not very alert then there is a danger that it may become an organization. So it is necessary to be very alert. And it has to be a very conscious experiment, so that it does not become an organization.
There are certain unknown ways in which a cult is formed; before we even become aware of it, a cult starts forming. So we have to be careful about that. And if we are aware beforehand then maybe we can manage things in such a way that this does not happen. This is one alternative. And the other possibility is that if we are afraid that it may become an organization, or a cult, we don’t do anything at all. That is the other danger, that if nothing is done, then the message that has to be spread cannot be spread. Then it is left on my shoulders alone to run as much as I can to bring people the message. I will continue to do that anyway; it makes no difference to me. But the same message could reach many more people. The more friends cooperate, the farther it can reach, the more easily it can reach. And today science has developed so much technology that is modernizing society, that we would be foolish not to make use of it. We would be making a mistake if we did not make use of it. For instance here, if I spoke without the use of a microphone it would be adequate. Then even if my voice did not reach you very clearly, it would still be adequate. When there are fewer people they can hear me, but if there were more people then my voice would not carry far enough. When we use a microphone, my voice can reach a long way. Today so much technology is available that if it is all made use of, one person can do more work in his lifetime than Buddha and Mahavira could have managed in twenty lives, had they wanted to.
Buddha and Mahavira were at a disadvantage. Making use of whatever means were available to them, the work they did was more than enough. But if someone was asked to work in the same way in present times, it would be sheer foolishness. Today a lot of technology is available, it can all be made use of. And one person can do so much more work in one life, than he could manage even if he were to live for four hundred years without modern technology. So we must make use of all of this technology. That too is important to think about. It is not possible for me to do it alone. For that many more friends are needed, many types of friends are needed. Someone can do manual labor, someone can use his intellect, someone can take care of the money, someone can help in some other way; whatever one’s understanding, whatever one’s disposition, one can help accordingly. It is also important to remember that the wider the variety of friends the better it is, because the more different types of people come, contributing in different ways, doing different types of work, offering different types of help, the richer the work becomes.
It often happens that friends within their own circles are afraid of strangers. They are afraid that once the stranger comes in he will cause all kinds of trouble. So it generally happens that whenever a group of friends gathers together somewhere, they make their circle and are then afraid of new friends joining them. The fear is that the newcomer may create a disturbance. And this fear is natural too. This protective feeling is not altogether bad. But twenty-five year old friends fearing one newcomer is a sign of great weakness. Instead their thinking should be that we twenty-five people will transform the newcomer, not that the newcomer will change us twenty-five people! And if we twenty-five are so weak that one newcomer can change us, then we should be changed; what harm is there in it? What is so bad about it?
It always happens that whenever any group gathers together it starts forming a circle. Then a distance is created between it and the people outside that circle. It happens unknowingly, no one does it consciously. These are natural traits of the mind.
If you go to some unknown village and you have a few friends with you, then perhaps you will not make any friends in that village. You will remain surrounded by the circle of those few friends and will not come out of it. In a situation where you found yourself unavoidably alone then it would be a different matter, you might have to make a friend. Otherwise you would not make a new friend.
So every group has the tendency to remain confined; there is a tendency to become confined. And in being confined there is a sort of security; all is known, all is good, whatever we like the others like too; some stranger coming in might say new things and might disturb everything. We need to drop this fear. If the work is to become widespread and vast then this fear must be dropped. The emphasis should be on remaining so accommodating, our hearts so spacious and open, our arms extending so far that we are able to assimilate even people of the most opposite nature. Not a single one must be left out. We must make space within ourselves even for one who is totally different from us and we must find out what skills he has that can be useful to us.
Connected with this, in the recent past in India, Mahatma Gandhi did a great experiment. He gathered together many people of different and even antagonistic views. Totally dissimilar people, people between whom no consensus of opinion could ever be achieved, came under the same umbrella and became instrumental in an epic undertaking. Whenever someone thinks that people of different views, ideas and personalities should not included in a particular endeavor, then that endeavor cannot become great; it will remain very limited. It will remain like a small river thinking that, ‘Not every river and rivulet coming from other distant places should join me; who knows what sort of mud and rubbish, what sort of substances and minerals they may bring with them, and how good or bad their water is?’ If a river starts thinking along these lines then it will remain only a rivulet; it cannot become a great river, a Ganges. And if it is to become a Ganges, it will have to receive them all. So this capacity to receive everything needs to be there.
It is necessary to reflect on how to assimilate as many people as possible. We will have to create space. Slowly, slowly, we will have to see how we can provide people with the opportunity to join in, how we can find work for them and how to help them also to participate.
So many people all over the country come and say to me that they want to help in the work; so many people write me letters asking me what they can do to help in the work. It is your responsibility to make room for all these friends to contribute. And you completely drop and let go of the notion that there could be anyone who might not be useful for something. Such a person does not exist on the earth. What to say about people, even animals and birds become a help. Even their help becomes...
There is absolutely no one who is of no use – no person on this earth is useless.
So we need to look at how best to employ someone who is interested. If we concern ourselves with ideas about this man being like this and that man being like that, then it will be very difficult, you cannot imagine how much the work will be set back.
A man used to come to Gandhi’s ashram. People complained that he was really immoral, that he was a drunkard, that he did this and he did that, Gandhi simply went on listening to all this. All the friends became very disturbed that Gandhi was not banning this man from coming to the ashram, on the contrary he went on bringing him closer, until finally once his fears had vanished, the man began to enter the ashram rather arrogantly.
One day some of Gandhi’s closest people told him that this situation had gone too far; that day they had seen this man with their own eyes sitting in a pub; and it was absolutely disgraceful and defamatory that this man should be drinking wine there dressed in khadi, Gandhi style clothes, and that it was very unfortunate that such a man should come to the ashram; and that it would be a disgrace to the ashram.
And Gandhi said, 'For whom have I opened this ashram? For good people? Where then will bad people go? And those who are good, what need is there for them to come to the ashram? For what and for whom am I here in the first place? And the second thing is that you say that he is sitting there in the pub wearing khadi clothes, so what will people think? If I were to see him there I would hold him close to my heart. Because the first thought that would arise in my mind is, that it is amazing, it seems my words have started reaching the masses; even drinkers have started wearing khadi. You are seeing that someone wearing khadi is drinking wine; I would have seen that someone who drinks wine has started wearing khadi. And in such a case, the day is not too far away when this man may drop drinking wine. Transformation has begun in this man. He has shown courage; at least he wears khadi. Love has taken birth in his heart, transformation has begun in him.
So, this man can be looked at from either side: That he is drinking wine while dressed in khadi; then your mind will want to throw him out of the ashram. But it can also be seen from the other side, that a man who is a drunkard is wearing khadi. Then you will feel like welcoming him into the Ashram with a celebration.
If this Ashram is to expand and if it is to reach out to the masses, then you will have to take the second perspective not the first. Then whosoever comes close to us, will only be seen for the good in him and for the way in which he can be helpful. And I would also like to say to you that we are giving a great deal of incalculable and priceless energy and impetus towards being good to the man whom we start looking upon with love.
If twenty good people start to accept a bad man as good, it becomes difficult for him to continue being bad. But when the whole world starts calling someone bad, it becomes easy for him to become or continue being bad. If someone is a thief and another man shows trust in him, as though he were not a thief, his ability to steal and the likelihood that he will steal weaken. Because there is no one anywhere who does not respect the good feelings of another heart.
If a thief were to come amongst us here and we were all able to just trust him, as though he were a good man, then he would not be able to steal here. It sounds against all common laws, but it becomes impossible. Because so many people placing respect and trust in him, would be so much more precious than to steal, that he could not reject it.
Each and every individual has the feeling to be good, but the problem is that nobody is ready to accept them. And when they meet someone who is ready to accept them as good, you can’t imagine what wakes up and arises in them.
You may have heard the name of an American actress Greta Garbo. She was born in a poor family in a small country in Europe. And until the age of nineteen, she was working as an assistant in a barber’s shop, for next to nothing. An American tourist whose beard she was lathering saw her face in the mirror and said, “Very beautiful, your face is very beautiful.” Greta said to him, “What are you talking about? I have been doing this job for six years, and no one has ever told me that I am beautiful. What are you talking about?! Am I really beautiful?!”
The American said, “You are very beautiful. I have rarely seen so beautiful a woman.” And Greta Garbo has written in her autobiography, “On that very day I became beautiful for the first time. One man called me beautiful. I myself was unaware of it. That day when I came back home and stood in front of the mirror, I realized that I hade become an altogether different woman.”
This girl who was an assistant in a barber’s shop until the age of nineteen, later proved to be America’s greatest film actress. And she only had that American who for the first time had told her that she was beautiful to thank for it. She said that, ‘If this man had not said those few words to me that day, I would probably have remained a barber’s assistant my whole life. I had no idea at all that I am beautiful. It is possible that he just said it very casually. It is possible that he was simply being polite. And it is possible that this man had not even been aware of what he was saying; it may just have been a passing comment. And he may not have even felt that a simple statement from him had given birth to an image of beauty in a woman, that something that had been asleep had somehow awakened in her.
It is necessary to awaken what is asleep in the people for whom you want to do something. Hence it is necessary to focus less on what they are and more on what they could be. If you have a big job to be done and without help you couldn’t get any work done, and I told you to get so and so to help, you might say, but this man is bad, he is dishonest, he cannot be trusted.
It is okay that this man is bad or dishonest - who is not? And it is not a question of what he is, but rather of what he could be. If you are to get him to do any great work, you will have to give a call to that within him which he could become.
Kripalani used to work as a cook in Gandhi’s ashram. An American journalist was staying in the ashram and he asked, ‘This man who cooks your food seems to be J. B. Kripalani.’ Kripalani was washing dishes, he said, ‘This old man is amazing! In fact, I was only fit to be a cook and this man awakened in me something that is beyond description.’
The awakening can happen even in the most insignificant person. Once we give him a call, once we draw what is asleep in his soul nearer and we trust in him, once we give a call and create a challenge to what is asleep in him, much can come out of him. And you can demoralize even the greatest man. Even if you tell the greatest man that he is nothing, and if this is what he hears several times coming from everywhere, rest assured he will become nothing.
So if a spiritual revolution is to be carried out on a vast scale in this country - and it is absolutely necessary that it should happen -and if we can do no more than pave the way for it, that too is enough, because someone else will complete it. What difference does it make through whom it happens. The point is not that it has to happen only through us. No, if we can even pave the way for it so that later, some day, a revolution could pass down it, that is more than enough; the matter is already taken care of. So if it is to be done, a very comprehensive group has to be formed. An organization can never be comprehensive. A group of friends can be very comprehensive, very extensive. Because within it there is an acceptance of diversity. No one is forced or controlled. Within the group everybody is free and nobody is being controlled. Because whenever an intelligent person starts to feel that he is being controlled, he becomes troubled by it. No intelligent person enjoys being in bondage.
People with an inferiority complex want to be controlled; only those who are full of inferiority would rather be in fetters; no one else is going to care for that. Hence the group has to be kept so open that when someone comes in he doesn’t even feel that he came in somewhere, that he got tied down somewhere. He should feel free. Whether he comes in or goes out, it should not feel different to him, or that it has created any difference.
I would like such a group to happen, such a comprehensive group of friends to happen. Because the people who initially gather for a revolution are not aware of how big a revolution it is going to be. The companions of Lenin had no idea that what happened in 1917 would become such a universal phenomenon. Voltaire and his friends also had no idea what the French Revolution would bring. Gandhi and his friends also had no idea what would happen or would not happen. Christ couldn’t have known at all what was beginning there...Christ just had eight friends and they too were not very educated people, just rustics; someone was a carpenter, someone was a cobbler, someone was fisherman – not educated people. Christ had no way to even imagine that it would become such a widespread revolution, that one day half the world would recognize his message. He couldn’t have even imagined it.
No one who first sows the seeds has ever imagined how big the trees will be. Had it been so, the work would have become inconceivably beautiful.
Meeting with more and more people across the country, I have begun to feel that this work could become an enormous banyan tree. Thousands of people could find shade under this tree. It could become such a huge spring that it could quench the thirst of millions. But this is not yet clear to those friends who are the first to gather here. If they can be aware of it, then perhaps they may begin to work in an organized fashion. Recently I was reading a scientific book. In Russia when they are building roads, they project how many people will be using these roads in one hundred years time, and then build them accordingly. And then here we are, we also build roads in our country, but we don’t even take into consideration how many people will be traveling on them in two years time. So every two years the roads have to be dug up again to make them wider. And every five years we realize that the traffic has increased and the road is no longer adequate. Are we blind or what, that we can’t even estimate how many people will be using the roads! These are amazing people who can project how many people there will be in a certain town after one hundred years, and how many people will be using the roads after one hundred years, and how wide the roads will need to be after one hundred years, and then decide that it is better to build them accordingly now.
The work of those who have foresight becomes easy, and there are less recurring difficulties.
Right now the group of friends is small but in ten years time it could be bigger than you might possibly imagine. And we have to work with that in mind – the road has to be made wide enough to accommodate that possibility. In ten years time, unknown strangers will be walking down this road; you may not be here, I may not be here, none of us may be here, but someone will be walking on this road. So we must keep that in mind while we are working. And we should remember too that we are not precious, it is the path which we are creating and which we dedicate our lives to that is precious. If it is large and wide enough many people will be able to walk on it.
We need to consider these points in detail. I have just mentioned a few things around the issue which we will consider during the next days. And it is necessary to contemplate each of these points in detail to see what can be done about them. My understanding of the details is very limited. You have more understanding than I do about those things.
I can tell you some of the central points around which some thinking needs to be done. But I have almost no understanding of the details; how things are to be done, how many people will be required to do them, how much money will be needed, how much labor will be needed. All of this you probably know more than I do. How to give it a practical form and how far to take it, you certainly know about all that more than I do. I don’t know even the ABC of it. That is why I thought that I would tell you my ideas and would also listen to your ideas. And between the two sets of ideas, in their merger, perhaps something will be possible. I can tell you some things about the sky but I don’t know much about the things of the earth. And talks about the sky alone do not have much value. The roots have to go into the earth, they have to take water and nourishment from the earth. So I will talk about how a tree can spread across the sky, and how can it flower, but you will have to think a little about the roots. And remember, flowers are not as important as the roots are. Flowers depend on the roots.
So what roots can we provide this work with, so that this tree can grow? I will give my whole effort and energy to it whether it grows bigger or not – I am giving it. It is not work for me, it is my joy, my bliss. It doesn’t make any difference whether I have companions or not, it will continue in the same way. But if there were companions, this work could become vast, and reach out to many people.
I have said some things to you about these few points. Now you give it some thought to the details; what can be done; how can it be done? Give some thought to it with a very open mind and then we will discuss it here. All your opinions are invited tomorrow morning; express them, consider them, and then come to a decision.
The camp that I am doing here is a small camp. But then the idea will be to arrange a camp for all my friends from all over the country who have become interested in this work. This one is experimental, because fewer people will be able to come to a conclusion more easily. It may perhaps not be as easy with larger numbers of people.
So we should reflect and then we should again have a camp in which people from all over the country can gather. It is also necessary for them all to meet each other, it is necessary that they become acquainted with each other. They are doing the work in their areas. Your cooperation and encouragement are necessary for their work. They shouldn’t feel alone there. They should feel that there are also more friends all over the country, that they are not standing all alone somewhere, that they have fellow travelers, and that if there was ever a need they would all be with them, to give advice, or if there was work to be done, they would come and help.
Recently, friends in Rajkot told me that they want to take my message to those cities and places where I have not yet been. And they want to create a base there so that I can go there.
It has become necessary. When I go to a new city, a few hundred or a few thousand people get to hear me. If some preparatory work was done beforehand, ten thousand people, fifty thousand people could hear me.
Friends at different places come up with different suggestions. Their suggestions are very significant, very useful. All these friends can meet to consider the situation. This meeting will become the basis for that to happen. So right now I will not say anything more. From tomorrow morning we will begin to discuss the details. And bear in mind that you have not come here to listen to me. This is not a gathering for my discourses. I have talked as much as I have so that you can also speak. I have not been giving a speech; it has been just to encourage you to think and discuss.
And the idea is that in these two days we come to some conclusions thinking and contemplating collectively, so that we can move ahead based on firm decisions, which will in turn get some work done.