Driving in Phnom Penh

I go out in the morning and again in the afternoon. Savyasachi drives me. The traffic is crazier than the craziest! Craziness and carelessness at every moment run riot. More sympathetic oneness is needed among the drivers, cyclists and motorcyclists. At every moment an accident is bound to take place here, there, everywhere. But God, out of His infinite Bounty, saves us.

This morning I saw an elderly lady riding a bicycle. A young man driving a motorcycle dashed against her, and she was lying on the ground for two or three minutes, it seemed. Nobody came to her rescue. A policeman was ten metres away, but he just ignored the accident. Finally some people came to help lift her up.

Every second I see clearly that an accident can take place. Everybody feels that he or she is by far the best driver or cyclist. Even if they do not want to value their lives, we must value our own lives. We have the most significant, most meaningful and most fruitful task: we have to fulfil our Beloved Supreme here on earth. We cannot participate in the stone-hearted craziness of such drivers.

20 December 2001, Inter-Continental Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

While we are in Phnom Penh, I do not want any disciple of mine to ride a motorbike. First of all, there is such a horrible vibration coming from the motorbikes. As soon as you are on a motorcycle, it is all destruction, destruction. Even the weakest little child thinks that she is the Lord of the entire universe when she is riding a motorbike. Motorcyclists even seem to have such a low opinion of cars. A car can destroy them in no time, but they turn absolutely against the right of way of a car. The vibration of some of the drivers is deplorable. Spirituality means dealing with vibrations.

Please, please, do not take motorcycles. Wherever you want to go, please walk or take a taxi. If three or four disciples go together, then easily you can manage to walk or pay for a taxi. I see that bicycles are at the mercy of motorcycles. And restlessness is not a strong enough word — a destructive feeling I always get from the motorcycles. Motorcyclists are in their own world. There is some poise when one is inside a car, I feel. But when a motorcycle is going by, poise is all gone. At every moment there can be hundreds of accidents. It is very unsafe, very unsafe. The drivers simply do not care. Everything that we consider to be against the law they do. It is very dangerous, very dangerous.

Here there are parks just five or ten minutes away from our hotel. Savyasachi takes me there. They are very, very beautiful places with pools of water, flags and banners. All of you can go there to walk or run. And here at our hotel you have the swimming pool and you have the gym. Why to take risks?

22 December 2001, Inter-Continental Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The other day we made the mistake of turning left where it was not allowed, and we were stopped by the police. Then they harassed us. Afterwards they said, “We will not fine you, but we need money to drink beer. ” Savyasachi gave them one dollar.

Then they said, “But there are four of us, and we all have to drink.”

After a long time Savyasachi gave them two dollars. Then the police disappeared.

Today again a policeman stopped Savyasachi. He showed the policeman his licence. The policeman said, “I am not going to fine you, although you have done something wrong. But my children are very, very poor. Please, please give me some money for my children.”

Savyasachi gave him a dollar. The policeman said, “My friend is also very, very poor. Please give us four dollars or five dollars.”

Savyasachi gave one more dollar. Then he was released. The policeman took the money and went away on his motorcycle. The policeman did not say that he himself was poor, but his children were poor, and his friend was very poor. His friends were all there, and they did not get even a cent from him. This happened just one hour before we met with the Prime Minister.

But these policemen are far better than the police in some other countries. On one of our concert tours, how many times poor Kailash was stopped, stopped while he was driving me! Once or twice they put a revolver to his chest. The local people were allowed to park at a particular place, but Kailash was not allowed. Hundreds of cars were parked, but for Kailash it was not permitted. So many sad stories took place there, right from the moment I arrived at the airport. We have to stage them one day.

24 December 2001 Inter-Continental Hotel Phnom Penh, Cambodia