Professor and Controversial Speaker

Aged 26, he is appointed Professor of Philosophy at the University of Jabalpur, where he teaches until 1966.

Described as a ‘brilliant but unorthodox professor’, even his teaching methods create controversy. However, he is immensely popular and his lectures have to be moved to the largest hall in the university.

A powerful and passionate debater, he also travels widely in India during these years, challenging orthodox religious leaders in public debates, speaking on the radio, and addressing large public gatherings.

The press report:
‘He traveled widely and racked up controversies wherever he went.’ ‘He was seized with a mission of awakening sensitive people from what he believed to be a sleep-walking intellectual materialism.’

An exciting and entertaining speaker, he is initially invited to address many prestigious conferences. However, his delight in controversy, and his endless and uncompromising attacks on any and every deeply-rooted belief that he feels is not based on truth or logic, soon make him an enemy of the establishment. He tears into organised religion, delivering a scathing indictment of the Shankaracharya of Puri, the high priest of Hinduism, at the Second World Hindu Religion Conference at Patna. He vehemently attacks India’s long-standing love affair with poverty, condemning the revered Gandhi for crippling India with his anti-modern, anti-technology thinking. Gandhi’s preoccupation with the poor, he says, has hindered their liberation from poverty. What India needs to escape its backwardness is capitalism, science, modern technology and birth control.

In the same vein, he lashes out at another national hero, Mother Teresa, for manipulating the orphan problem in order to create more converts to Catholicism. Her stance against birth control, he says, shows that she is not trying to fight poverty, merely trying to create more Hindu babies which she can ‘save’ for Catholicism, winning a Nobel Prize in the bargain. Poverty can only be eradicated, he maintains, through ‘absolute’ birth control and education. He insists that wealth is a necessary precursor to spiritual seeking, poor people being too preoccupied with food and other survival basics to think about spiritual needs. In a country where poverty and renunciation are blindly associated with saint­hood, these views are not surprisingly considered shocking.

A few years later he causes further outrage when he begins to lecture that sex is a path to enlightenment.

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