I was a child, very small. When I was in school, I used to go to the library and read about the lives of great men who have created some great things for us, so many of them. And I was so impressed how some of them were so simple, so child-like. For example, Abraham Lincoln for whom I have tremendous, tremendous respect was a man tortured by his wife. She said, 'You don’t know. You are very clumsy. You don’t know how to dress up. You don’t know how to behave.' And she actually was very harsh on him, all the time torturing him. Ultimately he was also killed.
So one can say, 'You see, what’s the use of being Abraham Lincoln? Because he was killed, he was not successful.' Until today, all over the world people know who was Abraham Lincoln. They do not know his wife, but they know who was Abraham Lincoln — everybody. Clumsy man, according to her. All sorts of degradation for him, but nobody respects her. Nobody thinks anything about her. Who is respected today is Abraham Lincoln.
Why? Actually he was murdered. He was killed. That shows that he had no strength to survive, but he survived through ages. So many years have passed, still he is surviving.
Take the case of all the great people who have been innocent and that is why. They had ideals. To them their ideals were more important than anything else, even their lives. Everything was nothing.
Now the sense of ideals and idealism comes only from your innocence. That is the one which teaches you what is your ideal, how you should exist, what kind of a life you should lead. It is not important that you have big authorities or you have very big positions as ministers and all that. There have been so many who came and died. They had so many people with ambitions and so many people who were oppressive, but where are they? Nobody is bothered about them. Nobody wants to look at them. If their photograph appears, people close their eyes, 'No, no, we don’t want to see this man.' But if there is a little boy, innocent child who is talking in a very innocent manner, the whole world admires that child. And these great men are really the symbols of that innocence. Their main quality was innocence, from where the wisdom has come. (2001-09-22)
Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War—its bloodiest war and an event often considered its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. In doing so, he preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the economy.