Religion is rebellion
IS IT NOT POSSIBLE IN ANY WAY TO PRESERVE YOUR LIVING RELIGION AND NOT LET IT BE REDUCED TO A CULT LIKE CHRISTIANITY? THE VERY IDEA OF YOUR RELIGION BEING REDUCED WITH TIME TO A CULT IS UNBEARABLE.
IT is almost impossible to preserve a religion as a religion. Up to now nobody has succeeded in doing it.
But I said it is almost impossible, not absolutely, because we are fortunate in seeing all the failures of the past: all that helps a religion to become a cult can be dropped from the very beginning. We know that many people have tried before. Their efforts are also helpful.
There is not an intrinsic impossibility of a religion remaining a religion. The reasons that reduce it to a cult are not very fundamental.
The first thing: it is not my religion.
I have nothing to do with it. In fact, when I ceased to be it came into being. This is the first thing to remember - it will help the religion to remain a living current.
Do not make it a certain kind of religion - Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism - no, just let it be pure religion.
Let it be just religiousness.
Nobody can reduce religiousness to a cult.
That is absolutely impossible.
And what I am doing continually is withdrawing all possibilities, all potentialities, which can reduce it to a cult. For example, I have removed God. Without God it is very difficult to reduce a religion to a cult. That's why Christianity is more of a cult than Buddhism.
This is our blessing, because we can look back upon the whole of history. And only fools say that history does not repeat itself; it continuously repeats, unless you prevent it from repeating itself. If you have accepted the idea that history never repeats itself you are not going to prevent it from repeating itself, there is no need. I say to you that it always repeats itself, unless somebody intelligently prevents it.
Judaism, Christianity, Mohammedanism, Hinduism, are all God - oriented. Jainism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, are not God - oriented. And the difference can be seen immediately. The God - oriented religions become cults immediately.
God is a very dangerous concept because in the name of God comes the priesthood.
If there is no God it is very difficult to create a priesthood. In Jainism there is no priesthood. They have to borrow priests from the Hindus for their worldly rituals; for example, marriage. They don't have any priests, their religion is against brahminism. But Hindus have the greatest and the longest- standing priesthood; the most sophisticated, cultured, very solidly based establishment.
When my first uncle was getting married... at that time I became aware of a strange thing, that a brahmin had been called. I asked my father, "Jainism is against brahminism, it was a revolt against the brahmin ritualistic, magical religion. And the marriage is being performed by a brahmin? From the very beginning the marriage is invalid. Can't you manage to have a Jaina perform the marriage?"
He said, "You raise inconvenient questions, but I must accept that your questions are never wrong.
We may not be able to answer them, we may have practical difficulties in answering them, but that is really our problem - and we get angry at you! Now, the ritual is going to be performed; everybody is ready - the bride and the bridegroom, all the guests and the brahmin have come - it is just about to begin and you are starting to ask a troublesome question."
I said, "It is my uncle's marriage. I have every right to be concerned that it is done rightly."
My father wanted me to be quiet. He said, "You can have a few rupees but get lost, go away."
I said, "This is not the time - no bribery is going to help. I am going to create trouble; I am not going to allow this brahmin to do the marriage ceremony. Just the very idea.... He is your enemy; the brahmins are continually condemning Jainism, all their scriptures are full of condemnation. Jainas are continually condemning brahmins, their whole philosophy is against brahmins. I will not allow it.
Either the marriage has to be performed by a Jaina, or I am going to create trouble."
And I created trouble. I stood up and I asked all the Jainas - all the elders of the society were there - I asked them, "What is the meaning of all this? Can anybody answer me?"
One old man said, "This question has been arising in me my whole life - because I must have seen thousands of marriages. Each time the question was there, but I was not courageous enough to enquire. This boy is right. And one has to begin someday."
I told my grandfather, "Now, you come to my help. What this brahmin is doing, anybody can do. If you allow me, I can do it."
They said, "That will be too much. Let some elderly person do it."
I said, "That's okay."
The same old man performed the ritual. That was the first marriage in India amongst Jainas performed by a Jaina. I said, "Don't be worried. Whatsoever the brahmin is saying in Sanskrit, you say in Hindi. In fact it is better to say it in Hindi, because both the bride and the bridegroom will understand what you are saying. What the brahmin says is all nonsense - all Greek and Latin!
He may be simply talking gibberish, and you think he is saying great things. All that is wanted is a commitment, a promise, a word given before the society that you will take care of each other. All else is non-essential."
And that old man performed it in Hindi. The brahmin was so angry because he lost his fee... and that was the beginning. After that marriage in my city no Jaina marriage was performed by a brahmin.
Jainas have no priesthood because without God what is the function of the priest? Things are interrelated. God is absolutely needed to create the hierarchy - then the messiah, then the pope, then the cardinals, then the bishops, then the priest.... And it goes on and on; from the bottom to the peak, so many steps. But they are all possible only if you accept the peak, and the peak is fictitious.
God is fictitious.
If I had met Jesus I would have told him, "God is fictitious. I am not denying you anything; I am simply saying that unless you prove God as a fact, your messiahship is out of the question - so there is no need to deny it, as the Jews are denying it, saying that you are not the messiah, not the true messiah."
Just a few days ago I saw a film, a beautiful film on a Jewish family, a very orthodox Hassid family.
The Jews don't accept Hassids as really equal to them, they are outcasts. The Hassids even today don't accept the nation of Israel, because they say, "Israel will be established when the messiah comes - but where is he?"
Their logic is perfect. This Israel is created by the politicians, not by the messiah. They don't accept this nation - and I agree with them that this is just a creation, a forced creation. It is not a nation that grew naturally; hence the Jews in Israel are going to be in trouble forever.
The Jews think that the Americans have done them a great favor by creating Israel; it is not so.
They have done something worse than Adolf Hitler did, because this is going to be a constant problem. Israel had not existed for centuries; it was a Mohammedan country, Palestine, surrounded by Mohammedan countries.
Now just because you won the second world war and you happened to be in control of the land of Palestine, you forced the creation of a nation. It is arbitrary. The people are Mohammedans, it is their country. Israel may have been, thousands of years before, the country of the Jews. But for thousands of years it has been a country of the Mohammedans, and suddenly you simply change the map... and surrounded by the whole Mohammedan world. In the Middle East all the countries are Mohammedan.
This small country, Israel, is going to continuously suffer; and how long can America help it? And how long are American Jews going to pour their money into Israel? Sooner or later the truth of history will have to be accepted. If America had been really compassionate towards Jews, they should have given them an Israel in America. Oregon would have been perfectly good! I propose it:
Let Oregon be the Israel. But what kind of compassion is this? - putting Jews there. They will never be able to live at ease, never.
So when I saw in this film the rejection of Israel by the Hassids... of course their reason is different.
I have always been against the creation of Israel. I was a child when it was created but even then my first reaction was that this was absolutely idiotic.
The country is populated by Mohammedans - all around there are Mohammedan countries, they are all together - and you put the poor Jews amongst this vast ocean of enemies. Previously they had somehow escaped from that Israel - history was more compassionate to them. And there was no need for a nation; they were living all over the world. The whole world had become their nation.
When you lose your nation, the whole world becomes your nation - why bother about a nation?
My reasons were different: that this was a political strategy to keep a military base - because Israel will always need the help of America, so America will always keep its military base in Israel, which is very close to Russia. And the Jews are not going in any way to be against America because they are protected by America; they are almost slaves of America.
Without America Israel would be immediately finished, they would be slaughtered; so they depend on America, and their dependence is a guarantee that America has a base in the Middle East.
Other Mohammedan countries will not give you a base - you are Christians, and Mohammedans and Christians have been fighting for fifteen hundred years, crusades upon crusades.
My reason is different, but the Hassidic reason is worth consideration. They say the scriptures are clear that the messiah will come and reestablish the kingdom of Israel. Where is the messiah?
Franklin Roosevelt? Winston Churchill? Who is the messiah? Then this Israel is bogus!
I like the idea. But for me it is bogus for different reasons, but it is bogus; on that I agree with the Hassids. Without God you cannot have a messiah. I would not have argued with Jesus that "You are not the messiah," because that is a secondary question. The primary question is that "You have to prove God exists."
But because Jews accepted God, they never argued on the basic point. And on the secondary point you cannot argue because Jesus says, "God has sent me." And the Jews had been accepting other prophets sent by God, so what was wrong with poor Jesus? - why should he not be accepted? But if God had been denied, then..."There is nobody to send you. First you prove the existence of God - then only the secondary question arises; then we will discuss it." And Jesus would have been at a loss to answer and the crucifixion would have been easily avoided.
But Judaism is God-oriented, Mohammedanism is God-oriented, hence Mohammed becomes His messenger. And somebody has to be the messenger, otherwise how is there going to be any kind of communication between God and His creation? - a mediator is absolutely needed. It appears logical.
The people in the Arabian countries believed in God, so they could not raise the basic question.
They only argued that"You are not the right messenger." But how can you prove who is the right messenger and who is the wrong messenger? You are fighting on very secondary issues. The real fight has to be on the primary issue.
In Jainism there is no possibility of a messiah. Nobody can declare that "I am a messiah;" people will simply laugh and say that you have gone mad. Nobody can declare that "I am a messenger of God;"
he will be just a laughingstock, people will just joke around. He cannot say, "I am an incarnation of God," because God does not exist. From where are you getting this incarnation - an incarnation of nobody?
So in Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, Confucianism, no problem arises about the messiahs, messengers. And then how can you have popes and bishops and priests? This is the whole ladder.
If you accept the highest rung on the ladder you will have to accept the ladder. But if the ladder is going nowhere, if it is just standing on the ground and leading nowhere, reaching nowhere, all the rungs on the ladder will become meaningless.
I have denied the idea of God.
And with God disappears all messiahhood.
You cannot declare me a messiah even when I am dead.
You cannot declare me an incarnation, even when I am dead.
You cannot declare me a messenger.
Do you see the simple fact?that even when I am dead you cannot go against me. How can you create a cult? - because all the necessary ingredients for a cult I am denying. I am saying there is no messenger. I am saying there is no avatara.
But although Mahavira saved Jainism from the priesthood, he could not save it from becoming a cult, because he brought in a new concept - the tirthankara.
You have to understand: that concept is totally different from a messiah. A messiah is one who comes from God; that's the exact meaning of avatara. Literally it means descendance - coming down from above. Tirthankara means growing up from below. It is man who has blossomed to his fullness, who has achieved the ultimate. It is not a descendant of anybody; it is a growth. It is from the roots, it grows like a tree.
The avatara is upside down, the messiah is upside down, hanging from above, coming downwards; they are a kind of fall. A tirthankara is man risen up to his full potential.
Mahavira thought... and that was the concept of Buddha, the same - they were contemporaries, and they both thought, "This way we avoid the priesthood, God, because we have made man the central point."
One Baul poet of Bengal... Baul means mad, and they are really mad people - madly in love with existence. One of the most important of the Bauls is Chandidas. His famous statement is, "Sabar upar manush jati, tahar upar nahin: Above all is the truth of man, and above that there is nothing."
Now man becomes the ultimate truth.
It was a great revolution - to throw God from His throne and put man on His throne.
But a cult still came into being. They forgot something, but we can remember it. They were experimenting; they were the first people, and they have done a great deal. They have cut out almost half the possibilities, but the other half of the possibilities are enough to create a cult: they made the tirthankara an extraordinary man, a superman. They had to, because the question was of continuous comparison - Hindus have avataras; they are all supermen with divine power.
The ordinary people would like to follow a man who has divine power, rather than only a man.
Naturally, when you are going to shop, you shop for the best and the cheapest. Now, Mahavira was neither. He was the costliest because his discipline was very difficult; that was the price you had to pay if you were to follow him. If you were to go on that path of austerity, that was the price you had to pay to become a superman - and still you would be a man.
So much trouble, so much fasting, living naked... the Jaina monk cannot even use fire. In the night when it is cold, winter, he cannot use a blanket, he cannot even use fire. There are naked Hindu monks also but they are not troubled: they do two things which are very inventive of them. First, they always sit with a bonfire in front of them, so they are warm. And second, they go on rubbing, all over their body, ashes from the fire. So all the pores in the body which breathe are closed - not completely, otherwise they would be dead, but closed enough so that their body heat does not go out. Then there is also the heat from the outside which prevents them from being cold.
The Jaina monk is also naked, but with no heat, with no ashes rubbed on his body. He shivers.
Shivering is the only method, the natural method to create a certain heat. Shivering is a natural protection against cold. You shiver, the body starts shaking; that creates a certain movement, exercise in the body, and creates heat. That's all they can do the whole night. In the summer they are naked under the sun. They are completely burned up, with little food to eat and a small quantity of water to drink.
So the path is arduous... and what do you gain? You are just following a man who is not even a descendant of God, who is not even a relative of God, who is not even a messenger of God. Who knows whether he is mad, sane, insane? He is just a man, just like you. While, in comparison, there are messengers of God, messiahs of God, avataras of God, God Himself coming down....
So in the market it was a difficult thing to sell. Hence they had to raise the tirthankara to the same status as the avatara, the messiah, even higher. This is simply the market economics. The tirthankara is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent; he has the qualities of God. The messiah is only the messiah, the messenger is only a messenger, but the tirthankara has all the qualities of God Himself. This created the base, the loophole for turning the religion into a cult.
Hence I am insisting that I am an ordinary man. You cannot put me up for sale - who is going to buy me? When Jesus is available, Mohammed is available, Krishna is available, Mahavira is available, Buddha is available, do you think anybody is going to go for me? - a simple man, an ordinary man, himself insisting continually on his ordinariness.
I have been denying miracles, saying that they have never happened, they never happen, and they will never happen. Mahavira and Buddha both faltered on that point - but they were pioneers. I have twenty-five centuries of experience behind me. I am standing on their shoulders; I can see far away.
They could not think that these things would become their very weaknesses. They all - because Krishna was doing so many miracles, Rama was doing so many miracles.... What to say of Rama - even his devotees, just in his name can do miracles.
For example, between India and Sri Lanka there is an ocean, and it was a problem for Rama to cross the ocean to attack Sri Lanka and get his wife back. But his disciple, the monkey god, Hanumana, said, "Don't be worried. Your name is enough." And in his name he started throwing stones in the ocean - and because of Rama's name the stones were floating, not drowning.
The whole army of monkeys and of donkeys, and perhaps yankees, all were there; so he started throwing stones, rocks, in the name of Rama, and the rocks started floating - soon there was a bridge. They passed over the bridge just by the using the name. Hanumana said, "You need not be worried, your name is enough. You don't need to do anything."
Now, where such stories are going around what chance you have got to compete? Buddha's disciples had to invent stories, Mahavira's disciples had to invent stories. They are all invented stories; and invented in such a way that they made Mahavira and Buddha superior to Rama, to Krishna, to the Hindu trinity, the trimurti - Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh.
When Buddha became enlightened, the story is that all the gods - Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh - all three came down to touch his feet, because an enlightened person is far higher than any gods. You should note that in Judaism, Christianity, Mohammedanism, God is always singular; in Hinduism God is always plural - it is "gods", thirty-three million golds.
The chiefs of all these thirty-three million gods are these three, Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh. The moment Buddha became enlightened, all three ran down from paradise to touch his feet. For seven days Buddha remained silent. It was Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh, these three gods, who persuaded him to speak because even gods don't know the supreme truth. Even gods are eager to hear from you: What have you attained? What's your realization? What has it done to you? Buddha argued in many ways, but finally he was persuaded by the three gods.
His argument was very good. He said, "If I speak, in the first place what I have experienced will not be conveyed through the words. Secondly, even if a little fragrance of it goes with the words, where are the people who will be able to receive it? Where are the people who are available? And who wants truth in the first place? People want consolation."
But the three gods said, "You may be right about ninety-nine point nine percent of people, but still there is point one percent of people left who are available, who are receptive, who are willing to go to the further shore. Will you disappoint them?"
Now this whole story is just to prove that even gods are not enlightened. And in Buddhism and in Jainism both, gods are people who have earned much virtue, and because of their great virtue they are rewarded with paradise. But there is a time limit to it. Sooner or later the reward for their virtues will be finished; they will have to come back again to the earth and again move into the wheel of life and death.
That's why there are thirty-three million gods, because with one god how can you manage this idea?
So many people, in millions of years, have been virtuous, religious, truthful, honest - they all have to be rewarded; paradise is a reward.
In Christianity, Mohammedanism, Judaism, you don't have anything above heaven. In Jainism and Buddhism, you have something above heaven. Heaven is only a pleasure place, a holiday, a pleasure resort - a holiday from this continuous wheel of misery, anxiety, anguish. One needs a little holiday, a long weekend.
Heaven to the Jainas and the Buddhists is only a long weekend. But don't forget! - it comes to an end and you fall back again into the same rut. And now it is even more unbearable because you have lived in such tremendous pleasure and splendor and now again you are living this boredom called life. It becomes more of a hell than it was before because you have something to compare it with.
The tirthankara does not go to heaven, the buddha does not go to heaven, remember. The enlightened person goes to moksha, which is beyond heaven. From there, there is no coming back. One has got out of the wheel of life and death completely. It is not a holiday resort.
Do you see my point? The Jainas and Buddhists had to create something above heaven. They had to give qualities to their tirthankaras, better, higher, superior to even those your god has, because it was a question of simple competition in the marketplace. But they forgot that this competition is going to be their very failure.
They succeeded in attracting people: almost the whole country's intelligentsia was influenced by them. Only unintelligent people, the masses, remained with Hindu gods. The intelligent people could not bow down to a monkey god - it looked so idiotic; they could not worship a tree. Just any kind of a stone, you paint it red, put two flowers on it, and wait.... Soon, somebody else will come and put flowers, somebody else will come and put a coconut - and a god is born, you have given birth to a god. And this happens every day.
The corporations in India, the municipal committees in India are in continual trouble. In the middle of the road a god appears! Now you cannot remove it; that is interfering with the feelings of religious people - and soon a temple will arise there. First any stone colored red, any shape will do - because with thirty-three million gods, who knows how many shapes they have? Just all that you need are worshippers, and worshippers are available. Then neither the government can remove it, nor can anybody else remove it.
And when the god is there, a shelter is needed for it. A temple is going to be raised there, just in the middle of the road. To remove it means immediate riots; people will be killed and slaughtered, and that fire will spread all over the country; so it is better to allow the god to remain there. It destroys the beauty of the road, it disturbs the traffic, it is dangerous, it can cause accidents, but there is nothing you can do.
In India only Jaipur has straight and plain roads - the only town, the only city - and it is perhaps the most beautiful city in India. But it happened because the man who made it, Jai Singh - he was the king of Jaipur state - was an atheist. And he called from south India, from the Nizam of Hyderabad.... The Nizam of Hyderabad had a very intelligent chief minister, Mirja Ibrahim. Jai Singh was born a Hindu but he asked Nizam to give Mirja Ibrahim to him for at least a few years while he was making Jaipur. He wanted it to be India's Paris.
And he almost succeeded; he made something tremendously beautiful. And why did he ask a Mohammedan? He told Mirja, "I don't want any nuisance - because it is going to happen:
everywhere temples and mosques and things will start happening, and our whole plan will be disturbed.
"So if a temple appears - you are not a Hindu, you simply remove it in the night. No hustle, no bustle about it; the way it appears, the same way it disappears. In the morning it is not there at all. Nobody should even be suspicious that it is disappearing; everything should go quietly, but in the night the whole temple is to completely disappear. And if any mosque appears, I am not a Mohammedan...
perhaps you will feel it is difficult...."
Mirja said, "That's true: A mosque I cannot remove."
Jai Singh said, "That, I will do."
They removed many temples, many mosques that were appearing, and Jai Singh proved right: they were bound to appear because Jaipur has the biggest roads. Now, on any crossroad where he wanted a garden to be, Hindus would love to have their temple. Where you can find such a beautiful place? And you need not buy it, you need not ask anybody for it, because for God there is no question.
And all that you have to do, simple things.... You just go in the night, you put a round stone - dig a little hole in the earth, put in the round stone - and the next morning you declare that in the night a God appeared to you, and he said that at such and such place he had been waiting for many, many centuries, and now it was time that he should be brought to people's notice and a temple should be raised.
Soon crowds will rush to check whether the dream is true or not. And it is going to be true: a god is found! - and it is god's own indication, you cannot interfere. But Jai Singh managed very well.
The god would appear; they would start working, and in the night the god would disappear. And Jai Singh would say, "What can I do? The way he appears, the same way he disappears. We cannot prevent him from disappearing; we cannot prevent him from appearing, what can we do?" That's how he managed to have beautiful streets in Jaipur.
While he was alive, Jaipur had only one color, red. All the houses, on the main streets were made exactly the same; so for miles you can see the same houses. It looks so beautiful. And they were all made with red stone, nothing else was allowed. The whole city was red stone... and with the greenery, the red stone is so beautiful because green and red are the basic colors of nature. Nature knows only two colors, red and green.
Since Independence everything has been disturbed. Every year I would go there, and I would see gods appearing, temples being raised in the middle of the street, on the corner of the street, anywhere. Now, the secular government cannot do anything. The man had made it so beautiful...
and now people are painting different colors on their houses because how can you prevent them, it is their house.
Jai Singh was a crazy king. There was no question of anybody raising the idea that a house could be of any other color. In Jaipur only one color was allowed: "If you don't want that color, get out of Jaipur" - and he was whole and soul!
Even in his time, efforts to change it were made in the supreme court of India. But the supreme court said, "As far as internal affairs are concerned we cannot do anything; that is our agreement with the king - only on foreign affairs, but this is not a foreign affair. He is absolutely sovereign. If he wants the red color, we cannot do anything. If he wants only one kind of model for all the houses, we cannot do anything."
But now... when I visited the last time, I almost felt like crying, because they have destroyed the whole thing. All those beautiful lanes with similar houses had something poetic; and all those red stones with green trees... the whole place was a vast garden. Now all kinds of colors have appeared.
Old houses are being demolished, skyscrapers are being made. People are changing their houses because people don't want a similar model, the same model... and nobody can prevent them. On the streets - temples, mosques, gurudwaras; in the name of religion you can do anything.
Buddha and Mahavira tried, but were not aware of all the implications. I am aware of all the implications. You may not be able to see what I am trying to do: I am destroying all the bases, so that when I am gone you will not find a single base to make a cult out of my religion.
Hence I said, it is almost impossible... because people are so stupid that out of their stupidity they can start inventing things for which I am not even leaving a single seed. For example: just the other day a letter was brought to me. Professor Vijay Chauhan, a professor in Washington university, gave an interview about me saying that we were great friends, and we used to have long discussions.
I have never seen this man, what to say about long discussions! - and friendship? Yes, I have heard his name, so I know who he is, but I have not seen him. His mother was a great poetess, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, and because of Subhadra I used to go, once in a while, to her house, and she used to recite her poems to me. She just had mentioned to me, "I have two sons, one is Ajay Chauhan, the other is Vijay Chauhan - but it is strange that whenever you come they are not at home. I would like you someday to meet them." But she died and that day never came. I was never introduced by her to her two sons.
Ajay Chauhan I have seen, just on the road, but we were not acquainted with each other. But this man, Vijay Chauhan, I have not even seen - and he is saying that he was a great friend and for hours we used to discuss philosophy, religion, and great problems.
Now, many letters of this type come. Sheela asks me, "Do you know this man?" - she brings the photograph. "This man says that he knows you from your very childhood, and you have stayed with him many times in his home." I see the picture... and my memory is not bad, not so bad. I have never seen this man in my whole life, not even heard his name.
One letter was from New York; I had never heard the name. The man was from India; he says that he is a great poet and I have been quoting his poetry in my lectures. I have never known his name, I have never known any poetry connected with him, any book written by him. But he says that we are great friends.... Now what to do with these people? Once I have gone, all kinds of stories will start.
It will be for you to stop all these kinds of stories. Remember, whatsoever is meaningful I have told you, and whatsoever I have not told you is meaningless: that should be the criterion.
If somebody comes and says, "I have seen a miracle...." And there will be people; it gives them importance - that I performed a miracle.... Yes, a few times I have performed a miracle.
One man, Doctor Bhagwandas - he is a professor now; we studied together in the same university, although he was in a different department. But we were friendly; he used to come, and he used to go for a walk with me. He invited me once to go to his home. His home was not very far away from the university, just fifty miles.
So I said, "Next Saturday we can go. It is not far away." We went there; we were both sleeping in the same room, on two beds. Between our two beds was a small table with a clock, because I wanted to get up at three. At that time I used to get up at three, but in case I went on sleeping, I told him to put on the alarm - but he had no alarm clock.
He said, "I don't have an alarm clock here."
So I said, "Then forget about it." I went to sleep.
But he felt uneasy, so he went to the neighbor, borrowed an alarm clock and put it in the middle on the table. I was asleep. Because of my habit of getting up at three, I woke up at three, and I heard the tick tick of the clock by my side, so I looked. It was a luminous clock, so I could see that there were still five minutes to go before three o'clock. So I covered myself, and from inside the blankets I said, "Bhagwan" - his name was Bhagwandas, and I used to call him Bhagwan - "It is five to three."
He opened his blanket, and looked at me covered in blankets. He looked at the clock... five to three!
He said, "What?"
I said, "It is five minutes to three. After five minutes you wake me up."
He said, "You are already awake."
I said, "Just in case I fail asleep, because there is no clock and...."
He said, "No clock!"
And the next day the whole town was talking about it: a miracle! Exactly five minutes! The next day I told him, "There was no miracle, nothing; I was just joking. I just looked at that clock and I thought, this is good.... You think that I didn't know about the clock because you must have brought it in later on after I had fallen asleep." But he wouldn't believe me.
He said, "You are trying to just drop the idea of miracles, but it was a miracle."
I said, "I am saying that it was nothing."
I explained the whole thing to him, but he said, "This is all mere explanation."
Now what to do with these people? Once I am not there, they will all be there... and I have been in hundreds of homes, and many miracles I have performed - but none of them was a miracle. I was just joking, and when I found there was a possibility, I never missed it.
So remember it, that I have never performed a miracle, because miracles as such are impossible.
Nobody has performed them.
But the gullible mind... a man came to me almost in the middle of the night; it was twelve, I had been asleep for three hours. He knocked on the door, and made so much noise that I had to wake up and open the door, and I asked, "What is the matter? What do you want at this time of the night?"
He said, "I have a terrible pain in my stomach, and this pain has been coming on and going away, coming on and going away, for at least three months. I go to a certain doctor, he gives me medicine, but no permanent cure has happened. And just nearabout ten, this pain came; it was so terrible that I went to the doctor and he said that this pain was something spiritual - he suggested your name."
I asked him, "Who is this doctor? Is his name Doctor Barat?"
He said, "Yes."
Barat was my friend. He was an old man, but he loved me very much. So I said, "If Barat has sent you then I will have to do something. But you have to give me a promise that you will never say anything about this to anybody, because I don't want to be disturbed every night, and I don't want patients to be here the whole day. I have other things to do."
He said, "I promise, but just help me. Barat has told me that if you give me just a glass of water, with your hand, I will be cured."
I said, "First give me the promise." And he hesitated, because if he has found such a source of miracles, to give such a promise....
He said, "You don't see my pain; you are talking about your promise. Just give me a glass of water - I am not asking much."
I said, "First you give me a promise. Take an oath in the name of God" - and I could see that he was a brahmin and he had.... Brahmins of different faith believing in one god or another god have different marks on their forehead; those are trademarks, so you can judge, and know who the man is worshipping. So I knew that he was a devotee of Shiva, and I said, "You will have to take the oath in the name of Shiva."
He said, "This is very difficult; I am a loud mouth, I cannot keep anything to myself such a great thing... and you are asking me to make a promise. I may not be able to keep it because if I keep it then it will be more painful than my pain. I won't sleep, I won't go anywhere, I won't talk to anybody because it will be just there waiting to come out."
I said, "You decide. I have to go to sleep, so be quick."
He said, "You have created a dilemma for me. Whatsoever I do I will be in trouble. This pain is not going to go away because to keep your promise... and you don't know me - I love gossiping. I am a liar; I go on lying - and this is the truth."
But I said, "Then you decide. You keep your pain."
Finally he said, "Okay, in the name of Shiva I give you the promise. But you are too hard, too cruel."
I gave him one glass of water. He drank the water and he said, "My God! The pain is gone!"
Now, there was no miracle, but because I haggled so much about the promise he became more and more certain that the miracle was going to happen... otherwise this man would not insist so much.
The more I delayed, the more I insisted, the more he became certain that there was something in it.
That certainty worked.
It was simple hypnosis, he got autohypnotized; he became ready. If I had given him the water directly, the pain would not have disappeared. This much gap of haggling was needed. And I reminded him when he was leaving, "Remember, if you break the oath, the pain will be back."
He said, "You have destroyed me. I was thinking that when Shiva meets me I will be able to fall at his feet and ask his forgiveness; and I have heard that he is very forgiving. Now you have destroyed that too - and the pain will come back."
I said, "Certainly the pain will come back, once you utter a word."
And the next day he was there. He said, "I could not manage it. At least I had to go to Doctor Barat and tell him,'All your medicine and medical knowledge is nonsense. Just a glass of water did what you could not do in three months. And you have been taking fees each time I was coming - give my fee back. If you knew it beforehand then for three months you have been cheating me.' But the pain came back."
He came running to me, "I am a fool, but what to do? I just could not resist putting this Doctor Barat right in his place. For three months I have been suffering and he knew the cure, and he went on giving me this tablet and that, and then he started the injections. Finally he started saying,'You may need surgery - and just a glass of water! And he did not suggest that at all."
I said, "I cannot help you. Now the water won't work; you have broken the promise - the miracle will not happen again. Now you go to Doctor Barat and take his medicine, or do whatsoever you want."
But he went around, even though still in pain, saying, "I have seen a miracle."
These people are there - sometimes very educated people, but deep down they are as gullible as any uneducated person. Once I am not there, you have to remember it, that all my miracles were simply jokes and nothing else; that I have been enjoying every opportunity. If there was an opportunity to manage a miracle, I have not missed it. But there was no miracle at all. If you know just a little bit of human psychology you can do great things which are not prescribed in the psychology literature and textbooks - because they are not concerned with that.
But if you know a little bit of human psychology, just a little bit - not much is needed.... And man is ready, he wants the miracle to happen. He wants to see the miracle happen; he is ready for the messiah. He is hankering, desiring deep down to find someone who is higher than him, more powerful than him; then he can follow him.
But I have been cutting all the roots. You ask me, "Is there any possibility of your religion not being reduced to a cult?" Yes, there is a possibility, only one possibility - and that is that sannyasins go on becoming enlightened, so there is always a chain of enlightened people around.
Buddha's religion was not reduced to a cult for five hundred years. For five hundred years the chain continued; there was always somebody who was enlightened, so in some way the Buddha consciousness was present. It remained alive. But after five hundred years the gap came, and then for six hundred years Buddhism was just a cult.
Then came Bodhidharma.
Bodhidharma created a new dimension, Zen, which is still alive fourteen hundred years later. This is the longest time any religion has been alive. Bodhidharma has got the trophy, because in Zen, continuously in these fourteen hundred years, there has not been a single day when there was not somebody alive and enlightened - no break, no gap. Hence it is possible - difficult, but possible.
All that you have to remember is: no God, no priesthood, no holy scripture, no miracles, no superman. For the first time in the whole of history I am saying that an ordinary man can be enlightened. In fact only an ordinary man can be enlightened. Ordinariness for the first time is given this much respect. So don't try to make me someone extraordinary.
I am trying in every way so that you cannot make me.... I go on doing everything that will prove that this was not a superman or a messiah or a tirthankara. I will not fit with any image. You cannot manage to make me extraordinary. Beware of the human tendency: one wants one's Master to be extraordinary. But this is what leads ultimately to the death of religion.
You should not desire your Master to be extraordinary. You should rather rejoice that an ordinary man has become enlightened. That means he has opened the doors to enlightenment for everybody. You need not be the only begotten son of God, you need not be a tirthankara earning virtue for millions of lives, you need not be born with special qualities, talents.
Have you seen the statue of Mahavira? In India you may have visited a jaina temple - otherwise you can look in a book. On all twenty-four tirthankaras you will see a few very strange things. One is that all twenty-four statues look exactly alike. You cannot say which is which, who is who. Even Jainas cannot say, so they have made small symbols under every statue: under one statue a lion, under another statue something else, under another statue the swastika. You may not be aware of it but just underneath the statue, there is the symbol which indicates whose statue it is - mahavira's?
- otherwise there is no difference.
Now, this is not possible. These twenty-four people were born over ten thousand years; there is no possibility of them all being similar - the same face, the same nose, the same body, the same proportions. You will see one thing more strange: all their ears, their ear lobes, will be touching their shoulders - such long ear lobes. That is especially needed if you are a tirthankara.
I have seen foolish jaina monks massage their ear lobes, pull them to make them longer, because the longer they are, the more respectable you start becoming. It is possible that perhaps Mahavira had long ear lobes - I don't think that long; he was a man not a donkey. Otherwise all donkeys have at least one quality to help them become a tirthankara. I have seen one man with ear lobes that long, so it is possible that Mahavira had them... but twenty-four people!
It is all imagination. Once Mahavira becomes established, then whatsoever he has becomes a necessary characteristic for anybody else to become a tirthankara. All tirthankaras have also to be molded again into the same pattern.
Remember, I don't have any talents - because religion is not a talent. Music is, poetry is, painting is.
Religion is not a talent.
Religion is simply seeing yourself You may be a painter, you may be a poet, you may be a musician, you may not be anybody, but you are!
This is not a talent, this is your existence.
And to experience it is everybody's birthright.
You can save this living religion only so long as you go on meditating and you go on creating new flowers, new blossomings - so that you never become a desert; there is always some oasis. Just a single person amongst you is enough to keep the religion alive and prevent anybody from reducing it to a cult.
But please don't call it my religion.
It has nothing to do with me.
It is simply religion.
You have to understand, as totally as possible, that just a pure religion has more possibility of surviving, because then you don't put any boundaries on it.
I have not put any boundaries on it. And I don't want to put any boundaries on you: of discipline, of morality, of virtue.
I have given you freedom, and I have given you individuality, and I have given you just a little taste of something that is always yours.
Just you have to claim it.