The Opium Called Religion

Fri, 2 November 1984 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
From Unconciousness to Consciousness
Chapter #:
pm in Lao Tzu Grove
Archive Code:
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Question 1:



No, Sheela, absolutely no. The whole idea is fundamentally wrong. It is not only that I am not a messiah, there has never been anyone who was and there will never be anybody who will be. You will have to go deep into the concept of it. The idea of a messiah is a secondary idea. First you have to believe in God as a person, then only can you start thinking of God sending special messengers, messiahs.

To me there is no personal God at all who can send a messiah.

I am reminded of a very beautiful incident of one of the most famous Mohammedans, Caliph Omar.

The caliph in Mohammedanism is parallel to the pope in Christianity; he is both the religious head and the temporal head. Omar was a very nice and good man. One day, his soldiers brought a man to his court who was claiming to be God's latest messenger - the Mohammedan word for it is paigambara.

Mohammedans believe Mohammed is the last paigambara, the last word God has sent. Now there is no need of any other paigambara. This is a vicious logic, a very strange thing millions of people go on believing without even raising a simple question. In the book, the Koran, which Mohammed says is God's message to him... it has descended upon him; he is not its writer, just a receiver.

And the Koran says that Mohammed is the last paigambara and there will be no need for any other paigambara any more. So Mohammedans are very much against anybody saying that he's a paigambara.

Omar told his soldiers to put him in the jail: "Give him seven days time to think and after seven days I will come to the jail. If he still insists on being the paigambara then he will be beheaded immediately.

If he takes his words back he will be released." After seven days of immense torturing - the man was bound to a pole and beaten continually day and night; very few moments were given to sleep and very little food was given to eat - just in seven days Omar could not recognize that he was the same man, they had tortured him and beaten him so much. And he was chained to a pillar, naked, with blood all over his body because he was being whipped so hard.

Omar asked, "I hope you have come back to your senses."

The man laughed and said, "What are you talking about? This has proved that I am the latest paigambara, the latest messenger - because when I was leaving God, he said to me, 'You will be tortured, beaten,' and it has come true."

Omar could not believe it. And just then another man who was tied to another pole and had been tortured for one month continually, shouted, "Omar! Don't believe in this man, he's absolutely lying.

I have not sent him as my last messenger"... because one month before this man had been caught declaring himself God!

These people are megalomaniacs. It is a certain mind disease. You want to be superior, higher than everybody else. You would like to be a president of a country, a prime minister of a country, a king, a queen, but it is difficult - there is so much competition. And only one man can become a president in the whole country and the whole country is burning, deep down, everybody desiring to be higher, above everybody else's head, to be somebody special, unique. Now, these kinds of people can find very easy ways. Now, to declare oneself a messiah... there is no election for it, you don't need anybody's sanction for it. You can write a book in which you can declare that you are the messiah. This is a circular argument. The book is true because it is written by a messiah, and you are the messiah because it is written in a true book.

What other evidence has Jesus for being a messiah, except his own statements? What do Christians have to prove that Jesus is a messiah? - because it is written in the New Testament, and the New Testament is nothing but this man's statements. Do you see the circular argument? They are true because they are from the messiah, and he is a messiah because it is written in the true book.

Jesus was not such a bad man that he should be crucified - his only crime was that he declared himself a messiah. That too is nothing to be bothered about. If somebody thinks he is a messiah, he's doing no harm to anybody; let him enjoy. But the Jews could not tolerate it. So I will have to go deep into the whole concept and its history.

Moses is responsible for Jesus' crucifixion. Nobody has said it before because the distance between Moses and Jesus is three thousand years. But I say to you, Moses is responsible for Jesus' crucifixion - for two reasons. First, he declares that a messiah is going to come and he will solve all your problems, all your difficulties. This was pure politics.

Jews were slaves in Egypt. Moses was a great charismatic leader, certainly one of the greatest leaders the world has known. He convinced these slaves that they could be free - not only that, but they were the chosen people of God. These slaves were, in a way, perfectly satisfied the way they were there. It was not a very comfortable situation. They were poor, their humanity was almost crushed. They were not treated like human beings, they were treated worse than animals. And continual labor... a futile kind of labor.

You see these pyramids... all these pyramids were created by the Jews. Even scientists today are puzzled how such huge stones were carried from miles away, because there is no quarry around; the quarries are miles away. How were such huge stones carried? There were no cranes; there was no technology possible. They were carried just by human beings, Jews. And then to put those stones on top of each other and to make a huge, sky-high pyramid was almost an impossible task.

It was made possible by continually whipping the slaves.

So Jews were carrying the stones - one stone may be carried by forty, fifty people - and on horses all around them were Egyptians continually beating them so that they didn't stop. People were dying and being replaced immediately by other slaves. How many people died in creating one pyramid is difficult to calculate now. Millions of people died in creating those stupid pyramids, which are utterly meaningless.

But the ego of man.... Each Egyptian king and queen wanted his grave - those are graves - his grave to be the biggest, the highest, the most precious. And each king and queen, because they were not certain that after their deaths their successors would make so much effort - and a pyramid is not made in one day; Rome may be made in one day, but pyramids are not made in one day - so each king and queen was making them. The moment they were enthroned they started digging their grave, preparing, because it would take thirty years, forty years, fifty years for the pyramid to be made. Millions of people would die.

Moses must have been a tremendously powerful leader that he convinced these slaves, "You can drop out of this slavery, you are not made for this. On the contrary, you are a master race; you are the chosen few of God." This was such a great quantum leap - from being a slave to becoming a master race. Moses did a miracle! But it is easy to convince people, to give them dreams, beautiful dreams, to give them hope, to give them utopias - but to fulfill them is not so easy, and Moses recognized it very soon. He took the slaves out of Egypt, giving them the hope that, "soon we will reach our cherished land, Israel. There you will all be blissful and happy and you will have all the comforts."

Forty years they wandered in the Middle East desert. There was no Israel. In those forty years of wandering they suffered more than they had ever suffered in Egypt. You will be surprised to know that out of four persons, three persons died. By the time Moses decided to stop near Jerusalem he had lost almost all the people; only one fourth of the original people were left. Forty years is a long time. The people who were young became old and died. In fact, these were new children who were born on the way and were now young people. They had no idea about Egypt, they had only seen the suffering of wandering in the desert.

If you have wandered in a desert you will understand what it means to wander for forty years without food, without water, just begging whenever you can find some people somewhere, some caravan, some oasis. People died of hunger, people died of thirst. People simply died because they were dragging themselves in the sands year after year. Forty years is a long time.

And remember, it was not because Moses had found Israel that he stopped. He stopped because he was also now fed up; he had to stop somewhere. Now he understood it is very easy to provoke people, to give them beautiful dreams, to encourage them, to fill them with hopes, but it is very difficult to materialize them. So he had to give them new hopes again. That is the only opium that keeps people somehow dragging and living. So he said, "Don't be worried, our efforts are not wasted. We have reached the land."

And what land had he reached? Jerusalem is nothing; it is a desert. And people were thinking of rivers of honey and rivers of milk. They were thinking of paradise - that's the way Moses had painted it to them. And when they stopped at Jerusalem, almost dead, because they were refusing to move any more... enough is enough. Forty years you have been dragging them and pushing them and saying, "We are reaching, it is just close by, just a few days more."

A few people became so frustrated that they left Moses' group. That is what is called the lost tribe. It was not lost; they simply slipped away, seeing the futility of the whole thing. They slipped away, and by chance they reached a better place; they reached Kashmir, in India. Moses himself was tired, his people were tired. He gave them hope again - that's all that leaders can do, and leaders have been doing always only that - the opium called hope, that tomorrow is going to be better. "Forget the yesterdays, they are finished, and don't be too worried about today, it is fading away. Tomorrow, let tomorrow come and everything will be all right" - but that tomorrow never comes.

Moses did the same. He said, "Don't be worried, we have found the place." He knew deep in his heart that he had failed, utterly failed; that knowingly or unknowingly he had cheated these poor people. They had been in poverty and they had been in suffering but not in such suffering and such poverty as they were now. But Moses could not confess it; to say it would have been really fatal.

So what he did was, he said, "We have found the place. I am now old. The messiah will come soon, God has promised me; he will be sending the messiah, who will redeem you, who will be your salvation." And just to hide his face diplomatically he said, "I have to go back and look for the lost tribe."

It was a simple strategy to escape from the reality that was in front of them. No paradise had opened its doors and the people were becoming angry. Perhaps they would have killed Moses. There was a danger because this was the man who had created the whole trouble. Otherwise they were living somehow and they were satisfied, and they had accepted their fate.

I know poor people, utterly poor, who have nothing; it is so difficult for them to even manage one meal a day. Sometimes they have to just drink water and sleep - water to fill their empty belly so they can feel that something is there. But they are in a certain way satisfied, they have accepted it as their fate, they don't think that things can be better than this. You can provoke them. You can put the fire in their minds very easily - just give them hope. But then sooner or later they are going to hold you by your neck: "Where are the hopes?"

And that was the situation after forty years when Moses left them. The excuse was, "I'm going to find the people who have got lost somewhere." He never came back - he died in India. I have been to his grave. You will be surprised to know - it is such a great coincidence - that Moses and Jesus both died in India, and the graves of both are in one place in Kashmir.

The people who had escaped from the pilgrimage - the caravan was miles long - they found a better place. Perhaps if Moses had turned towards Kashmir he would have been able to tell his people that this was paradise. It is paradise. It is so beautiful, so utterly beautiful that the people who had escaped never bothered again where the whole company had gone, where Moses was. They simply settled in Kashmir. Kashmir is Jewish - they were forced later on to become Mohammedans, and they became Mohammedans, but you can see by their faces, their behavior, and it is so apparent that they don't belong to India. They are not Aryans and they are not Mohammedans; they are Jews.

Just a few day ago Indira Gandhi was assassinated. She was a descendant of those Jews - you can see by her nose.

Moses is solely responsible for giving the idea of a messiah who will come. And then many claim to be the messiah; Jesus was not the only one. There were many others, and they all suffered. Jesus was the most outrageous. And he claimed that he is the promised messiah, this was the crime. Why did Jews think it a crime? I feel perhaps they were right.

I cannot say they were right in crucifying Jesus - I cannot support any violence and this was just absolutely unwarranted. They could have tolerated him, let him.... He was moving on his donkey declaring himself the messiah; you could have laughed and enjoyed, that seems to be right. And what following had he? Just a few people, uneducated, uncultured, who got caught in his net - that he would redeem them, that he would show them the path and lead them to God - but very few, not even hundreds. He could have been tolerated, he was not in any way a danger to Judaism.

But I can understand why the Jews could not tolerate this man. Otherwise he was just a buffoon - they could have laughed at the whole thing: "Look at the messiah with his donkey and twelve stupid followers. He's the messiah, the promised one!" But there is a psychological reason why they had to crucify this man: they didn't want their hope to be disturbed. They will never accept anybody as a messiah, remember. Since Jesus a few others have also tried, but Jews will never accept anybody as the messiah, because to accept somebody as the messiah means losing the hope, and they have suffered so much that the hope is the only treasure they have.

Jesus is a nice fellow, but not psychologically balanced; otherwise he would have tried to help people become more integrated, more grounded, more centered, more meditative. He should have worked to share, if he had anything. There was no need to declare himself a messiah and call down an unnecessary crucifixion.

There seems to be some kind of suicidal element in him. He was perfectly aware; the day he was crucified was not unexpected. He knew it before. In the last supper with his apostles he had said himself, "Tomorrow they are going to catch me. Tomorrow I am going to be crucified." Then what was the need to go to Jerusalem? If you had already known the fact that they were waiting there to crucify you.... There was no reason for him to go to Jerusalem at all. But he is pulled - like a magnet pulling a piece of metal, he is pulled towards his crucifixion.

There seems to be a suicidal tendency in him, and I, at least, cannot forgive him for that. He was only thirty-three; after seventy it's okay, one can enjoy the idea of dying, but at the age of thirty- three... it is the prime of life. And he had only been teaching for three years - what can you do in three years? How many people had he convinced? How many people had he with him? In three years he had not even been able to give a philosophic system, an entire ideology, a methodology for man's transformation - nothing.

What he has given are very simple maxims which are more or less adopted from the wisdom of the ages. They are not new, there is nothing novel in it. Yes, he says again and again, "The old prophets have said to you, 'Follow the law of tit for tat' - or something like that - but I say to you that if somebody hits you on one cheek, give him the other cheek. I say to you: love your enemy just as you love yourself." They look profound but they are not very original.

He had traveled up to his thirtieth year in Egypt, in India, in Ladakh, into the Himalayas. I have been to Ladakh, and I have seen the ancient library of Ladakh lamasery which has the record, which has a record of all the visitors who have visited the lamasery - the lamasery is the Buddhist monastery in Ladakh. Jesus is one of the visitors. And his whole personality is described perfectly: his time, his age, how he looked, what essentially his teaching was, everything is described. And scientists have looked into these old pages - they are leaves of a certain tree - they are exactly two thousand years old, they are not new.

So he was gathering all this from outside sources, hence he looked very new to the Jews; but to me he cannot look new. Before him, Buddha had been talking about love, and Mahavira had been talking about love - five hundred years before Jesus, Lao Tzu in China was talking about love. And what Jesus is saying is almost the same.

It would have been new if he had added something through his experience. For example, I would like to say to you... Jesus says, "Love your enemy just as you love yourself." Firstly, you don't love yourself, remember - that is the last person in the world that you love. So to say to a person, "Love your enemy just as you love yourself," is strange, because nobody loves himself.

Have you ever thought about it? Do you love yourself? Have you any respect for yourself? Forget about love, forget about respect; do you even accept yourself as you are? There is condemnation; you would like to be somebody else, you don't want to be yourself - not at all.

Jesus has not thought at all about what he is saying. It is easier to love the enemy than to love yourself. It is not so difficult to love your enemy because it makes you feel so much higher, so superior, so special. But to love yourself... you don't become superior. You don't even look at yourself. You have not even looked within you at what you have been carrying from your very birth.

What is it that you are? Have you ever tried to face it?

And secondly, anybody who is really original and thinking about love will have to know one thing:

you can love only if you are capable of hate. You cannot love if you become incapable of hate. You can love somebody because you are capable of hating somebody else. You have a friend, that is why you can have an enemy. You cannot destroy hate completely and just save love; they are two sides of the same coin. When hate disappears, love also disappears. That is my experience.

Buddha also says love, and don't hate. Jesus also says love, don't hate; Mahavira also says love, don't hate. But I say to you: if you don't hate you cannot love. All these people are just talking intellectually. They have not looked into the energy of love and hate, that they are one energy. Love standing upside down becomes hate; it is just standing on its head, that's all. It is not a different thing. So when hate disappears - I am saying it to you from my own experience - when hate disappears, love disappears too. And what is left is just compassion.

You cannot call it love - love is too passionate a word, too hot a word. What is left when love and hate are gone - for love and hate it would be better if I say love-hate and drop the 'and' because they are not two things - when love-hate disappears, then the energy that is left is compassion. It has no attachment; it is neither love nor hate. It has no friends, and no enemies. Neither Buddha has understood it, nor Mahavira, nor Jesus.

So in three years what was he doing? In thirty years, whatsoever he has collected by roaming around the then known world, he was just saying parrotlike, without having any insight into it. But because he was saying so many beautiful words, he became hypnotized by his own words and started thinking that he was the messiah for whom the Jews had been waiting.

And Jews are never going to accept anybody - even if Moses came again, they would not accept him as the messiah, for a simple psychological reason: to accept somebody as a messiah means dropping the hope for the future. Then there is no tomorrow. Then there is no more utopia. They had to crucify Jesus just to save their hope. The hope was far more significant than crucifying a Jew who was going to die anyway. But he should not be allowed to disturb the hope of the whole race.

So it will not be very correct to be absolutely against the priests of the great temple of the Jews who decided for the crucifixion of Jesus, because this man was destroying their hope, their dreamland.

They had nothing. In the time of Jesus they were under the rule of Rome, they were again slaves; they had escaped from Egypt for nothing. All that suffering, all those forty years of immense suffering and pain, and what have they gained? Israel was under the Roman Empire. They were again slaves, again paying taxes - to the Romans; again being beaten - by the Romans; again being treated like slaves, animals - by the Romans... subhuman....

They had only one hope: a hope that "the messiah will come and he will redeem us from all our miseries." Now this man says, "I am the messiah." And they know he cannot redeem them from their miseries; they know him, who he is. And when they crucified him they were asking him, "Now redeem yourself! Ask your God - ask the God you have been talking about continually, saying, 'I am the only begotten son of God' - ask him now, 'Father, help me. This is the moment to do the miracle. When will such a moment come again, when your only begotten son will be crucified?' But the sky is silent; no answer comes, there is nobody to answer you."

They were telling Jesus, "It was your hallucination that you are God's only begotten son. It was your dream in which you started believing, because a few people, a few foolish people, started believing in your words, and you started believing in their belief in you." On the cross it became clear. They said to Jesus, "The sky is empty and there is no answer to your prayer." The Jews said, "Look, this is the messiah who was going to redeem the whole of humanity - he cannot even redeem himself."

I am not a messiah. I don't give you any hope.

And I would like emphatically for you to remember that nobody else can redeem you - the whole idea is wrong. You have created your bondage, how can I make you free?

You throw your bondage and be free.

You love your chains and you want me to redeem you. You are asking an absurdity. You are the cause of your miseries, sufferings, and you want me to redeem you from your sufferings and miseries. And you will go on sowing the same seeds, continuing, being the same old person, watering the same causes. Who can redeem you? And why should anybody redeem you? It is not my responsibility to redeem you. I have not made you what you are; you have made yourself what you are.

My function here is not that of a messiah who simply says, "Believe in me and you are redeemed"...

a very simple strategy: "You have nothing to do with your personality change, transformation; you have nothing to do at all, you just believe in me. Don't let any doubt arise." Now, this is the whole strategy of belief.

You cannot avoid doubt; wherever belief exists, doubt is simply suppressed. If there is no doubt you don't need any belief. It is because of the doubt that you need belief, to suppress it, to cover it. And the condition is that there should be no doubt; you should believe in me without any doubt and I will redeem you. Neither can you fulfill the condition, nor can you ask me, "Why am I not redeemed?"

The condition is such that it cannot be fulfilled. And I am free to say that you have not fulfilled the basic condition; the contract has not been fulfilled from your side, what can I do? You agreed to believe in me indubitably, which is absolutely impossible. Nobody can do it, it is not in the nature of things.

Belief always exists hand in hand with doubt. It exists for doubt.

I have no belief at all in anything because I don't have any doubt at all about anything. If there is no doubt, there is no need for belief. The disease is not there; medicine is not required.

You go on pouring belief, more belief; but you are simply suppressing doubt deeper and deeper into your unconscious. And the deeper it goes, the more dangerous it is because you will become unaware of it. One day you will think that you believe, that you are a believer, that you have attained to faith - because your doubt has gone so deep in your dark unconscious that you cannot see it anymore. I would like you to see your doubt clearly. Rather than repressing it by any belief system, bring it out into the conscious mind, face it. And just by facing your doubt, it dissolves. No belief is needed, it simply evaporates.

Doubt is not to be substituted with a belief. If you substitute it with a belief, then you are in a very strange dilemma: just scratch your belief a little bit - and there is doubt flowing, fully alive. The belief is skin deep and underneath your blood is flowing.

So basically my standpoint is: you are responsible for whatsoever you are. If you are miserable, you are responsible. Don't throw the responsibility on anybody else; otherwise you will never be free of it... because how can you be free if I am responsible for your misery? Then, unless I free you, you cannot be free; it is in my hands. And if it is in my hands, it can be in somebody else' hands.

Those who are with me have to understand, howsoever hard and painful it is, that you and you alone are responsible for everything that is happening to you, has happened to you, will happen to you. Once you accept all your responsibility in its totality, you become mature. You stop throwing tantrums, and you stop seeking for messiahs. Then there is no need for any Jesus to save you. Nor can any Jesus save you - he was exploiting your situation.

Jews did not allow him to disturb their hope, their dream, their future. Jews have suffered the most in the world, hence they need hope more than anybody else. And they have been clinging to the idea:

"The messiah will come, and these are only a few days of suffering, and nothing to be compared with when the messiah comes and redeems you. And you will be the chosen few of God and all others, who are enjoying now, and are not suffering now, will be thrown into hell." A good consolation! Jesus was disturbing their consolation, their hope; naturally they became angry. Otherwise he was not a dangerous man at all. But he certainly has the mind of a megalomaniac.

I am just an ordinary man.

In the same reference I would like to tell you a few things which are related and have been asked of me again and again. Hindus have asked me, "Are you an avatara of God, an incarnation of God?"

Just as Jews believe in the messiah, Hindus believe that their sufferings will end - their poverty, their misery - when God descends in the form of an avatara, as Krishna, as Rama.

They have been asking me, and I have been telling them, "No, not at all. Because you are so idiotic... Rama has been here, your sufferings have not changed; Krishna has been here, your sufferings have not changed. Are you still asking? - and I tell you neither was Krishna an avatara, nor was Rama an avatara. It is their megalomania and your hope mixed together that creates the whole thing."

The Jainas have asked me, "Are you a tirthankara?" That is their hope, their word for messiah, and you will be surprised... and that's what makes me very sick.... Mahavira is the twenty-fourth tirthankara of the Jainas. They have this fixed number of twenty-four. Now, there was so much competition in Mahavira's time: there were eight people, contemporaries of Mahavira - Gautam Buddha is one of the eight - who were all insisting, "We are the twenty-fourth tirthankara." And they were all criticizing the remaining seven.

Their criticisms are not rational, their criticisms are more abusive. For example, even Buddha...

that's why I say it makes me feel sick. Even Buddha - whom I respect in many ways, but in many ways I can't help it, I can't respect him - was claiming that, "I am the real tirthankara, not Mahavira."

Mahavira was old, Buddha was young; Mahavira was almost established, Buddha was making the ground. If he had criticized Mahavira rationally, scientifically, I would have loved it. But that is not what he does.

Buddha tries to make Mahavira a laughingstock, because Jainas say that the tirthankara is omniscient: he has all the qualities of God; omniscient: he can see all, past, present, future; omnipresent: he can be present anywhere, or can be present simultaneously everywhere; omnipotent: that he has absolute power upon everything.... Buddha could have criticized him by saying, "To claim such qualities seems to be egoistic, and the ego is the first thing that has to be dropped on the path. Rather than dropping it, you are making it bigger and bigger and bigger - so big that it is going to burst."

Buddha makes a laughingstock of Mahavira. He says, "What kind of omnipotence is it?"... because Mahavira's stomach had, in his old age, failed. He was eighty-two, walking, on his feet for forty years continually, eating only once in a while. One day he would eat and then seven days he would not eat. It was bound to happen that he would disturb his whole system of digestion, and that's what happened. At the age of eighty-two his whole digestive system simply collapsed. He died, perhaps of a stomach ulcer, cancer, something - nobody knows, but something to do with the stomach. The stomach simply failed to function. He was responsible; nobody else was responsible for it.

In the night, the Jaina monk cannot drink water - and in a hot country like India, and the hottest part, Bihar.... Even in the hot summer, the moment the sun goes down nothing can go down into your stomach: no food, no water, nothing. And only one time you have to eat, and that too standing, not sitting, because that is too luxurious and comfortable. If he looks at my chair he will go mad, he will simply freak out!

He used to eat standing, and he cannot use anything, only his hands - no pot, no utensils, nothing, because that is possession, and he does not possess anything. So he has to use his hands as a cup, and the food is given into his hands and he eats it. It is uncomfortable, very uncomfortable, because both hands are full, now how do you eat? I have tried and not succeeded... not really, just before a mirror, not with any food in my hands. But when your hands are both engaged in holding the food, then you have to eat just like an animal, directly from the mouth. He cannot eat much because he can only have his hands filled once. How much can he hold in his hands? He has to drink water that way. He was naked too. These were the qualities prescribed by the ancient tradition of Jainas for a tirthankara, and he was fulfilling each quality whatsoever the cost. The tirthankara cannot get food every day because in the morning, doing his meditation, he makes a note in his mind that, "today I will accept food at a certain house, only if certain conditions are fulfilled." Still, he can manage things... and he has to tell them to nobody: that two bananas should be hanging in the doorway, only then will he accept food, otherwise he will not accept it. Now, everybody can go bananas and nobody will be able to find any. So sometimes ten days will pass and he will go around the town and he will not find his condition fulfilled. That is thought to be, by the Jainas, a sign that existence does not want him to take food today.

Strange... then why did he feel hungry? Why did he go in the first place? If existence does not want him to take food today, there should not be any hunger - why did he go in the first place? If I meet him somewhere I will ask him, "Why did you go? If existence itself does not want it, there will be no hunger and you will not have any urge to go around. You were hungry, it is absolutely certain. You went around the town but you had a strange condition, and that was in your mind. And people are not mind readers; now, don't throw the responsibility on poor people." Sometimes by coincidence it would happen that the conditions were fulfilled, then he would take food. Now, this is a sure way to disturb your whole system of digestion, intestines - and that's what happened. But he was a very strong man, so he could manage for a long time. But how long can you go against nature? Finally his stomach collapsed.

Now, rather than arguing the point, Buddha simply makes Mahavira a laughingstock, saying that if he is omnipotent then why cannot he cure his stomach, then why does the physician need to be asked? He is omnipotent! He is omniscient - he must have seen it before it happened because he knows the past, present and future. And Buddha laughs and says, "I have seen Mahavira begging in front of a house in which nobody lives. He knows the past, present, and the future, and he does not know that the house is empty, that there is nobody inside! He has stepped - in the early morning when it was not light enough to see - on the tail of a dog; and only when the dog started jumping and barking at him did he come to know. And he is omniscient, he knows the past, present and future - and he does not know that the dog is just in front of him!"

These are not arguments, these are below Gautam Buddha. But the same is the situation with Mahavira. Mahavira never criticized Buddha for the simple reason that Buddha had no established name yet. He was young, and Mahavira did not bother about this man. But about others, who were more established than Mahavira, before Mahavira, who were older than Mahavira, he was behaving in the same way, even worse. Makkhali Gosal was another competitor for the twenty- fourth tirthankara... because now the line was going to be closed - after the twenty-fourth, there was not going to be a twenty-fifth.

Once, I managed with one idiot... he is a Jaina monk - he was, because the Jainas threw him out.

I convinced him that if there can be twenty-four tirthankaras, why not twenty-five? What is wrong in being the twenty-fifth? And day in and day out I continued to argue about the twenty-fifth. I said, "You declare you are the twenty-fifth." And he declared. His name is Swami Satyabhakta. He declared, and the moment he declared, the Jainas threw him out saying, "You are not even a Jaina...


He came running to me: "You convinced me that I am the twenty-fifth!"

I said, "I don't take any responsibility. I simply argued. It was you who became convinced - that means you had been carrying the seed of it; you wanted, but you were not courageous enough to say it. And I simply brought it up. It was your desire, otherwise you would have said, 'I am satisfied.

I don't want to be the twenty-fifth.' I have been trying it on other people also. They have not been caught, so I am not responsible."

Now he is very angry, because since then the Jainas have not allowed him back into the community.

He has asked to be forgiven, but such a man to the Jainas... it is just like the Jews were against Jesus. Jainas at least have not crucified him; they simply threw him out, took away the symbols of the Jaina monk and said to him, "If you say it again we will drag you to the court, because in our tradition nobody can be the twenty-fifth."

But he is such an idiot.... I said, "You do one thing. You say that Mahavira was not the real twenty- fourth, you are the twenty-fourth."

He said, "Great! This idea never occurred to me."

I said, "But remember, I will not take the responsibility of it, because this time they will beat you. For twenty-fifth they have simply thrown you out because you are crazy. But if you say that Mahavira was not the real twenty-fourth, it was just a misunderstanding that for twenty-five centuries Jainas have believed in it.... And it was contested by eight people, so there is no problem, you can contest it. They were his contemporaries, so of course there is no guarantee that he was the twenty-fourth.

But I will not take the responsibility now." So he has never done that, seeing the point that if he says he is the twenty-fourth they will really kill him.

But Mahavira himself had misbehaved with Makkhali Gosal, who was older than him and died before Mahavira died. And Mahavira has told a story which is so ugly that I cannot conceive where his nonviolence, his love and everything has gone.

He told a story that Makkhali Gosal died in a prostitute's home. Now, this is absolute fiction, created by him just to defame Makkhali Gosal - that he died in a prostitute's home and that before death he told the prostitute, "I am not the real tirthankara, Mahavira is. But I was egoistic and jealous of him, hence I continued the whole of my life to fight for it. But now, at my dying moment, I want to declare the truth. And only you are here, so I am saying it to you; you declare it to others. And because my whole life I have been lying that I am the tirthankara when I was not - and I knew it - please make sure, because it is my last will to you, that my body should be dragged naked in the street. It should not be carried on the shoulders" - in India, dead bodies are carried, four persons carry the body on their shoulders to the burning place - "my body should be dragged on the road and everybody should spit on it, so that the whole city comes to know that I was a criminal."

Now this is absolute fiction, because Buddha does not mention it when he mentions Makkhali Gosal's life. He had died, so there was no competition with Buddha. He does not mention it at all, nothing of it. And there are other sources of the contemporary times which don't mention it.

Makkhali Gosal died amongst his disciples - and he had thousands of disciples, and he received the same respect as Mahavira received when he died. But that is written in other books.

What Mahavira says in his statement is fiction, absolute fiction. And what will a man of eighty-five years old be doing in a prostitute's home? Just think of the absurdity of it. And who is this prostitute - the name is not given - so that she can be asked? Is there any eyewitness who saw his body being dragged? There is none. And it was the greatest city of those days: Vaishali, in Bihar, where Makkhali Gosal died. And the whole city was composed of his followers. Even the king was his follower; the king was one of the four persons carrying his body on his shoulders. So it is absolutely wrong and absolutely a lie - and from a man like Mahavira who is talking about truth, nonviolence, love!

That's why I say all these people - whether they call themselves messiahs, or they call themselves paigambaras or they call themselves tirthankaras - are somehow still rooted in the ego... very sophisticated, very polished, and very subtle, so that unless you have X-ray eyes, you cannot penetrate and see the ego.

Mohammedans have been asking me, "Are you a paigambara?" That is their word for messiah....

Mohammed was an absolutely illiterate man, and the Koran, in which his sayings are collected, is ninety-nine percent rubbish. You can just open the book anywhere and read it, and you will be convinced of what I am saying. I am not saying on a certain page - anywhere. You just open the book accidentally, read the page and you will be convinced of what I am saying.

Whatsoever one percent truth there is here and there in the Koran is not Mohammed's. It is just ordinary, ancient wisdom that uneducated people collect easily - more easily than the educated people, because educated people have far better sources of information - books, libraries, universities, scholars. The uneducated, simply by hearing the old people, collect a few words of wisdom here and there. And those words are significant, because for thousands of years they have been tested and found somehow true. So it is the wisdom of the ages that is scattered here and there; otherwise, it is the most ordinary book possible in the world.

Mohammedans have been asking me, "Why don't you speak on the Koran? You have spoken on The Bible, on the Gita, this and that." I could not say to them that it is all rubbish; I simply went on postponing. Even just before I went into silence, a Mohammedan scholar sent the latest English version of the Koran, praying me to speak on it. But now I have to say that it is all rubbish, that is why I have not spoken on it - because why unnecessarily waste time? And this is from a paigambara, a messenger from God!

I am not to be included in any ego game - messiah, avatara, paigambara, tirthankara; I have nothing to do with these people. I am just an ordinary man, just like everybody else. If there is any difference, it is not of quality; it is only of knowing. I know myself; you don't know.

As far as our beings are concerned, I belong to the same existence, I breathe the same air. You belong to the same existence, you breathe the same air. You just have not tried to know yourself The moment you know yourself, there is no difference at all.

It is just like I am standing and looking at the sunrise and you are standing by my side with closed eyes. The sun is rising for you too, just as it is rising for me. It is so beautiful and so colorful - not only for me, for you too. But what can the sun do? You are standing with closed eyes. That is the only difference. Is it much of a difference?

You just have to be shaken and told, "Just open your eyes. It is morning, the night is over."

Okay Sheela?

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"Yet I have a clever touch and pander to your vices.
While looking on in exultation. And so I play my game, with the
exuberance of experience, the strange and terribly subtle final
aims of my Asiatic Blood that remain a mystery to you."

(Paul Meyer, Akton)