MAHAVIRA WAS THE TWENTY-FOURTH TIRTHANKARA OF THE JAINA RELIGION. DID THE JAINA RELIGION START WITH THE VERY FIRST TIRTHANKARA OR WITH MAHAVIRA? AND WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE WORD 'JAINA'?
The word 'Jaina' has a very beautiful meaning, just like the word 'Buddha'. Buddha means the awakened one. Jaina comes from a root jinna. Jinna means one who has conquered.
The movement of conquering the ultimate peak of being, started with the first tirthankara, Rishabhdeva.
Perhaps he is the most ancient mystic in the whole history of man, and Jainism the most ancient religion. Because it is very small in numbers, the world is not very well aware of it; otherwise, its contribution is immense.
Rishabhdeva, the first tirthankara, the first Jaina master, is mentioned with great reverence in the oldest book in existence, the Hindu holy scripture, the Rigveda. The Rigveda is thought, by scholars, to be at least five thousand years old. But these are Christian scholars who are trying to fix everything within six thousand years - because the world started just six thousand years ago, according to them. So they have a prejudice: nothing can be older that that - there was no world before that. And this is simply stupid.
Even this earth is four billion years old by scientific findings. This solar system is much older; and this is not the oldest solar system. There are millions of other solar systems which are even older.
The Christian idea that six thousand years ago the whole existence was created, is very retarded.
You cannot even call it wrong, it is simply idiotic.
It is against science, it is against even common sense, because we have found in India cities buried underground which are seven thousand years old. And a city buried underground seven thousand years ago, must have existed before some calamity happened. The city must have existed before that; the calamity happened seven thousand years ago, the city may have existed for longer.
Looking at those cities - because they have been excavated - one can see that they were not primitive, they were far advanced. The roads are as broad as any modern city's roads, and that is significant. Varanasi has roads where no car can go, you can only walk. That means those roads in Varanasi are really primitive - when there was no vehicle, people were simply walking. In those small streets the sun never penetrates because on both sides are huge buildings. There is always shade; you will not find such coolness anywhere as in Varanasi. Even in the hottest summer you can walk in the streets; it is cool because the sun never reaches there.
Hindus think Varanasi is their oldest city, and they claim it is the oldest in the world. The two cities I am talking about are Mohenjo Daro and Harappa; now they are both in Pakistan. I have been to both the cities.
It is simply unbelievable but those cities had bathrooms attached to the bedrooms.
You will be surprised as to why this fact should be so important, but just in the last century - just a hundred years ago - when people in America started to make attached bathrooms, there was such a reaction from the masses that the government had to step in. There were cases in the courts claiming that it is ugly, unchristian, because cleanliness is second to godliness, and these people are doing something ugly - having a bathroom, a toilet, attached inside the house. It has always been outside the house; its name was the outhouse.
Seven thousand years ago those people were far more advanced in thinking - they had beautiful swimming pools.... And the most miraculous thing is that in Harappa and Mohenjo Daro they had a hot and cold running water system. It was a highly developed civilization. And they must have had vehicles big enough; otherwise there was no need to make such broad roads. They had big windows, which was rare; big doors, which was rare at that time; gardens....
According to Hindu scholars, the Rigveda is ninety thousand years old. And the man who proved it, Lokmanya Tilak - one of the most intelligent Hindu scholars of this century - has proved it on such grounds that nobody has been able to argue against him - because he proved it on grounds not logical, but astronomical.
In the Rigveda there is a description of a certain happening in the world of stars, a certain meeting which has not happened since then. The description is absolutely clear, and it would have been possible only if the people who were describing it had seen it. And in fact astronomy now agrees with Lokmanya Tilak - that it happened ninety thousand years ago, and the way it is described in the Rigveda is exactly right - the way astronomical things should be described.
So astronomy was highly developed, and the people could see the conglomeration of the stars. They even described stars and planets which we have just discovered; otherwise, fifty years ago people were simply laughing, "Where are these planets?" Pluto and Neptune had not been discovered fifty years ago and people were laughing. "This is just fictitious!"
But now they have been discovered with better instruments; more and more stars, more and more planets have been discovered; and they are all fitting together with the chart that is given in the Rigveda.
The Rigveda mentions Rishabhdeva's name with great reverence. I am emphasizing the words 'great reverence' because Rishabhdeva was not a Hindu. He was born a Hindu but he was starting to disagree with Hindu philosophy, Hindu doctrines, and he was originating a new religion; he was the source of Jainism.
In ninety thousand years Hinduism and Jainism have gone very far apart, so far apart that the twenty-fourth tirthankara, Mahavira - the last tirthankara - is not mentioned in any Hindu scripture...
just to ignore him; it was thought not worthwhile to mention him.
But Rishabhdeva they have mentioned with such reverence. That shows something very psychological. Nobody shows reverence to any contemporary, particularly to a contemporary who is cutting the roots of your vested interests, your powers, who is against the Brahmins who are writing the Rigveda. If they had criticized him that would have been perfectly right; but they are so full of reverence.
To me it proves only one thing, that Rishabhdeva must have lived a little before the writing of the RIGVEDA - five centuries, six centuries. By that time he had already become well known, worshipped. So even the RIGVEDA describes him with reverence. People don't speak against the dead, but to respect a contemporary needs a very intelligent and innocent mind.
He is the first Jinna. Jinna means the conqueror, and Mahavira is the twenty-fourth Jinna. Those who follow the Jinnas are called Jainas; they are simply followers.
The word 'jinna' is equivalent to the word 'buddha'; they are exchangeable, because in many places in Buddhist scriptures Buddha is called a Jinna, and in many Jaina scriptures, Mahavira is called Buddha. These words are not anybody's monopoly. They simply signify a state which can be described in many ways through different aspects.
When I was in America, the ambassador of Sri Lanka to America wrote a letter to me telling me that I should stop calling our discos around the world 'Zorba the Buddha' because it hurts the religious feelings of the Buddhists.
I answered him, "You don't seem to be aware of the fact that 'Buddha' is nobody's monopoly. It simply means 'the awakened'. Now, if Zorba becomes awakened - nobody can prevent him; he has a birthright to be awakened. And everybody who is not awakened is a Zorba - he may not be so great a Zorba, but in his own way, in a small measure, he is living a life which has no awakening to it, he is asleep. So there is no question of changing the name. My whole effort is to create a bridge between the Zorbas - the sleeping ones - and the Buddhas - the awakened ones. And this word simply signifies an awakening of consciousness."
But somebody may be an ambassador of a country - that does not mean that he understands. He never replied, because it is absolutely clear that it is nobody's monopoly. And everybody has to become a buddha. It should not hurt your religious feelings, it should really make you happy that even Zorbas are becoming buddhas. You should rejoice! But somebody may be an ambassador or a president or a prime minister: the sleeping mind is the same.
Just this morning I talked about Amiyo, but she could not get the point; on the contrary, she behaved exactly as one should behave in sleep. It was her question, that when I look at her she feels very happy, very blissful; and when I don't look at her she thinks perhaps I am angry, perhaps she is not doing well - she feels sad.
I answered it, and when I went back, after the lecture, and looked at her, she closed her eyes. That's how the sleepy mind behaves. On the one hand it asks that I should look at her, she rejoices; and when I looked at her, she was so angry, hurt, that she closed her eyes; she didn't look at me. And it is not only the case with her, it is the case with everybody else. We are functioning out of sleep; we do not know what we are doing, why we are doing it.
A Jinna is one who has conquered his sleep. Jainism has not become as famous as Buddhism because it never became a world religion; it remained a very small sect in India. There were basic reasons. First, its monks could not go out of India for the simple reason that they could not accept food from anybody who was not a Jaina.
Now, before you go to another country, you cannot expect that people, because you are coming, will turn into Jainas. They could not accept food from anybody else, not even from Hindus or Buddhists - nobody, only Jainas. So they move in a small circle; they cannot get out of it.
Secondly, the monks of their most orthodox branch live naked. They cannot go to the colder countries, they have to remain in the warmer places. They cannot eat non-vegetarian food. The whole world is non-vegetarian - Jainas are totally vegetarian.
So these restrictions did not allow them to go out of the country, and because of this, it is unfortunate; they have a great philosophy, much to contribute to human understanding, but that remained in the shadows. It never became known to the world.
Even today their scriptures are not being translated. Who cares? - they are such a small minority.
Numbers play such a role - but truth has nothing to do with numbers. Because they were a very small minority, they managed many things which in India were otherwise impossible.
For example, you will not find a single beggar from their community; they are all rich. They had to be rich; otherwise survival was difficult. They were surrounded by people who would have liked to destroy them. They could not take swords in their hands because they believed in nonviolence. The only way to survive was to have as much money as possible - that was their only power.
And they became really rich, so rich that even kings had to borrow money from them. Nobody was a beggar, nobody was uneducated. And because they were such a small minority, attacked by all kinds of philosophies, they had to protect themselves; they sharpened their intellect. They created better arguments than anybody else, because for others it was a luxury to argue, but for Jainas it
was a question of life and death. They had to win the argument; otherwise they were finished. So they have developed logical systems, great philosophies, which should be made available to the whole world.
But the world cares only about numbers, and they are a non-converting religion, so the question of creating great numbers like the Catholics is not possible. They are non-converting because, according to them - and I accept the idea - the very effort to convert somebody is ugly.
You can explain your philosophy, you can make your philosophy available, and if somebody wants to join you, that's one thing. But to make an effort to convert the person, by hook or by crook, just to bring him into your fold to make your fold more powerful, is politics; it is not religion.
I may have told you: I was staying in Central India - there is a small aboriginal tribal land, Bastar. I used to go there often just to see how man was ten or twelve thousand years ago, because they are that far back. They live naked; they eat raw meat.
I used to study how man must have been and how he must have evolved. I was staying.... In those days Bastar was a state, and the king of Bastar was my friend. He was a very courageous man, and he loved me so much that just because of me, he was killed.
The government became afraid because he was a king of a state, and he was too much under my influence. He was allowing me to use all his resthouses in the mountains, in the jungles of Bastar, and they thought that if he wanted... because he was worshipped by the aboriginals as God, just as in the old way every nation in the past worshipped kings as gods. They are still in the past, they are not contemporary people, and if he said anything about me, they would accept it without any question.
The chief minister of Central India was very much against me. He was a Brahmin, and he wanted that I should be prevented from reaching Bastar. He told the king; the king refused. He said, "He is my friend, and I love what he says - and I am not under anybody's power." Finding some excuse, police action was taken and the king was killed... thirty-six bullets; no chance was taken that he would be left alive. His name was Bhanjdeo. Because of him I enjoyed absolute freedom in his state.
I was staying in one of his guesthouses, and I saw a bonfire in the middle of the tribe - the tribe make their beautiful huts in a circle. So I went there - it must have been nine or ten o'clock in the night - and a Christian missionary was teaching them that the real religion, the only real religion, is Christianity.
So I sat just there with the crowd, and the missionary was not aware that somebody else from the outside was present. He had a bucket full of water, and the bonfire was there - it was a cool night.
He brought from his bag two statues; one was of Rama, the Hindu god, and one was of Jesus Christ.
And he said, "You can see these statues: one is Rama - the Hindu god you worship - and one is Jesus Christ; he is our god. And I will put them to a test to show you." He put both of them in the bucket of water. Rama drowned, and Jesus remained floating.
And he said, "You can see! - this fellow cannot even save himself; how can he save you? And look at Jesus Christ: while he was alive he used to walk on water; even in his statue he is floating! He can save you."
And many poor aboriginals nodded their heads, "That is true. You can see - there is no question."
I said to myself, "This is something I had never imagined - that these aboriginals are being converted to Christianity in this way." I stood up, I went close, and took both out of the bucket - Rama and Jesus - and as I took them I immediately felt that the Rama statue was made of steel, painted exactly the same way as Jesus' statue; and Jesus' statue was made of very soft wood, very light wood. So I asked the aborigines, "Have you ever heard in your scriptures about a water test?"
They said, "No."
"Have you heard about a fire test?"
They said, "Yes!"... because in Hindu scriptures, the fire test is a well-known fact. A water test nobody has heard of.
I said, "So you can see now...." I threw both of them into the bonfire. Jesus immediately started burning! The missionary tried to escape. I said, "Hold this man, don't let him go! Let him see the whole scene. Now Rama is safe even in the fire; Jesus is gone."
The aboriginals were very happy, and they said, "This is the real test, and this man was cheating us; a water test we have never heard of. But we never thought - we are poor people, we don't think - we agreed with him. If you had not been here he would have made us all Christians. This is his way; he has converted many tribes here in the forest to Christianity. This is his only game."
I said,"What do you think? - should we put him also to the fire test?"
They said, "That will be great, but that will be dangerous because he will be caught in it; he will not be able to save himself." And he was in such fear, trembling, that these people... and if I had told them to, they would certainly have put him in the fire!
And he said, "I will never do such a thing again."
"But," I said, "this is absolutely ugly. It is not religion that you are practicing; you are cheating poor people, innocent - and you call it conversion."
Any dignified philosophy does not believe in conversion. Jainism does not believe in it. It simply makes available to you all its treasure, and if you are interested you can join the caravan, but nobody wants you to be converted.
So only once in a while somebody... because who takes that much trouble to go through scriptures and study and find out what is right and what is wrong? But it is something to be taken note of, that there may be other similar minority groups in the world who have great treasures not translated into world languages. It should be the duty of an organization like the U.N. to translate all those treasures into world languages so they become available to all.
Jainism is the first religion that has made vegetarianism a fundamental necessity for transforming consciousness. And they are right. Killing just to eat makes your consciousness heavy, insensitive; and you need a very sensitive consciousness - very light, very loving, very compassionate. It is difficult for a non-vegetarian to be compassionate; and without being compassionate and loving you will be hindering your own progress.
And there are many diamonds in that small group - the Jainas - which can help many people. They are available, but they are available in a language which is no longer alive; they are written in Prakrit.
That word is also worth understanding. It is thought that Sanskrit is the oldest language. There is a consensus amongst scholars that Sanskrit is the oldest language of the world; only Jainas don't agree with it - their language is Prakrit - and I feel that they are right. The very meaning of the word 'prakrit' is 'natural', and the very meaning of the word 'sanskrit' is 'refined'.
Prakrit seems to be the original language which the people were using, and Sanskrit seems to be the refined form of it which scholars were using. Their very names indicate something. Prakrit means raw, and Sanskrit means cultured. Certainly Prakrit has to be first and only then is Sanskrit possible. And the same words are there; it is just that they are, in Prakrit, more simple - the way people will use them. In Sanskrit those words have taken a cultured form; only educated people can use them.
And I have seen it happen in India with English. There are simple words - for example, 'station'....
But in every village of India, for the poor, uneducated people, 'station' is difficult; they use 'teshan' - that is simpler. 'Station' seems to be a little complicated for them. 'Teshan' seems to be simple, uncomplicated.
You can see in India how English words, moving to the masses, have taken a different shape.
'Report' - every village in India uses simply, 'rapat', not 'report', that is too cultured. 'Rapat' is very simple.
Exactly in the same way are the words in Prakrit and Sanskrit. All Jaina scriptures are in Prakrit. It is a very beautiful language because it has the smell of everything simple, unpolished... diamonds just out of the mine - not cut, not polished, but they have a beauty of their own, something wild.
It is the duty of the U.N. to bring all this literature - and it is vast - into international languages, and people will be simply shocked.
For example, Albert Einstein in this century talks of the theory of relativity - and Mahavira, twenty- five centuries ago, talks about the theory of relativity. Of course his conception is philosophical, he is not a scientist; but the meaning is the same. Albert Einstein has scientific evidence, Mahavira has philosophical arguments, but both are trying to say that in existence there is nothing which is absolute, everything is relative.
Aristotle divides everything into black and white - either this or that; his logic is either/or. Mahavira divides everything into seven categories.
It is more complicated, more complex, but shows tremendous insight, intelligence. Aristotle looks like a pygmy - and the world must be made aware that there have been giants of which you are absolutely unaware.
It is one of my deep desires that when our mystery schools are functioning, slowly slowly, we will bring from all over the world the great mystical scriptures, without any consideration of to whom they belong, and publish them with the latest commentaries, so that mysticism does not remain just a word but becomes a vast literature, and anybody can devote his whole life to understanding what the mystics have given to the world.
Nobody is taking note of it, and its significance is tremendous - because it is not only literature, it has secrets for the transformation of your being.
A FEW DAYS AGO YOU SAID THAT AN AWARE PERSON COULD FOLLOW THE FOOTPRINTS OF A BIRD'S FLIGHT. HOW ABOUT THE FOOTPRINTS AN ENLIGHTENED PERSON LEAVES?
DO THEY KEEP THE RADIANCE AND THE FRAGRANCE OF THE ENLIGHTENED ONE FOR LONG? IS IT LIKE NUCLEAR RADIATION? - IF A PERSON STEPS IN THE FOOTPRINTS OF AN ENLIGHTENED ONE, WILL HE BE AFFECTED?
IF THE ANSWER IS YES, THEN AMERICA SHOULD BE CONSCIENTIOUS ENOUGH TO MAKE THAT DESERT IN CENTRAL OREGON WHICH ONCE WAS MADE INTO AN OASIS, A HIGH-RISK AREA OF DANGEROUS CONTAMINATION. THEY SHOULD PUT UP A SIGN POST: "WARNING!
DANGEROUS AREA OF HIGHLY AWAKENED CONSCIOUSNESS. KEEP OUT!"
IT IS SAID THAT GURDJIEFF'S LAST WORDS WERE, "BRAVO AMERICA!" IN MY IMAGINATION I ADD ON TO THIS, "BUT AMERICA, WHAT A PITY: YOU MISSED."
AND THE REALITY IS THAT NORTH AMERICA MISSED YOU. AND NOW IT SEEMS THE TURN OF SOUTH AMERICA TO MISS YOU TOO.
OSHO, IS IT POSSIBLE THAT HUMAN STUPIDITY CAN PREVENT THE REALIZATION OF COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS?
There is no power in human stupidity to prevent the evolution of consciousness. It is impotent. It seems powerful only because the majority of the world has been brought up in it, is conditioned for it. People have been prevented from growing up from their very childhood; but it cannot prevent evolution of consciousness.
Once the movement for evolution gathers momentum, it may change the whole face of the earth.
And it is time that it should gain the momentum. There is no possibility of remaining lazy any longer; the future is becoming shorter and shorter. Either stupidity will destroy the whole earth, or a conscious evolution can bring a new man into existence. The choice is so clear that I don't think, however asleep man may be, that he is going to choose suicide instead of a new phase in the life of man.
Just now as I was coming in, Amiyo tried again: she closed her eyes when I looked at her, but opened them in the middle. That is a good sign, a great sign. She herself must have felt what she was doing.
Human sleep is going to be broken, and the days are very few; you can allow yourself a little more sleep. And remember, before the morning, the night becomes certainly very dark, but there is no need to be afraid of it; the night becoming very dark simply heralds the coming of the morning. We are very close to it.
And it is true that wherever an enlightened person lives, moves, sits, he leaves a certain vibration which remains for centuries - and those who are sensitive enough can be affected by it.
And your idea is good: America should be aware that the desert that we had turned into an oasis is dangerous. They have forced me out of America, thinking me dangerous. They have destroyed the community, thinking it dangerous. But there are certain invisible things which they cannot destroy; on the contrary, those invisible things will destroy them... not that they will kill them, but they will transform them. That place - they should be aware of it.
And how long can they prevent? - because it is not a question of me. How can they prevent Americans from becoming enlightened? I may not be able to go to America but America can come to me. And we don't need that the whole of America should come to me, we need only a few intelligent people to carry the flame back home.
Although America has misbehaved with me and my people, I still insist on Gurdjieff's statement, "Bravo America!" because the American government is not America. These are the few elected fools. The whole of America has a totally different flavor to it. It is more innocent than any other country, because it is younger than any other country. And it is innocence that is needed as a base for somebody to become enlightened.
The old countries have such a long past that they also have a long conditioning. America has no conditioning, just three hundred years. It makes nothing, just a thin layer which can be easily peeled off. Perhaps that's why the American government became so much afraid of me. They are really living in a paranoia.
Here they have tried hard that I should not be allowed. They have blackmailed this small country, threatened it. And we are looking in other places, but wherever we are looking, as we start looking at any country, immediately American pressure reaches ahead of us - because all our telephones are tapped. You will be surprised that all our telephone calls go through the American Embassy, everything first reaches to the American ambassador. They know where we are searching, where we are going, where our people are working; and immediately, before our people reach there, their pressure on the government of that country reaches there.
Just two days ago in Ireland things were simple. The man whose property we were going to purchase, on the condition that he obtains a permanent residence for the commune.... It is a big, beautiful castle, renovated completely. He was asking too much. We said, "We will give it, but it will be your responsibility to make the government... all the facilities possible." And he was absolutely sure. He is a duke and has great influence.
But just today the information has come: the American government has pressured the Irish government. Nobody has reached there yet, but the pressure was because the phone call has been detected, tapped. And the duke was surprised. He informed us, "Suddenly the government is
afraid." He had been absolutely certain that there was no problem, the government was willing. Just as a routine procedure, permanent residence would be given within sixty days. But now he is afraid, the pressure is too much.
And the kind of pressure America is putting on countries shows that there is no freedom anywhere.
The old kind of political slavery has disappeared; a new kind of economic slavery has taken its place.
They threaten the country, "First, if you want to allow him and his people to be in your country then you pay off all loans." And America has given billions of dollars to every country, knowing perfectly well that they are not capable of paying them back, they will never be able to pay them back.
"Secondly, if you cannot pay us back, then we are going to increase the rate of interest. Thirdly, if you still insist that you will allow him to stay in the country, then no future loans" - which have been already granted, billions of dollars in this year, billions of dollars in the coming year - "they will be immediately cancelled."
Now this is too much for a poor country - and all countries are poor. They cannot pay the loans back, they cannot pay that much interest, and they cannot manage all the projects that they have started. Roads or hospitals or universities or bridges or railway lines, are all incomplete; and if the loans are stopped, then their whole economy will simply fall flat.
Here, one minister said - because the same thing they did here - "At least one thing has become clear, that we were under the illusion that we are independent. We are not - nobody is."
But this is only the American government. Don't make it equal to America. The people of America are the most innocent, fresh, young, and are capable of giving birth to the new man.
Whatever happens to me and to my people, I will not disagree with George Gurdjieff.
WHEN, IN THE PAST, I ALLOWED MYSELF TO BE OPEN AND VULNERABLE, I OFTEN HAD THE FEELING THAT PEOPLE TENDED TO EXPLOIT THIS STATE OF MIND TO HURT ME OR TO DO SOME HARM TO ME.
RECENTLY, WHEN IN A SIMILAR SITUATION, I FOUND MYSELF BEING LESS IDENTIFIED THAN IN THE PAST. I COULD STAY MORE ALOOF AND WATCHFUL, AND DIDN'T DRAW MYSELF BACK. I STAYED VULNERABLE AND OPEN AND I DIDN'T FEEL HURT OR HAVE THE FEELING OF INFERIORITY AS MUCH AS BEFORE. IN FACT, I FELT MORE RECEPTIVE AND FEMININE THAN EVER BEFORE, AND KNEW THAT I WAS ON THE RIGHT PATH.
I SAW MYSELF AS A SMALL BIRD WHO HAS ACCIDENTALLY FLOWN THROUGH A WINDMILL AND EMERGES FROM IT WITH FEATHERS ASKEW AND A LOOK OF SURPRISE ON ITS FACE.
CAN YOU PLEASE COMMENT?
You are on the right path. What you have been doing in the past was out of unawareness. You have tried just a little bit of awareness, and things have changed. Awareness is the greatest alchemy there is.
Just go on becoming more and more aware, and you will find your life changing for the better in every possible dimension. It will bring great fulfillment.
And, yes, you will be immensely surprised that you were capable of so much joy, so many blessings.
Why did you go on missing it?
When one becomes enlightened, one cannot believe it. "It has happened to me?"
It takes a little time to believe it, because the phenomenon is so big, and our sleep has been so long and our stupidities have been so deep. And suddenly all has melted away and there is nothing but pure light and a subtle dance and a fragrance that follows you twenty-four hours a day. You have the feeling that now this fragrance and this light and this rejoicing is going to be eternal. It is forever.