MAN IS FREEDOM, absolute freedom, so spirituality is a choice. There is no force compelling you to be spiritual; there is no cause forcing you to transform. If there were any cause forcing you to transform, then no spirituality would be possible.
Causality is materialism. You seek food because hunger is there. It forces you; there is no choice.
You cannot choose whether to seek or not to seek: you have to. Spirituality is not that type of seeking. No one is forcing you. You alone have to choose.
Spirituality is a choice. It is not causality. Everything else is causality: there is a cause, and the effect follows. The effect has no freedom. It is caused. Spirituality is beyond causality. It is not caused by anything; it is your inner choice. You may choose, you may not choose. For lives together you may not choose it, but no one is going to force you. This has to be understood, and this is a very significant thing - because if everything is caused, then, I say, there is no spirituality. Then someone can cause you to become spiritual. If the cause is present, then the effect will follow. Then a Buddha can be caused; then we can create the cause, and then you will be a Buddha.
But we cannot create any situation in which you can become a Buddha, and you cannot create a situation in which you can be stopped from becoming a Buddha. You are free. Any moment you can choose to be one, and you may not choose for lives together.
This has been a long discussion between materialism and spirituality. This is the basic debate - not whether God exists or not. That is not the basic debate because one can be spiritual without any God. Buddha never believed in any God; Mahavir denies any existence of God - but no one is as spiritual as Mahavir or Buddha. So God is not the most significant thing; even the soul is not the most significant thing. Buddha says there is no self, no soul, and he is spiritual par excellence.
Then what is the basic thing in spirituality? It is the concept of freedom - whether man is free to go beyond humanity or not.
If everything is caused, then there is no freedom for you. You have a certain body because of certain causes - because of a certain father, a certain mother, a certain country, a certain climate, a certain heredity. You have a certain body; it has been caused. You have a certain mind because of a certain country, a certain culture, a certain education. You have a mind because of certain causes.
You speak a particular language because it has been caused. If you were born in China and were never taught any other language than Chinese, it is difficult to conceive that you could speak any other language. Language is caused. Certain factors are needed, then you will speak a certain language.
So there is no freedom in these things. Only spirituality is uncaused, and that is the debate between science and religion - because science says that nothing is possible which is uncaused: everything has a causality. You may know it, you may not know it; that is another thing. The factor of causality may be unknown, but "everything is caused". This is the contention of the scientific approach toward life: everything is caused. The cause is known or not known, but "everything is caused".
If everything is caused, then there is no freedom. Then if a Buddha is a Buddha, it is not any achievement of his. He was "caused"! Then anyone else in his situation, X-Y-Z, will become a Buddha. Only a particular situation has to be there.
Then Buddha is replaceable by anyone. Then if you are put into the same situation, you will become a Buddha, just like water boils at a particular degree - any water. So it is irrelevant which water, whether it is from the Ganges or from the Godavari or from anywhere. Any water will boil at a particular degree and will evaporate at a particular degree. At one hundred degrees, water will evaporate - in any country, in any climate, in any age. So which water is irrelevant: at one hundred degrees heat, evaporation is caused. So use any water - A-B-C.
Science says the same is with Buddha. They say put any man, A-B-C, in the same situation, and given the same situation a Buddha will be caused. It is only that we do not yet know all the causal factors - that is another thing - but they think we will know one day.
That is absurd! No one can create the situation for someone to be a Buddha, no one can teach it! If I say to water, "Now evaporate," water cannot evaporate. But create the situation and water evaporates. Water has no freedom to choose. The situation is the significant factor. If the situation is there, automatically water will evaporate. Science says that man's situation is very complex. It is not so simple as creating heat for the water to evaporate. It is complex, but still "everyone is caused" and "everything is caused".
If this is the case, then there is no freedom. Really, in this country, this thought has become very deeply rooted in the human mind. Because of this, now psychologists say that no criminal is a criminal: he is caused; and no Buddha is a Buddha: he is caused. Everyone is just a slave; there is no responsibility. With the concept of freedom gone, there is no responsibility. So when you ask me why people are not interested in transforming their lives, their inner energy into spiritual light, the "why" is irrelevant. It cannot be asked. With freedom, "why" disappears. But you can ask why this water is not evaporating; then you have to find out the "why" in the situation. Go deep down into the situation, and you will find out the answer to why this water is not evaporating. Some factor is missing. Bring the factor in, and the water will evaporate.
Why is a particular man ill? Diagnose, and something will be found: the answer will be there. Why is a particular man not spiritual? The answer is that the question is not valid, because with the question "why?" you assume that somewhere in the situation something must be there which is obstructing the process. There is no such factor. If you want to be spiritual you can be; if you do not want it, it is up to you. It is up to you!
Given all the factors of the situation, a Buddha cannot be produced, cannot be manufactured. Really, in the life of Buddha, there are many things which will help us. He was born, he was the only son to his father, and he was born when his father was very old. The father asked the astrologers, "What is going to be the fate of my son?" The astrologers said, "There are two possibilities: either he will become a great emperor - a chakravartin, an emperor of the whole world - or he will become a sannyasin, a renunciate. The father asked, "What type of astrology is this? You tell me certainly what he is going to become!" They said, "This is the only possible thing we can predict. Either he will become a sannyasin or he will become a chakravartin."
These are polar opposites: an emperor of the whole world and a sannyasin, a monk, a beggar in the street. Everything else comes in between. These are the two polar opposites. So the father was worried and he asked the pundits of the court. He called a great meeting of all the wise men of the capital and asked them what to do so that his son may not become a sannyasin, so that he may live in the world and not leave the world. He asked them what type of situation should be given to him and what type of education so that he would never feel any urge toward spirituality.
This was a great experiment - an experiment in causing a person to be a particular thing. He must be a great emperor, and both the possibilities were open. How to close one possibility and how to help only one possibility to grow? They decided. They must have been very scientific. Never was such an experiment done before and never after. It was a very great experiment in human destiny.
So they planned the whole thing. The childhood of Buddha was a planned childhood, absolutely planned. What he should eat, what he should do, with whom he should talk, who should teach him, when he should move - everything was planned. They were great wise men. They said he must not see any suffering. He must not see any old man, he must not see any deceased man, he must not see illness or poverty. He must not become aware of the great suffering that life is. He must be in a world of dreams, a utopia, a euphoria. He must live in illusions so real that he will never feel the urge to leave the world.
So three palaces were built for him, one for each season. In his gardens not even a dry leaf was allowed. In the night everything dying would be thrown away. He never saw a flower dying. He would only see flowers that were young and fresh. Wherever Gautam was, no old man was allowed to move - only young, healthy, beautiful men and women.
All the beautiful girls of the capital were brought for his service. They would serve him, and there was music and song and his whole life was just a sing-song, just a dreamy life. Absolute planning was possible because he was a king's son. When he was young he had never seen any old man, any ill man, any dead man; he did not even know that death existed. Of course, when there is no death, no old age, no suffering, where is there a question of becoming a renunciate? Why renounce the world? The world is as beautiful as you can wish.
He lived in this dreamland, and then suddenly everything shattered. One cannot go on in it. It is such a false thing, one cannot continue in it. One day or another something will enter and shatter the whole thing. And it happened that because of this planning, I say because of this planning, when he came to know the facts of life it was a great shock. They are not such a great shock to us; we are accustomed to them. But when Buddha saw an old man for the first time, he was not accustomed at all, so he asked, "What has happened to this man?" When he saw for the first time a dead body, the whole dream-world disappeared.
We see these things every day, so we become insensitive, accustomed. But he was not accustomed so he asked, "What has happened to this man?" He had to be replied to, and that was such a shock - such a great shock. There was such a big gap between his life and the facts of death that he is reported to have said, "If this man is dead, then the whole life is meaningless. Then I am also going to be dead. Then everything is useless. If death is the end, then life is meaningless, so I must go and find that which is deathless - if there is such a thing. And if there is not such a thing, then we are living only in dreams - wasting time, wasting energy, wasting ourselves."
The father had had a plan in his mind. He had been trying to cause, trying to force, a particular alternative. But the result was quite the contrary - because when you force a particular thing the inner freedom begins to rebel. Buddha's life was a manufactured life - artificial, false, unreal.
And because everything was forced upon him, the inner freedom must have revolted. Because of that inner freedom, he moved into quite the opposite polarity. Buddha's father was just unable to understand what had happened. He had done everything in his power, and then the whole plan failed.
You cannot cause man to be something - and if you can cause man to be something, then there is no humanity. Man is the uncaused factor in the world. So I cannot say why, because if I can say that because of this or that, man is not spiritual, then you can provide the factors, and man will be made spiritual. Then spirituality becomes a part of a great economics. Supply "this", and the demand will be fulfilled. I create a demand, and the supply will be there.
No, nothing can be done with man. Spirituality is not a commodity. And because of this, because spirituality means freedom, so few people become spiritual: because you never use your freedom.
Rather, on the contrary, you go on forcing yourself into slavery, because slavery is convenient - very convenient, comfort able - and freedom is inconvenient, uncomfortable.
When everyone is a slave, you can adjust with everyone - if you too are a slave. If you begin to act as a free agent, you become maladjusted. The whole world has progressed only through maladjusted individuals. The adjusted ones are always orthodox, traditional. They do what all the others are doing. They are adjusted. Freedom means you begin to move in a direction where no one is moving. Fear grips you; you begin to feel uneasy. You cannot be certain because no one is moving there. Because freedom is such a responsibility, and such a dangerous responsibility, you go on deceiving yourself.
At the most, you choose one slavery over another; you go on substituting slaveries. A Hindu becomes a Christian, a Christian becomes a Hindu: they exchange slaveries. A man belongs to a particular party, and then he leaves it and he thinks, "I am free." Then he joins another party. We simply change bondages. A new bondage is not a freedom. Freedom means to be without any bondage, moving without a bondage. That means moving moment to moment without any certainty, moving into insecurity. We are always interested in securities.
Only two or three days before, one old lady was here. Her husband is doing meditation deeply. Now she has become worried because he has become more silent. She came to tell me, "My husband has become more silent, and I fear that if this goes on he may become a sannyasin. He may leave us, he may renounce us. So stop my husband from meditation." So I asked her if he had become more of a bad man t2han he was before. She said, "No, he has become more good. He is not angry now as he was before. He is more loving, more compassionate. But the whole family has become disturbed. There is a fear that he may leave us."
This fear was not only the fear of the wife. I asked her husband also. He said, "I myself have become uneasy - because the silence is going in, and aS the silence is going in everything begins to look different. My family doesn't look to be at all mine. It is as if it is someone else's family. I feel more compassion for the children, but now they are not 'mine'. I am doing everything for. them and I will go on doing it, but it is as if I am doing it in a play, in a drama.'I' am not involved, so I myself have become afraid. If this goes on, then anything can happen. Any day I may leave them."
This fear was of the unknown. A fixed pattern had been there; now a new factor entered it. And that new factor is so alive, it will change everything. So he asked me, "If you tell me to stop, I will stop meditation. And then, in my family, everyone will be happy."
You are afraid of your freedom and everyone else is also afraid of your freedom, so we have a society of slaves. And in our families we have such a deep investment. That is why we do not move toward freedom.
Every moment you are free to choose. You can choose spirituality every moment, or you can choose old habits. To be with old habits is easy. You know them; you have lived them. Nothing is new. With the new you are in the unknown, in the dark. You have to learn again. So a person who is moving in freedom has to be a learner every moment. And he cannot rely on the past. The past will not help.
But we are all past-oriented. Only because the past once helped, we are habit-oriented. This is the mechanism of the inner mind. Whenever you know something, you need not bother about it. When you know something as a habit, it is transferred from your consciousness to your robot mechanism inside. It is transferred to the mechanical part of your being. Then you need not bother about it. The mechanical part will go on doing it.
If you are a driver, you go on talking, you go on thinking, you go on singing, or you can put on your radio, and drive. You are not driving. The robot part, the mechanical part, is driving. You will be needed only when something new happens, when some accident happens suddenly; then you will be required. Otherwise you are not required at all. You can be at ease somewhere else: you need not be in your car at all.
When you are driving mechanically, you are not there. You may have already reached the destination, and the robot part, the mechanical part, is still driving. Your soul can fly to the stars or to the clouds, anywhere, but the robot part does everything. This gives you a feeling of convenience.
So with everything routinized you feel a convenience. With anything more, you have to be conscious, aware. When you are learning to drive, then there is a problem. You feel some discomfort in learning because then you have to be conscious.
Unconsciousness is such a drug; consciousness is such an effort. When you learn something, you have to be conscious every moment. That consciousness is felt as a strain. It is not, but because we are always behaving in a mechanical way, it seems to be. The person who is thinking in terms of spirituality must think in terms of awareness - more and more awareness. Awareness comes only when you go on facing new factors.
Biologists say that animals live in a world where awareness is not needed, in a routine circle. They perform acts that are exactly alike. One animal's birth is not different from another animal's birth in any way. Death is not different, sex is not different. Everything is similar because everything is done by instinct. A bird makes a nest, an animal makes a den, still another animal makes something else.
They make them through instinct. No learning is needed; they are never taught. This is done by their robot part. It is inherent in their cells. They must go on doing the same things.
Even if a bird is hatched without its parents there, and no other birds are allowed to meet him, when the time is ripe he will begin to make a nest. And the nest will be the same, exactly the same, as his ancestors have been making for centuries and centuries. No one has taught them, no awareness is needed. It is just in their cells. It is instinctive, a mechanical thing, so they do it.
With man, there is difficulty. Man has to be taught everything - EVERYTHING! Now biologists say that soon, after this century, we will have to teach sex. You will have to be trained, because now even sex is not as instinctive as it was. You may feel that there has been an eruption, an explosion of sex books all over the world. Just as there are books on how to learn driving, they now have them on how to love - books on how to love, how to achieve perfect sex.
No animal needs anything to know about sex, so why man? With man everything has to be learned.
Why? Because the robot part in man is secondary, and consciousness, which is primary, has come in. It is the central force. You have to learn everything; then choice comes in. You have to choose what to learn, what not to learn.
Spirituality will be your greatest choice. It is up to you. You may choose to look at the world in a spiritual way, you may choose to look at the world in a materialistic way. No one will tell you not to choose it and no one can force you. If you choose the materialistic outlook you will have one kind of life, and if you choose the spiritual outlook, you will have a totally different life. This is freedom.
Biologists say that this consciousness came to human life because long before, at least two million years before, some apes, the forefathers of man, came down from the trees and began to walk on two legs instead of on four. Instead of four, they began to walk on two legs. The two hands were released. With these two hands released many things happened, and the greatest was that the factor of awareness came in. When the apes were on trees, they were not in any danger. They were secured in their trees. No lion could kill them, no tiger could attack them. They were secured in their trees. They were moving in their trees from one tree to another, and that was a mechanical thing - inherent, hereditary.
But it is yet an unknown factor - an X - why certain apes came down to earth. It seems many reasons are possible. It seems that either there was a sudden population explosion: they were so many that they had to find somewhere new to live - trees were less and they became more; or, suddenly there were no rains for many years, and trees died and became dry, and they had to come down. But whatsoever may have happened, these are all guesses.
Someone has suggested recently, a great scientist, that it seems that humanity was born out of illness. Some apes became very ill because of an attack of a certain virus, a certain illness. Apes became so ill that they could not live by hanging on the trees. They became so weak that they had to come to the earth. It is possible, but whatsoever may have been the basic cause, this man is certain that when apes came down to the earth they had to be more alert. Then their mechanical habits alone couldn't do, their inherited instincts weren't sufficient. They had to walk on an unknown territory. The very walking, the stature, the posture, was so new, and their bodies were not accustomed to it. With two-legged walking, they became biped from quadruped. In their cells there was no knowledge about it. That is why when a man is born, when a child is born, he still has to learn to walk. Still it is not instinctive.
A horse is born: he can run. A calf is born: he can run. No need to learn to walk. But man has to learn to walk. And if you put a small child somewhere where no one walks and he cannot imitate, then he will not walk for his whole life.
In certain wolves' caves, some children have been found who had grown up with wolves. They could not walk. Just four or five years back, in a forest of U.P. (India), a boy of fourteen was found in a community of wolves. They must have taken him from the village, and then he was brought up by them. Fourteen years, and he couldn't walk! He was not a biped: he was still a quadruped. He would walk on all fours, and he would walk like a wolf, not like a man.
Walking is still an effort, so when a child walks parents are so happy. The reason is because this is something valuable, an achievement. We have in our language many things which show this attitude. We say that someone is "standing on his own legs; he is standing on his own two feet". This is something valuable, something worthwhile, something to be appreciated. We condemn someone by saying, "You are still not standing on your own two feet."
Because man came into a new situation from the trees to the earth - in which everything was new, in which the robot would not work, in which instinct would not help - that is why intelligence developed.
He had to be aware, and he had to be aware every moment because there were so many dangers all around. He was surrounded by enemies, and he was weak because no instinct would help now.
This dangerous situation was the first school for alertness. He had to be alert!
Now he has created a very, very secure state of affairs, so he can be just like a robot. There is no need to be alert. That is why the sharpness, the alertness, the awareness, has to be chosen again, and you have to put yourself into new dangers. If you move into a jungle or you begin to live with a wild animal, that is not real danger. You can accustom yourself to it; it can become part of your inner robot mechanism. The only danger for man now is to live from moment to moment without the help of the past, to live from moment to moment in the present - alert, aware, conscious. That is going to be your choice, without any cause.
Look at it in another way: science is causal. That means it is past-oriented. If something is to be found, science will go to the past. If you are ill, science will go to your past history, your case history, to see why this illness happened. Science cannot move to the future; it always moves to the past. If you are blind, science will go to your past, to your parents' past. It moves to the past; it goes to find out the cause. Then the effects can be explained.
Religion is future-oriented, not past-oriented, so "why" cannot be answered in scientific terms. It is future-oriented; you can understand it. It is not that something is causing you to be spiritual. Rather, something is calling you to be spiritual - not causing you, but calling you.
Always certain spiritual persons have said, "A certain call has come to me." The call comes from the future, not from the past. It is end-oriented, not origin-oriented. Freedom is there to choose. You can choose whatsoever is going to be your destiny; you can choose whatsoever you are going to achieve and to be. If you feel hungry, you seek food: this is caused. If you feel inner tensions and then choose meditation, this is caused. Then your meditation is a scientific effort.
But it is uncaused if you say. "I do not know why, but there is a certain calling - a call toward you.
I have to move in this direction. I feel an unknown scent. It is not coming from my past, but it is something from the future inviting me, something unknown inviting me. I will move. It is dangerous because I do not know what is going to happen; I cannot be sure what the consequence will be. But I will move." Then it is a jump. And, remember, this is not so only in this age. This has always been so and this always will be so.
I am also asked whether I feel the present generation is capable of creating Enlightened Ones like Krishna, Lao Tzu and Christ. Spirituality is not concerned with time at all - time or age. A Lao Tzu is born not because of a particular time; a Buddha is born not because of a particular age. There were so many in Buddha's age, but only one became the Buddha. The age was the same to all, time was the same to all.
Time is irrelevant for spirituality because spirituality exists in eternity, not in time. Any moment is as good as any other. You can be a Buddha this very moment. Time is absolutely irrelevant. Time neither helps nor hinders. It will not say what you are, what you are going to do, or that Enlightenment cannot happen, or that because this is the twentieth century it cannot happen in this century. Time has no determining capacity for spirituality.
For other things it has. For example, you could not fly in the sky in an aeroplane in Buddha's age. You had to move in a bullock cart because only after a certain period of evolution was the aeroplane possible. Now you can move in an aeroplane, but you cannot yet go to other solar families. Whatsoever you do, you cannot go just now. We have moved only as far as the moon. It will take at least twenty centuries more to go to another solar system. To go beyond the family of this sun it will take at least twenty more centuries. It is a gradual process.
Many things will have to be developed. A bullock cart will become an aeroplane, but many steps will have to be taken. So you could not do certain things in Buddha's age as far as the outside world was concerned. But as far as the inside world is concerned, any moment, any time, is as good as any other, because when you move inside time disappears. This has to be understood.
A Buddha is meditating: he has gone deep inside. There is no time. Time ceases; he is not even aware of time. Time stops. If you move inside, time will stop. Buddha meditating twenty-five centuries before will drop out of time; meditating just today, you will also drop out of time. And there will be no difference between you and Buddha because all differences are time differences.
You wear certain clothes which Buddha cannot wear; you know many things which Buddha cannot know. You belong to a different world, a different education, a different culture, and Buddha belongs to a different world. But when you move in, you move outside - outside of culture, outside of society, outside of education. When you go in, you go into a different world uncreated by the society, and then you can move. But it is a human tendency to think that our own age is bad, evil, that our own time is bad. This is a human tendency!
And this is not only the case today. It has always been so. The most ancient record has been found in Babylon. It is at least 7,000 years old, but if you publish it in any of tomorrow's morning newspapers as an editorial, it will do. You need not change anything in it. It says, "This is the age of darkness; this is the age of corruption; this is the age of immorality and sin. Everything good has disappeared, everything wise has disappeared. Youth has gone rebellious; the wife will not listen to her husband; the son will not listen to his father; the teachers are no more respected by their disciples." This is a 7,000-year-old document.
Every age thinks that it is the worst one. Why? Because we are only aware of our own age and everything around us, and we begin to compare our neighbour with Buddha. We do not know what neighbours were like then. Buddha was not your neighbour. Buddha is only one. So we compare the best one of the past with the worst one of the present. That is the problem; that is why every age appears to be the age of sin.
We think of Jesus: we do not think of Judas. We think of Ram: we do not think of Ravan. We think of Buddha: we do not think of Devadatta. He was Buddha's cousin and he tried many times to murder Buddha. He was jealous, simply jealous of why this man should be honoured and respected so much. He was just a cousin to him and nothing more. When he felt that this would not do, he renounced the world. He renounced it because it seemed to him that people honour only that one who renounced the world. So for this reason he renounced the world, and he went into deep austerity. He practised meditation, yoga, everything, just to become higher than Gautam.
That also did not do because you cannot force yourself to be a Buddha, you cannot imitate. But Devadatta is forgotten and Buddha remains. The whole age is forgotten; only Buddha remains.
Everything has disappeared; only Buddha remains. And then we compare Buddha with our own age. Because of that, this problem arises over whether a Buddha or a Jesus can be born today. It looks impossible. How is it possible in "this age of darkness, corruption, immorality"? How is this possible!
Another factor also enters: whenever a person is dead for twenty centuries, we forget how we behaved with him when he was alive. Jesus was crucified not because he was a great Teacher or a great Enlightened One, but only because he was "immoral, undisciplined - against the code and against the tradition". This behaviour was not that of a respectable man. And when he was killed, it was a unanimous resolution.
Few, very few, were with him, and the whole country was against him. He had only twelve disciples, and they too left when the moment came for him to be crucified. They left! They also were doubtful inside. When everyone is against him, something must be wrong! Jesus was crucified as a hippie, as a vagabond.
You may be surprised that there is no record of his crucifixion. Jews have not even recorded the incident. It was such a minor incident, no Jew has recorded it in the Jewish history. Romans have not recorded it. If you go to find any historical record to indicate whether Jesus existed, you cannot find one. There is nothing. The Bible recorded by his disciples is the only record.
So there have been certain persons who have doubted the very existence of Jesus. They say he never existed. They say, rather, this Jesus Christ was a drama which was played in every village - that this was only a drama, not a real historical fact, and later on, by and by, people forgot that this was a drama and it became a history. If the Bible is lost, there is no record that Jesus ever existed.
If he was a very significant, prominent person, if the age was influenced by him, then it is impossible to conceive why there is no record.
It is as if he was not. He was unknown; nobody knew about him. Later on only, when disciples gathered and created an organization, by and by he became known. Otherwise he was an unknown carpenter's son. If Jesus meets you, you will not recognize him. If Buddha meets you somewhere suddenly and no one introduces you to him, you will not recognize him - because this inner flowering is such a subtle, hidden force, that unless you are a fellow traveller, unless you are also moving in the same dimension, you cannot recognize him.
So when you ask whether it is possible now, in this age, for a Buddha to be or a Christ to be,, you again ask a meaningless question. Anywhere, in any time, Christ is possible, Buddha is possible, because the possibility belongs to the innermost realm of your being, not to the procession of events which we call history. It doesn't belong to history, it doesn't belong to time. It belongs to the innermost realm of Being which is in eternity, not time. You can be a Buddha. Take the jump and you will be!
And time will not hinder you so that you cannot take the jump. This factor about time is irrelevant.
It must be understood deeply and pondered over because we are very cunning and very self- deceiving. If someone says that in this age to become a Buddha is not possible, then you begin to feel, "It is not my responsibility to transform." And there are religions which say that in this age becoming a Buddha is not possible, and in a way every religion says it. Any organized religion will say that a Jesus is born only once: "He is the only begotten son of God, and now no one can be a Jesus again. You can only be a Christian, not a Christ."
Jains say you cannot be a teerthanker, you cannot be a Mahavir. The quota is finished. Only twenty- four persons can be teerthankers. There can be no twenty-fifth. Mohammedans will not allow you to be a prophet - a paigamber - because Mohammed is the last paigamber and he has brought the complete and the final message from God. No alteration is possible now, and there is no need, they say. Every organized religion will say to you that now you need not bother to be a Mohammed or a Mahavir, so just follow. You can only be a follower.
Why? Why do they say this? For two reasons: deep down you like it very much, and the responsibility is not upon you to transform yourself. The time is bad, so you are not a Jesus. k is not your responsibility. Religions will say, "In this kaliyuga, in this age of sin, no one can be a Christ, so, therefore, you are not one." Then it is not your responsibility. "It is the very times which hinder you; otherwise you could flower like a Jesus at any moment. You are ready, but the time is not helpful."
Everyone likes this deep down, appreciates it. Then you can be whatsoever you are. There is no burden on you to flower into a Buddha. Because of this deep satisfaction and deep, cunning deception, we are happy. We think that we can only be criminals, we can only be weak human beings. "That is all that the age allows!"
And, secondly, every religion thinks that if a Buddha is going to be born again and again, then you cannot have an organized church for Buddha because every other Buddha will disturb the whole thing. Christians cannot allow anyone to be a Christ again. Another Christ will disturb the whole Christian kingdom, because such persons are bound to be non-traditional, such persons are bound to be non-sectarian, such persons are bound to be absolutely free, independent. They will destroy any organization if they are born.
So no religion would like or appreciate a Jesus to be again in any form. The Pope is the representative and he is enough; Jesus is no more needed. So every religion goes on insisting that nothing can be done at this moment. All that you can do is to follow, worship and follow: "Just be a follower in the crowd; do not try to be an individual."
Buddha was an individual: he was not a Buddhist. He was born a Hindu, and then the organization could not contain him. No organization could. Jesus was born a Jew, he died a Jew. He was not a Christian. But because the Jews could not contain such a seed, because he could not be contained, they threw him out. And because he was thrown, the seed sprouted into Christianity.
Buddha was a Hindu. He lived as a Hindu and he died as a Hindu: he was not a Buddhist. But Hindus could not absorb him, because if you want to absorb a Buddha you will have to transform the whole society. He could not be absorbed so he was thrown out.
If a Buddha is born now into a Buddhist society he will also be thrown out. If Jesus is born now into a Christian society, he will be thrown out. It is not that Jews or Hindus are against Buddhas and Christs: any organization will be against them - even their own organizations - because organizations live in tradition. They exist because of tradition, and these persons are absolutely anti-tradition; rather, they are "traditionless". They move every moment in freedom; you cannot say what they will do.
That is why it is very difficult to create a sect with a living Enlightened person. It is very difficult!
You are never at ease with what he is going to do, what he is going to say. When the Teacher is dead, a sect can be created. Now you know what the Teacher wants, how he behaves. Now you can categorize everything. Now you can separate, divide, analyze; now you can make a doctrine and principle out of it. Now a creed is possible.
Only a dead Teacher will allow a creed to be there. With a living Teacher, the seed is every day growing, changing, transforming, moving into the unknown. You are never certain with him. So only with a dead Teacher are creeds born. And when creeds are born, you begin to think in high terms about Jesus and Buddha. They were not thought of so highly in their own day.
So remember these two things: one, religion is a continuous process; it never stops in any age. And, secondly, spirituality is an individual phenomenon. If you choose it, it will happen to you. But no one can buy it. It needs a total decision.
Buddhas and Christs are not bound to any age. At this very moment there are persons who are Enlightened - but you cannot recognize them. It will take hundreds of years for society to recognize them. When they are long dead then the society will come to feel that they were rare, that something unique had happened in the past.
I will tell you a story. Nietzsche has written one of the most wonderful books in the world - "Thus Spake Zarathustra." In this book he has given a parable. A madman comes to the market and asks everyone, stares in their eyes and asks everyone, "Have you seen God? Where is God? I am searching; I am seeking. Where is God?"
Everyone laughs. Of course, they are all believers, but, as believers are, it is a formality with them.
They think that this man has gone mad. Someone says, "Of course, there is God and He created the world. Now He is finished with us and we are finished with Him. Why are you seeking? For what purpose? Are you insane? These things are good to talk and write about - that God is, so seek Him - but are you really seeking Him?"
And that man stares in everyone's eyes and he says, "Have you heard anything about God? Where is He?"
Then the whole crowd gathers around him and they tell him, "We have not heard about Him since long. You go somewhere else. Do not disturb the market."
The man says, "I have come to deliver some news to you. I am not seeking Him. I have come only to know whether you have heard anything lately about Him. Do you know that He is dead?" Now they feel that certainly he is mad. He was mad when he was seeking, but he is still more mad if he says God is dead.
We believe in a dead, yet alive God - dead so that he may not touch us and alive so that we can worship him on Sundays. But this man is mad. Either he thinks that He is still alive and He can be found or he thinks that He is dead. So they ask, "Who has told you?"
He says, "I have seen it for myself. And a still more mysterious thing is this - that you have killed Him. But it seems that the news has not yet reached you. It will take time. You yourselves have killed Him! He is dead! But it seems that the time is not yet ripe, and I have come early. The news has not reached to the market-place, but you have killed Him. I must take this news back. The time is not ripe; I have come early. The news will take time to reach you."
Even sunrays take time. Even star-rays take time to reach you. There is thunder and there is lightning in the cloud, but it takes time to reach you - even when you have seen it - because there is a gap. Light travels faster than sound. And when there is thunder and lightning in the clouds you have seen the lightning, but you will hear the thunder later on. So the madman says, "He is dead, and you have killed Him. But it seems the news has not reached you yet. It will take time."
It takes time to recognize that a Buddha is a Buddha. It takes time! And it takes so much time that when Buddha is no more you recognize him, when Jesus is no more you recognize him. And when he is, you not only do not recognize him, but if someone says that he is, you will deny it. It takes time! This is one of the most unfortunate tendencies of the human mind. Because of this we miss much.
There are stories. People have come to ask Buddha, "Someone said you are an Enlightened One.
Are you really? Have you attained the unattainable?" If Buddha says, "Yes, I have attained," then they will go and say that he is an egoist. If he says, "I have not attained," they will say, "We knew it already." If he remains silent, they will say that he knows nothing.
There are hundreds and hundreds of stories. Pilate asked Jesus, "Really, you think that you are the Son of God? Really, you think so?" If Jesus says, "Yes, I am the Son of God," he is a madman. If he remains silent, he is afraid. If he denies, then they think, "We knew already that you were not." So what can a Buddha say? What can a Jesus say? But if he has been dead for twenty or twenty-five centuries you cannot go to him and ask, "Are you an Enlightened One? Really, you do not think that you are deceived by yourself? Are you not in a self-deception?"
You cannot ask it. During this long death, you cannot reach him. You begin to recognize it, but then it is useless. That recognition will not help. And if Buddha comes, you win again raise the same questions.
Why is this so? When a Buddha is present amongst you, he looks just like you. He lives like you, he eats like you, he falls ill like you, he dies like you, so how can you think: "A person just like me is Enlightened and I am not"? It is humiliating. It is deep down a hurt to the ego. Because it hurts the ego, because you feel humiliation, you deny. When you deny, you feel good.
So I will say to you that whenever you are in contact with someone who may be an Enlightened One, if you feel the tendency of the mind to deny, remember this: because of this tendency you have missed many Buddhas, and because of this tendency you will never be able to recognize one. And unless you recognize this something which has happened in someone, it is not going to happen to you. When you go on denying, and thinking that no one is a Buddha, ultimately you will come to believe that you cannot become one yourself. When no one can become one, how can you become one?
When you recognize Buddhahood in someone else, deep down you have recognized your own Buddhahood in the future. To recognize a Buddha in the present is to recognize your own future, your own future possibility, your own destiny.