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Chapter 13: What Is the Question?

The politician wants it, because if you are a believer in a certain religion you are gullible. That shows your gullibility. It is enough indication. If you go to the church, it is enough indication that you are not a man who thinks, who questions, who argues, who will not take anything unless it is proved logically, rationally, scientifically. You go to the synagogue, you go to the mosque - the politician is happy. He wants everybody to go to the synagogue, to the mosque, to the church; it does not matter where you go, but go - because they all do the same.

The basic structure, the strategy, is not different. Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian, Jew, it does not matter, because the basic strategy is exactly the same: close the doors of doubt completely, don’t take any chances, don’t leave any question marks in the person, and fill his mind with all kinds of beliefs. If you look at beliefs you will be surprised. People have believed any nonsense. If you are a Jaina you will believe all Jaina nonsense - the questions simply will not arise in you.

My grandfather loved me very much for the simple reason that I was mischievous. Even in his old age he was mischievous, so we had a good friendship. He used to take me to Jaina monks just to create a disturbance there. He enjoyed it very much. He would not say anything because he was an old man, a respected citizen, but he knew that if I was there, it would be enough. He would sit as if he was for the monk, but he gave me indications, “You can start - this is a good time.”

Now, Jainas don’t believe in a creator God, so you cannot ask any question about God. There is no question, there is no God. But then they have to believe in other things. They believe in souls. I used to ask them, “How many souls are there in the world? Are they increasing, decreasing or remaining the same?”

Now, the Jaina monk cannot say they are increasing, because from where? Who is creating them? There is no creator. No creation is happening. They cannot decrease because where will they go? They cannot go out of the universe because wherever they go it will be the universe. And he could not say that they remain the same, although that was the answer given in Jaina scriptures, that the number of souls remains the same.

But it was not easy with me, because then the question was: “How many? If you know that it remains the same, you must know the exact number; otherwise on what grounds do you say it remains exactly the same? One may have popped up; one may have popped out. You have to give me the exact number.” Now, the number is not given in any scripture, and they cannot give the number for the simple reason that on the earth the population has been increasing. There are more and more people, more and more people. And Jainas believe everything has a soul: a tree, a bird, a fish - all have souls. “When you know so much about souls, why don’t you know the number? And you say Mahavira was omniscient: he knew everything. Could he not have told you the exact number? The problem would have been solved forever.”

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