Chapter 6: Devices to Transcend Dreaming
In India they use this device of many lives. Why? There are many points. All the religions born in the West, particularly out of Jewish thinking, were religions of poor people. Their prophets were uneducated. Jesus was not educated, Mohammed was not educated, Moses was not. They were all uneducated, unsophisticated, simple, and they were talking with masses who were not sophisticated at all, who were poor; they were not rich.
For a poor man, one life is more than enough, more than enough! He is starving, dying. If you say to him that there are so many lives, that he will go on being reborn and reborn, that he will move in a wheel of a thousand and one lives, the poor man will just feel frustrated about the whole thing. “What are you saying?” a poor man will ask. “One life is too much, so do not talk of a thousand and one lives, of a million lives. Do not speak this. Give us heaven immediately after this life.” God becomes a reality only if he can be achieved after this life - immediately.
Buddha, Mahavira, Krishna, were talking to a very rich society. Today it has become difficult to understand because the whole wheel has turned. Now the West is rich and the East is poor. Then the West was poor and the East was rich. All the Hindu avatars, all the tirthankaras - world teachers - of the Jainas, all the buddhas - awakened ones - they were all princes. They belonged to royal families. They were cultured, educated, sophisticated, refined in every way. You cannot refine Buddha more. He was absolutely refined, cultured, educated; nothing can be added. Even if Buddha comes today, nothing can be added.
So they were talking to a society which was rich. Remember, for a rich society there are different problems. For a rich society, pleasure is meaningless, heaven is meaningless. For a poor society, heaven is very meaningful. If the society is living in heaven, heaven becomes meaningless, so you cannot propose this. You cannot create an urge to do something for heaven; they are already in it - and bored.
So Buddha, Mahavira, Krishna, do not talk about heaven, they talk of freedom. They do not talk of a pleasant world beyond, they talk of a transcendental world where there is neither pain nor pleasure. Jesus’ heaven would not have appealed to them - they were already in it.
And secondly, for a rich man the real problem is boredom. For a poor man, promise him pleasure in the future. For a poor man, suffering is the problem. For a rich man, suffering is not the problem; for a rich man, boredom is the problem. He is bored of all pleasures.
Mahavira, Buddha and Krishna, all used this boredom, and they said, “If you do not do anything you are going to be born again and again. This wheel will move. Remember, the same life will be repeated. The same sex, the same richness, the same food, the same palaces again and again: a thousand and one times you will be moving in a wheel.”