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Chapter 30: New Bottles for the Old Wine

We have only that proof; no other proof exists - although recently scientists have started looking into the matter. What they have been finding in the Atlantic ocean suggests that there must have been a great civilization; whole cities are drowned there. The whole continent simply sank, went down into the ocean. Such changes happen on the earth: new islands come up, new mountains come up.

The Himalayas are a new mountain range - the newest. It was not there when Rig Veda was written, because it is impossible that Rig Veda should not mention such beautiful mountains - the highest and the most glorious. But there is no mention about them. And the people who wrote Rig Veda had come from Mongolia. Certainly there was no mountain on the way; otherwise to cross the Himalayas and to come to India would have been impossible. Even today, there are only two places from where you can cross the Himalayas; otherwise it is uncrossable. Changes go on happening on the earth.

Pythagoras reached India, but he got caught again - in the Buddhist atmosphere. It was so real; although Buddha was dead, the whole country was throbbing. His impression, his impact, had been very deep. When Pythagoras reached India, whatever he learned was learned in Buddhist universities. You will be surprised to know that Buddhist universities are the oldest universities in the world. Oxford is only one thousand years old. Nalanda, a Buddhist university, and Takshila, a Buddhist university, existed twenty-three hundred years ago. They were destroyed by Hindus and Mohammedans both.

But they were rare universities - they fulfilled the real meaning of the word. Not everybody was allowed to be in the university. Outside the university campus there were places where people could live for preparation. At the gate the gatekeepers were no ordinary people but very qualified Buddhist bikkhus, and they had to give people an examination at the gate. When you had passed those examinations, you could enter into the university campus; otherwise it was not even possible to enter it. Even just to see it was not possible; it was so sacred. Wisdom was thought so sacred - it was not everybody’s thing, only those who could put their whole life into the search.

These three P’s - Purification, Preparation, Perfection - come from the Buddhist sources of wisdom. Of course, Pythagoras made them more logical - he had a Greek mind - made them more systematic. But those words are really significant.

Preparation does not mean preparing for a verbal examination or a written examination. Preparation means preparing for an existential examination; it means going deeper into meditation. Unless you were meditative you could not enter those universities. And they had big campuses: Takshila had ten thousand scholars in it, Nalanda had twelve thousand scholars in it. Even today the greatest universities don’t have more than that number, but their quality is very ordinary; students have simply passed the school examinations and they are ready to enter. No existential preparation is needed.

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