Chapter 5: Accept Your Reality
When Mahavira reflects, he is reflecting the same God, the same truth as Jesus, as Mohammed, as Bahauddin; but it is always difficult to recognize somebody who comes from a different gestalt. That’s why those people missed; otherwise he would have been seen as an awakened soul, an awakened consciousness. He must have been an enlightened person. His answers are almost like Bodhidharma’s: that is the second meaning, the deeper meaning of the story.
Emperor Wu in China asked Bodhidharma, “Who are you?” and Bodhidharma said, “I don’t know, sir.”
And Bodhidharma was the one who knew. If he did not know, then nobody knew. And he said, “I don’t know.”
Even Emperor Wu missed. Thinking that he himself had said he did not know, then what was the point? He felt frustrated, because he had been waiting for Bodhidharma to come from India; it had taken years for him to reach China. Seeing Wu, Bodhidharma felt, “He has not understood my answer”; he turned back. He crossed the border of Wu’s kingdom, went into the mountains.
Later on Wu repented very much, because another Zen master told him, “You are a fool. You could not understand. His statement was the absolute statement - ‘I don’t know’ - for many reasons. First, he was no more as an individual, his ego had disappeared” - what Sufis call fana fi’llah, ‘the drop has dropped into the ocean,’ so who is there to know? - that’s why he said, ‘I don’t know.’
“And secondly, in that ultimate knowing, there is nobody who knows and nobody who is known. The division between the subject and the object disappears; there is nobody who knows and nobody who is known. The knower becomes the known. Yes, there is a kind of awareness, but it is neither subjective nor objective. It is “transjective;” it is transcendental to both. That’s why he said, ‘I don’t know.’ How could he claim knowledge? Knowledge is claimed only by stupid people. He had claimed ignorance and innocence. You missed the whole point.”
But then it was too late. They searched for Bodhidharma. By the time they found him in the mountains, Wu had died. On the grave of Wu it was written: “I am sorry. If you ever come here, please forgive me, Master Bodhidharma. I am utterly sorry and repentful I could not understand your answer; it was too big for my understanding. It was beyond me.” This is another explanation.
Remember both, one from your side, one from my side.
Meditate over this beautiful parable.
Enough for today.