Chapter 19: A Simple Thank You
And the miracle happened within twenty-four hours. He did not eat for twenty-four hours, he did not bother to sleep for twenty-four hours - he was intent that the first thing was to become enlightened because, “Who knows about tomorrow? If I go on living I can eat tomorrow, I can sleep tomorrow. I can postpone everything for tomorrow, but not enlightenment. That will be too risky. Forty-two years I have wasted. Now I cannot waste a single minute.”
He remained under the same trees where Buddha had died, sitting with closed eyes, for the first time responsible for himself. And that responsibility brings tremendous transformation, because although you had everything that you need, consciousness just needs a shock so you start waking up.
You are living in your slavery very comfortably, and your religions - all religions without exception - are functioning like opium. They are helping you to remain asleep as you are because it is in their favor. All the priests of all the religions are exploiting you because you are not enlightened, because you are not conscious. They have been sucking your blood all over the earth for thousands of years for the simple reason that you are asleep. And they go on giving you ideas, concepts which keep you asleep.
Buddha is an exception. But when he died India took a great revenge on him. It has never taken any revenge so great as it has on Buddha. That proves that that man had completely shattered the whole business of priesthood. He destroyed the whole fabric that the priests had created in the society. He had made everybody responsible for himself - there was no need for a mediator. And you will not be aware how India took revenge. It was far more dangerous than the Jews crucifying Jesus. Of course it was far more refined, because the Jews were not such refined people, nor was Jesus such a refined revolutionary. They could not encounter Buddha, they could not answer Buddha. What he was saying was so truthful that even those whose vested interests were being destroyed were unable to argue. Many had come to argue with him and had become his disciples.
But when he died India really proved very revengeful in a very ugly way. It destroyed everything that Buddha had left as a legacy.
It is a strange phenomenon that the whole of Asia became Buddhist except India, and it is not just a coincidence. Strange, the man spent his whole life in India, and Buddhism disappeared from India as if it had never happened. Even the temple of Gautam Buddha where he became enlightened, the bodhi tree. And a temple had been built in his memory by the side of the bodhi tree. Hindus cut down the bodhi tree; they could not tolerate it.
The bodhi tree that exists there today is not the one under which Gautam Buddha became enlightened. But it is connected with it because Ashoka sent his daughter Sanghmitra with a branch of that bodhi tree to Ceylon as a present. And Sanghmitra changed the whole of Ceylon - the whole of Ceylon became Buddhist. They were thrilled hearing all that Buddha had said, and that branch was planted and became a big tree. But the original tree - this is just a part of it - the original tree was destroyed by the Hindus. They could not even tolerate the tree.