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Chapter 10: Spirituality, Religion and Politics

No, means can never be wholly pure. It is like putting a straight rod of wood in the water - it becomes slightly crooked. There is no way to keep the rod straight in the water. Not that the rod actually becomes crooked in the water, it just appears so. The medium of water makes the rod crooked to look at. It is straight again when you take it out of the water.

In this vast world of relativity, everything is slightly crooked; it is in the very nature of things. So it is not a question of being straight and simple, it is just a question of being crooked and complex as little as possible. And to me, Krishna is the least crooked and complex person there is. It is ironic, however, that to the ordinary mind Krishna appears to be crooked and complex and Gandhi appears to be straight and simple.

To me, Gandhi seems to be a very crooked and complex personality. In comparison with him, Krishna is far more straight and simple. Gandhi has a knack of making a complexity of every simple thing. If he has to coerce someone else, he will begin by coercing himself. To hurt others he will hurt himself. His ways of coercion are indirect and devious. If Krishna has to punish someone he will do it straight, he will not take a devious course like Gandhi. But we are in the habit of looking at things very superficially, and we go by our superficial impressions.

Questioner: There was a king named Pondrak in the times of Krishna. This man had declared Krishna to be a fake and himself to be the real Krishna. Can you say if similar things have happened in the lives of Buddha, Mahavira and other enlightened beings?

Yes, they did happen. In the times of Mahavira, a man named Goshalak had declared that he, not Mahavira, was the real tirthankara.

The Jews crucified Jesus on the basis that a carpenter’s son was falsely claiming to be a messiah; he was not real. The real messiah was yet to come. The Jewish tradition believed that a messiah would come; many past prophets like Ezekiel and Isaiah had predicted it. Just before the birth of Jesus, John the Baptist had gone from village to village announcing that the messiah is on his way who will redeem all people. And then a young man named Jesus came on the scene declaring that he was the messiah. But the Jews refused to accept him; instead they crucified him, on the grounds that he was a fake, he was not the real messiah.

No other person except Jesus claimed to be the messiah, but any number of people claimed that Jesus was not the messiah. Why? They said that to be acknowledged as their messiah, a person would have to fulfill certain conditions. He would have to perform a few miracles. One of the miracles to be performed was that the messiah would come down from the cross alive. The Jews believed that descending alive from the cross would be enough of a miracle to make them accept him as their messiah.

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