Chapter 8: Indifference to the Mind Is Meditation
Questions arise out of the mind just like leaves grow on trees. And slowly, slowly, they become more and more silly, because it is very difficult to find many significant questions, and the mind is not satisfied with a small quantity of questions. It is greedy. It wants to ask everything; it wants to know everything without being ready to understand anything.
There are few significant questions - and there is only one really fundamental question - but that small quantity does not satisfy the greed of the mind. You will be amazed to know that the English word greed comes from a very strange word in Sanskrit - and if you want to see those people from where this word has come, Mumbai has most of them. In Sanskrit the vulture is called giddha, and from giddha comes greed. And Mumbai has the greatest number of vultures in the whole world, because Mumbai has the greatest number of Parsis.
There is a certain relationship between Parsis and vultures. Parsis have a very strange way of disposing of their dead. They don’t burn them like Hindus, Buddhists, Jainas; they don’t bury them like Christians, Mohammedans and Jews. They have a unique way of their own, and they have a certain rationale for it. In their cemetery - and Mumbai has the biggest, because Mumbai has the biggest population of Parsis - they have a big well. There are steel rods on top of the well. The dead body is put on those steel rods, and between the steel rods there are gaps. All around, there are big, ancient trees and thousands of vultures sit there, waiting for some poor Parsi to die. The vultures need food every day; Parsis supply the food. The dead body of the Parsi is put on those rods on top of the well, and the vultures eat whatever is edible. And whatever is not edible - bones, et cetera - goes on falling through the gaps between the rods into the well.
On the surface it looks very strange: “What are you doing?” - but the Parsis have their rationale. In this world everybody has some reasonable grounds for every superstition. They say, “Because we have been eating everything, now it is our duty to be eaten.” A beautiful logic - you have been eating for your whole life. If you are a meat-eater you have been eating animals. If you are a vegetarian, then you have been eating vegetables; they too are life. For your whole life you have been eating, and it is natural to be part of the same circle by being eaten.
According to the Parsis, this is the most natural thing. And I think people who believe in nature will support their idea - because to burn a body is to destroy food, is to unnecessarily kill a few vultures, or keep them hungry.
In a Hindu village, vultures don’t exist - what will they do there? At the most, once in a while a cow dies, or a buffalo, and they can eat that. Now there is a widespread movement amongst intellectuals around the earth that we should not break natural cycles anywhere. For our whole lives we have been eating - now it is time that we should be eaten. And anyway you are dead; why unnecessarily destroy good food for the vultures?