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Chapter 14: Mind with a Small m

A non-Buddhist presented Hogen with a screen that had
a picture painted on it. When he had finished looking at it,
Hogen said, “Did you paint this with your hand or your mind?”
The artist answered, “With my mind.”
Hogen said, “What is this mind of yours?”
The artist had no answer.

Maneesha, before I discuss the Zen anecdote I have to say a few things to my sannyasins here or anywhere else in the world.

Write to the Nobel Prize committee that this old goat, the shankaracharya of Puri, needs a Nobel Prize. And be quick, otherwise he will commit suicide. But it does not matter if the Nobel Prize has to be given posthumously.

I have talked about the shankaracharya, who is continuously insisting that sati pratha should be legalized, incorporated, in the constitution of India. Now he has come with a great original idea. For this original idea he needs, deserves, a Nobel Prize.

In Hyderabad there are no rains this year. He has said that if a woman commits sati, hara-kiri, rains will come. In the whole history of Hinduism there is not a single scripture describing any connection between a woman committing suicide, being burned alive, and the rains coming. For what? To quench the fire of the funeral?

But it is strange that in a country which is now bulging with a population of almost one billion, nobody opposes such stupid ideas. It seems nobody is concerned about what happens to man and his future. These priests have exploited man for centuries, have destroyed his dignity. They have been the greatest slave-makers. Half of society consists of women and they have taken all their freedom, even the freedom to breathe. They want women to commit suicide.

This person should be immediately imprisoned. He has to prove on what grounds, on what causality, a woman burning alive can bring clouds. And as I have said, he should commit suicide himself to prove it. That would be more manly and more courageous.

Secondly, just like the women, in this country a great number of people have suffered for centuries; they have been called untouchables. Even if their shadow touches you, you have to take a bath. Such insult, such humiliation!

A new temple is raised, where the untouchables, to whom Gandhi gave the name harijans, meaning “God’s men.”

Clever politics, cunning diplomacy: if these are God’s men, then what is everybody else? And these “God’s men” have been suffering for centuries. They aren’t permitted to read any Hindu scripture, they cannot, or enter any Hindu temple. And because harijans are trying to enter this temple, suddenly all the Hindu chauvinists, who would not have dared to say anything against the shankaracharya, are now demanding that he should retire from his post because he is preventing the harijans from entering into the temple.

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