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Chapter 11: Truth: Not a Dogma but a Dance

Buddhism was just starting with Buddha. He could afford to joke and laugh, so he jokes about Mahavira and his omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. He said, “I have seen Mahavira standing before a house begging” - because Mahavira lived naked and used to beg just with his hands. Buddha said, “I have seen him standing before a house which was empty. There was nobody in the house - and yet this man, Jainas say, is a knower, not only of the present, but of the past and the future.”

Buddha said, “I saw Mahavira walking just ahead of me, and he stepped on a dog’s tail. It was early morning and it was not yet light. Only when the dog jumped, barking, did Mahavira come to know that he had stepped on his tail. This man is omniscient, and he does not know that a dog is sleeping right in his way and he is going to step on the dog’s tail.”

But the same happened with Buddha when he became established. After three hundred years, when his sayings and statements were collected for the first time, the disciples made it absolutely clear that “Everything written here is absolutely true, and it is going to remain true forever.”

Now, in those statements there are so many idiotic things, which may have been meaningful twenty-five centuries ago, but today they are not meaningful because so much has happened in twenty-five centuries. Buddha had no idea of Karl Marx, he had no idea of Sigmund Freud, so what he had written or stated, is bound to be based on the knowledge that was available at that time.

“A man is poor, because in his past life he has committed bad actions.” Now, after Marx, you cannot say that: “A man is rich because he has committed good actions in his past life.” Now, after Marx, you cannot say that. And I don’t think Buddha had any idea that there was going to be a Karl Marx, although his disciples said that whatsoever he said is going to remain true forever - another way of saying that he was omniscient.

This was good consolation for the poor, that if they did good works, in their future lives they would also be rich. It was a joy for the rich too: “We are rich because we have done good works in our past life.” And they knew perfectly well what good works they were doing right then, with their riches increasing every day - the past life was finished with long ago and yet their riches went on increasing. The poor people go on becoming poorer and the rich go on becoming richer.

But in India no revolution has ever been thought about; there is no question of its happening - and India has lived in poverty such as no other country has lived. India has lived longer in slavery than any other country of the world. But slavery, poverty, suffering, everything has to be accepted because it is your doing. You cannot revolt against it. Against whom are you going to revolt? The only way is to do something to balance your bad actions with good actions. The very idea of revolution has never happened to the Indian mind. If slavery comes, you have to accept it.

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