Chapter 32: A Vision of the Whole
Jaina monks carry a small broom, a strange kind of broom. It is made of very soft wool, so whenever they sit anywhere.. They don’t have anything else, just the broom - that is the most important thing for them. Wherever they sit, first they clean the place with the soft wool so it cannot kill any insect and only then will they sit. In the night they clean the place with that soft broom, and then they go to sleep.
Now such extremes.. In the night they will not eat because electricity is not available and in the dark any insect can fall into the food, and unknowingly you may kill or eat the insect. In the night they will not drink - even in the hottest summer. These are extremes. Mahavira will not take a bath, will not brush his teeth, for the simple reason that taking a bath - the water has very tiny living cells and they will be killed. And the saliva and the teeth - they have tiny, living cells: they will be killed.
Now this extreme nonviolence is possible only if a person has seen something like Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And there are detailed descriptions of what happened in the great Indian war - how many million people died, what kinds of weapons were used - only the names are different, but you can figure out which weapon is parallel to some other weapon we have today.
In Gautam Buddha’s time the East had reached to the very peak, and the decline began - because after the peak, where are you going to go? You cannot stop. Life knows no stopping except in death. When you have come to the peak you are naturally descending. And you philosophize it. You say, “Because all these riches have not given anything - they are all empty, they are allurements which distract people from their real search - so disown them, renounce them.” And these people became beggars.
And when the geniuses of the country become beggars, then the mediocre people can simply worship them. The wealth, the technology, and everything is created by a few geniuses. The whole society is enriched - that’s another thing - but the whole society does not participate in creating, in inventing. And when the genius has come to a point that it is useless.. The whole East became filled with an idea that is anti-comfort, anti-life - it has to be because all desires have to be dropped - only then will you find peace.
The natural result was poverty, starvation. And the Eastern mind managed to explain away that poverty, that starvation: all these are tests - how deep is your renunciation?
They dropped all training for warriors. They stopped manufacturing all kinds of arms. This was the fetter that for two thousand years.small tribes came and invaded India; there was no resistance. They came, they looted and they went away. And this went on for two thousand years. And India did not resist. Naturally it became poorer and poorer and poorer. Meanwhile, the West was on the other end; it was poor..