Chapter 5: Life and Death
A man will only accept the existence of a being superior to himself under great pressure, and even then he will seek loopholes in the other’s character so that he can prove to himself the other man is really of a very low level of consciousness. Whether the defects he imagines he sees in the other give him any inner satisfaction is doubtful, but outwardly he will try very hard to prove the other is lower than him. And as soon as he is able to find the slightest flaw he will immediately shout to the world that his former idol has fallen, that the man no longer holds the same place in his heart because he has uncovered failings in his character. The search is always for shortcomings. And if he is unable to find such a flaw then he will either make one up or take for granted that one must exist; then he can have the false satisfaction of feeling he has been right.
And so, with the passage of time, mankind will gradually refuse to accept the possibility of the existence of superior beings, because there will be no signs of their ever having lived. After all, how long can idols of stone declare to the world that Buddha and Mahavira actually existed and lived wonderful lives of utter simplicity and lofty spirituality? How long can the world of the Bible bear witness to the fact that Christ really existed and walked this earth in all his glory? How many years can the Bhagavad Gita go on telling the world that Krishna was born as a human being and that in human voice he expounded the Gita to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra? No, it is not possible for too many years.
It is just not possible for future generations to maintain their faith through words alone, through scriptures alone. We need something substantial to support our faith. We need men like Christ, like Krishna, like Buddha, like Mahavira. If we are unable to have such men among us, mankind will have to face the calamity of a very dark age indeed, one full of ignorance and misery. And so there is hardly any prospect at all for the future.
I am throwing out a great challenge to those who feel they have something good to offer humanity. I intend to wander through as many villages as necessary, and if I encounter eyes that can serve as lights for others, or eyes in which I feel I can kindle the burning flame of conviction, I will take those people with me and I will work on them. I will make them able. I will impart to them all the faculties necessary to enable them to hold high the torch and illumine the dark path men tread to a brighter future, to a future full of knowledge and light.
As for myself I am fully prepared, I do not intend to die like Vivekananada saying I spent my life searching for a hundred men and could not find them.
How can I speak when the mountains are silent? How can I talk to you when the sky says nothing? How can I say anything when God himself does not speak? Still I speak to you, but it is only so that you may hear their silence.
An artist will use a black background to heighten the effect of a bright blue - and I am using the same device. I am speaking to enable you to understand the language of silence. Words are only meaningful because they represent the gestures of silence. Speech is only meaningful when it leads to tranquility, and life is only significant if it prepares you to face death.