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Chapter 6: The Art of Living

Why should Mahavira say this? Society, the politics of the country, the priests and the politicians, they were too male chauvinistic. Some compromise was needed, otherwise they would not allow anything. Mahavira lived naked, but he himself did not allow any women to go naked because the society was not ready to accept even him in his nudity. By and by people accepted him, grudgingly, reluctantly, but to accept the idea that women could go naked would have been too much.

And because Mahavira said, “Unless you leave everything - even clothes - unless you are as innocent as a child, as you were on the first day you were born, you cannot enter into my kingdom of God,” he had to say that women could not enter directly. If he had said that women could enter directly then a few courageous women would have come forward and would have thrown off their clothes also, would have become naked. Just to avoid nude women he had to make a very false statement, untrue. And I know he knew that it was untrue - I know because I make many untrue statements. But we have to exist in a society, in a particular state, in a particular confused state, in a particular neurotic state. If you live with mad people you have to make a few compromises. If you live with mad people at least you have to pretend that you are also mad.

Narendra is here. His father went mad thirty or forty years ago. He escaped from the house. After a few months he was caught in Agra and put into jail with mad people all around. There was a special jail in Lahore, only for mad people. He said that for nine months everything went okay because he was also mad. After nine months, just by accident, he drank a whole jug of Phenol - a mad man, he found it in the bathroom and he drank it. That gave him vomits, nausea, diarrhea. Because of that diarrhea he was throwing things out for fifteen days continuously, and his madness also disappeared. It helped, it helped like a catharsis. When his madness disappeared then the real problem began, because he was amongst mad people. Now for the first time he became aware of where he was - somebody was pulling his leg, somebody was hitting him on his head, and people were talking and dancing. And he was no longer mad. Those three months when he was not mad and was living with mad people, were the most painful; they were deep anguish and anxiety. He couldn’t sleep.

And he would go to the authorities and he would say, “Now let me out because I am no longer mad!” And they wouldn’t listen because every mad person says that - that he is no longer mad. So that was not proof. He had to complete his sentence of one year.

He told me that he could never forget those three months; they were a continuous nightmare. But for nine months he was perfectly happy because he was also mad.

You cannot conceive of what happens to a person when he becomes a Buddha or a Baal Shem in a country, in a world, which is absolutely mad. He is no longer mad, but he has to live with you, he has to follow your laws, otherwise you will kill him. He has to make compromises. Of course he cannot hope that you will make compromises with him. You are not in a state in which you can think. But he can think. Only the higher can make compromises with the lower, only the greater can make compromises with the lower, only the wise person can make compromises with stupid people.

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