Chapter 5: Questions: Exposing Your Way from Ignorance to Innocence
In Mahavira’s time, there were only two million people in India - just in India. Now there are seven hundred million people in India. Where are these people coming from? Where have they been hiding all this time? Who is managing the whole circus - when they should come and not come, why they should come at a particular time and not come at a particular time?
Jainism has to invent a hypothesis. The hypothesis is called nigodh; nigodh is a dormant state of human souls. Just as you go to sleep and in the morning you wake up, so there are millions of souls who are sleeping for eternity; from those dormant souls a few wake up and start moving into existence. But all such hypotheses are as dubitable as God.
I have asked Jaina monks how many souls are dormant - because there will be one day when nigodh is empty, all souls will have awakened. Then the population will remain static, there will be no need for any birth control. Whatever you do, you cannot produce a child. But they don’t have any answer. They say, “We don’t know. The scriptures say an infinite number of souls.”
I said, “This is just befooling people. Who has counted them? Who has the right to say that they are infinite? This can be said only when they have been counted. If they have been counted, they are not infinite. Do you see the simple logic? If you say they have been counted, then they may be many but they cannot be infinite. And if you say they have not been counted, you cannot say they are infinite.”
But nobody in the whole world is ever going to ask, “What is nigodh?” This is a false question; it is a bookish question. Now, Jainas never ask about God. All over the world, every other religion will ask about God, because they have been told about God from their very childhood. And naturally, curiosity arises: what is God, how does he look?
Strangely enough, different religions have different ideas of God, and nobody bothers that God cannot have so many appearances unless he has many masks. He shows one face to the Christians, another face to the Jews, another face to the Hindus, but why should he take such trouble? And none of these fellows who are talking about God have seen him. But centuries have passed, and people are discussing and inquiring and questioning, and all questions concerned with such things are absolutely futile.
“How many hands does God have?” Now, is this a question that really means anything to you? - whether he has two hands or four hands or one thousand hands. What does it matter to you? But there are people who believe that God has one thousand hands, because to take care of this big world, two hands are not enough. But who says to that one thousand hands will be enough? The world is still big. If two hands are too few, one thousand hands are also too few. And just think of a god who has one thousand hands!
I think two hands can do things in a better way than a person who has one thousand hands. He is bound to get confused. And to carry one thousand hands. The weight of one thousand hands will be too much.