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Chapter 8: Everybody Has the Right to Be Wrong

Bodhidharma here is immensely compassionate and understanding:

Because your nature is essentially pure.

What you do does not make any difference. Once you know your essential pure nature then everything is allowed to you. Then you are capable to decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong. Because of this there have been such problems, so many difficulties in understanding each other. Small differences of habit have become such great barriers to understanding.

Mohammed used to eat in the night. In fact, Mohammedans fast in the day and eat in the night. On their religious days, the whole day they will fast from sunrise to sunset and in the night they will have a good feast. Now, Jainas cannot understand that at all. In the day you can eat, but in the night? And that too, on a religious day?

When Jainas fast they don’t eat for days, and even water they drink only during the daytime, not in the night. Naturally, they think that Mohammedans are doing something wrong. But they don’t know the situation in which Mohammed lived, in which Mohammedanism was born. It is a desert religion, where the day is so hot that it is easier to fast during the day. It is easier to feast during the night when things become cooler and when the sky becomes full of stars and the desert becomes a beautiful, silent place. In the day, it is just burning hot.

Ramakrishna continued to eat fish. Now, Jainas cannot accept Ramakrishna as enlightened. Can an enlightened man eat fish? But if you understand Bodhidharma’s statement, you can forgive Ramakrishna.just an old habit, just living in Bengal where rice and fish are the only food. From his very childhood he has been eating rice and fish, and everybody else is eating it too. Even when he became enlightened, the old habit continued. It becomes immaterial.

In this whole world, situations are different, climates are different. There are cold climates where alcohol may be an essential need. For example, in Russia it may be impossible even for the enlightened person not to drink vodka. It is so cold, it is freezing even your very blood - a little warmth is needed.

A truly religious man is very understanding - understanding of different people, of different conditions, different geographical situations, different climates, different ages, different patterns, different habits. And small things cannot disturb a great experience like enlightenment.

Despite dwelling in an immaterial body of five aggregates, your nature is basically pure. It can’t be corrupted.

Nothing can corrupt your consciousness. It is intrinsically incorruptible.