Chapter 24: In This Silence
Galileo, even in his old age, sick and dying, must have been an immensely beautiful man, a man with a sense of humor. He said, “Your Honor, there is no problem. I can write what you are saying. There is just one thing I want to make clear to you - that my writing is going to be read neither by the sun nor by the earth. They will continue in their old way, as they have always done. The earth will continue to go around the sun. You can burn my book or I can change the paragraph.”
The pope said, “Change the paragraph.”
He changed the paragraph and wrote, “According to the Bible and according to the pope and according to the ordinary humanity, it appears that the sun goes around the earth.” And in the footnote he wrote, “The truth is just the opposite. I cannot help it - I cannot convince the earth to follow the Bible, and I cannot convince the sun to follow the Bible. They are not Christian.” The footnote was discovered only after his death; otherwise he would have been crucified by the Christians - who go on making so much fuss about the crucifixion of Jesus.
I was talking to one of the most important Christian missionaries, Stanley Jones, and asked, “What do you think about it? Why was the pope insistent? If science had discovered it, the Bible should have been corrected.”
Stanley Jones said to me, “It may have great implications. If one statement in the Bible is wrong, then what is the guarantee that other statements are not wrong?”
And the Bible is a holy book, coming directly from God. Nothing can be changed in it, nothing can be edited out, nothing can be added to it. And in the last three hundred years man has found so many things which are against the Bible.
In fact, as you grow in consciousness, you are bound to find that what was written two thousand years ago, or five thousand years ago, has to be continually improved. New editions have to be produced. But what religions lack is courage - courage to be on the side of truth. And it is not only Christians, the same is the case with the Hindus, the Mohammedans, the Jews, the Buddhists, the Jainas. There is no difference in their mentality.
A man of freedom is free of the past. And the man of freedom is also free of the future, because you don’t know what is going to happen the next moment. How can you go on desiring?.
An old man was dying. He was a Jew; and his four sons, who used to live in different houses, were of course immensely rich people. Hearing that their father was dying, they rushed to him.
Their father was dying, taking his last breath on the bed and, just sitting by the side of the bed, the sons started discussing how to take his body to the graveyard. Their concern was not their father - a few minutes more and he would be gone, forever; there was no possibility of their meeting or recognizing each other again. But that was not their concern. They were concerned about: “When he dies, how are we going to take his body?”