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Chapter 12: The Golden Mean

That’s why it is difficult even to recognize the enlightened man. You can see the extremist very easily: he is fasting, he is standing naked in the hot sun, in the cold.you can recognize him. He is standing on his head, or he is standing on his feet for years and he does not sit down, does not lie down. And naturally you will recognize him because he is doing something which is unnatural.

The enlightened person will be absolutely natural - but this is to be understood that he will be very much unrecognizable. You will need immense insight and understanding. You will need some taste of meditation to experience the enlightened man, otherwise you will not understand him.

For example, Hindus denied Gautam Buddha while he was alive.they did not recognize that he was enlightened because their incarnations of God - Rama, Parasuram, Krishna, Shiva - none of them had renounced the world, none of them had renounced anything. They lived in immense luxury. They lived in marble palaces, moved in golden chariots.That seemed to be fitting for a god. But Gautam Buddha with a begging bowl, barefooted, moving on the street, not even using a vehicle - Hindus could not conceive what kind of a god he was, what kind of enlightenment he had attained. Krishna never did this, Rama never did this. They had no comparison in their own history. Naturally, they denied him.

Jainas also denied that Gautam Buddha was enlightened for the simple reason that Jainas are on the other extreme. Mahavira lived naked. He was a contemporary of Gautam Buddha; he lived naked. He did not carry even a begging bowl - that is also a possession.

Gautam Buddha had three pieces of clothing and one begging bowl - at least four things. For Mahavira that was too much possessiveness - he had nothing. He would beg with his hands. He would make his hands the begging bowl. And the Jainas had a long history of twenty-four tirthankaras.the same ascetic ways, the same way of fasting for months at a time. In twelve years, Mahavira ate for only one year - not solidly for one year, but two months he would fast, two or three days he would eat, a few months he would fast, a week he would eat.In twelve years he ate only on three hundred and sixty-five days. He was fasting for eleven years.

Now Jainas cannot accept Gautam Buddha as enlightened, because he was eating every day. One meal every day - it was too much luxury.

I want you to understand that to understand the enlightened man is one of the most difficult things in the world, for the simple reason that he is in the middle. He is absolutely normal. The extremist is recognizable.

The person who has asked the question may have seen Hindu monks with big bellies.I have seen monks like Nityananda. It is difficult to say that Nityananda had a belly, it is better to say that the belly had Nityananda. The belly was bigger than Nityananda. The belly was all. The head and legs were joined to it, but they seemed to be secondary, not important. When he lay down the belly looked like Gourishankar - even Edmund Hillary would find it difficult to climb!

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