Chapter 9: Blissfulness beyond Ignorance
Because of this, Mahavira could not gather many followers. How can you gather followers if you are yourself so uncertain in a way? Followers need certainty, absolute dogmatism. Say: “This is right and that is wrong.” Whether it is or not, that is another thing - but be confident, then you create confidence in your followers, because they have come to know, not to inquire. They have come to feel certainties. They have come for dogmas, not for real inquiry. So a lesser mind than Mahavira will gather more followers. Really, the lesser the mind, the easier it is to become a leader, because everyone is in need of certainty so one can feel secure.
With Mahavira everything will look uncertain. And he was so emphatic that if you asked him one question he would answer with seven; he would give you seven answers, each answer contradicting the previous one. And the whole thing would become so complex that you would return more ignorant than you had come.
With Einstein, for the first time the genius of Mahavira has been introduced to science. Relativity is Mahavira’s concept. He says everything is relative, nothing is absolute. And even the diametrically opposite is also true in a certain sense. But then his statements become so qualified, so bracketed, that you cannot feel certainty with him.
That’s why in India only twenty-five lakh Jainas exist, two and a half million. If Mahavira was able to convert only twenty-five families, by now they would have become twenty-five lakhs just by reproduction. Twenty-five lakhs after twenty-five centuries? What happened? Mahavira couldn’t convert really. Such a keen mind cannot convert. It needs lesser minds to create a following. The more stupid the leader the better, because he can say yes, he can say no, with such confidence - without knowing anything.
What happens really? When you gain knowledge, you become aware of ignorance. And, really, richness means this polarity. You cannot be rich if you know only one part of it. When you know both the polar opposites, when you move in both the extremes, then you become rich.
For example, if you know only beauty and you are not aware of ugliness, your sense of beauty cannot be very deep. How can it be? It is always proportionate. The more you begin to feel beauty, the more you will begin to feel ugliness. They are not two things but a movement of one sense in two directions. But the sense is one. You cannot say, “I am aware only of beauty.” How can you be? With the sense, with this aesthetic sense, the feeling of beauty, the feeling of ugliness will come in. The world will become more beautiful and at the same time more ugly. That is the paradox.
You will begin to feel the beauty of the sunset, but then you will also begin to feel the ugliness of poverty all around. If a person says, “I feel the beauty of a sunset and I don’t feel the ugliness of poverty and the slums,” he is just deceiving either himself or others. It is impossible. When a sunset becomes beautiful, slums will become ugly. And, against a sunset, when you look at the slums, you will be in heaven and hell simultaneously. Everything is this way and everything is bound to be this way. One thing will create its opposite.