Chapter 35: Worship May Be a Worse Crucifixion
So it is not impossible that ten is the complete number; naturally ten incarnations are complete. You can look into your languages and you will find it. For example, all languages which are originated from Sanskrit - particularly all the languages of the developed countries of the West.. The Sanskrit for two is dwa, which becomes in some languages twa and finally culminates in two.
The English three comes from Sanskrit tri. The difference is so small - because in English there is no “dthra” sound. The alphabet in Sanskrit is double that of English, so in English you cannot write “dthri”; if you write “dthri” it will become “three.” You have to make “dthra” by making “t-h,” joining two letters.
The Sanskrit for six is sasth, and you can see it is connected. For nine it is nov; and you can see it is connected. Ten was the complete number; after ten it is a repetition.
But once Mahavira emphasized twenty-four tirthankaras, Hindu scholars started feeling that they were a little behind. People started saying, “You have only ten tirthankaras, while Jainas have twenty-four.” So after Mahavira, Hindu scriptures started talking about twenty-four reincarnations - suddenly, with no reasoning, with no cause. Just as Mahavira died, immediately Hindu scriptures started talking about twenty-four reincarnations, just to compete with Jainism.
It gave them an opportunity also, and this was the opportunity - perhaps for this opportunity they made it twenty-four, or vice versa. They accepted Gautam Buddha, who was the most influential person outside the Hindu fold. They could not really crucify him - they were much more sophisticated people - but they could still crucify him in a very logical way.
They started a story about Buddha in their famous scriptures, the Shivapurana. The story is that God made the world. He made hell and heaven; he made hell to be guarded by the devil. The devil was the king of hell, just as God was the king of heaven; the devil was his shadow, his opponent. But millions of years passed and nobody came to hell - everybody died and reached to heaven, because people were not doing anything wrong. They were not being criminals, sinners.
The devil was very angry, and he reached heaven and he asked God, “This is absolutely stupid! Why have you made hell? If nobody has to come there, then it is mere wastage. And my life is wasted - I am simply sitting there! You have made me the king of hell, and there is nobody in my kingdom. It is just empty space. Millions of years I have waited, and it is enough. You finish that kingdom, or start sending people. I want real people to dominate, I don’t want to sit there alone.”
And God said, “Don’t be angry, you go back. I will be born as Gautam Buddha soon, and will convince people to do wrong things. And soon hell will be overcrowded.” That’s why God took an incarnation as Gautam Buddha.