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Chapter 2: The Real Difficulty Is to Be With Me

Jainas have twenty-four tirthankaras, twenty-four prophets, in one period of creation. That means that after millions of years, when this creation dissolves and a new creation starts, then again there will be twenty-four teachers.

He said to me, “We already have twenty-four tirthankaras, but if it was in my power, I would have declared you the twenty-fifth, because what the twenty-four have not been able to do for me, you have done.” He was just all praise.

Just then, a servant came and said, “Your bath is ready and the supper will become cold.”

The old man was in a shock. He said, “What? In the evening you take a bath?”

The Jaina tirthankara does not bathe at all because that is decorating the body, making it non-smelly. It is in the service of something that is lower than you; it has to be sacrificed for the higher. So Jaina tirthankaras don’t bathe.

I said to him, “Yes - one in the morning, one in the evening. I take two baths.”

He said, “Moreover, the sun has set, and you have not taken your supper yet?” In the first place, the Jaina tirthankara eats only once - there is no question of supper. And even if you are eating twice, at least you should be understanding enough to see that it has to be before sunset.

He forgot all his praise - I was no longer a tirthankara. I had been for years, and just because of a single expectation which I had never promised him I would fulfill.. That was his mind.

But he said, “Then I have been completely wrong. For all these years I have praised you, I have read your books - but you are not the right man to follow.”

I said to him, “Understand a small thing. I never told you to follow me, I never said to read my books. I never told you to make me a tirthankara. I never asked you to have any expectations of me. It was easy because you had not seen me, you had not known me. A book is dead, and the book you are reading is my first book; and I have gone far. If you had started reading my second and third and fourth books, they would have spoiled all your admiration.”

But he was so angry that when he left, I said, “Won’t you touch my feet again? - because you are so old, and next time.we may meet, we may not meet.”

He said, “I have made the mistake once, I cannot make it twice.”

So it is not a problem for people who have come to me through books, tapes, videos, films. It is easy for them to carry on in their old mind. I don’t disturb their old mind: they can interpret my books according to their expectations.

The real difficulty is to be with me.

Every day you will find me saying things which are inconsistent. You will see me doing things which I should not be doing, behaving in a way which is not suitable for a prophet, for a messiah, for an incarnation.

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