Chapter 9: Duke Hwan and the Wheelright
So first try to understand why the dead have so much appeal, why the dead past has so much appeal over the living, why the dead go on pulling your legs. Why do you carry them? Why do you listen to them? You are living, you are fresh. Why do you look to the past, to the authorities and to the experts?
The first thing: the longer a person has been dead, the greater is the tradition. Time.time hallows everything. If Buddha is alive you can barely tolerate him. At the most, if you are very kind to him, you may go and listen. But you cannot believe that he is a bhagwan. You cannot believe that this man has known the ultimate because he will look just like you: a man of blood and bones, young or old, ill or healthy, as prone as you are to death - just like you. Hungry, he needs food; sleepy, he wants a bed; ill, he has to rest - just like you. Thirsty, he drinks the same water; hungry, he eats the same bread - just like you! How can you believe that he has known the ultimate, the deathless? Difficult, almost impossible.
Even if you try, it never happens; even if you force yourself, deep down the doubt remains. But now, twenty-five centuries later, Buddha is no longer a man of bones and blood. He never falls ill, he is never hungry, never needs food, never needs any medicine. He will never die now, he is immortal. Time hallows everything and by and by you forget that he belonged to you. By and by the dead image becomes golden. It reaches higher and higher, it is completely lost somewhere in paradise, you can have only a glimpse. Then you can believe.
Hence the past goes on haunting you. If Buddha comes again, you will reject him. That is why Jesus is worshipped now and yet he was crucified when he was alive. Alive, you crucify him; dead, you worship him. Why does death make him so meaningful, so significant? Death destroys the body, and then the link with you is broken. Then you have a spiritual image: bloodless, boneless, superphysical. Now you can imagine, and it is up to you to give all the qualities to him - you project.
It is difficult to project onto a living man because the reality is there, and he will destroy all your projections. He will not be ready to become a prisoner of your projections. But dead, what can he do? What can Jesus do? What can Buddha do? Helpless whatsoever you do, they have to suffer.
That is why more imagination is possible with a dead master - now you can give the significance, the superiority, the other-worldliness.