Chapter 14: Kwatz!
The untouchables have been kept out of the temples; there is no need to make statements, no need to make a fuss about it. In fact, they themselves don’t go: other politicians are trying to persuade them to enter the temples, but they know that they will be beaten, they know that their houses will be burned, they know that their women will be raped. They know perfectly well that the police will stand there in favor of the richer high-class Hindus, and nobody is going to protect them. But politicians use human beings just like things, commodities.
The politicians who are trying to get them to enter the temple, their whole object is to have their vote, temple or no temple. They want the harijans to be rejected from the temple so that they can sympathize with them, “We have made every effort for you, we risked our lives; now at least give us your votes.”
And the Shankaracharya was defending the higher class Hindus, who are three times more numerous than the sudras. His interest is also in votes. Just two days ago he said, “Perhaps I will have to enter politics.” It would be better if he entered. At least this mask of a religious saint would drop and he would be just an ordinary gutter politician. It would be a great day of celebration - at least we would celebrate. He should drop his Shankaracharyahood and run for election. But don’t lie to people or make such stupid statements!
Everybody is as divine as everybody else. There cannot be any distinction. Anybody who makes a distinction is the enemy of the people.
Maneesha has brought a beautiful, very significant dialogue:
Hofuku said, “There is a man now passing behind the Buddha Hall, and he knows this is Tom, this is Dick, or this is Harry.”
Strangely enough, when I entered I found three women, not three men, just walking behind the Buddha Hall! But times have changed. And it does not matter who was walking, the question can still be asked.
“And there is a man passing before the Buddha Hall. Somehow or other he sees nothing and nobody. Tell me, where is the profit and loss of Buddhism?”
He is asking - in other words, to make it simple - “I see three people behind the Buddha Hall, I see one person in front. They seem to be almost frozen statues. They must be in meditation. They don’t see anything, they don’t bother about anything.” This man Hofuku, the master of the temple, is asking, “Where is the profit and loss of Buddhism?” If people become so careless that you pass in front of them and they don’t even look at you, as if nobody has passed - they are so self-centered that the whole world outside has disappeared - then what is the point of Buddhism? Is this a loss or a profit?”
A monk said, “Because he distinguishes things badly, it means he can’t see.”
Hofuku said, “Kwatz!”