Chapter 1: Raw, Alive, Rebellious
With Jesus people were offended, he was just like them. They could not understand him. They said, “Is not this the carpenter’s son?” Buddha was a son of a great emperor, Mahavira also, Krishna also, Ram also. All the great Indian incarnations came from royal families. Jesus is the first man who comes from a poor house. Nobody had ever known him. And if Jesus had not been born, nobody would ever have heard about the family. Buddha was already established with the family name, with a long tradition and heritage, a long lineage of prestige and power. Jesus comes from a powerless poor family, almost a beggar. People could not understand - “From where comes his power? From where comes this wisdom? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary?” The people wondered - “He belongs to us and talks about God. He belongs to us and says, ‘I am the son of God.’ He belongs to us, he was working in his father’s workshop and suddenly, what has happened to him?” They were offended in him, the ego was offended.
Buddha was always great. Even if he had not become enlightened, he would have been worshipped like an emperor. People had always touched his feet. He was always great and beyond them. When he moved amidst the people and renounced his kingdom, he became even greater because he had renounced his kingdom. People can understand the language of money and they cannot understand any other language. They worship you if you have money, they worship you if you renounce money. But they understand only one language the language of money. If you don’t have anything, they don’t bother about you. And if you don’t have anything how can you renounce, what can you renounce?
This is one of the most important things to understand about the Indian mind, the so-called Indian religious mind. Even that mind can understand only the language of money. Mahavira renounced. The Jain scriptures go on relating how much he renounced: how many elephants, how many horses, how many chariots, how much gold, how many diamonds. They go on and on and on. Why? Why have these accounts been kept? And the reality is that he was never a very great king. the kingdom was very small, not more than a small district. And his father was not more than a collector of a district, not more than that. Because in Mahavir’s time India was divided into two thousand kingdoms, so it could not be very great. And it is almost impossible that he had so many elephants and so many chariots and so much gold, it is exaggeration. But people understand only the language of money. They exaggerate, because that is the only way to prove that Mahavira was very great. Had he been the son of a carpenter, nobody would have ever bothered about him.
Jesus is a revolution in the world of religion. He is the first poor man who declared, “I am the son of God.” He is the first poor man who dared to declare, “I am a prophet, a tirthankara, an avatar.” Never before had such a thing happened in the history of man. He opened the way for many others to follow. Then Mohammed could declare, and then came Kabir, and Sena, and Nanak, and Dadu, and many more. Jesus opened the gate - that even a poor man who had nothing to renounce, can renounce, because the real renunciation is not of wealth, but of the ego. The real renunciation is not of wealth, let me repeat it, but of the ego. It is not a question of renouncing what you have, it is a question of renouncing what you are. You can have much and you can renounce that. But if the ego continues - and it can continue - it can be fulfilled by having much, it can be fulfilled by renouncing much. And if the ego is there, you remain ordinary, you remain superficial.
And they were offended in him. Had he been an emperor’s son, they would have fallen at his feet. But he was just an ordinary carpenter’s son and everybody in the village knew about him.