Chapter 3: Paths Are Many, the Travelers Are Few
Does the ritual of twenty-one days which you indicated you were doing in your previous birth belong to any particular tradition of meditation and self-experience? - because from your speeches, it appears that you are definitely representing the methods of some great teacher or tirthankara. In view of this, may I also dare to ask whether you wish to connect a spiritual link to some traditional chain, or like Buddha are you attempting to cut a new path on some mountain?
Traditional thinking will remain traditional, and Buddha’s path is also not new now. What has long been walked upon has become an old path, but new paths paved after the breaking of old traditions are also not new. Upon them also many persons have traveled.
Buddha had cut a new path; Mahavira walked upon an established path. But in the chain of Mahavira also, there was a first man who had cut a new path. Mahavira’s path was also not the oldest. The first tirthankara had done the same type of work as Buddha. It is not a new thing to cut a new path; otherwise traditions would never be born. Now, in the context of the present situation, it is necessary to do something different than both of these things, because nowadays people of both these types are in abundance.
If we look at George Gurdjieff, he was reestablishing an old tradition like Mahavira. If we look at J. Krishnamurti, he appears to be establishing a new tradition like Buddha. But both of these are old patterns.
Many traditions are broken and many are made anew. That tradition which is new today will become old tomorrow. The situation of today is such that neither Mahavira nor Buddha could have an enduring appeal, because people are weary of that which is old. A new situation has been created in which people are growing weary even of that which is new. The new was always thought to be the opposite of the old, but now we are standing at a point from where it can be clearly seen that the new is only the beginning of the old. The new means that which will become old. No sooner do we begin explaining something as new when the thing begins to become old. Now there is no attraction to the new, and we have always had a revulsion for the old.
There was a time when there was an attraction for the old. This attraction was deep. The older a thing, the more valuable it was thought to be. If it had passed through experience, if it was well examined, there was no fear in following it, and one had full faith in it. So many people had walked on such an old path and so many had reached by that path, that new travelers could even walk with closed eyes if they wanted to. There was a road for the blind also. There was no need for anyone to doubt very much, think very much, search very much or decide very much.
And it is very difficult to decide about the unknown. However much you may doubt, in the end the jump into the unknown is only through trust, because doubt can, at the most, take you up to the point of some trust through which in the end you can jump. But that attraction for antiquity is lost, and it has become lost for several reasons.