Chapter 9: The Man Who Has Conquered Himself
But man has suffered much because of words. A few people believe in the Talmud, a few people believe in the Tao Te Ching, a few people believe in The Dhammapada. And they have been fighting, quarreling, criticizing - not only that, but killing each other. The whole of history is full of blood: in the name of God, in the name of love, in the name of brotherhood, in the name of humanity.
Mistress Rosenbaum became stranded one evening in a very “exclusive” resort section of Cape Cod. “Exclusive” meant that Jews were excluded. She entered the town hotel and said to the desk clerk, “I would like a room”
“Sorry,” he replied. “The hotel is full.”
“Then why does the sign say ‘Rooms Available’?”
“We don’t admit Jews.”
“But Jesus himself was a Jew.”
“How do you know that Jesus Christ was Jewish?”
“He went into his father’s business. And, moreover, it so happened that I converted to Catholicism. Ask me any question and I will prove it.”
“All right,” said the desk clerk. “How was Jesus born?”
“By virgin birth. The mama’s name was Mary and the papa’s name was the Holy Spirit.”
“Okay, where was Jesus born?”
“In a stable.”
“That’s right. And why was he born in a stable?”
“Because,” Mrs. Rosenbaum snapped, “bastards like you would not rent a room for the night to a Jewish woman!”
But these bastards are everywhere. They have become the priests and the rabbis and the pundits and the shankaracharyas and the popes. These people are clever, cunning with words. They are logic choppers, they can split hairs; they can argue endlessly about useless things, about such stupid things that later on you laugh at the whole thing, for centuries.
In the Middle Ages, Christian priests - Catholics, Protestants and others - were in a big debate, great discussion was going on for centuries about how many angels can stand on the point of a needle. It was a great theological debate; it had stirred the whole of Europe, as if something tremendously important was involved in it. How does it matter? But such stupid things have been dominating humanity for centuries.
In Buddha’s time it was one of the greatest problems in India, discussed by all the sects, whether there is one hell or three or seven or seven hundred. Hindus believe in one hell, Jainas were talking about seven hells; and a disciple of Mahavira, Goshalak, who betrayed the master, started talking about seven hundred hells.
Somebody asked Goshalak, “Why do you say that your philosophy is superior, higher than Mahavira’s?”