Chapter 11: The Stage of the Sage
A buddha may not know as much as Bertrand Russell knows - he certainly never knew as much as Bertrand Russell knows - but Buddha is a knower and Bertrand Russell is not. Buddha’s knowledge is not about things, his knowledge is about his own being. His knowledge is not an accumulation of information, his knowledge is an explosion, an inner explosion of light. That’s why we call it enlightenment. He has become more aware - that is his knowing.
He no longer walks unalert and unattentive. If you hit him he will not react the way an unconscious man will react. He will respond, he will not react at all. And his response will not be because you have insulted him, his response will be out of his awareness. His response will not be mechanical - that’s why I say it will not be reaction.
A reaction is a mechanical thing; anybody can push your buttons and you react mechanically. You don’t have any control over your own mechanism. If somebody insults you, you are insulted. He is the master. He pushed a button and you are under his control. If somebody appreciates you, you are flowing and happy - he pushed another button. You are under his control.
You can praise Buddha or you can condemn Buddha hut it will not make any difference. You can go on trying to push the buttons but Buddha will not react. He is not a machine any more.
Once he was insulted. He was passing through a village and many people gathered and insulted and condemned him very much. Their anger was almost righteous because Buddha was destroying the very foundation of their rotten culture. He was destroying the very laws that Manu had prescribed for the Hindus. He was destroying the very foundation of this class-divided society - a society divided into castes, varna. And he was destroying the very foundation of the ancient sannyas, because in the ancient days a sannyasin meant a very old man. After seventy-five years of age one had to become a sannyasin - when life had already ebbed one was supposed to be a sannyasin. But Buddha was initiating young people, even young children.
He was destroying two basic fundamentals of Hindu society; ashram, four stages of life - sannyas is the fourth stage, the last - and the four-caste system, varna. In this system the brahmin is the highest caste and the shudra is the lowest and then in-between is the vaishya and the kshatriya.
Buddha was destroying this system because he said that one who knows Brahma is a brahmin - not by birth but by knowing, by being. He said that everybody is born as a shudra, as an untouchable, the lowest - brahmins included. By birth nobody is higher and nobody is lower. By birth everybody is born as an animal. Then if you work, grow, seek and search and refine your consciousness, by and by, slowly, you move higher - from the shudra you become a vaishya.