Chapter 19: Where Nothing Is Right and Nothing Is Wrong
They said, “Small children are the best.” They served him the meat of a small child. And he told me, “Although I don’t want to be known as a cannibal, it is true what they said. I have tasted it.” He was a rich man, had toured the world almost a dozen times, knew many languages, had many industries around the world. He said, “I have to confess that it is true. I have eaten everything that man eats around the globe, the best, but nothing is comparable to the food cannibals eat.”
Now, how can you teach the cannibals not to eat man? They say, “Then you give us something better to eat.” You don’t have anything better to give them, so they have remained cannibals. One tribe was three thousand in number just at the beginning of this century; now they are only three hundred. They have eaten all the rest. If anybody commits a mistake it is enough; they are in search of people who are doing something wrong so they can eat them.
I have heard about a Christian missionary who was trying to change the minds of cannibals, trying to convert them to Christianity. But before you can convert them you have to meet them. So he went to meet them, but those people said, “You just go on saying whatsoever you want to - we are preparing the place to cook you.”
He said, “But I have come to convert you. Have you ever tasted Christianity?”
They said, “No - for the first time we will be tasting! When you are cooked, for the first time we will be tasting Christianity.”
Nobody has been able to convert them and have them drop this cannibalism. Just for the taste, people are eating other people, their own people. People are eating animals; that is not very different - life is life. But I know that it is impossible to keep the whole population of the world on a vegetarian diet unless science helps and provides new ways, means and methods; then it is possible. But the problem is how to convince people that eating non-vegetarian foods is ugly?
People are not so sensitive to beauty, aesthetics, art; they are greedy. They can be ready if you tell them, “You will reach paradise if you drop eating this food; the food that you are eating is going to prevent you from finding eternal bliss.” You have to give them something so big that their desire for taste becomes so small that just out of greed they are ready to change. That’s what religions have been doing.
In India two religions have tried vegetarianism. One is Jainism, which has tried fanatically; the ultimate result was that Jainism remained a small community. The Jaina monk cannot even go outside India to teach because who is going to provide him with vegetarian food? He cannot eat anything non-vegetarian - and the whole world is non-vegetarian. Hence Jainism remained confined to India. Only a few - I think two or three Jaina monks, very daring people - risked their lives and reached to Egypt.
This is the only case in the whole of history - when three Jaina monks tried to contact the outside world. And we know about these three Jaina monks through Pythagoras, because Pythagoras was going to India through Egypt. He met these three Jaina monks in Egypt; he refers to them as Zenosophists. That seems to be a perfectly right translation for a Jaina philosopher - Zenosophist.