Chapter 6: Truth Knows No Fifty-Fifty
And Hinduism took revenge with great vengeance, because in the presence of Gautam Buddha, Hinduism did not have the guts to encounter this man. Efforts were made. Hindu pundits, scholars went to argue, but they were mere parrots. In the presence of Gautam Buddha, their borrowed knowledge proved completely inadequate for human growth. The very presence of Gautam Buddha was enough to convince them that this man had experienced something that they had not experienced. What they were saying was simply a repetition of old scriptures. What he was saying was a valid individual experience: his own. And when the experience is your own, it has an authority.
Hinduism had to wait for Buddha’s death. In his presence, it was impossible to argue in favor of superstitions. They had to wait five hundred years because after Buddha, his immediate disciples - Sariputta, Moggalayan, Mahakashyap, Ananda, and hundreds of others, were filled with the same light, with the same silence. They created more living enlightened people. This continued for five hundred years.
Slowly, slowly, it died out. Instead of the enlightened man, slowly, slowly the scholar, the pundit became more important. That was the time when Hinduism came with vengeance - and certainly Hinduism is a far older religion. It had great scholars. The Buddhist scholars were amateurs, they could not withstand Hindu scholarship; they were defeated very easily, because now, it was not their own experience.
These were the people who have written Buddhist scriptures. You will be surprised to know that every Buddhist scripture begins with the words I have heard. These people had not seen, these people had not experienced. These people had simply heard from others about the innermost reality, but it was only hearsay.
Hindus were more proficient scholars, almost ten thousand years old, very refined logicians, rationalists. The poor Buddhist scholars could not manage to prove anything. They were defeated so utterly that they had to move back into the Hindu fold. The Buddhist monks who had escaped from India learned a lesson: if you don’t have your own experience, then it is better to compromise to survive. They had burned their fingers in arguing for somebody else’s experience.
They dropped argument. They started talking of the synthesis of all religions; they started spreading the idea that all religions are right. Nobody is wrong, the question of discussion does not arise. And they were the first in the world to bring this idea that all religions are right. Naturally all religions respected these people - they were not quarrelsome. Up to now every religion had been quarrelsome, arguing, proving that “We have got the truth; we are right and you are wrong.”
And these were the first people who were saying, “Everybody is right. There are millions of paths, but the goal is one. There is no need for any argument. We may be moving on different paths, but we are moving towards the same goal.”