Chapter 18: A Gathering of Friends
You say, “Osho, have you dropped serious political talks and become more intimate and juicy?” I am the same but the people around me have changed many times. In these past thirty-five years I have been working to raise the consciousness of humanity. Many people have come and left, and it has been always good because they emptied some space for better people. It is a strange experience, that those who have left me have always left places for a better quality of people. I have never been a loser.
There was a time.because, accidentally, I was born into a Jaina family; now, it is not my fault - you can call it unfortunate. But naturally, because I was born into a certain religious group, they were the first people to surround me. When people started looking at me, asking me questions, feeling that something has happened in me, the first ones were bound to be Jainas because they were my relatives, they were my neighbors. It was obvious that they would be the first. Naturally their questions were concerned with Jainism, with Mahavira. Their questions you could not ask; it would never occur to you that this also can be a relevant question.
I was staying with a Jaina family. The father of the family was almost eighty years old and he had retired, according to the tradition that after seventy-five years you should retire. He had retired to a small hut outside the city. The family provided food, care, but he lived alone there chanting Jaina mantras, reading Jaina scriptures.
Someone gave him my first book, The Path. He was so much impressed by the book that he could not believe it - “All my learning of the scriptures was futile, only this small book is enough. And this man, who has written this book, must be a saint; otherwise, how can he write such great truths?” When he heard that I was staying with his family - his son was very much interested in me - he came to see me.
And I said, “You unnecessarily walked for miles in your old age. You could have given a message, a phone call. I could have come to you; your son has a car, there is no problem.”
He said, “No, I wanted.to me this is a pilgrimage.”
In Jainism, only twenty-four masters are accepted in one circle of creation. Those twenty-four masters have happened - Mahavira was the last. That was twenty-five centuries ago and now there still are thousands of years which will remain empty; there will not be another Jaina master they call the tirthankara, “the man who makes the path.”
The old man was very learned and he said, “If it was in my power, I would have declared you the twenty-fifth tirthankara, but it is not according to the scriptures and it is not in my power. But I respect you exactly as the twenty-fifth tirthankara.”
I said, “You should wait a little, you should watch a little. You may have to change your idea.”