Chapter 22: A New Kind of Religiousness
And the unwinding process seems to be automatic: the moment you take the electrode off, it unwinds, it goes back; it goes back to the beginning. You put on the electrode: strange, the man starts speaking. It is beyond his control, he cannot stop himself He will say the whole thing, unless you remove the electrode. Once you remove it, he simply closes his mouth, but within a second his mind is back into its old position, ready to repeat it again - a thousand times! The man will repeat the same dialogue; you just have to touch the same point.
So all your sermons go in this computer. They don’t touch your physiology, they don’t touch your chemistry. Hence Marx says, “Consciousness is just a by-product.” Brihaspati uses a language that was available to him five thousand years ago, but means exactly the same as Marx.
In India people are in the habit of chewing pan - a certain leaf with a few things put into it. And when they chew it the mixture of all those things makes their lips red. It seems to be an out-of-date method of lipstick, but it is more than lipstick. Lipstick tastes terrible, but lovers have to pass through so many fire tests! They have to taste somebody’s lipstick too - and not only taste it, they have to enjoy it. But in love and in hate everything is justified.
Pan leaves are far better, they really taste good. And pan is used after food in India, so it takes away any food taste left in your mouth. It cleanses your mouth, and keeps your mouth fragrant. Brihaspati takes the example of the pan leaf. He says, “Neither the pan leaf nor any of the ingredients that are put into it is red. But the combination, when you chew it, creates the color red. This red color has no existence of its own, it is a by-product.”
Naturally, five thousand years ago, when there was no computer, no other mechanism, he had found a good example. Put all those four, five things separate, and nothing is red, no constituent in itself is red. Then from where does redness come? Does it descend from heaven? No, it is just a by-product; from the combination of those four, five things, redness comes as a by-product. If you remove those five things, you can’t expect that the redness will remain behind; no, it will disappear. So when a man dies, everything subsides; there is no soul left.
Brihaspati must have been a man of guts. None of his books have survived; perhaps they have been destroyed, burned. All that has survived is the criticism in the books of other people who are criticizing Brihaspati. Of course, to criticize him they have to quote him.
Their quotations are not very reliable, because - and this is a more or less universal phenomenon - critics first try to distort the teaching which they are going to criticize. Then it becomes easy to criticize because they have already managed the quotation in such a way - taken it out of reference, out of context, changed a few words here and there - that it becomes more vulnerable to their criticism. But still something of it must be from the original man. And I can detect almost precisely what has been added and what is exactly Brihaspati’s own saying, because I am also the same type of man.