Chapter 11: No Higher, No Lower
It is present in all the religions around the world; it has nothing to do with Catholicism particularly. Try to see the mechanism: the unnatural seems to be respected because the man who is capable of doing it seems to have certain powers which the ordinary person has not got. So anything that seems ordinary and natural has to be condemned, and anything that seems to be unnatural has to be respected. Laughter is condemned because it is very ordinary.
Christians say Jesus never laughed; I cannot agree with it. Only a man like Jesus has the capacity of real laughter. But Christians saying that Jesus never laughed are certainly making a point: they are saying that he is so sacred he cannot commit such a profane act as laughter.
Jainas say that Mahavira never defecated or urinated. Such ordinary acts! That is one of the criteria, whether somebody is really enlightened or not - toilet is the criterion. You see the stupidity of it? They say Mahavira never perspired. That is possible only if he had no skin - if instead of his skin, he was living in a kind of plastic bag. Plastic does not perspire, but skin has to perspire. That is part of its aliveness. It is very fundamental, you can live only if your skin perspires. Certainly dead people don’t perspire, they cannot. Either Mahavira was dead or plastic!
A living person has to perspire, for the simple reason that every pore of your skin breathes. There are millions of small breathing pores into your body; you are not only breathing through your nose. If your nose is allowed to breathe and your whole body is covered with a thick paint so that all your skin pores are closed, you will die within three hours. You will be allowed to breathe from the nose, still you will die within three hours, because your whole body needs breathing; each cell of your body breathes.
And when it is too hot. Mahavira lived in one of the hottest parts of this country, Bihar, and he lived naked, and he traveled on foot. He must have been perspiring more than anybody else. Perspiration has a natural function to do: when it is too hot your body perspires to keep your body temperature within a certain limit. You perspire; your body relieves some water from the skin pores; that water evaporates, taking your body heat. Hence, the body can maintain a constant temperature. If you don’t perspire, your body will become so hot that you will burst forth, or you will be burned from your inside.
But all these stupid ideas are propounded for the simple reason to show that Mahavira is special, that Jesus is special. Something extraordinary has to be fabricated.
You say: “‘Holier-than-thou’ seems to be my lifelong mantra.” It is in fact everybody’s lifelong mantra, in different ways. Somebody is trying to show his ego by his money, somebody by his knowledge, somebody by his political power, somebody by his austerities, somebody by his religiousness. But it is all the same - only excuses differ, but the motive is the same.