Chapter 3: Paths Are Many, the Travelers Are Few
Those who call a religion old have old words to express it; those who have called it new have new words. Now we do not want to cling to any words. That is why I use words of all traditions. Any words may be of use in understanding. Sometimes I talk of the old way of thinking so that perhaps some may understand through that; sometimes I talk of the new way of thinking for those who can understand in this way. And, simultaneously, I want to remind you that truth can be neither old nor new.
Truth is eternal like the sky in which trees grow, develop, flower and then die. Trees also become old; they also have a childhood and youth. But all this is happening in the sky. We have sown a seed which has sprouted. The sprout is absolutely new, but the sky in which it has sprouted is eternal. The tree has grown, become old, and is nearing death. The tree has become old, but has the sky in which it has spread itself become old? Many a tree has come and gone, but the sky has remained there forever - eternal, untouched, unaffected. Truth then is like the sky; the words are like trees. They are sown, they sprout, they acquire leaves, flowers, fruits, and then they die, they fall back down to the ground, while the sky remains where it was.
The old and the new both have laid emphasis on words, but I do not want to lay any emphasis on words. I want only to lay emphasis on the sky in which the flowers of words open, die and become lost, no trace of them remaining anywhere. Thus, in my view, truth is eternal and is beyond the new and the old. It is transcendental.
Whatsoever we say or think or create will come and go, but truth will remain where it is. Thus, those who say that the truth is old are ignorant, because truth does not become old. And those who say, “We have a new truth, an original one,” are also ignorant, because truth can be neither original nor new. Like the sky, the truth just is.
I declare this third path, the path of the eternal, to be the path for the future. Why? - because this proclamation of the eternal will cut across most of the cobwebs created by many traditions. Then we will say, “Yes, those trees grew forwards the sky and these trees are also growing in the sky.” Trees reach to the sky endlessly, but the sky is unaffected. There is much space in the sky. Our trees can neither fill nor empty that space. We need not remain in the illusion that any single tree can ever fill the entire sky.
Thus, none of our words, thoughts or principles can fill the sky of truth. There is always enough space. Millions and millions of Mahaviras and Buddhas, if born, would make no difference. Howsoever dense the banyan tree may be, it can make no difference to the sky. The vastness of the sky cannot be measured by the size of the banyan tree. But the blades of grass that are there under the tree do not ever know the sky; they only know the banyan tree. For them the banyan tree is so huge that they can never imagine that there can be anything greater than a banyan tree.