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Chapter 1: Lines Drawn on Water

My situation was altogether different. I told the West that India is only poor now - it has not always been so. There was a day when India was called a golden bird. And the heights that India has touched in the past, you have never even dreamed about. And what you call religion cannot even be called that in the face of the heights India once reached. Jesus is a non-vegetarian and he drinks. No religion of India can accept this, that its highest expression of mankind is non-vegetarian and drinks wine - that he doesn’t even have this much compassion, that he destroys life for his own food; that he disrespects life so much for his own food! And a person who drinks wine.there is not even a question of him attaining the heights of meditation. Sad people drink alcohol, disturbed and tense people drink alcohol - because the characteristic of alcohol is to make you oblivious of the state you are in. If you are sad, disturbed, unhappy, you forget it for a while by drinking wine. Next day, all your unhappiness is back again. Alcohol does not destroy unhappiness; it only makes you forget it. Meditation destroys unhappiness; it does not merely make you forget it. Meditation and alcohol are opposites. In Christianity, there is no place for meditation anywhere.

But your Vivekananda and Yogananda and Ramateertha, just in order to obtain praise from the West, remained busy explaining that Jesus belongs to the same category as Buddha belongs to, as Mahavira belongs to. This was a lie. And because I said only what was truthful, naturally door after door went on closing against me. I do not accept that there are any such heights in the statements of Jesus as can be found in the Upanishads, or there is anything as special in his life as there is in the life of Buddha. His “specialties” are ordinary. Even if a person can walk on water, he is, at the most, a magician. And in any case, the only mention of him ever walking on water is in the Christian books themselves.

If Jesus did walk on water, what is spiritual in it? Firstly, he didn’t walk. And if he did, the pope should demonstrate the ability, if nowhere, else then at least in a swimming pool. Forget the swimming pool, how about in a bathtub? Even that much evidence will be sufficient, because the pope is the representative - and an infallible one. He never commits a mistake. And even if somebody has walked on water, what has that got to do with spirituality?

A man came to Ramakrishna. He was an old yogi, he was older than Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna was sitting on the bank of the Ganges and this man came and said, “I have heard that people worship you. But if you really have any spirituality in your life, come and walk on the Ganges with me.”

Ramakrishna said, “You must be tired from the journey. Just sit down and relax a bit - we can walk on the Ganges later. Right now, I am not meant to be going anywhere either; and in the meanwhile we could get familiar with one another. We do not know each other. And by the way, how much time did you spend in learning to walk on water?”

The man said, “Eighteen years.”

Ramakrishna started laughing. He said, “I have never walked on water, because I cross the Ganges for just two paise. To me, wasting eighteen years learning a task that is accomplished by just two paise is foolishness, not spirituality. And what is spiritual in being able to walk on water? What mystery of life have you unraveled through it?

I remember an incident that will explain the difference to you.

It is said of Jesus that he called a dead person back to life. It is something worth considering that people are dying every day, and he resurrected only one dead person back to life! It is a little surprising that someone who could bring the dead back to life did so only to one person - and that person, too, his own friend, Lazarus. The whole thing is a made-up story.

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