Chapter 6: A Concession to the Gods
When Buddha became enlightened he remained silent for seven days.this is a beautiful story from the Buddhist scriptures. The gods in heaven became very much worried. It happens rarely that a man becomes a buddha and even more rarely that a man becomes not only a buddha but capable of being a master also - this is even more rare. Many people become buddhas but only a few of them become masters. The others remain silent. When they have attained, they fall into deep silence.
This man, Gautam Siddhartha, had become enlightened and he had all the capacities to become one of the greatest masters in the world. The gods were right. We know what happened - he became one of the greatest masters in the world. In fact, no other master is comparable. More people attained to enlightenment through him than anybody else. It seems difficult to surpass him.
The gods were right. They came down to the earth and they went to see Buddha who was sitting under his Bodhi tree. They argued with him and they tried to persuade him that he had to speak. They challenged his compassion. And Buddha said, “I have been thinking about it myself but it seems futile. Firstly, if I speak, nobody will understand. Secondly, whatsoever I speak will not be the truth, will not be the hundred percent truth. It will be untrue in many ways - because that which I have known cannot be reduced to a linguistic form. It is formless. I have got the taste of it but to assert it seems impossible. And even if I try and even if I succeed, who is going to understand it? They will not understand. I know perfectly well that they will not understand because if, when I was ignorant, somebody had talked to me in the way that I would be talking to them, I myself would not have understood. It will look absurd. It is absurd. So why bother? I will keep quiet and disappear into the great nothingness.”
Then the gods thought about it, brooded over it, and they said, “But there are a few who will understand. There are always a few, very few, but they will understand. Yes, if you speak to ten thousand people maybe only one will understand - but even for that one you have to speak.”
And Buddha said, “That one will become enlightened even without my speaking. One who is alert enough to understand me will be able sooner or later to reach by himself, so why bother?”
The gods were at a loss. Now what to say to this man? They brooded again. Throughout the whole night they thought and meditated and in the morning they came again and said, “You are right, but still you have to speak because there are a few who are just on the verge. If you don’t speak they will not understand, they will not move. If you speak, they will move. You are right, there are a few who will move on their own - but just think of this: if out of one million people even one is standing at the boundary and will not take courage to move without you? Why not speak for him? If even one man becomes enlightened out of your whole life’s effort, it is worth it.”
And Buddha had to concede to the gods. He spoke.
He was so reluctant, he was so resistant.