The nature of things is such: History is not at fault, it cannot go beyond time, it has a limitation, it is a temporal record. When a spiritual happening comes to exist, it touches time but is never within time. It happens somewhere, but the time and place are irrelevant. Whether Buddha was under the bodhi tree or not is meaningless. It has nothing to do with the phenomenon that has happened in him. Whether the bodhi tree exists or not, whether Gautam was in India or Palestine, it makes no difference; when he became a buddha, he jumped into nowhere-ness. The phenomenon itself is not at all concerned with time and space. Once he is a buddha he is nowhere – neither in time nor in space. He jumps out of the realm of history.
That is why we have never been concerned with history in India. We concern ourselves only with that which is meaningful. Concern with death is beyond history, all that is meaningful is beyond history, so history became meaningless to us. It records all that is nonsense. So India, the Indian mind, became non-historic. It is only with Christianity that history became meaningful.
History became meaningful with Christianity because a time concept, a linear time concept, came into existence. If time progresses linearly, if time progresses in a line, no event is repeatable. History cannot repeat itself because the past goes out of existence. The line is always going forward.
The Indian concept of time is circular. It does not progress in a line. It is always circular, coming back to itself. That is why, in India, the wheel symbolizes time. The wheel of the Indian flag is the Buddhist concept of time. We call the world sansar. The word sansar means the wheel, that which comes back again and again. Every event returns in infinite repetition. It has been before, it will be again.
Only the unrepeatable, the unique, becomes historic. To Christians, Jesus is a historic personality. He cannot be repeated. But for Indians, Ram is not a historic personality. Ram will be repeated in every age. In the same way, tirthankaras are not historic for Jainaas. They appear in every age; there will be a repetition, the same thing will go on and on and on. It has always been the same, so no event is particular and individual and worth recording. To record it makes no sense.
But there are jumps in this circular progression, there are people who jump out of history. These people are religious. A person who is part of history is a political being. Politics is always of time, it can never go beyond time. But religion is never part of time. It is always beyond.
A person who has moved into an inner evolution may appear in history, but the moment of his realization is a spiritual phenomenon. When it happens, he is beyond history. That is why no record has been maintained of when Krishna was born or when he died. It makes no sense to us to record it. Any date will do, the date itself is meaningless because the date is part of history, of time, and the person himself is beyond time. In whatever way the record of the happening is maintained, howsoever accurate it may be, it is meaningless because it cannot record that which is worth recording. That is always lost. And what is the sense of recording dates, years, places, names?