An esoteric group means a group which is specially trained for a particular master – because the phenomenon is rare. A Buddha happens after thousands of years. And when there is a happening like Buddha, how will he be able to communicate? Buddha will be there, the world will be there – but of no meaning. Buddha cannot communicate directly, so an esoteric group – an inner group – is trained. The training is so that this group can become a mediator between Buddha and the world. A special group is specially trained to understand Buddha and to interpret Buddha to the world – because between a Buddha and the world there is such a gap that Buddha will not be understood at all.
It will be meaningful to refer here…Jesus suffered because there was no esoteric group. Buddha did not suffer because there was an esoteric group. Jesus had to be crucified because the gap was such that the common people could not understand him. They misunderstood him. It had to happen, because there was not a group between Jesus and the common masses: a group that was able to understand Jesus and was able to convey that understanding to the common masses – who could be a mediator group. Jesus suffered. In India, neither Buddha suffered nor Mahavira suffered: no one was crucified. Each one was capable, each one was as capable as Jesus, but why did Jesus have to be crucified? No esoteric group existed; misunderstanding was inevitable. Whatsoever Jesus would say would be misunderstood.
Of course, Jesus had a following, but a following of the common people. All his chief disciples came from the common masses, without any esoteric training. Luke and Thomas or any…all were peasants from the common or uneducated part of the society. They loved Jesus, they felt him, but they also could not understand him. So there were so many instances in which they asked very childish questions. For example, a disciple asks Jesus, “In the kingdom of God….”
What can a common man understand?
“In the kingdom of God, what will be our position? You will be by the side of the divine throne. Where will we stand? What will be our position?” They could not understand what he meant by kingdom of God: they were common people.
This esoteric group cannot be created suddenly. Buddha happens suddenly, but the group cannot be created suddenly, this esoteric group cannot be created suddenly. There is a Buddha: that happening is sudden. You cannot just create an esoteric group “now.” So countries which have been spiritual for thousands of years have esoteric groups as a continuity, as a tradition. And whenever there is a happening, the group begins to work.
Ashoka created a group which is still alive. Ashoka created a group of nine persons: whenever a person dies another replaces him, so the group continues still. Whenever one dies the remaining eight will choose one to replace him. He will be trained by the eight – so the training continues. Persons change, the training continues, but the group remains. And still today the group is there, because a buddha is awaited, at any time. And when the buddha is there, you cannot suddenly create the group – because this group of esoteric adepts comes through long training and discipline. This training is not a happening. The group is a totally trained group – everything is trained. This is not a sudden happening. Ashoka’s group of nine is still alive.