For Christianity the problem was that everybody cannot be God. They cannot even accept everybody to be the son of God, what to say about God? Only Jesus is the son of God.
You are only puppets made of earth. God made man with mud and breathed life into it. It is just a manufactured thing, and if a puppet starts declaring, “Aham brahmasmi” – “I am God” – the puppeteer will laugh, saying, “Idiots! You are just puppets and your strings are in my hands. When I want you to dance you dance, when I want you to lie down you lie down, when I want you to breathe you breathe, when I want you not to breathe you can’t do anything.”
For Christianity it was a tremendous challenge, and they started finding arguments against it. Their first argument was that the person, the seer, the sage – whoever he may be, because even the name is not mentioned in the Upanishads – who declared for the first time, “Aham brahmasmi,” the Christian missionaries started saying that he was a megalomaniac, that he was suffering from a big ego. They were full of prejudice. They could not see the simple fact that it was not the ego that was declaring – because the Upanishads say it clearly: unless your ego disappears, you cannot even understand the meaning of “I am the Ultimate.”
It is not the declaration of ego. This declaration is possible only on the death of ego. That is a clear-cut statement in the Upanishads. But Christian missionaries went on misinterpreting the Upanishads to the West, distorting and commenting that these people were almost mad. Obviously, to a Mohammedan or to a Christian, the idea that somebody says, “I am God,” is very shocking.
I have told you about the story – it happened in Baghdad in the days of Khalif Omar. He is the most famous Khalif of the Mohammedans, and he is thought to be a very understanding and very moderate, liberal man. But you will see his liberality in the story.
A man is brought to him who has been declaring in the marketplace, “God has sent me as his prophet just as he sent Hazrat Mohammed as his prophet a thousand years ago. But now things have changed, questions have changed, new answers are needed. Now I bring the latest dissemination, the latest edition of God’s message to the world. I accept Mohammed was a prophet, I accept that Jesus was a prophet.”
Mohammedans don’t accept Jesus as a son of God. They accept Jesus as a prophet of God, because to accept Jesus as a son of God will mean their prophet, Hazrat Mohammed, becomes secondary. He is just a prophet, not a son, not even a son-in-law. Religions continuously are interpreting each other with their prejudice. This has been a contention between Mohammedans and Christians. Mohammedans are willing to accept that he was a prophet, a great prophet, there is no doubt about it – but don’t say that he was the son of God!