The existence is as it is, but while passing through our senses the ray of knowledge becomes bent. The ray of knowledge changes due to the medium through which things are known. If I wear blue spectacles, everything will look blue. When I remove them, I see that everything is white. If I put the spectacles on again, I again see everything as blue. I know that things appear blue due to the spectacles, so I will not be in illusion anymore. But I may continue putting on the specs and things will continue to appear blue. However, though I will know full well that the soul – the being – is immortal, the knowledge that the body is death-oriented also continues.
In spite of my knowing that the existence of the sea is eternal, the play of the waves continues. But now I know that it has appeared so due to the spectacles. The spectacles are the eyes of the senses, and what you see through them is not necessarily real.
That is why the statements of people like Buddha, Mahavira or Jesus are made from two different planes – one of the soul and the other of the body. Our difficulty is that as we are confusing both the planes within ourselves, then naturally we also confuse their statements. Sometimes Buddha speaks as if he were the body. He says, “Ananda, I am thirsty. Please bring me water.” The soul is never thirsty. It is the body that feels thirsty. Now Ananda may think that the body is not there at all, that it is only a name and form, just a bubble, “so how can it become thirsty?” Once you have known that there is no body, then from where does thirst come?
Then the next day, when Buddha says, “I am not born at all so I will never die,” it creates difficulties for the listener. The listener’s difficulty is that he thinks that with knowledge the existence will change. Actually, by knowing the existence does not change; only one’s gestalt changes. When Buddha says that he is thirsty, he only says that his body is thirsty – that this body, which is a bubble of name and form, is thirsty, and if it is not given water it will soon burst. But the listener’s difficulty is that because he is living in a confused state, he is not able to distinguish which statement is coming from which plane, so he confuses their meanings also.
Simone Weil has written a book called Grades of Significance. The greater the man, the more he lives on different levels of greatness at one time. He has to live like that because he has to talk from the levels of the people he meets. Otherwise, all talk becomes meaningless. If Buddha talks with you from his highest level, it will be useless. You will take him to be mad. It has generally happened that these types of people have been taken as mad. The reason for that is that whatever they said looked as if it were told by a mad person. Thus, if they speak from their level, they will be branded as mad.
If they have to speak from your level, they will have to come down. They will have to come down to a level where you can understand them. Then they will not appear mad. Thus, they will have to talk from as many levels as exist among the people that come to them.