On the other hand, one who attains to wholeness, to the absolute, through all aspects of his life, proves helpful even to all kinds of one-dimensional seekers in their journey to the supreme from their own aspect. In short, while Mahavira and Buddha can be of help only to a few, Krishna’s help will be available to many. For example, we cannot think how a painter or sculptor or a poet can attain to the supreme through the path of Mahavira. Mahavira is one-dimensional not only for himself; all others who will try to understand him and experiment with his discipline will have to negate all other facets of their lives as ways to attainment. We cannot conceive how a dancer can attain to the supreme in Mahavira’s terms, but in Krishna’s terms he can. A dancer, if he so chooses, can drop all other aspects and keep to dancing, and by going deeper and deeper into it can attain to the same state Mahavira attains through meditation. This is possible in terms of Krishna.
Krishna makes every side, every facet of his life divine; with him every direction of life becomes sacred. It is not so with Mahavira: one particular direction in which he journeys becomes sacred, while all other directions remain profane. And in fact because his one direction becomes sacred all other directions are bound to remain profane; these are automatically condemned; doomed to live in the shade of profanity. And this is applicable not only to Mahavira, but also to Rama, Buddha, Christ, Mohammed – all those who adhere to one exclusive direction in life’s quest.
Krishna is the sole being about whom it can be said that he made every path, every facet of life sacred and holy. He made it possible for every kind of seeker to attain to the supreme from any direction that comes naturally to him. In this sense he is multi-dimensional, not only for himself but for others too. With a flute on his lips one can dance his way to God; playing a flute he can touch that depth where samadhi, or ecstasy happens. But to Mahavira and Buddha with a flute there is no way. It is not possible on the paths of Mahavira and Buddha that a flute can achieve the majestic heights of meditation and samadhi. It is impossible. To Mahavira, Meera can never attain to the highest; she is attached to Krishna, she loves Krishna. And according to Mahavira, attachment can never lead you to God, only non attachment can. But going with Krishna, both the attached and non-attached can reach the same destination.
That is why I say that Krishna’s wholeness is incomparable; it is rare.
Secondly, you want to know if none of the Jaina tirthankaras attained to wholeness. No, they all had attained to it, but only to one-dimensional wholeness. And it was because of this that Jaina ideology could not achieve widespread popularity. It was inherent in the very nature of Jainism. Twenty-five centuries have passed, and there ate only three and a half million Jainas, a very poor figure.
It is ironic that the message of a person of the stature of Mahavira – and he was not alone, he carried with him an immense heritage bequeathed by twenty-three tirthankaras – could reach only three and a half million people. If only three dozen persons had been influenced by Mahavira in his lifetime, they alone through procreation would have, in the course of twenty-five hundred years, reached this figure. What is the cause? The cause is obvious. It is their one-dimensional approach. They lack the multi-dimensional wholeness of Krishna. Their appeal is limited to a few; it is ineffectual in reaching the rest of mankind. People with inclinations different from the single dimension that Jainism represents remain wholly unaffected; they don’t find themselves in tune with it.