Arhatas never, never think about anybody else. If they speak, they are just speaking to themselves. Most probably they remain silent. They have a profound respect for others, but they know that to tell them about the ultimate is to disturb their ordinariness. It is an interference in their mundane minds – although it is for their own benefit. But they are not asking for it, and unless they invite the truth, the truth is not going to knock on their doors.
The truth is almost like the sun in the morning. It rises…it does not knock on your doors saying, “I am here and the night is over and you can wake.” It does not go to every nest of the birds, to tell them, “Now it is time to sing, I have come,” nor does it go to every flower to open its petals and release its fragrance. It simply comes. Those who are receptive will receive it. Those who are not receptive will not receive it. Those who are awake will know that the morning has arrived, but those who are fast asleep will not know, even in their dreams, that the night is over. But the sun does not interfere.
The understanding of the arhatas is that compassion means not to interfere, not to trespass, even though it is for the benefit of those against whom you are trespassing. Trespassing in itself is against the dignity of individuals and it is a humiliation. To say to someone, “You are asleep,” means you are putting yourself on a higher pedestal. You are saying, “I am awake and you are asleep,” you are saying “I am holier than thou, higher than thou; I have arrived to the ultimate peak of my consciousness and you are still wandering in the world of darkness, groping everywhere, stumbling, falling and finding no way out.”
Even to advise anyone is to take a certain position: “I know and you do not know.” The arhatas’ standpoint is that it is against compassion, it is against reverence for life; hence they remain silent. If anybody feels their presence on his own accord and comes close to them to drink the living waters of their experience, they are available – just like the river passing by. You can quench your thirst, but it is absolutely up to you; the river will not do anything on its own part. It is a beautiful approach. But the approach of the bodhisattvas, to whom Bodhidharma belongs, has its own beauty.
The bodhisattvas make every effort to awaken people, knowing perfectly well that out of a million people, perhaps one may understand them and the remaining will either be indifferent, or most probably will misunderstand. Bodhisattvas know perfectly well that speaking the truth is a very shortcut way to create enemies in the world, because the whole world is full of lies. All the vested interests are based on lies. The so-called religions, the so-called nations – all are fabrications of cunning minds.
An authentically religious man belongs to no religion and belongs to no nation and to no race and to no color. He belongs to the whole humanity. All the nations are his. He does not believe in political boundaries created by the cunning and dirty politicians. And he does not believe in the discriminations created by the priests, by the popes, by the archbishops, by the shankaracharyas, by the rabbis. He believes that every human being has a divine nature, and every human being has the potential to grow into a beautiful lotus flower – a lotus flower that belongs to eternity, a fragrance that comes but never goes.