The difficulty with enlightenment is that you can be enlightened only in one life, because that is your last life. Once you have become enlightened, you cannot come again into the human body. You are released from the prison, from the pain, from the anguish, from the meaningless, miserable existence. You are no longer confined in any form; you enter into a formless universal consciousness. Once enlightened, your death is going to be the last death. In other words, only enlightened people die. The unenlightened…very difficult – they go on coming back, they never die. Only the enlightened person can afford death; the unenlightened cannot afford it, he is not yet ready.
Life is a school, and unless you have learned the lesson you will have to come back again and again to the same class. Once you have learned the lesson, passed the examination, then even if you want to come back into the class you will find all doors are closed for you. You have to move higher, to a different level of being.
We have moved from one form to another form. Man is the last form. Beyond man is a formless, oceanic consciousness.
Gautam Buddha says, “I will be coming back after twenty-five centuries.” He is simply giving a consolation. In his place I have come! But the taste is the same. He has not lied, in one sense; in another sense he has lied.
Jesus says, “I will be coming back.” Krishna says, “I will be coming back.” No enlightened person can come back. Then why are these people saying these things? They know they cannot come back. But people will be becoming enlightened – and enlightenment has no name. Whether it is in the body of Gautam Buddha or in the body of Krishna or in the body of Jesus or in the body of anybody else, it is the same phenomenon. So apparently they are lying, but fundamentally they are saying a very profound truth.
That’s what you experienced when you first met me.
Yes, you have been meeting me before – in other enlightened people. But if they can say that they will be coming…and I have to come, then I can say I was there…just lying backwards. When you met Gautam Buddha you met me: the experience, not the body, not the skeleton, but the consciousness.
I was in Nagpur speaking in a Buddhist conference. I am not a Buddhist…only Buddhists were invited to speak; I was the only one who was not a Buddhist. The president of the conference, Bhadant Anand Kausalyayan, was a little puzzled. I was just sitting next to him. He whispered in my ear, “Have you become a Buddhist?”
I said, “I don’t need to be a Buddhist.”
He said, “Then why are you here in a Buddhist conference?”
I said, “Because I am a buddha.”
He said, “My God. Then you should be presiding.”
I said, “That’s true. Come down. You are only a Buddhist. And I have just come by the way after twenty-five centuries to see how things are going.”