For three days he and his disciples had gone hungry, because the towns they were passing through were very fanatically Jewish and they would not give them shelter. On the contrary, they stoned them and threw them out of their towns. And Jesus came to a fig tree and he was very angry with the tree. He was not a man of anger, certainly. He was a man of immense love and peace. But this incident stands, on its own, without any explanation.
In the first place it is absurd to be angry with a fig tree because they are hungry and the tree is not welcoming them with figs – and it is not the season for figs! It looks simply absurd and insane: Jesus cursed the tree. Now for Christians it is very difficult to explain what happened. A man like Jesus cursing a tree without any reason or rhyme, because it was not even the season. And even if it were the season, the tree has no obligation to anybody. You cannot expect that the tree should welcome you.
From where did he get the idea? Because in the whole Jewish tradition there is not a single instance from where he could have got the idea. The only explanation is that he got the idea from the Buddhist stories in which trees are welcoming Gautam Buddha with flowers, with fruits. Even whole forests forget about the season, the climate; they become green, they rejoice in the enlightenment of Gautam Buddha. They rejoice in the company of Gautam Buddha and they show in their own language their joy, their appreciation, their blissfulness – because if even a single man recognizes his enlightenment a part of the universe becomes enlightened. Just because of a single man, the whole level of consciousness in the universe rises.
This has been a recognized truth in the East. Without being in the East, Jesus could not have dared to expect the fig tree…But he forgot completely that the fig tree also needs a certain climate, a certain vibration and a certain tradition. Unless the fig tree knows that for thousands of years its ancestors have always welcomed the buddhas; that this vibration is enough for the tree: a provocation to dance and to express itself in all its beauty….
Neither was the fig tree aware nor was Jesus an enlightened man. He had heard about enlightenment, he may have sat at the feet of enlightened people in the East, he may have created a desire in himself to become enlightened, but enlightenment and its language was foreign to his own people in Judea. They had never heard the word, they had never heard that anybody becomes self-realized. They had lived a totally different kind of religious tradition – of prophets, saviors, messengers, claimers that they are coming from God and if you believe in them you will be saved.
The whole Judeo-Christian tradition takes away the responsibility from every individual of becoming enlightened. And people unconsciously think that it is far easier to believe in someone and to be delivered from misery, from this dark night of the soul, rather than to take the responsibility in their own hands. But they are not aware: the moment you give the responsibility to somebody else, without your knowing you have also given your freedom. Responsibility and freedom are two aspects of the same coin. You cannot give one and save another.