This is not said out of an egoistical attitude; this is said out of love. This is simply a device to make you committed, devoted. The journey is long, the night is long, and if you go astray you can go on round and round for eternity without finding anything.
But in your unconscious state of mind, in your unenlightened space of being, the question seems to be relevant. You are asking: “I don’t understand why enlightened masters are critical of each other.”
Don’t bother why they are critical about each other; you will understand it when you become enlightened. Before that it is none of your business! If enlightened people enjoy criticizing, they must have some reason of their own, and you are not in a state to understand.
Gautam Buddha, one of the most famous enlightened persons in human history, had eight contemporaries who were enlightened in the same small state of Bihar in India. Even the name “Bihar” came about because eight enlightened masters were continuously wandering, finding their people, searching for those who could fall in tune with them. Bihar means wandering; the name has come from those eight enlightened people. And they were condemning each other like anything.
Two out of the eight have left traditions that are still alive. One was Gautam Buddha; the other was Vardhaman Mahavira. Gautam Buddha has left the great tradition of Buddhism. Mahavira has left another tradition, Jainism. Both were in the same space, but immensely critical of each other – no agreement on any single point.
It happened many times that they were in the same city. Once it happened that they were staying in the same caravanserai. Half of the serai was occupied by Gautam Buddha and his disciples and half of the serai was occupied by Mahavira and his disciples. Traditionally it has been asked why they did not meet. Neither the Buddhists have the answer, nor the Jainas have the answer. Both were enlightened; it would have been tremendously beautiful for them to have met.
But I know why they did not meet. They did not want their disciples to be confused – because Mahavira had a totally different approach: of utter austerity, of great discipline, of arduous effort. His way was the way of the warrior. Gautam Buddha’s approach was not that of a warrior, but that of an utterly relaxed human being. In comparison to Gautam Buddha’s path, Mahavira was an extremist – while Gautam Buddha insisted on the middle way: Avoid all extremes. Just be exactly in the middle and you are right. Every extreme is dangerous because it excludes the other extreme, and the truth should not exclude anything. The truth should be inclusive of all. So just be in the middle and both the extremes become just like the two wings of a bird and the bird is just in the middle. And you can use both the extremes to fly across the sun to the farthest star.