And they became really rich, so rich that even kings had to borrow money from them. Nobody was a beggar, nobody was uneducated. And because they were such a small minority, attacked by all kinds of philosophies, they had to protect themselves; they sharpened their intellect. They created better arguments than anybody else, because for others it was a luxury to argue, but for Jainas it was a question of life and death. They had to win the argument; otherwise they were finished. So they have developed logical systems, great philosophies, which should be made available to the whole world.
But the world cares only about numbers, and they are a non-converting religion, so the question of creating great numbers like the Catholics is not possible. They are non-converting because, according to them – and I accept the idea – the very effort to convert somebody is ugly.
You can explain your philosophy, you can make your philosophy available, and if somebody wants to join you, that’s one thing. But to make an effort to convert the person, by hook or by crook, just to bring him into your fold to make your fold more powerful, is politics; it is not religion.
I may have told you: I was staying in Central India – there is a small aboriginal tribal land, Bastar. I used to go there often just to see how man was ten or twelve thousand years ago, because they are that far back. They live naked; they eat raw meat.
I used to study how man must have been and how he must have evolved. I was staying…. In those days Bastar was a state, and the king of Bastar was my friend. He was a very courageous man, and he loved me so much that just because of me, he was killed.
The government became afraid because he was a king of a state, and he was too much under my influence. He was allowing me to use all his rest houses in the mountains, in the jungles of Bastar, and they thought that if he wanted…because he was worshipped by the aboriginals as God, just as in the old way every nation in the past worshipped kings as gods. They are still in the past, they are not contemporary people, and if he said anything about me, they would accept it without any question.
The chief minister of Central India was very much against me. He was a brahmin, and he wanted that I should be prevented from reaching Bastar. He told the king; the king refused. He said, “He is my friend, and I love what he says – and I am not under anybody’s power.” Finding some excuse, police action was taken and the king was killed…thirty-six bullets; no chance was taken that he would be left alive. His name was Bhanjdeo. Because of him I enjoyed absolute freedom in his state.
I was staying in one of his guest houses, and I saw a bonfire in the middle of the tribe – the tribe make their beautiful huts in a circle. So I went there – it must have been nine or ten o’clock in the night – and a Christian missionary was teaching them that the real religion, the only real religion, is Christianity.
So I sat just there with the crowd, and the missionary was not aware that somebody else from the outside was present. He had a bucket full of water, and the bonfire was there – it was a cool night. He brought from his bag two statues; one was of Rama, the Hindu god, and one was of Jesus Christ.