The gods in heaven became worried. One thing has to be understood: Buddhism does not believe in a God; neither does Jainism believe in a God, but they believe in gods. They are far more democratic in their concepts than Mohammedanism, Judaism or Christianity – these religions are more fascist. One God, one religion, one holy scripture, one prophet – they are very monopolistic. But Buddhism has a totally different approach, far more democratic, far more human. It conceives millions of gods.
In fact, every being in existence has to become a god one day. When he becomes enlightened, he will be a god. There is no creator as such; the very idea is ugly. If God has created you, you are only puppets; you don’t have an individuality of your own, your strings are in the hands of the puppeteer. And if God can create you, he can uncreate you any moment. Neither did he ask you when he created you, nor will he ask you when he destroys you. You are just a victim of a whimsical, dictatorial, fascist God.
According to Buddhism there is no God as a creator, and that brings dignity to every being. You are not puppets, you have an individuality and a freedom and a pride. Nobody can create you, nobody can destroy you; hence another concept has come out of it: nobody can save you except yourself. In Christianity there is the idea of the savior; in Judaism there is the idea of the savior – if there is a God, he can send his messengers, prophets, messiahs to save you. Even liberating yourself is not within your hands. Even your liberation is going to be a sort of slavery – somebody else liberates you. And a liberation that comes from somebody else’s hands is not much of a liberation.
Freedom has to be achieved, not to be begged for. Freedom has to be snatched away, not to be prayed for. A freedom that is given to you as a gift out of compassion is not of much value. Hence, in Buddhism there is no savior either. But there are gods – those who have become enlightened before.
Because there is no creation, existence is eternal; it never began and it will never end. This has to be understood. Christianity says that God created the world exactly four thousand and four years before Jesus Christ was born. Now, this is a very simple logic, that anything that begins in time is bound to end in time someday. You cannot have only a beginning without an end. However far away the end may be, there is bound to be an end because there has been a beginning. Hence, in religions where God is a creator, existence cannot have the rejoicing of eternity, timelessness, deathlessness, immortality.
Since eternity, millions of people must have become enlightened; they are all gods. These gods became disturbed when seven days of silence passed after Gautam Buddha’s enlightenment, because it rarely happens that a human being becomes enlightened…It is such a rare and unique phenomenon that the very soul of existence waits for it, longs for it, and thousands of years pass and then somebody becomes enlightened. And if Gautam Buddha is not going to speak, if he chooses to remain silent…which is a natural possibility because silence is the only right language for enlightenment. The moment you try to bring it into language it becomes distorted. And the distortion happens on many levels.