The story is very beautiful. In Buddhist mythology there is no God, but there are gods. Gods are the people who are living in heaven. Heaven is just a holiday place. Those who earn virtue, those who live religiously, are rewarded – a weekend; these people are called gods. But they are not higher than an enlightened being; they are far lower, because once their virtue is finished and their account is closed, they fall back to the mundane, ordinary world again.
The same happens to those who are committing all kinds of sins: they will be thrown into hell. When their punishment is complete, they come back to the ordinary world. So even heaven and hell are just reward-and-punishment systems.
The enlightened person does not go to heaven because he is freed from all sin, from all virtue: he is free from the mind itself. He simply dissolves into existence; he becomes one with the ocean.
So the gods in heaven became very much worried that Buddha is not going to speak – and in centuries…it is rarely that somebody becomes a buddha. So seven gods representing the whole of heaven came down to Buddha, touched his feet, and asked him to speak. “Because for centuries the earth waits, and if you remain silent, we will not be benefited by your enlightenment. You have to share it.”
Buddha said, “That which cannot be said, how can I say it? You know perfectly well it cannot be said, so what is the point in saying it? In fact, by saying it, you are distorting it. The moment truth is said, it becomes a lie. So please forgive me – I cannot do it.”
The gods were very much puzzled. They talked amongst themselves…what to do, how to convince him – what he is saying is right, but he has to be convinced to speak. Truth cannot be said, no, we have heard for centuries it cannot be said; but while a man of truth speaks…it is not only the words, there are many more things – his eyes, his hands, his whole being. The words may not be able to say it, but they create a ground in which people can be pulled. And they can see his eyes, they can see his being, they can see his silence. They can see his blissfulness, they can see his contentment. That’s what convinces them – not his words.
So they said to Buddha, “We understand: ninety-nine percent of the people perhaps may not understand you, but why are you forgetting the one percent? And even if one percent of the people understand you, it will bring a transformation in the whole consciousness of man.”
Buddha said, “Those one percent I have not forgotten, but those are the people who will attain to enlightenment whether I speak or not – maybe a few years later or a few lives later. But that one percent you are talking about who can understand me, they can not be prevented from enlightenment any longer.
“So what is the point? They will get it. And in this eternity of time, what does it matter if you get it today or tomorrow or the day after tomorrow?”