One day he asked a very strange question. He came to the court, and on a blackboard he drew a straight line and asked the people of his court: “Without touching this line, can you make it smaller? There is a great prize waiting for you…” and he had a very beautiful diamond in his hand as a prize. Everybody started thinking…without touching it, how can you make it smaller?
He had a man in his court who was a man with a great sense of humor. Since nobody else was standing up he went to the board and drew a bigger line underneath the smaller line. Without touching it he made it small.
The emperor Akbar remembers the incident in his autobiography, Akbarnama: “Even I had not thought about it, I had just looked into small children’s books and found the puzzle. I thought, this is great! Because I could not figure out myself how you could make it small without touching it.” But in this small incident is hidden the whole misery of humanity. You have been made small without touching.
Great stories have been propounded about Mahavira, that he does not perspire. Now only a man who has no skin and is made of plastic can manage not to perspire, and certainly plastic was not available twenty-five centuries ago. But why create such a story? Just to make you small – you perspire, you are ordinary mortals. Mahavira belongs to immortality, he does not perspire.
I have inquired as deeply as possible…neither Krishna ever becomes old nor Buddha ever becomes old nor Mahavira ever becomes old. There is not a single statue, not a single picture, not a single description; they are always young. Just go into any Buddhist temple, any Jaina temple, any Hindu temple – it is strange. These people don’t grow. They seem to be like old gramophone records which get stuck and go on repeating the same line again and again and again.
But they are kept young just to make you realize that they belong to a separate category, a higher category. They don’t belong to you. A snake bites Mahavira, and instead of blood, milk comes out….
Some thirty years ago, I had come to Bombay for the first time, invited by a conference celebrating Mahavira’s birthday. Just before me, the most prominent Jaina monk described exactly this incident to prove that Mahavira is no ordinary mortal; he has come from the beyond to save you, to save humanity.
Just by coincidence I was the second speaker and I asked the monk, “Have you ever thought about it? If the milk comes from the feet, then the whole body of Mahavira must be filled with milk because Mahavira cannot know where the snake is going to bite. And milk in a man’s body for forty years must have turned into curd, into butter. It cannot remain milk.
“It is true that the human body is capable, particularly the female human body, but even a woman cannot produce milk from the feet. These are only simple conclusions: either Mahavira was just breasts all over the body, or he must be stinking! And the conclusion that you have drawn is that this proves him to be immortal, that he has come to save humanity…”
But humanity does not seem to be saved.