What can be seen on the surface is not everything; there are hidden meanings which are not visible from the outside.
Firstly we need to realize that the purpose and meaning of the sacred place of pilgrimage has become lost to our civilization, and so today people who go on a pilgrimage are wasting their time. Those who oppose the idea are also wasting their time, however right they seem to be, because they know nothing about such places. Neither the people who visit the places of pilgrimage, nor those who oppose the idea, know their purpose. So let us try to understand a few things about them….
There is a famous place of pilgrimage for Jainas known as Samved Shikhar. Twenty-two out of the twenty-four tirthankaras of the Jainas have died there, have left their bodies there. It all seems to have been prearranged; otherwise it is impossible that out of twenty-four, twenty-two should have happened to die in the same place, with long periods of time in between them. If we believe the Jainas, there is a gap of one hundred thousand years between the first and the twenty-fourth tirthankara. That twenty-two of them died in the same place is worth thinking about.
The place of pilgrimage for Mohammedans is the Kaaba. Until the time of Mohammed, there were three hundred and sixty-five statues in Kaaba – a different idol for each day of the year. All these statues were removed or destroyed, but the central stone which was the center of the temple was not removed. The Kaaba is much more ancient than the Mohammedan religion. The history of Islam is only about fourteen hundred years old, but that black stone in the Kaaba is hundreds of thousands of years old.
Another interesting fact is that the stone does not seem to belong to our earth. How did it come to earth? The only hypothesis we have is that it is part of a meteor. Whenever a meteor disintegrates, thousands of stone fragments fall towards the earth. Many of these are burnt up before they reach the earth. At night when we see stars falling, these are not stars but meteors. Sometimes even huge stones manage to reach the earth. These stones are of a different composition from those on the earth, and the stone at Kaaba is such a stone.
But there are people who have gone deeper into this, who feel that such big stones could have been brought to Earth and left here, just as our astronauts have left a few things from Earth on the moon. Whatever the astronauts have left on the moon will safely remain there, even if there is a nuclear war and life on this earth is destroyed. And if ever some civilization reaches the moon, they will be very surprised to see the things we have left there.