A man’s house is on fire and his small children, very small children, are playing inside. They are very excited, they don’t know… They have never seen any house on fire, they are not afraid, they are absolutely innocent, and they are dancing and enjoying because they have never seen such flames.
The whole village has gathered around the house and people are shouting to the children from outside, “Come out, you will get burned!” But there is so much shouting that nobody hears, and those children are so enchanted with the flames dancing all around the house, and they are just in the middle, dancing and enjoying and giggling. It is such a great excitement to them.
Just then their father, who had gone to the city, comes back. And people gather around him and they say, “We are sorry, we cannot bring your children out. We have tried hard, we have been shouting, but they don’t listen.”
The father goes around the house…just near a window there is still no fire. He calls to the children, he says, “Listen, I have brought all the toys that you asked for. Just come out and get your toys.”
And they all jump out of the window and they start asking, “Where are the toys?”
He says, “Just come out. I have left them there in the crowd.” And when they reach there he says, “Just forgive me, I lied. I had to bring you out, and there was no way and no time to explain to you that you will be burned to death. This is fire; this is not entertainment. I have forgotten to bring your toys; I will bring them tomorrow, certainly. Forgive me for lying, but without lying it was impossible to save your lives – only your toys could bring you out of the burning house.”
What are you going to say, Prem Luca, to this father? – that he is a liar, that he should feel ashamed that he lies to his own children? Or can you see his compassion, his love? And who has told you that lies are always bad? In this story they are not; they proved to be life-saving devices.
If I tell you things which are beyond your mind right now, perhaps you may get scared.
Do you know Buddhism disappeared from India just in five hundred years. The greatest man in the history of religion…and his religion could not survive for even five hundred years; after five hundred years his religion disappeared. Something was basically wrong in his approach – not that he had not realized the truth; he had realized the truth, but he was telling things to people which he should not have told them. He was telling the truth, but the people were not ready to hear the truth, they wanted a sweet lie. He should have told a sweet lie in such a way that they could swallow the bitter truth with it too. Every truth has to be sugarcoated; otherwise you cannot swallow it.