He is now a doctor, but more famous for his ears than anything else. Patients will come and ask, “Doctor, please, just show your ears.” I have been searching for a second person who can do that even better – I have not found one. Some freak of nature…. It seems he has some muscles and nerves in his ears which are not needed, so he can pull his ears and do things with them.
But what were these tirthankaras doing with ears that long? One thing, it is not history, so it is not representative of reality; it is representative of something different. To me those long ears simply mean that these people were capable of listening. Now, how do you represent in a marble statue that they were totally capable of listening? Now, to represent that, they don’t care about history; it is puranas. Puranas means we are concerned about the essentials.
All these twenty-four statues have their eyes half-closed. You can see only the lower white part of the eyes; otherwise the eyes are closed. But why half? That is the only difference you will find in a Buddhist statue and a Jaina statue: the Buddha’s statue has the eyes completely closed.
Again, it is not history. They are not saying anything about these people; they are saying that a man who touches the highest consciousness is so complete that the outer and the inner become one. His half-closed eyes symbolize that the outer half and the inner half are meeting. This is what I mean by essence.
Mahavira had twenty-three predecessors – Buddha was in a difficulty. And there were so many miracles about those twenty-three predecessors of Mahavira that Buddha looked poor. So first he had to create the idea that he had been a buddha twenty-three times before; and then about those twenty-three buddhas he created miracles. Perhaps the miracles about him are created by his disciples later on, but he must have initiated them in some way.
At least one thing is certain, that none of these fellows prevented their disciples by saying, “Don’t do this mischief to me.” Even if they had not created the miracles themselves they allowed them by remaining silent. If the rumors were going around that they were doing miracles or miracles were happening, there is not a single statement from Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Mahavira, Mohammed, which says no, these were rumors.
My mother was just telling me yesterday…and Vivek listened to her talking so animatedly for the first time in so long; otherwise whatever she has to ask is answered in one or two sentences; yes or no, and the conversation is over. But yesterday she was talking for a long time and she was very animated, so Vivek asked me, “What was your mother telling you?”
I told her she was remembering a few things. I have not told her yet what she was telling me, because it was a long story. She was telling me that when I was five months old in her womb, a miracle happened.