To the ancient Hindus, even a woman having five husbands was not a bad thought; the woman who had five husbands is worshipped as one of the five great women of India! Of course five husbands is not the right number because the weekend remains – what to do with the weekend? Every day for five days the poor woman had to change husbands, and two days were just a holiday. So the weekend is not something new and American; it is very ancient and Indian! Nobody has condemned it as an ugly situation. No Hindu thinker or philosopher or theologian has condemned it; it was acceptable.
Yudhishthira, the eldest of the five brothers who shared one wife, is thought of by Hindus as one of the most religious men that has ever lived on the earth. He is called Dharmaraj, the “king of religiousness”. And this fellow Yudhishthira was a compulsive gambler; he gambled to the extent that he staked his whole kingdom, his whole treasury, and finally he staked his wife! All five brothers were present, and they consented. And nobody has condemned it. They still go on calling Yudhishthira one of the greatest religious men – and he has treated this woman worse than he would an animal, as if a woman were just a dead piece of property, like furniture, that you can gamble with.
So what is right?
For the Mohammedans the Koran is their holy source, and the Koran says God created all other animals for man to eat. Now if God says it, there is no harm in eating animals. Except for man, all animals can be butchered and eaten without any problem. No question of nonviolence ever arises. Then there are Jainas. Their monks keep a mask on their nose because when you exhale the air becomes hot, and in the atmosphere there are very tiny invisible living cells that hot air can kill. To protect those cells which you cannot see, they are continuously keeping their nose covered with a cloth, so by the time their hot air reaches out through the cloth it is no longer hot; the cloth is preventing it and cooling it. Now who is right?
There are Hindu monks who shave their hair, their mustache, their beard – every hair has to be removed. The reason is that they consider that hairs are dead parts of the body. In a way they are right. Dead cells in your body are being thrown out continuously in different ways. That’s why when you cut your hair you don’t feel hurt. If they were living you would have felt the pain. So hairs are just as dead as any corpse. Why carry dead things? Hindus and their monks remove them.
If you look at different people, different traditions, you will be simply surprised. But how to decide what is right and what is wrong?
In China, even eating snakes is not thought to be anything strange. It is in fact one of the most delicious foods. They just have to cut the snake’s head, because its poison is only in the mouth – just a small gland in its mouth has the poison. They chop the head, and the remaining part is just vegetable. If you are a guest in a Chinese house, they will certainly serve you with it, just as a welcome, and those who have eaten it say it is delicious.