The Jainas believe in twenty-four masters, tirthankaras as they call them. Tirthankara is a beautiful word; it means “one who makes a place for your boat from where it can take you toward the other shore.” That is the meaning of tirth, and tirthankara means “one who makes such a place from which many, many people can go to the other shore; the further shore.” But they believe in twenty-four. Their creation is also a circle, but a bigger one, naturally. Hindus have a small circle of ten; Jainas have a bigger circle of twenty-four. The radius is bigger.
Even Hindus, without knowing what they were doing, became impressed by the number twenty-four because Jainas would tell them, “You have only ten? – we have twenty-four.” Just like a child’s psychology: “How big is your daddy? Only five feet? My daddy is six feet. Nobody is bigger than my daddy” – and this “god” is nothing but a form of daddy.
Jesus was exactly right; he used to call him Abba, which can only be translated as “daddy,” not “God.” You can understand it – Abba is just a word of love and respect; “father” is not.
The moment you say “father,” something serious immediately happens to you, and even to the person you are calling father, because he has to be a father. Perhaps that is why the Christians call their priests father; daddy would not fit, and Abba makes children laugh – nobody would take him seriously.
The Hindus came from outside India. They are not original to this country. They are foreigners, without passports. And for centuries they went on coming from central Asia, from where all the European races have also come: the French, the English, the German, the Russian, the Scandinavian, the Lithuanian…and so on. All the “ians” came from Mongolia, which today is almost a desert. Nobody bothers about Mongolia. Nobody even thinks it is a country. Part of it belongs to China, most of it belongs to Russia; and they are continuously fighting a cold war about where to draw the line, because Mongolia is just a desert.
But all these people, particularly the Aryans, came from Mongolia. They came to India because Mongolia had suddenly started turning into a desert, and they were growing in population, in the Indian way. They had to move in every direction. It was good. That’s how all these countries came into existence.
But before the Aryans reached India it was already a very cultured country. It was not like Europe. When the Aryans reached Germany, or England, they had nobody to fight there. They found beautiful land without anybody to be afraid of. But in India the story was different. The people who lived in India before the Aryans entered must have been really civilized. I mean really, not just living in cities.
Two cities of those days have been excavated: Mohanjodro in Pakistan, which was once part of India; and Harappa. These cities show strange things: they had wide streets, sixty feet wide; three storied buildings; bathrooms – yes, attached to the bedroom. Even today millions in India are not aware that such a thing exists. In fact, if you told them they would laugh, they would think you were a little insane – having a bathroom attached to your bedroom? Are you mad?