A man came and spat on Buddha’s face. He was very angry. He was a Brahmin and Buddha was saying things which the priests were very angry about. Buddha wiped it off and asked the man, “Have you anything more to say?”
His disciple, Ananda, became very angry. He was so angry that he asked Buddha, “Just give me permission to put this man right. This is too much! I cannot tolerate it.”
Buddha said, “But he has not spat on your face. This is my face. Secondly just look at the man! In what great trouble he is – just look at the man! Feel compassion for him. He wants to say something to me, but words are inadequate – that is my problem, my whole life’s long problem. And I see the man in the same situation. I want to relate things to you that I have come to know, but I cannot relate them because words are inadequate. And this man is in the same boat: he is so angry that no word can express his anger. Just as I am in so much love that no word, no act, can express it. I see this man’s difficulty – hence he has spat. Just see!”
Buddha is seeing, Ananda is also seeing. Buddha is simply collecting a factual memory; Ananda is creating a psychological memory.
The man could not believe his ears, what Buddha was saying. He was very much shocked. He would not have been shocked if Buddha had hit him back, or Ananda had jumped upon him. There would have been no shock; that would have been expected, that would have been natural. That’s how human beings react. But Buddha feeling for the man, seeing his difficulty…. The man went, could not sleep the whole night, pondered over it, meditated over it. Started feeling a great hurt, started feeling what he had done. A wound opened in his heart.
Early in the morning, he rushed to Buddha’s feet, fell down on Buddha’s feet, kissed his feet. And Buddha said to Ananda, “Look, again the same problem! Now he is feeling so much for me, he cannot speak in words. He is touching my feet.
“Man is so helpless. Anything that is too much cannot be expressed, cannot be conveyed, cannot be communicated. Some gesture has to be found to symbolize it. Look!”
And the man started crying and he said, “Excuse me, sir. I am immensely sorry. It was absolute stupidity on my part to spit on you, a man like you.”
Buddha said, “Forget about it! The man you spat upon is no more, and the man who spat is no more. You are new, I am new! Look – this sun that is rising is new. Everything is new. The yesterday is no more. Be finished with it! And how can I forgive? because you never spat on me. You spat on somebody who has departed.”
Consciousness is a continuous river.