The universe is a harmony. If you can begin to feel the gaps and the underlying unity and the soaring peaks meeting nowhere, and if you can see this whole in a totality, in a comprehensive unity, then you accept both – the individuality and the common harmony. Then there is no problem. There is not!
Can this also explain why Mahavira and Buddha,
who were contemporaries, never met –
never physically came across one another?
They cannot meet – even physically. They came, so many times, very near meeting. Once they were both staying in one sarai – an inn. In one part was Mahavira and in another part Buddha – but there was no meeting. They passed through the same villages. Their whole lives they were confined to Bihar, a very small area. They visited the same villages; they remained in the same villages; they talked to the same audiences. Their followers went on coming from Buddha to Mahavira and from Mahavira to Buddha. There was much controversy, there was much conversion, but they never met.
They cannot meet! Their very beings are now such peaks that the meeting is not possible. The meeting has become intrinsically impossible. Even if they just sit side by side they can never meet. Even if to us they appear to be meeting and embracing each other, they can never meet. Their meeting has become impossible. They are so unique, they are so peak-like, the inner meeting is impossible. What is the use of meeting outwardly? It is useless, it is meaningless.
This seems inconceivable to us. We think that two good persons should meet. For us, the non-meeting attitude is something bad. But really, there is no non-meeting attitude – there is impossibility. It is not that Buddha would not like to meet Mahavira. It is not that Mahavira is resistant. No, it is simply impossible; it just cannot happen. There is no attitude about it. So, really, this is miraculous. They remained in one village, they stayed in one sarai, but never, neither in Buddhist literature nor in Jaina scriptures, is there any reference to anyone suggesting that they should meet – not a single reference. There is not even any reference that it had been suggested it would have been better if they had met. This is miraculous, surprising. Neither has denied the other. Neither Buddha nor Mahavira has said, “I will not meet.” Why didn’t they meet? It is a sheer impossibility. It is not possible.
For us who stand on the ground it looks strange, but if you stand on the peak then it will not look strange. Why not ask a Himalayan peak to meet another? They are so near – so near! Why can’t they meet? Their very being, their very peak-hood, creates the impossibility. So it is not a question of why they never met – they cannot, they will never. The very door is closed. Yet I say they are one: howsoever one peak may differ from another, in their very roots they are one. They may both belong to the same part of earth, but only in the roots are they one.