Then Mahavira chose another person who was the most learned, most charismatic, and a very influential orator. Goshalak had tremendous power in many ways, over many kings. But Goshalak became accustomed, took it for granted, and started throwing his power over others, saying, “I am going to be the successor of Mahavira.”
A very beautiful story…
Goshalak and Mahavira were both going for their daily begging. They passed a very newly sprouted plant. Goshalak said to Mahavira, “Lord, you say that everything happens according to a certain law of karma. Now, can you say about this plant – will it survive or not? You are omniscient, you can see.”
Mahavira said, “It will survive, and will become a very big tree with great foliage.”
Goshalak went to the plant, pulled it out, threw it away, and said, “Now we will see how that tree grows with a great foliage.”
Mahavira simply smiled, and they walked to the village.
Meanwhile, there was a great cyclone…rains. When they came back, Mahavira showed him that the plant was standing up. The cyclone and the rains had changed its position. It was again back in the soil. And Mahavira said, “Goshalak, do you want to try it again? This plant is going to become a great tree, with great foliage – a beautiful tree. You cannot change its course.”
Goshalak became so angry. Mahavira had second thoughts, that this man was not the right man: “If he suspects my approach to life, my whole philosophy, then he cannot be my successor.”
The moment Goshalak found that he was not going to be the successor, he immediately rebelled, taking five hundred sannyasins of Mahavira with him. He proclaimed himself to be the real master, and Mahavira just a fraud.
My own insight is that these people had surrendered, but some part of their being remained unsurrendered waiting for a revenge, waiting for an opportunity – and sooner or later the opportunity comes.
I am not very much in favor of the old strategy. I have used it because that was the only strategy that was available. But slowly, slowly I saw its drawbacks, its flaws. It may help a few, but it has harmed many more. Since then I have been trying to find more subtle, more human, more invisible ways. And I have found them and they are working, they are working tremendously. I can do the same just by speaking to you. I can do just the same by my silence. I can do the same just by my presence.
And I don’t ask you for anything. Whatever I am doing, if you get involved in it – which you are going to be…! If you are listening to me, you are going to get involved in it. If I am looking at you, at that moment you cannot think of anything else and something transpires and you become aflame. It is more delicate and more suited to the higher layers of consciousness.