So when innovation moves at such a rapid pace, the attraction for the new also becomes lost, because no sooner is the attraction for the new established than it becomes old. It takes time even to become attracted. A religion is not like a new fad or a new style of clothes that can be changed every six months. Nor is religion like the seed of some seasonal flower that can be uprooted four months after it has been sown. A religion is very much like a banyan tree: it takes a few thousand years to grow to full stature. And if the trees are to be changed every four or five years, then they will not be banyan trees; they can only be like seasonal-flower trees.
So the attraction for the new is also becoming lost. I have told all this only to make it clear that my way is of a third type. Neither do I believe that Mahavira’s language of antiquity would be effective, nor do I think that a proclamation in favor of the new can be of any consequence. Both are outmoded. I feel that now an emphasis on that which is eternal is meaningful. That which is always is what is meaningful – neither the old nor the new.
Eternal means that which is neither old nor new. The old and the new are both only events in time, and religion has suffered on account of both. Religion has suffered at the hands of the old and the same has happened in its association with the new.
Krishnamurti is still insisting upon the new. The reason is that his grasp on events goes back to the period between 1915 and 1920 when there was much attraction for the new in this world. At that time, the new was still influential. Even now he still continues to propagate it.
Now, on this earth, there is only one possibility. All traditions have come so close to each other that if one tradition says that it alone is the only right one it would immediately create a doubt. There was a time when if a tradition claimed that it was right and impartial and true in an absolute sense, one was able to trust it. Now such a claim would only create distrust; such a claim would only be a symptom of madness. It would prove that the claimant is not a very intelligent man, that he is not a deep thinker, and that he is dogmatic and fanatical.
Bertrand Russell has written somewhere that he has never seen an intelligent person speaking in absolute terms. Those who are intelligent will definitely hesitate to assert themselves in this way. Only the foolish can be so assertive. Russell is trying to say that only the ignorant can claim anything to be the absolute truth. As knowledge increases, such absolute announcements cannot be made. In this age, if anyone tries to assert that one particular tradition is the only right one, he will harm that tradition very much. Similarly, if one says that “what I am telling is absolutely new,” then also it is absurd.
Many things are announced as new, but when they are examined in depth it is found that there is nothing new. The same things can be told in many forms, but when those forms are set aside, when the outer garbs are removed, what is found underneath is the same old thing. Thus, nowadays, neither a proclamation in favor of ancientness nor of newness can be meaningful.
In any view, the religion of the future, the one which will influence people, the one which will be followed and respected by people, will be the one that is eternal. It will neither be new nor old. No one can make it new, nor can it ever become old.