But even in the past, the situation was not much better. A Hindu not knowing about Mohammedan beliefs or a Jaina not knowing about Christian beliefs did not make the situation any clearer. Even Jainas themselves do not believe in essentially the same things: the digambaras say one thing, the svetambaras say something else. You would be very surprised to know which things they disagree about. It is amazing that people can have such different opinions about such things. One of the twenty-four Jaina tirthankaras was Mallinath. The digambaras say that he was a man and the svetambaras say that he was a woman. The svetambaras say that she was Mallibai, the digambaras say that he was Mallinath – and both of them say, “If you don’t believe us you will go to hell!” Digambaras say that a woman could never have been a tirthankara – the fact itself is false – so he must have been a man. He was Mallinath, not Mallibai. It is really too much to have a conflict over whether a person is a man or a woman. But man is threatened that if he does not believe he will go to hell and will have to suffer, so he had better believe it.
All over the world, the teachings of the people who want you to believe them have created a chaos and a confusion in your mind. You listen to everybody and the impressions of all their teachings remain within you, and your being is pulled in many different directions.
And then, after all these religions, came communism. Communism said that religion is just like opium: there is no meaning in it, the idea of God is absolutely false, it is all meaningless. Marx says communism is the real religion; one should believe in it and nothing else. The Bible, the Gita, the Koran are all wrong – Das Kapital is the real religious scripture and one should believe only in it. So a new belief began….
Then, after communism came science. Science said that all these things are meaningless. Whatever is written in the religious scriptures is all wrong, only what science says is right. And even during the life of one scientist, another scientist has a different idea and claims that he is right and that the first man is wrong. Then along comes a third scientist who claims that he is right and the previous two are wrong. And then perhaps a fourth scientist….
These proclaimers of truth have created a confused entanglement of thoughts in the mind and psyche of man, thoughts which are very different and pull man in all directions. Fear and manipulation have been used to create this entanglement; subtle methods of fear and manipulation have been used to impose a set of beliefs on man: if you believe you go to heaven, if you don’t believe you go to hell.
These religious leaders have been doing the same thing that today’s advertising is doing, but advertising is not as bold or as courageous. The people selling Lux toilet soap advertise that a certain beauty queen says, “I became beautiful because I used Lux toilet soap,” so whoever uses it will become beautiful and whoever does not use it will not become beautiful. Then you become afraid that you may become ugly, so you go out and buy Lux toilet soap. As if people were not beautiful before there was Lux toilet soap; as if Cleopatra, Mumtaj and Noorjehan were not beautiful because there was no Lux toilet soap. But the advertisers are not really courageous yet: perhaps in the future they will say, “A cer-tain tirthankara says, a certain prophet says, a certain teacher says that someone who does not use Lux toilet soap will go to hell, he cannot go to heaven. Only those people who use Lux toilet soap can go to heaven.”