The Queen said, “Of course, I know nobody is bound to be nobody, but why is he so late? It seems nobody walks slower than you.”
Alice forgot for a moment and said, “Nobody walks faster than me.”
The Queen then said, “That is even stranger. If nobody walks faster than you, then why has he not arrived yet?”
Alice then understood her mistake but it was too late. She again repeated, “Please Ma’am, remember that nobody is nobody.”
The Queen said, “I know it already, nobody is nobody, but the question is why is he not yet here?”
I said to the Jaina monk, “I know that no one is no one, but you talk so beautifully, so praisingly of existence that it shocks me, because Jainas are not supposed to do that. It seems that because of yesterday’s experience you have changed your tactics. You can change your tactics but you cannot change me. I still ask, if no one created the universe how did it come to be?”
He looked here and there; all were silent except for my Nani, who was laughing loudly. The monk asked me, “Do you know how it came to be?”
I said, “It has always been there; there is no need for it to come.” I can confirm that sentence after forty-five years, after enlightenment and no-enlightenment, after having read so much and having forgotten it all, after knowing that which is and – put it in capitals – IGNORING IT. I can still say the same as that young child: the universe has always been there; there is no need for it to have been created or to have come from somewhere – it simply is.
The Jaina monk did not turn up on the third day. He escaped from our village to the next where there was another Jaina family. But I must pay homage to him: without knowing it he started a small child on the journey toward truth.
Since then, how many people have I asked the same question, and found the same ignorance facing me – great pundits, knowledgeable people, great mahatmas worshipped by thousands, and yet not able to answer a simple question put by a child.
In fact, no real question has ever been answered, and I predict that no real question will ever be answered, because when you come to a real question, the only answer is silence. Not the stupid silence of a pundit, a monk or a mahatma, but your own silence. Not the silence of the other, but the silence that grows within you. Except that, there is no answer. And that silence that grows within is an answer to you, and to those who merge with your silence with love; otherwise it is not an answer to anyone except you.
There have been many silent people in the world who have not been of any help to others. The Jainas call them arihantas, the Buddhists call them arhatas; both words mean the same. It is just that the languages are a little different; one is Prakrit, the other is Pali. They are neighboring languages or sister languages rather; arihanta, arhat, you can see yourself that both words are the same.