Buddha had forbidden his disciples from making his statue, but today his statues outnumber those of anyone else. In fact the Urdu word for statue is derived from the word buddh and it has come to mean any statue. There are Buddha idols to the tune of ten thousand in a single temple in China…and Buddha had warned: “Do not worship me!”
We are strange people! We catch the one who says “Do not hold on to me” – catch him all the more firmly, lest he slips away! The more we like a person, the more we tend to cling to him for fear of losing him. This tendency has made slaves out of us. If we lose our hold on the old ones, we find new ones to hold on to. If Mahavira and Krishna, Buddha and Rama are getting out of hand we create a Gandhi and begin to cling to him: we must have someone or the other to cling to. We do not want to stand on our own two feet. I wish to declare that only that person is qualified to call himself a man who, discarding others, stands on his own feet.
Only he can take hold of himself who casts aside all outside help. Remember: he who clings to others has no faith in himself. Because he finds himself weak, he tries to derive strength from others. Lack of faith in one’s self, becomes faith in others. He who has faith in himself, places his faith nowhere else. The irony of it all is: he who cannot hold on to himself, how can he hold on to another? How can he sustain another when he has no power over himself?
Faith in one’s self is religion, and not faith in others. God has given to each person all that he has given to everybody. Each one of us has that in him which has manifested itself in others – some Ram, some Buddha, some Mahavira, some Gandhi. What becomes manifest is present in seed within all. But when I say “leave them,” I have no enmity toward their person. How can there be? Such wonderful people – what can I have against their person? What reason do I have to find fault with them? All I mean is: as long as you hold on to their person, you will never be able to find yourself; and he who fails to find himself, is disqualified to enter the temple of God.
Some other friends have asked me:
Why do you speak against Gandhi?
What reason could I have to speak against Gandhi? Men like Gandhi come to this earth after thousands of years of penance. But I find you all running after the man and not his message! So I am constrained to speak against him; and against Buddha, Christ, and Mahavira for the same reason. Not only do I have to speak against Gandhi, but I have to be harsh toward him; for I find that a new idol is taking shape and people are already clinging to it. Before the old idols lose their hold, new ones are formed and man’s slavery remains the same. Freed from karma, he clings to Buddha; freed from Buddha, he clings to Christ. He catches hold of the new before he lets go of his hold on the old. It never happens that he leaves all and relies on himself. He who dares to leave all and stand on his own two feet, endears himself to God.