But the pope behaved like an idiot by burning the note. That was his argument. He thought that this is absolute proof that this is not money. The real money is a silver coin or a gold coin.
Marco Polo tried: “First I was also amazed – paper money? But when I understood their idea I was amazed: those people are really far advanced. There is no need for anybody to carry a load of gold – which is dangerous – when you can carry a small note in your pocket and nobody will know.”
Everybody in the court of the pope laughed at Marco Polo. They thought, “He is a fool. He thinks they are culturally ahead of us.”
He said, “I absolutely know they are” – and he produced a printed book three thousand years old, and in the West printing had happened only three hundred years ago. And printing in Chinese is very difficult because it is nonalphabetical. Printing in any other language is a simple phenomenon. Still, three thousand years ago they had printing presses.
In Indian scriptures there are descriptions, detailed descriptions, about airplanes, about something that looks like atomic bombs – the description. And perhaps atomic bombs were used five thousand years ago in the Mahabharata, the great Indian war. After that there has been no Indian war – the experience was so horrible that India became antiwar, antiviolence, because it cannot happen out of the blue that only India has developed the philosophy of nonviolence. Things are interconnected. It cannot be that you just start developing a philosophy unless it has some roots somewhere.
India suffered so much in the great Indian war that it was necessary to develop a philosophy and a way of living which excluded war completely, even violence, completely.
Gautam Buddha and Mahavira both are great teachers of nonviolence, and both were born as princes in warrior families, and they both were trained as warriors. But seeing what had happened to the great warriors in the past, they turned to the opposite.
Man’s mind never stops in the middle – either to the far east or to the far west In the middle is death, because whenever a pendulum stops in the middle, the clock stops too. The pendulum goes on moving from one extreme to the other. That is the way the clock works – it gives momentum to the mechanism.
In the whole world, nobody has developed a philosophy of nonviolence to such an extreme. That is a proof to me that these people must have experienced an extreme violence; otherwise their philosophy is impossible.
Mahavira sleeps in the night only on one side; he does not change the side. And he sleeps on the floor. He does not use any comfort – on a bare stone floor, and then, too, he does not allow himself to change position in the night. His idea is that some ants, some insects, may have crawled there, and if he moves they will be killed. So it is better to remain in the same place which he has cleaned and knows that nobody will be killed.