People challenged him for discussions, people discussed, and because they could not defeat him in argument… They could not defeat him. When they came in front of him, they were sincere enough to realize and recognize that he knew better, that their knowledge was only bookish, and his knowledge was authentic experience.
Western development is childish compared to Eastern development. It begins in Greece. But even a man like Socrates, who was neither denying God nor affirming God, who was simply saying, “I have not experienced, hence I cannot be untruthful. I cannot say whether God exists or not. And I would like everybody to be sincere about it. Unless you encounter, don’t say yes, don’t say no; remain agnostic, keep your conclusions suspended.” A very reasonable man, but he was poisoned. He has not denied your tradition, he has not denied your past, he has not denied anything – he simply argued for a more rational approach, a more logical approach. It is not a crime. And this is the reward that he gets: he is poisoned, society decides that he is a dangerous man. Those people who could have changed Western society towards inner reality are being crucified or poisoned. Naturally, the talented people became afraid even of talking about inner things, mysteries. They started talking only about objective things, matter, because matter cannot be denied. And there is no problem with going into a deep search into matter.
The crucifixion of Jesus and the death of Socrates closed the door for Western genius to move inwards. Anybody who had any intelligence became aware that it is simply inviting your death; it is better to use your talents and genius in such a way that the society cannot condemn it. So the whole genius of Western humanity became a servant for creating more comforts for the body, more technology, more machines, more knowledge about matter – and everybody was happy. Even in these matters, if there was something that went against religion, immediately the church was there to stop it.
For example, when Galileo wrote that the sun does not go around the earth as it appears to, but that in actuality the earth goes around the sun, as it does not appear to, he was called by the pope to his court and told – and he was old, seventy-five years old, sick and almost on his deathbed – “You have to change your book because it goes against the Bible. In the Bible the statement is that the sun goes around the earth, and we are not ready to listen to any argument. Simply change it; otherwise death will be your punishment.”
Such an idiotic church, which is not even ready to listen to any argument, which only knows to dictate: “Do it or be ready to die.” Galileo must have had a great sense of humor. He said, “There is no need for you to take so much trouble to kill me. I am going to die anyway. As far as the book is concerned, I will change it, but I want you to remember that by my changing the book, neither is the earth going to change nor is the sun going to change. The earth will still go around the sun, because they don’t read my book and they don’t care what I write.” So he canceled the statement in his book. And in the footnote he wrote, “I am canceling the statement, knowing perfectly well that it makes no difference. The reality remains the same.”