And it is only the one who has renounced the desire to win who knows that existence is the only refuge, that existence is the final shelter; there is no way to go against existence. This is like Ravana’s defeat at the hands of Rama: in between there are several mini-victories for Ravana, there are several stopovers on the way when Ravana seems to be winning, when Ravana too starts feeling that he is winning and begins to hope that the final victory is also going to be his. But the final victory can never be Ravana’s. No matter how long the game goes on, the final victory will be Rama’s. Ravana will win many times during the game; Rama will win only once, but that will be final. The part may win many times in small games on the way, but in the final and decisive game it will be defeated.
The one who has come to understand this, has known and realized this, who has seen himself as the part, gives up fighting. And the miracle is that the moment he gives up fighting he wins…because the moment you give up fighting, you cease to be, only existence remains. It is through fighting that you save your “I.” When you simply don’t fight and just accept your defeat, you disappear; the drop disappears and becomes the ocean. Now Rama’s victory is actually your victory. Now you can never be defeated. Earlier you could never win, the victory was impossible; now the defeat is impossible because now you are one with the whole. You are no longer a wave, you are now the ocean. Who can defeat you now?
Lao Tzu says, “The man who is set on winning will lose, and the man who has accepted defeat cannot be defeated.” Over and over again Lao Tzu says that you cannot defeat him because he is already defeated. There is no way to fight against the defeated, so how can you defeat him?
The man who has accepted defeat is, in that accepting, a sannyasin, and some of the names we give to one who has accepted defeat mean the victor – the word jina for example, one of the names given to Buddha and Mahavira. Jina means the one who has won. From this comes the word Jaina which is used for the followers of Mahavira, meaning those who have accepted /jina, the victorious man, Mahavira.
But when does Mahavira win? In what moment does his victory take place? It happens precisely in the moment that he is not there. As long as you are there you will be defeated – you are the very formula and the basis of your defeat. But the moment you are not, the victory has happened. Defeat has disappeared along with you; that which remains now is the ever-victorious element.
This is why we changed Mahavira’s name. His original name was Vardhaman; this too is a beautiful and thought-provoking name. Vardhaman means the one who goes on expanding, winning. But as long as he was Vardhaman he knew only defeat. Vardhaman is a name for our expanding desires: they expand and expand unceasingly, no matter where they may reach to. Desire is like the horizon, always there to be reached for and always receding, no matter how far you travel. So Vardhaman was the name given to Mahavira by his father; the father had only ambition to give to his son. His desire for his son was only this – that everything should go on increasing and blossoming and becoming fruitful forever.
So Vardhaman was Mahavira’s name, and of course as long as he remained Vardhaman he went on losing. But then came the day when Vardhaman dissolved, his ego disappeared, and Mahavira was born. To be Mahavira means to have reached the end of defeat. His courage has taken him to such a peak that none can ever defeat him now. But this courage was only born when Vardhaman dissolved. The disappearance of Vardhaman is the birth of Mahavira.