But still, this woman is deriving great pleasure from her accomplishment. Her whole life is disturbed by it, her home is a mess, her family is very upset. She is unable to care for her children, unable to look after her husband, but the show goes on because despite all this her ego is deriving immense satisfaction. Her photograph is published in the newspapers, scientists are coming to study her, and a miracle is taking place. But what is the point of this miracle? What is to be gained from all this? The table could be moved by hand, using the energy of just a few blood cells, instead of using the mind at the cost of two pounds in body weight and a fortnight of sickness and dis-ease!
Someone once approached Ramakrishna and said, “You are supposed to be a great master, but there are no signs of your great powers, your siddhis. My master can walk on water, he can walk across the river!”
“How much time did your master spend in learning this art?” asked Ramakrishna.
“It took him at least twenty years,” was the reply.
Ramakrishna said, “This is a sheer waste of time and life. I can cross the river – it costs me two paisa. Twenty years to learn to do something that can be done in a few minutes for as little as two paisa! And if there is no boat you can swim.”
But one can easily waste twenty years in learning to walk on the water. You will also feel tempted to do so. But of course, being able to cross the river is not the real motive at all. The real point is that the ego is going to rise high if you can walk on the water. Sitting in a boat does nothing for the ego, and swimming does little either – after all just two paisa have been spent and only the river has been crossed. But to walk on water – this is great for the ego! This man has no interest in crossing the river, his interest is in strengthening his ego.
Mantras are a source of power, and it is true that all the religions have devised mantras, because all religions fall from the search for peace to search for power. Mahavira sought peace, but what have the Jainas who follow him to do with peace? Buddha sought to dissolve himself in the emptiness, but the Buddhists are interested in their safety and security, not in dissolving themselves. Those individuals around whom the religions are born had indeed attained to emptiness, but those who gather around them do not do so to become empty; they are interested in something else, they are interested in the opposite. Hence, those through whom religions are born and those into whose hands they fall are always enemies – their desires are totally different. This is why all religions deteriorate.
The search for power brings religion into the confines of the world. And it makes no difference whether it is Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism or Mohammedanism: as long as your interest is in miracles, understand well that the quest for religion has not arisen in you yet.
You are in awe when some sadhu, some baba, some holy man, creates ashes in the palm of his hand. What are you going to do with the ashes? There are plenty of ashes lying on the roads, or you can make ashes at home for little cost by burning coal. But if someone creates ashes in his palms, and this so impresses and delights you that you are moved to become his follower, then you are mad!