In seventy years of life, not even seven moments? Then what have you been doing here – torturing yourself and others? Yes, you cannot find even seven moments, because the nature of those moments is such that when they are there, they take you over totally, they possess you – yes, that is the right word – they possess you completely. But when they are gone, they dispossess you as completely as they had possessed you, so only a memory is left. And how long can you live on the memory which proved so deceptive?
After a few days you start doubting whether it happened or: “Was I just imagining?” Because in your whole life’s experience that moment is so contradictory: years pass, then one moment perhaps… And that too is not in your hands; when and where it is going to happen, you cannot decide. So, years of dragging, and a certain moment which has remained just a memory… Slowly, slowly, even the smoke of memory starts disappearing.
So even if you ask a man seventy years old, he cannot say that there were even seven moments. And as you become older, there is less and less possibility of those moments. There is more and more disillusionment, more and more disappointment. In the future there is only death and darkness, and in the past nothing but deception.
The religions had a beautiful space through which to exploit you – and they did well all over the world. For thousands of years they have found the greatest business – greater than anybody else’s: they have been selling you paradise, and almost for nothing.
All they ask is: “Renounce this momentary life and the eternal world of ecstasy is yours.” Hence renunciation became a foundational belief: the more you renounce, the more you become worthy, and the more you can be certain that you are coming closer. So people have tried to renounce everything.
Mahavira was going to be the king. His father was old, and he was continually asking Mahavira, “Now let me retire. I am tired; and you are ready, young, well-educated – I am perfectly satisfied. Where can I find a better son than you? Just be ready to relieve me.”
But Mahavira had other ideas. While he was being educated by the priests and the monks, they had poisoned his mind. They had told him that if he could renounce the kingdom, “Then the kingdom of God is yours.” The greater the renunciation, the greater, of course, will be the reward. That’s why the twenty-four great masters of the Jainas were all kings.
I have been asking the Jaina monks, “What is the secret of this? Was there nobody else in the country who could attain, become a great master – a warrior, a brahmin, a scholar, anybody – why only kings?” They don’t have any answer. I used to tell them, “I am not asking you for the answer because I have the answer. I am just asking you the question so that you start thinking about it.”
The answer is simple: because they renounced the kingdom, the greatest reward had to be theirs. A poor man can renounce whatsoever he has – but what has he? He cannot become a tirthankara, the supreme-most master. Even in paradise he will be living somewhere outside the town. He won’t get in because they will ask, “What have you renounced? In the first place what have you got to renounce?”