Now, what was special in Mahavira? And why was he competing? He was criticizing Gautam Buddha, he was criticizing Goshalak so mercilessly. These were the competitors. Goshalak was the most prominent competitor of Mahavira, and Mahavira was using as abusive language as you can conceive.
Gautam Buddha tried himself to compete – and they are all against competition! Gautam Buddha wanted to be the twenty-fourth tirthankara – it was a great privilege and respectability.
A man who wants respectability is not religious. From whom are you wanting respectability? From the blind? From the people who are unenlightened? From the people who are drowning in darkness? You are hankering for their respect? You are even worse than those people whose respect you want. And what is respectability other than nourishment for the ego? And when he could not succeed, Buddha declared himself – so-called, self-styled.
I will relate to you a strange story.
Gautam Buddha was born when his mother was standing under a tree in the garden. He was born from a standing woman; he came down on the earth standing, and he walked seven steps immediately, and declared unto the sky, “I am the greatest buddha ever born!”
Whom do you call self-styled?
The same is true about Krishna and Rama.
Krishna is thought by the Hindus to be the perfect reincarnation of God; all others are imperfect, partial incarnations of God. I cannot understand how you can cut God into parts – but they consider Krishna to be a perfect incarnation. What are the qualifications he fulfills?
He was the ugliest man, absolutely immoral. He gathered sixteen thousand women just like cattle, and he was married only to one woman. These sixteen thousand were all other people’s wives; they were snatched from their families.
But because he had power, he had an army, he had a great following behind him, nobody objected, “What are you doing? You will never be able even to remember the names of sixteen thousand women. You are destroying sixteen thousand families. Small children are left behind without mothers; their husbands are crying, but they are poor and they cannot do anything against you. Their parents are old, they were dependent on them. You have caused sixteen thousand women to desert their families.”
In India the family is not a small phenomenon like in the West. In the West the family consists, at the most, of five people: the husband, the wife, and three children. In India it was a joint family system. One family consisted of maybe sixty people, fifty people.
For Krishna, just seeing a beautiful woman was enough to drag her into his palace. And he was the man who persuaded one of the greatest warriors of the world, Arjuna, to fight and create the greatest war India has ever seen. It is called The Great War, mahabharat.