This has been accepted by all the three religions of India – that this is only one creation. It is a cycle, just as the sun rises, then the sun sets, then again the sun rises, then again the sun sets, in a cycle. In one cycle there are twenty-four tirthankaras, according to Jainas – in one cycle. They are not making claims about the whole universe and eternity. There are millions of cycles, infinite cycles. There is no beginning and no end. Each cycle will have twenty-four tirthankaras. If you count all the tirthankaras of all the cycles, they will be millions and millions. So Mahavira is nothing unique. He is not trying to say that, “I am the only one; with me comes the full stop.”
What happened to God after Jesus? Has he accepted the idea of birth control? Or is the Holy Ghost no longer interested in women? – has he become really holy? What happened to God?
In India the religions make enlightenment very difficult, but they have a different strategy to make it difficult. One cycle is millions of years. Even if you can attain in one cycle, you have attained it easily; otherwise souls go on from one cycle to another cycle, to another cycle – and just moving in the same vicious circle again and again and again.
A man, a very rich young man, listening to Buddha, asked to be initiated. Buddha said, “You should think about it; don’t be so hasty” – because Buddha knew about the man. He was well known in the capital; perhaps he was the richest man after the king. And he lived such a luxurious life that even the king was jealous of him, because the king had to think of many things, the whole kingdom, and this man had no responsibility of any kind. He was living as luxuriously as one can live. So Buddha knew about the man, that he had never even walked on the bare earth; he sleeps the whole day, and the whole night goes in for music, dances, girls, wine. He was a drunkard. It was a miracle that he had come in the early morning. Perhaps he had come directly from his wine and women. He had not gone to sleep, thinking, “One day at least I should listen to this man. So many people are going there, and talking about him…gather about him.”
Shrone was his name, that young man’s name. Indian stories use names with some significance. Shrone means one who is capable of hearing, of listening. So the name is significant. He heard Buddha for the first time and he went to him and he said, “Initiate me.”
Buddha said, “Think it over. I know you, I know about you.”
Shrone said, “Once I have decided something, I have decided it. I am not accustomed to thinking twice about anything. You give me initiation right now.” As he was so determined, Buddha gave him initiation. He became a Buddhist monk.