Here is a question: “What is the difference between an enlightened person, a Master, and a Messiah?” which is relevant to this question. An enlightened person is one who has come home, for whom all problems have disappeared, who has no problems to solve, who has just to live, whose life is no longer burdened by any question, whose life is absolutely weightless. But every enlightened person is not necessarily a master. Out of a hundred enlightened persons at the most one or two will become masters. An enlightened person is one who has come home and a master is one who has compassion for others and would like to help them. But a master is one who is interested only in individuals, he relates to individuals – one here, one there – he has no idea about society. This is a master.
A Messiah is one who has compassion for the whole society. He is not worried about individuals but takes the whole society as one unit. In the East enlightened people have existed and masters have existed but never a Messiah. The Messiah is not an Eastern concept at all. Buddha is not a Messiah, neither is Mahavira, nor Krishna. They are masters, perfect masters; their approach is to the individual, direct, personal. Jesus is a Messiah, so is Moses, so is Mohammed. Their approach is not individual, their approach is social, communal. They are interested in changing the whole lot of humanity. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, are all messianic; Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, are non-messianic.
All the basic Eastern religions say that the society does not exist – only the individual exists. And all the Western religions say that the individual is just a part of society; the real thing is the society, the group. The group exists, not the individual. The individual only exists in the group. Both are right in a way because both are half-right. The individual and society both exist – the individual cannot exist without a society nor can the society exist without the individual. Can you conceive of a society where no individual exists? There would be no society at all. Can you conceive of an individual who exists without a society? There would be no individual at all.
Even an individual who exists in the Himalayas, alone, even he exists in the society. He was born to a mother, he was brought up by a father, he lived in a society. Even the idea that one has to renounce all and go to the Himalayas was given by a particular society. Now sitting there in the Himalayas what is he doing? He must be meditating. That meditation was given by Patanjali or Buddha. What will he be doing?
He will be thinking of God, contemplating. That God comes from the society. And in the deepest core of his being he knows that the society exists. If he suddenly comes to know one day that the society he had left has disappeared completely from the earth, he will be shocked, he will be shaken, he will start trembling, perspiring. He will run back to the place to see what has happened to the society. Although he was living alone, in a subtle way he was still part of society.
No individual can exist without society; no society can exist without individuals. So both are true. But the approaches are different.
Jesus says that the whole society can attain to salvation. If people want to move in groups, in communes, they can attain to salvation. Buddha will say that is not possible. Each has to move alone, each has to move in his own, each has to reach God in solitude. No group can move. Hence all sorts of social philosophies have come out of Christianity but in the East no social philosophy has been born yet.