The sophist has no trust in truth. The sophist is not a seeker of truth. The sophist is one who goes on trying to prove himself right. The sophist does not believe that there is anything like truth. His definition of truth is ‘that which can be logically proved’ – then it is true. If it cannot be logically proved, then it is untrue.
Megasthenes is basically the Western mind. He must have seen Jainas. And it was very close; Mahavira had died only three hundred years before – Jainism was still alive. Buddha had lived only a few years before – still there was some fragrance of Buddha and Mahavira in the country. Still people were full of the joy that Mahavira and Buddha had exploded in the world. The light had not disappeared completely. But Megasthenes missed.
The Western mind thinks in logic, in terms of logic. He calls them ‘gymnosophists’. They are not sophists at all – they are Sufis.
A Sufi is one who is not trying to prove his opinion to be true, who is always ready to surrender his opinion for truth. From whatever source the truth comes he is ready to surrender. The sophist is one who, even if he sees that the other is holding a true opinion, will go on fighting, will try to prove that he is right.
The sophist tries to prove that “I am right.” And the Sufi tries to discover what is right. Their orientation is different. But I can understand Megasthenes, why he calls Jainas sophists. The Western mind has always looked at things from the very beginning…. The earth has become divided just like the brain is divided.
Clement of Alexandria, a Christian Gnostic of the second century, suggests in his writings that the Greek philosophy was an importation from India. There is every possibility that what Clement of Alexandria says is right, but the nature of philosophy changed. When it moved from the East to the West, the color, the meaning, the texture, the taste – everything changed. It is almost impossible now to think that the Greek philosophy was originally a branch of Indian philosophy. The change has become so big – they seem unbridgeable.
Clement seems to be right, that it was imported from India. There are historical proofs. Clement himself says that Pythagoras, one of the greatest mystics of Greece, visited India, studied under Brahmin sages – not only that – was also initiated into Buddhist mysteries as a disciple. There are enough proofs in Pythagoras’ teachings that something of the Buddha is present in him.
But the moment things go from the East to the West, they change their color. The context changes. The whole noo-sphere is different. When love has to be understood logically, something goes wrong. The spirit is lost – only a corpse remains in your hands.