In India, there was a great Mohammedan saint, Sarmad, and he had some kind of wound in his chest. And he would not take any medicine, and the wound was growing – not only growing, there were worms in it. They were becoming bigger, they were eating his heart. And Mohammedans – he was a Mohammedan – five times a day bow down to God. So sometimes those worms would fall from his wound onto the earth and he would put them back into the wound. Now this is going to the extreme; now religiousness does not mean that you cannot take medicine because it will kill germs and it will be violence.
Scientific or religious minds have to be alerted not to go to absurd lengths. But there is no need for somebody – to be scientific or religious – to belong to an organization, and to be against other organizations and to believe, “Only we have got the truth and nobody else has ever found the reality; we have the monopoly.”
This kind of attitude and approach is dying. It is good news, because this death will bring a new birth of a consciousness which will be simply religious.
I cannot understand why there should be so many religions. There are three hundred religions on the earth; there are not three hundred truths. And they are all fighting, for centuries killing each other in the name of truth – destroying each other, murdering, burning living people in the name of love, in the name of compassion, in the name of nonviolence. Beautiful names and ugly realities – this is the whole history of your religions.
The story you mentioned is beautiful. The whole story is worth looking into, because it has so many implications.
First, Jesus is born to poor parents – a carpenter father. That indicates that religion has nothing to do with scholarship. Joseph, Jesus’ father, was absolutely uneducated; his mother was uneducated. They were uncultured, simple villagers. They were not rabbis – learned, wise in the ways of the old, traditional paths – they were utterly simple people. If Jesus had not been born to them, you would have never heard their names.
To me, it means truth is born out of simplicity – not out of knowledge, not out of great degrees, respectability, fame, power. Truth is very humble, so humble that when Joseph and his wife Mary came to the annual festival in the capital city, Jerusalem, they were so poor that they could not manage to get a place to stay. Every door was closed.
They tried to convince people. Joseph said that his wife was pregnant and any day, any moment, the child could be born, and he was utterly helpless: “Be kind, be merciful – just a small corner anywhere.” But it is a strange world: people talk about beautiful things, but there is no mercy, no compassion, no love. A pregnant woman alone in the night, on the road….
It was not that there was no space anywhere in the whole capital. Yes, it was true that there was no space in the hearts of the people of the capital. It was not a question of a space in the houses, it was a question of a little space in the heart.
There is an old saying: “The emperor may have the biggest palace in the world, but there is no space in it. And the poor man may have a small hut, but there is enough space.” And the proverb is born out of a story.