What is the message? The message is, he is trying to create a bridge. He is trying to declare that awakening is not something supernatural, it is something that is intrinsic in your nature; that it is not something to do with God, it has something to do with you. It depends on you. You can go on sleeping as long as you want, and the moment you want to wake up you can wake up.
And Buddha remembered it. His last words when he was dying were, “Please don’t start worshipping me. I was not here to create worshippers – there are millions of worshippers already. Don’t make statues of me; otherwise you will forget my teaching, a deviation, and you become satisfied with worshipping – which makes no difference to you. You remain the same.”
And that’s exactly what people did. He died, and they started making statues and worshipping him in spite of his last words. In fact, there are more statues of Gautam Buddha in the world than of anybody else.
The Middle Eastern languages like Arabic and Persian don’t have another word for statue. Their word for statue is but, and “but” has come from “buddha.” The statues of Buddha were so many that his name became synonymous with statue. And for twenty-five centuries people have been worshipping him. There are thousands of temples in the East. Nobody seems to be interested in the transformation he was teaching, and everybody is very enthusiastic about worshipping him.
Worship seems to be a very subtle strategy to avoid the man.
Jews also avoided Jesus, but they used a very primitive method. Hindus have also avoided Gautam Buddha but they have used a very sophisticated method. And you can see by the results – because Jesus was crucified, and crucifixion became the source of Christianity. It is out of murder, out of violence and blood, that a religion arises. You cannot expect from Christianity anything else. In two thousand years it has killed millions of people. Its very origin was in murder, in crucifixion.
They have not bothered about Jesus’ teachings. He was saying, “Love your enemy like yourself.” Then I cannot understand who these people were killing. If you are going to love your enemy, are you going to kill your lovers? Enemies have to be loved, so who is to be killed – friends? No, the teaching has not been followed; only sermons were given in the churches. But enemies – and innocent enemies, who have done no harm to the Christians…. Their only crime was that they were not Christians, and they were not willing to be Christians; and that was too much, too big a crime.
Hindus used a more sophisticated method, perhaps because it was an older civilization, more cultured. They could have crucified Gautam Buddha, but they did not do that. On the contrary, they accepted Gautam Buddha as one of the incarnations of the Hindu God.
You will be surprised that Hindus have twenty-four incarnations of God. This number twenty-four got fixed in the mind of India. Just as there are twenty-four hours in the day – one circle is complete – one creation is one circle of millions and millions of years. In one circle of existence there are twenty-four tirthankaras; that was the Jaina concept.