In fact this gives them great power. Nobody has ever told them that, “the work you are doing is such that even if you refuse for seven days the whole of India will be stinking.” And then let the brahmins clean the toilets and the Shankaracharyas clean the streets – just seven days will be enough for Hindus to learn the lesson. There is no need…Hindus will come to the harijans and ask them, “Please enter our temples; without you our temples are not temples. Purify our temples by entering them, otherwise the whole society will be in such a difficult situation.”
Brahmins cannot do such things, nor can other high-class Hindus. Only one man, Gautam Buddha, denied the caste system. And because of denying the caste system, Buddhism had to disappear from India.
Another person was Mahavira, who denied the caste system, but he was more diplomatic than Gautam Buddha. He denied the caste system but continued to use the harijans for the same purposes as other Hindus. That is the reason why Jainism became a small religion, confined only to the business class. They could not be brahmins; brahmins wouldn’t allow them. They could not be warriors, the second highest class, and they would not like to be harijans, the fourth class, so only the third class – business people. Jainism compromised, and because of this I call Jainism a coward’s religion; you cannot exist on your own, you have to depend on Hindus. Buddha was absolutely uncompromising. As long as he lived people gathered around him, his personal charisma…but the moment he was gone people were butchered, murdered, burned, or driven to become sudras. Most of the sudras, the untouchables, come originally from the followers of Buddha.
In Hinduism there is no possibility to enter into any other class. If you want to enter Hinduism, you have to be a sudra. Only the fourth class is available, the higher classes are closed for any conversion. I hate to say that Jainism proved a coward’s religion – because if you are certainly different from Hindus and you don’t believe in the caste system, then you should not use it. Then you should find your own shoemakers; amongst yourselves you should find the toilet cleaners. Without it, you don’t matter; you are a dependent shadow of Hinduism, your revolution is not great enough. It is just in the scriptures that you deny the caste system, but in your life you believe it exactly like Hindus.
Because Buddha did not compromise…that is one of the reasons for my respect for the man. Humanity is one, and anyone who wants to create divisions of superiority and inferiority should be put in a psychiatric hospital. He needs good electric shocks to bring him to his senses so that he can see that two plus two is really four.
These sutras are in a way connected with what I was saying just now because the followers of Buddha could not exist in India, they were not allowed to exist. Either they were burned, or forced to be sudras, or thrown out of the country. But in a way it proved a blessing in disguise. Buddhism spread all over Asia, in China, in Mongolia, in Korea, in Taiwan, in Japan, in Burma, in Thailand, and in Sri Lanka – the whole of Asia became Buddhist because the refugees, who had left India out of fear, spread the message of Buddha. But it is a strange and unbelievable fact, that from India, which goes on claiming itself as the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, Buddhism disappeared completely.