Bhagwan does not mean God, Bhagwan simply means “the blessed one.” Hence we have called Buddha “Bhagwan,” although he does not believe in any God. If Bhagwan means God, then Buddha cannot be called Bhagwan. It is so clear! He does not believe in the existence of God and still we have called him Bhagwan. In front of him, for forty-two years continuously, people were calling him Bhagwan. He never objected for the simple reason that the word Bhagwan is not synonymous with the word God.
We have called Mahavira and all the twenty-four tirthankaras of the Jainas, Bhagwan, and the Jainas are atheists: they don’t believe in God, they don’t believe in any creator. Why have we called the tirthankaras Bhagwans? – for the simple reason that they have attained to the ultimate bliss, they are the blessed ones.
God means creator, one who has made the world. Certainly I am not God. I don’t take any responsibility for making this world – not me!
A professor was about to set out on an expedition to Africa and the Near East, and he needed an assistant. So he put an advertisement in the newspaper requesting a man who spoke foreign languages, loved to travel, was able to use a gun, and so on through a long list of qualifications. It was a pretty rare man who could fit his demanding specifications, and there were no responses to the advertisement.
But at the end of a week I appeared before him. He was a little bewildered, puzzled, but still interviewed me. “Do you like to travel?” asked the professor.
“Me?” I said to him. “I hate traveling! Boats make me seasick, planes I wouldn’t get on, and trains are the worst of all.”
“But you are a linguist?” continued the professor. “I presume you speak Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish…”
“Who, me?” I interrupted the professor. “I know nothing but my own mother tongue.”
“Well, can you use a gun?” the professor insisted.
“Me? I cannot even carry a gun!”
“Well,” the exasperated professor exploded, “then what did you come here for?”
“I saw your ad,” I said to him, “and I just came to tell you that on me you shouldn’t rely!”
You can exclude me! I am not responsible at all for creating this world and I don’t think there is anybody who will take the responsibility. I am as much an atheist as Mahavira, as Buddha, as Lao Tzu. I don’t believe in any God who has created the world. The world is a self-creative process, no creator is needed. The world is creativity. There is no division between the creator and the created; there is no need at all for a God.
But Bhagwan is a totally different dimension; it has nothing to do with creating the world. Bhagwan means your ultimate state of bliss.
Now, these people…