But he could not absorb the shock of my saying that I am the buddha. In the night he came to meet me in the house of a friend, where I was staying. He was a common friend; he was his friend also. And he said, “I had to come, because since the morning I have not been able to drop the idea that a man can say with such authority that he is the buddha. I have been a Buddhist for fifty years, and I don’t have the guts to say that I am a buddha; I am still a Buddhist, trying to follow the principles of Buddha. And you don’t seem to follow any principles at all.”
I said, “Those principles are for Buddhists to follow. Buddhas make principles, they don’t follow them. And I can say it with authority, because Gautam Buddha himself has said that he will be coming after twenty-five centuries. Do you think he was lying?”
He said, “No, I cannot think that way.”
“Do you think he will come exactly in the same body? That body you have burned. Do you think he will be born as a prince? – because now there are no kings. Where are you going to find a beautiful woman like Yashodhara for him to marry?”
He said, “My God, in all these details…naturally they cannot be repeated, because to repeat all those details means to bring that whole century – the kingdoms, the people…because a single man is not an island, he is connected.”
Now Buddha was the son of a king, Shuddhodana. I said, “First you will have to find Shuddhodana, and what about Shuddhodana’s father? It is going to be difficult. You will have to find Yashodhara. What about Yashodhara’s father?
“You will have to manage a son to be born, and on the night the son is born Buddha has to be exactly twenty-nine years old and he has to escape in a golden chariot. Where are you going to find these things? You can do it in a drama, but in reality… Trust me, I am the Buddha – this time born to a different father, this time no Yashodhara, because last time it was enough. One has to learn from experience. This time no children, I cannot tolerate them; they are the nastiest people in the world.”
He said, “My God, you have made the thing such that one wants to feel that perhaps you are the Buddha.”
I said, “It is not a question of feeling. I don’t depend on your feeling. I am the Buddha, whether you feel it or not. There were many fools like you in Buddha’s time who never accepted him as the Buddha, the enlightened, the awakened. It is up to you to be wise or to be a fool.”
You must have come across me many times – not in this body, but you must have come across the same experience: sometimes a Mohammedan, Farid; a weaver, Kabir; a shoemaker, Raidas; sometimes a prince, Gautam; sometimes a businessman, Tuladhar. Sometimes a man…sometimes a woman, like Rabiya al-Adabiya.
Enlightenment is simply realizing one’s universal self. Whosoever realizes it has the same taste – his eyes radiate the same light, his gestures have the same grace, he has the same beauty.
If you are receptive, meeting one enlightened person, you have met all the enlightened people who have happened in the whole history of man; not only the past, but even those who will happen in the future.