The time is running short – because the old world has prepared for its own suicide. The nuclear weapons, a third world war…it has prepared everything for its own suicide. It has not taken any chances: just now on the earth there are so many nuclear weapons that we can kill seven hundred earths of this size, seven hundred human civilizations of this size. We are not taking any chance; the whole society has prepared its grave already.
Before it commits suicide, we have to save the essential life principle. And that can be done by each individual without being dependent on any organization; that is the old way. Without being dependent on any church – that is again of the past…For the first time the individual has to take all the responsibility for his life in his own hands. No God, no savior, no church is going to help; they are all part of the old structure which is going to die. They are all woven together so closely that you cannot save anything from them; they will all die together.
But each individual can free himself.
Just when I came to your beautiful island I was informed that Kazantzakis, one of the greatest artists of the contemporary world, was expelled, excommunicated from the Greek Orthodox church. The reason for his expulsion was the creation of Zorba the Buddha. He named it Zorba the Greek. Unconsciously he was creating the base of a new man; I call that new man Zorba the Buddha. It cannot be Greek, it cannot be Italian, it cannot be German, it cannot be Hindu, it cannot be Mohammedan…
The same was the situation with me. I was also born into a religion – perhaps the oldest religion in the world, Jainism. It is older than Hinduism, because the Hindus’ oldest book, Rig Veda, mentions the first Jaina tirthankara, the founder of Jainism. That means Jainism was already in existence when Rig Veda was written.
And about Rig Veda there are problems. Contemporary scholarship thinks it must be at least five thousand years old; but one very great scholar of ancient scriptures, Lokmanya Tilak has decided Rig Veda is ninety thousand years old. And his argument is such that there is no way to destroy it; his argument is very factual.
In Rig Veda there is a description of a certain configuration of stars that happened ninety thousand years ago, and about which astronomers are scientifically agreed that it has happened only once. That kind of constellation only happened ninety thousand years ago, and Rig Veda describes the constellations so minutely, in such detail that it is impossible that the people who were writing it were not aware of it. It could not be fiction, they could not create it out of their minds. If Rig Veda is ninety thousand years old, then Jainism must be perhaps one hundred thousand years old.