In the East we have never bothered about history. The reason…? The reason is simple. All history is about time, that which happens in time is recorded in history. History is a dead book. We have never bothered about history because religion belongs to eternity: you cannot record it as an event; it is an eternal process. You can only record the essential fact of it, the essential truth of it, not the ripples that are made in the river of time. That’s why if you go to a Jaina temple and see the twenty-four tirthankaras you will be confused about who is who. They all look alike. You will not be able to make any sense out of it – why do these twenty-four tirthankaras of the Jainas all look alike? They cannot be alike…they existed in different ages, they were different individuals. But we have not bothered about events in time.
“Body” is an event in time. The difference in bodies is past history, but the innermost being, which is in eternity, is the same within me, within you, within everybody. The form differs, but the innermost center is the same. Those twenty-four tirthankaras in the Jaina temples say something about the innermost being, that’s why they have been sculpted to be similar. Look at Buddha. He also looks like Mahavira; there is no difference. They are not facts, they are truths. Religion is not concerned about facts, it is concerned about truth.
The facts can be learned from books – truth, never. If you become too involved with the facts, your eyes will be clouded and confused and you will not be able to know the truth. Beware of facts! – they can lead you astray. Sort out the truth. Always try to find the truth; don’t be bothered too much about facts. Facts are irrelevant. That which changes is the fact and that which remains always the same is the truth. Your body is a fact: one day you were a child, now you are a young man or an old man; one day you were born, one day you will die – the body changes. But the you who abides in the body, who has made it a temporary abode – that “you” is eternal, that is the truth. It is formless, it has no qualities. It is immortal, it is eternity.
Religion is not a tradition, so you cannot borrow religion. You will have to risk yourself, you will have to earn it. You will have to stake your life for it; that is the only way there is. You cannot get it cheap. If you want to get it cheap, you will get a counterfeit.
Religion is not consolation. It is, on the contrary, a challenge: God challenges man, God haunts man, God goes on crying, “Return! Enthrone me.” He will not leave you at rest. He will go on knocking at your doors, he will go on creating storms in your being, in your spirit. He will go on stirring you. He will not allow you to settle for less. Unless you attain to the ultimate you will not be allowed to rest. Religion is a challenge, it is a great storm. It is like death. It is not a consolation.
But the so-called religions, the organized religions, are consolations. They console you, they hide your wounds. They don’t stir you, they don’t call and invoke you. They don’t ask you to be adventurous, they don’t ask you to be daring, they don’t attract you to move in a dangerous life. They are like lubricants.