The Buddha said:
To be free from the passions and to be calm, this is the most excellent way.
Those who leave their parents, go out of the home, understand the mind, reach the source, and comprehend the immaterial, are called shramanas.
Those who observe the precepts of morality, who are pure and spotless in their behavior, and who exert themselves for the attainment of the fruits of saintship are called arhats.
Next is the anagamin. At the end of his life, the spirit of the anagamin ascends to the heaven and obtains arhatship.
Next is the skridagamin. The skridagamin ascends to the heaven (after his death), comes back to the earth once more, and then attains arhatship.
Next is the srotapanna. The srotapanna dies seven times and is born seven times, when he finally attains arhatship.
By the severance of passions is meant that like the limbs severed they are never again made use of.
Gautam Buddha is like the highest peak of the Himalayas, like Gourishankar…one of the purest beings, one of the most virgin souls, one of the very rare phenomena on this earth. The rarity is that Buddha is the scientist of the inner world – scientist of religion. That is a rare combination. To be religious is simple, to be a scientist is simple – but to combine, synthesize these two polarities is incredible. It is unbelievable, but it has happened.
Buddha is the richest human being who has ever lived; rich in the sense that all the dimensions of life are fulfilled in him. He is not one-dimensional.
There are three approaches towards truth. One is the approach of power, another the approach of beauty, and the third the approach of grandeur.
The scientific approach is the search for power; that’s why Lord Bacon said “knowledge is power.” Science has made man very powerful, so much so that man can destroy the whole planet earth. For the first time in the history of consciousness man is capable of committing a global suicide, a collective suicide. Science has released tremendous power. Science is continuously searching for more and more power. This too is an approach towards truth, but a partial approach.
Then there are poets, mystics, people with the aesthetic sense. They look at truth as beauty – Jalaluddin Rumi and Rabindranath Tagore and others, who think that beauty is truth. They create much art, they create new sources of beauty in the world. The painter, the poet, the dancer, the musician, they are also approaching truth from a totally different dimension than power.
A poet is not like the scientist. The scientist works with analysis, reason, observation. The poet functions through the heart – irrational…trust, love. He has nothing to do with mind and reason.
The greater part of religious people belong to the second dimension. The Sufis, the Bauls – they all belong to the aesthetic approach. Hence so many beautiful mosques, churches, cathedrals, temples – Ajanta and Ellora – they were created by religious people. Whenever religious activity predominates, art is created, music is created, great painting is created; the world becomes a little more beautiful. It doesn’t become more powerful, but it becomes more beautiful, more lovely, worth living.
The third approach is that of grandeur. The old Bible prophets – Moses, Abraham; Islam’s prophet Mohammed; Krishna and Ram – their approach is through the dimension of grandeur…the awe that one feels looking at this vastness of the universe. The Upanishads, the Vedas, they all approach the world, the world of truth, through grandeur. They are full of wonder. It is unbelievably there, with such grandeur, that you can simply bow down before it – nothing else is possible. One simply feels humble, reduced to nothing.