Ananda, the chief disciple of Buddha said to him, “Master, the question is the same, but you answer so differently, you answer so contradictorily, that we have become puzzled, confused.”
The Master says that although the question may be the same the answer cannot be the same the next moment. It will depend on a thousand and one things.
It used to happen to Buddha every day:
Somebody would ask, ’Is there a God?’ and he would say, ’No.’
Somebody else would ask, ’Is there a God?’ and he would say, ’Yes.’
And somebody else would ask, ’Is there a God?’ and he would keep silent.
And again somebody else would ask, ’Is there a God?’ and he would say, ’Don’t ask nonsense questions.’
In one day he gave a thousand and one answers to one question.
His chief disciple, Ananda, became very worried. He said, ’Master, the question is the same, but you answer so differently, you answer so contradictorily, that we have become puzzled, confused.’
Buddha said, ’I was not answering you, so you need not listen. Somebody asked a question and the answer was given to him, not to you. And the questioners were different, the time was different, the situation was different – how can the question be the same? One man who had asked, ”Is there a God?” was an atheist. He didn’t believe in God. I had to say yes to him, I had to shake him, shock him. I had to bring him out of his ideology, so I had to say yes. But it is not that God exists – it was a response to that man’s reality.
‘Then somebody said, ”Is there a God?” and because he was a believer and believed in God, I had to say no. I had to shake him and shock him too and bring him out of his sleep. If I had said yes to him, he would have gone home thinking that I agreed with him, that I also believed in the same way that he believed. Then his ideology would have been strengthened and any strengthened ideology is a danger. All ideologies have to be shattered, utterly shattered, so the mind becomes completely free from ideologies.
’I had to remain silent to another person, because he was neither a theist nor an atheist. His question was very simple and innocent. He had no ideology, so I did not need to shock him. He was a really silent man, so I kept silent. And he understood me. He understood the idea that about questions about God one should be silent. They are meaningless questions, there is nothing to be said about them.’
Quote by Osho from Tao: The Pathless Path – Talks on extracts from ‘The Book of Lieh Tzu’, Vol 2, Ch 7