Chapter 15

Question 4



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The fourth question

Question 4




IT IS strange but it is true that although religions have been teaching people to be egoless, they have only succeeded in making people egoists. Maybe they have helped people to get rid of the gross ego -- which is not very difficult because the gross ego is very clearly seen by everybody -- but they have created a bigger problem than that. Their solution has been a curse, not a blessing: they have created a very subtle ego in people.

The gross ego is direct. The newly rich you can see by his eyes, by his nose, the way he walks, the way he talks --  you can see the gross ego, very gross. The politician when he is in power, you can see. It is not difficult; it is very tangible.

But the religious person has a very subtle ego; he says, "I am a humble man." In fact he wants to be recognized as the humblest man in the world, and that is the subtle ego.

Once a Sufi fakir was brought to me and his disciples said, "He is a very humble man." When he came, he really touched my feet, and his disciples looked at me with their eyes saying, "Look, how humble he is!" And he said to me, "I am nothing but dust on your feet!"

I said, "I can see you are!" And he was offended. I said, "This is strange! You yourself are saying that you are just dust on my feet and nothing else. I can also see that you are right. You are absolutely right! I don't deny it, I agree! But why are you becoming so angry with my agreement?"

In fact, he wanted something else: he wanted me to say, "You are so great, so humble, so simple! You are a man of God!" Then he would have been happy.

Religions have created a very subtle ego in the world. You will see it in the saints, in the mahatmas, in the sages  -- a very subtle ego. But it is there and it is far more dangerous because nobody can see it unless he has tremendous intelligence. And the person himself may not even be aware of it; he may really think he is a humble man. Because of this humbleness, which is cultivated from the outside and has not arisen from inner vision, the ego goes into a hiding place; it starts moving in the unconscious.

That's what I mean when I say "the subtle ego." The gross ego functions in the conscious mind; it is available. You can see it, you can pinpoint it. The subtle ego goes into unconscious layers. It goes deeper in you, in such dark spaces where it can work without your being aware of it. Then it finds vicarious ways: it will claim that "My religion is the greatest religion!" It is not concerned with the religion at aU; it is an effort of the subtle ego to prove itself great -- greater than others. But now it cannot say it directly; it has to say it indirectly, via something. It will say, "My country is the greatest country in the world." Every race believes that. "My race is the purest in the world." Every race believes that. "My people are the greatest people on the earth." Everybody believes that. "My religion, my scripture, my morality, my culture" -- but the emphasis is on "my." Whether it is religion, culture, society civilization -- it does not matter what it is -- the emphasis is on "my," and behind "my" is hiding the "I."

AU these religions go on boasting, fighting with each other, trying to prove themselves greater. Ask the Indians; they will say their country is the holiest country in the world. Why? -- because the twenty-four avataras of the Hindus were born here; they had chosen India to be their birthplace. Ask the Jainas; they will agree, but for a different reason -- not because of the twenty-four avataras of the Hindus. They don't think them of any value; one of the Hindu avataras, Krishna, has been thrown in hell by the Jainas! India is great and sacred because of the twenty-four teerthankaras, the Jaina Masters, the Jaina enlightened ones. It is a different reason on the surface. Ask the Buddhist. He will say, "Yes, India is the greatest country because Buddha was born here" -- not Mahavira, not the Jaina teerthankaras.

In fact, the Buddhist has never accepted Mahavira as an enlightened person. The Buddhists have always condemned Mahavira as a little perverted because he was moving naked -- something is wrong with the man! In contemporary language you can say the Buddhist has always thought of Mahavira as a masochist, torturing himself.

And ask the Jaina: he thinks the Buddha was not a real ascetic -- he lived in a little bit of comfort. He was not a real ascetic like Mahavira, moving naked in the heat, in the rain, in the cold, in every season, and almost starving. There is a record of his twelve years of spiritual exercises in which it is said that he ate only once every week or every month -- only once. Sometimes he would eat after one week, sometimes after two weeks, sometimes after three weeks, sometimes after four weeks -- only once. In the whole twelve years he ate only three hundred and sixty-five times; that comes to one year. On average, in twelve days he ate only once. Now this is asceticism! Buddha eats at least once every day; he lives in comfort. He is a good man but not enlightened, not yet enlightened -- according to the Jainas he will need at least a few more births to become enlightened. But the Buddhist thinks India is the sacred land because of the birth of Buddha. The same is true about others.

Jews think they are the chosen race of God because God himself delivered the Ten Commandments to Moses. In fact, I have heard the story that first God asked other races, "Would you like to have Ten Commandments?" He asked the French and they said, "They are so much against adultery, we don't want them!" He asked the Hindus and they said, 'They are so much against greed, we don't want them." And so on and so forth. Finally he asked Moses, "Would you like to have the Ten Commandments?" And Moses said, "How much will they cost?" He did not ask at all about what those Ten Commandments were -- a Jew is a Jew! -- he asked, "How much will they cost?" God said, "Nothing." Then Moses said, "Yes, you can give me ten, twenty, thirty, as many as you want!"

But Jews think they were the chosen people -- God has given them the Ten Commandments -- and they still think they are the chosen people. They have suffered for three thousand years just because of this stupid idea that they are the chosen people, but they insist that they are the chosen people and Jerusalem is the sacredmost place on the earth.

And the Christians think in the same way because their religion is born out of the only source, the real source, the Son of God, Jesus Christ. And they make it absolutely clear that he is the only begotten Son of God, otherwise others may start claiming for other sons of God. God has only one son: "One God, one son, one religion" -- and that is Christianity.

And ask the Mohammedans; they say, "Yes, the Bible was sent by God, Moses gave his first version to the world, but then man progressed and a new, more sophisticated edition was needed; that was given by Jesus. Then the world progressed still more; the last edition is the Koran. And God has said in the Koran that now there will be no more books coming from above -- this is the last. And the last is bound to be the best."

Remember how the logic works: the Hindus say, "The Vedas are the first, and the first is bound to be the best. " And Mohammedans say, "The last -- and the last is bound to be the best." But the deep desire is simply one: that "We are the highest, the greatest, the best people in the world." And we go on finding reasons, excuses, rationalizations, but it is nothing but human stupidity and human ego.

Four union members were discussing how smart their dogs were. The first was a member of the Vehicle Builders Union and said his dog could do maths calculations. His dog was named T-Square and could go to the blackboard and draw a square, a circle and a triangle with consummate ease.

The Amalgamated Metal Workers Union member said his dog was much better. He then told his dog, named Slide Rule, to fetch a dozen biscuits and divide them into four piles. Slide Rule did all this without problems.

The Liquor Trades Union member admitted that both dogs were quite good, but he felt his dog could do much better. His dog, named Measure, was told to go and get a stubby of beer and pour seven ounces into a ten ounce glass. The dog did this without a flaw.

They turned to the Waterside Workers Union member and asked him, "What can your dog do?"

The Waterside Workers member called his dog, named Tea Break, and said to him, "Show these bastards what you can do, mate!"

Tea Break went over and ate the biscuits, drank the beer, pissed on the blackboard, screwed the other three dogs, claimed he injured his back, filed a workers' compensation form and shot through on sick leave.

It is the same -- whether about dogs or about religions, it is the same ego persisting, trying to prove that "I am better than you, holier than thou." It can be allowed to dog-owners because they are not much better than dogs --  otherwise who bothers to own a dog? But to religious people it cannot be allowed, it cannot be forgiven. Their whole message is of egolessness. Hence to brag and boast that "My religion is the best" is sheer nonsense. It is ridiculous, it is absurd.

And once the religions stop boasting about their religions' greatness, all unnecessary conflicts in the world will disappear. Otherwise small things. just small things, are enough to create quarrels. And even amongst those who belong to the same religion there are sects and sub-sects.

Jainas have two sects, the digambaras and the svetambaras. The only difference is that the svetambaras think Mahavira was not naked, although he appeared naked, His clothes were given by gods and they were invisible, transparent. All the women here would feel jealous -- transparent clothes, and given to Mahavira! They should be given to the modern woman, to the contemporary woman. All that she wants is clothes which don't hide anything but expose. Now transparent clothes -- a great discovery, given by the gods! So it was only to fools that he appeared to be naked, other vise he was completely clothed.

And the digambaras say that he was naked. Now according to the svetambaras, the digambaras are fools: they could not see that he was not naked, although he appeared naked. And the digambaras think that the svetambaras are just destroying the whole religion, because Mahavira's nakedness proves his innocence, that he was like a child, and they are destroying the whole thing. That is the only difference, the uniqueness. Neither Jesus is naked nor Mohammed nor Moses nor Buddha nor Krishna nor Confucius -- nobody else amongst the great founders of religion is naked. Mahavira's nakedness is his specialty!

This is their fight, and they quarrel and continuously argue. For two thousand years they have been writing against each other and trying to prove who is right. And the point upon which they disagree is so stupid, so childish!

What is the difference between Protestants and Catholics? Nothing at all, nothing as far as any essential teaching of Jesus is concerned -- just ordinary invented theories, dogmas, theologies. This man Luther was an egoist, as all so-called saints are, and he could not tolerate that the Pope should be the only mediator between humanity and God. He claimed himself to be the mediator, direct, not via the Pope. He received messages direct from God. Why should he receive them from the Pope? If the Pope can receive direct messages, why not Luther? That is the only difference between the Catholics and the Protestants, then everything else is just dust raised, smoke created to confuse people.

The essential core of all religions is not different, but different egos are in conflict. If you look at the essential core of meditations you will find only two things: one is meditation, the other is love. Meditation makes you capable of being alone and joyous, with no need of the other, and love makes you capable of sharing your joy with others. Meditation is inner, love is outer. Meditation is of the interiority and love is of the exterior.

And because these two sides have to be balanced, meditation and love balance each other. These are the two words, two aspects of the same coin, which are essential to every religion. You can call meditation prayer, you can call meditation by some other name, contemplation; that is immaterial. What name you give to love is immaterial: you can call it prayer, you can call it compassion; that is immaterial.

A man who is intelligent will be able to see that all the religions are basically one. And in the future that is the only hope: if we can bring all the religions to this understanding, to this realization, that the essential center is one... On the circumference we may differ, but those differences are only of detail and of no real consequence. But the egos won't allow this to happen.

And religious people cannot be forgiven; everybody else can be forgiven. I can forgive a sinner, but I cannot forgive a saint, because the saint's whole life should be a proof of egolessness, but it is not so. And we have to change this whole situation.

We have to bring a religiousness into the world which is neither Christian nor Hindu nor Mohammedan nor Jaina nor Buddhist -- just pure religiousness. That will be the greatest revolution, and humanity is waiting for it.


Next: Chapter 15: Question 5


Energy Enhancement                Enlightened Texts               Christianity                Theologia Mystica



Chapter 15






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