I teach a religionless religion

Fri, 7 December 1984 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
From Ignorance to Innocence
Chapter #:
pm in Lao Tzu Grove
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Question 1:



IT is fortunate that you were shocked. It needs intelligence to be shocked Millions of people on the earth have lost the quality of being shocked. They have been hypnotized for centuries, conditioned in such a way that no shock ever reaches them.

All the religions, the so-called religions, pseudo-religions, have been doing only one work: creating shock absorbers in you.

My function is to destroy all your shock absorbers and make you vulnerable so that you doubt, you question, you enquire.

One who doubts to the very end finds the answer.

One who enquires to the very end comes to know.

Those who go on believing without doubting, without questioning, without enquiring remain dull, dead, idiotic.

So I congratulate you that you are shocked; it is a good beginning. The stupid person will be angry, not shocked. He will immediately become an enemy; he will not be shocked. To be shocked means that something in you is still alive, that the priests, the politicians, the pedagogues have not been completely successful with you. Perhaps a window has remained open; that's why you are shocked.

And do you see the miracle of the shock? - immediately a question of tremendous importance arises in you.

Your question is not out of anger, it is not out of irritation. It is a valid, intelligent, tremendously significant question: How can there be religion without God? That's what you have been told for centuries, that God is the center and religion is its circumference.

This is an absolute lie.

Religion has nothing to do with God at all.

Yes, it has much to do with you, your consciousness, your being.

You ask, how can there be a religion without God? One day, if you go on enquiring, you will ask me how can there be a religion WITH God?

And I would like you to contemplate how there can be a religion with God. God is nothing but our idea of the ultimate dictator, the ultimate Adolf Hitler.

He creates the world, just whimsically; there is no reason to create it. No religion has been able to answer why He created the world in the first place - and this world: ugly, nauseous, disgusting; this humanity, which religions go on proclaiming to be the highest peak of God's creation.

God created man in His own image - what can be higher than that? And what has man been doing?

In three thousand years, five thousand wars! The whole of history is a history of murder, rape, crime - and murder, rape and crime in the name of God.

Millions of people have been killed, burned alive in the name of God.

And God created man in His own image!

So you can think something about God too, just a little inference that if this is the image, then what will be the real? If Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin and Benito Mussolini and Mao Tse-tung are only carbon copies, then what will be the original? It is going to be terrible!

If God created this world, man and everything, it should show signs of divinity, signatures of God, but they are completely missing. If He cannot read and write, He can at least make a thumbprint.

There seems to be no signature anywhere. It seems more probable that it was created by the devil rather than by God, because ninety-nine percent of proofs are for the devil, not for God.

With God you cannot create religion, for the simple reason that God has already created the Bible for the Christians, the Torah for the Jews, the Vedas for the Hindus.... He has created them already; He has given you ready-made religions. He has not allowed you to seek and search and find.

And there is something of immense importance about truth: unless you find it, it never becomes truth to you.

If it is somebody else's truth and you borrow it, in that very borrowing it is no more true - it has become a lie.

That is one of the reasons that the great mystics of the world have been saying again and again that truth is inexpressible, because the moment you express it, in the very process of expression it becomes a lie.

All your holy scriptures are full of lies.

God has not given you the chance to discover religion, but has given you ready-made religion; and He does not allow you even to question, to doubt: that is a great sin. There are all kinds of stupidities in your religious scriptures, but you have to believe in them totally.

A man like Bertrand Russell became very puzzled, for the simple reason that there are things which anybody who has a little intelligence cannot trust - but to doubt makes you a sinner; you start feeling guilty. Finally he wrote a book, Why I am not a Christian, and collected all the points that hindered him from becoming a Christian. For example: the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. It is so unscientific that to believe it is to destroy all your intelligence. To have faith in such an idea is suicidal; you are destroying yourself And what are you gaining? - a stupid idea... virgin birth!

If Bertrand Russell could not believe in it, we cannot blame him. It was the Bible that prevented a man who could have been religious.... Russell asked, "Why in the trinity is there not a woman included? God the father, God the son, and the Holy Ghost - what kind of family is this? This holy family seems to be very idiotic. Why could they not put a woman in it?because all the religions have been against women. To put a woman into the trinity, in the highest position of power, was impossible for them; hence they had to put the Holy Ghost.

Now, nobody knows about the Holy Ghost, whether he is man or woman or neutral. And this Holy Ghost is the person responsible for making Mary pregnant - and still he is holy! He is a rapist, because Mary was not aware of it; she was not a willing partner in it, and she was already married to a person. But the Holy Ghost did this; perhaps he is still around the world - and he is one third of God!

A man like Bertrand Russell is prevented from being a religious person because of your idea of God.

But any idea of God will create problems. The Hindu God... instead of the trinity the Hindus have trimurti, parallel - one god with three faces; three persons joined together in one person. But all three are constantly fighting each other, so childish is their behavior. It is good that Sigmund Freud was only aware of Christian and Judaic traditions. If he had been aware of Hindu tradition he would have found immense support for his hypothesis.

In Hinduism, God created the world. The first being He created was a woman, naturally, because without a woman nothing else can grow - the woman has to come first. But in creating a beautiful woman, He himself became infatuated. Now, the father becoming infatuated with His own daughter - that's what Freud was looking for but nobody informed him that that was available. For his whole life, Freud was trying to prove that each father is infatuated with the daughter and each mother is infatuated with the son. And there is some truth in it - but God getting infatuated with His own daughter...!

Then the woman becomes afraid and she tries to escape, and the only way to escape is to change shapes, forms, disguises. She becomes a cow, but how can you deceive God? - He becomes a bull. She becomes other kinds of animals, and God follows. That's how the whole creation comes into being - the woman running and the father following her and trying to rape her. He is still doing the same thing.

With such a God, what kind of religion do you think is possible? This God is a sexual maniac; He needs psychotherapy. He cannot be the center of religion; He cannot even be on the circumference of religion - He has to be inside a mental asylum. But if you read Hindu scriptures you will be very much disturbed by the kind of things that millions of people of the oldest religion in the world are carrying.

These are the three phases of the Hindu God: Brahma is the creative phase, he creates the world; Vishnu, the second phase, he maintains the world, and Shiva - he destroys the world when the time comes to destroy it. In a way it is perfectly balanced; there are all the three functions that existence needs: creation, maintenance, and one day, de-creation. But if you look into the inner life of these three persons, you cannot believe it.

One day, Vishnu and Brahma are quarreling about something. In the first place, the idea of a quarrel between two parts of God makes Him schizophrenic. If both your hands start fighting each other...

and that's what you are doing in the mind - one part fighting against the other part. Sometimes you become so split that you are already two persons, and sometimes you are many persons. God is already three persons - He is not one whole, one piece - and all the three are constantly quarreling.

These two were quarreling and they could not find some way to settle the argument, so they both thought it would be better to look for Shiva; perhaps he could be helpful. So they went to look for Shiva. Shiva must have been American - it was morning and he was making love to his wife, Parvati.

Indians don't do that; that is absolutely unheard of I think Shiva is the first American... making love to his wife in the morning, with the doors open. Perhaps it would be better to call him Californian - doors open! - just American will not do.

Brahma and Vishnu both entered, not knowing what was happening inside, and Shiva was so much into his act of making love that he didn't bother about them. Both were very angry. In the first place, making love in the morning does not suit a god; secondly, with doors open, anybody could come in.

And thirdly, he does not even tell them to sit down; he has not even looked at them. Both the gods were very angry, so angry that they cursed Shiva, saying, "You will be known in the world by the phallic symbol." That's why in India you find no statue of Shiva, only the phallic symbol. This is the curse of those two gods: "You will be known and recognized as a phallic symbol."

You may not be aware that shivalinga, the phallic symbol for Shiva, is not alone; it is placed in a vagina. Both are in marble, and for thousands of years Hindus have been worshipping it. And still Shiva is one third of God!

You can take any other conception of God and you will find it impossible to make a religion around it. But up to now this has been the case. The fiction of God is there in the center and around the fiction, all other fictions have been created - of heaven and hell, and sin and punishment, repentance, forgiveness. And this whole circus is nothing but exploitation by the cunning priests of all the religions.

Yes, without God there can be no priest. Without God there can be no concept of sin. Without God there can be no heaven and hell. Without God there can be no temple, no synagogue, no church.

If you think these are the things which make a religion, then of course you will find it difficult: how can there be a religion without God? But these things have nothing to do with religion. In fact, to me these are hindrances in finding religiousness.

And let this be another shock to you: the authentic religion is going to be Godless - and also religionless.

I am teaching you a religionless religion.

You will have to go a little deeply into this because the words seem to be contradictory: religionless religion. When I say religionless religion I mean that the priest, the synagogue, the rabbi, the pandit, the pope, the church, the prayer, the holy scriptures, the holy and unholy ghost - all these have to be dropped because this is what you have known as religion.

The holy scriptures are nothing but religious fiction, just as there are science fictions. And it is beautiful to write a science fiction, it is art. Those religious fictions are not even artistic - they are ninety percent rubbish, crap. Nobody reads them except a few people who have some vested interest in reading them.

I have heard... a man who was selling dictionaries, house to house, rang the bell of a house. The housewife came out and asked, "What do you want?"

He said, "I have beautiful dictionaries. You must have children; they may need dictionaries, and I have all kinds for all ages."

The woman wanted to get rid of him, so she said, "But we have got a dictionary." And far away in the corner, on a table, there was a thick book looking like a dictionary.

The salesman laughed; he said, "That's a Bible."

The woman could not believe it because from that distance it was impossible to figure out that it was a Bible. She said, "You surprise me. Yes, it is a Bible. I was just trying to get rid of you, saying that we have got a dictionary. But how did you manage it? Tell me and I will purchase one dictionary from you - but tell me the trick."

He said, "There is no trick. I just saw how much dust had gathered on it."

Only Bibles, holy books, gather dust. A PLAYBOY magazine does not gather dust. Who wants to open a holy book? It has not been opened perhaps for years; perhaps it has never been opened.

Religious fiction has to be dropped because it is hindering your way, preventing you from reaching reality.

You have to get rid of all nonsense that has been told to you by your parents, by your society, by your teachers, by your religious elders.

Unless you clean yourself completely you cannot take the first step towards being religious.

Religiousness is a quality of your being; it has nothing to do with any ritual outside you, it is a quality of your being.

There are a few things which are qualities of your being and are in a dormant state because you have never thought that they are to be developed. Have you tried to develop your consciousness?

Have you tried to develop your compassion? Have you tried to develop your intelligence?

The scientists say even the people who are geniuses use only fifteen percent of their intelligence; eighty-five percent remains unused. And this is about a man like Albert Einstein or Karl Marx or Rutherford, the Nobel prize-winners.... What about the common man, how much does he use? - not more than five percent. And that five percent he uses because it is needed for day to day work:

his business, his family, his so-called religion, his political party and his club. Five percent is enough.

You don't have to be a great genius to become a rotarian. I don't think a genius would like to become a member of the lions club. A man trying to become a lion seems to be falling down rather than rising up.

If the genius himself uses only fifteen percent, that means nobody is trying to sharpen their intelligence. You only go on using whatsoever life, its situations and its circumstances force you to use. If there is nobody, no situation forcing you to use it, you will not use even five percent. That's why you will not find rich people's sons and daughters getting gold medals in the universities and topping the universities. No, they don't need to use their intelligence; their servants can do that. And now computers are available. Soon you will not be using even five percent; people will be carrying a small computer. They are already carrying them. Have you not watched it...?

In my childhood, in my family, my father was very particular about handwriting. He would not allow a fountain pen in the house, because you cannot have the quality of an ordinary old pen with a fountain pen; the fountain pen is going to destroy your handwriting.

And you can see it. Just look back: before the press was invented, all the books were written by hand - such beautiful, artistic handwriting. What the book contains is another thing; just the handwriting itself is a work of art. But that art disappeared with the fountain pen. And when the typewriter became available to people, even the little bit that was possible with the fountain pen disappeared - people are typing. Now tell them to write and their writing looks as if they are uneducated. People are now carrying small computers to calculate, calculators - they will forget the small calculations that you can do.

There is a woman alive in India, Shakuntala, who has toured all around the world and has been exposed to the greatest mathematicians. She is only a matriculate and knows nothing of higher mathematics, but even Albert Einstein was puzzled by her. You just write any figure, howsoever big it is doesn't matter; tell her to multiply it by as big a figure as you want - and before you have finished writing that second figure down, the answer is there. Einstein said, "If I had done it, it would have taken at least three hours."

But what is happening to this woman? She knows nothing about it. She says, "Just simply looking at the figures that have to be multiplied...." All that happens to her is a kind of silence; in that silence, figures start coming up, and she starts speaking, "Write down this figure... I don't know how it comes." It seems from birth she has had a very sharp intelligence, so that within a flicker of the eye something happens in her mind. And this is not the only case, there have been others.

A young boy, Shankaran, was so poor that he used to pull a rickshaw. Now, it is an ugly thing; it should not exist anywhere: that a man is pulling a vehicle with you sitting in it! And he was just a boy - but his father was old - and in Madras he was just pulling the rickshaw. The mathematics department of the university became interested in him by accident. One day the professor, the head of the department, went in his rickshaw and just started talking to him. He said, "You are so young:

you should be reading and studying."

The boy told him about his family. "But," the boy said, "even without reading and studying - I know that you teach mathematics - I can do mathematics. That, somehow I know." The professor tried him out, and he was amazed: the boy was a miracle. He sent the boy to Oxford, at his own expense, to display his ability, and wherever he went he simply amazed great mathematicians. Rutherford said that a certain question that had been bothering him for years, the boy solved within seconds.

And once he solved it, Rutherford saw that it was so simple - how was he missing it? Somehow he had gone round and round, just missing that point, and this boy simply jumped on that point. But he was not educated.

Intellect can be sharpened; there are ways to sharpen it. Modern psychology is trying to measure it. I say don't be foolish, don't waste time in measuring it - what is there to measure? The average person remains at the mental age of thirteen; he may be seventy but his mental age remains thirteen, and he uses five to seven percent of his intelligence.... Now why waste time in finding more accurate methods to measure it? Why not use methods which can sharpen the intellect? That is what I have been teaching you.

If you doubt, your intellect will be sharpened.

If you believe, your intellect will get rusted, it will start gathering dust: you are not using it.

Doubt is bound to sharpen it, for a fundamental reason: you cannot remain at ease with doubt. You have to do something about it; you have to find the answer. Till you find the answer the doubt is going to harass you, nag you - and that's the way doubt sharpens your intellect.

But all the religions teach that to doubt is sin, to believe is to be religious.

I say to you: to doubt is to be religious, and to believe is to be irreligious.

But those pseudo-religions were really cunning and clever. What psychologists have not found even now, they found five thousand years ago: that doubt is dangerous, it sharpens intellect. Belief is comfortable, convenient: it dulls. It is a kind of drug; it makes you a zombie. A zombie can be a Christian, Hindu, Mohammedan - but they are all zombies, with different labels. And sometimes they get fed up with one label, so they change the label: the Hindu becomes a Christian, the Christian becomes a Hindu - a new label, a fresh label, but behind the label the same belief system.

Destroy your beliefs.

Certainly it will be uncomfortable, inconvenient, but nothing valuable is ever gained without inconvenience.

In three hundred years, science has used doubt as its method, and given the world so much in three hundred years, - in ten thousand years religions have not been able to give even one thousandth part of it.

The religions have not given anything. On the contrary they have prevented everything in every possible way. They were trying to prevent science too, and they tried hard - they are still trying.

Now the Catholic pope goes on teaching the Catholics that methods of birth control should not be used; they are against God. Strange, even the Holy Ghost must be using birth control methods, because Jesus says, "I am the only begotten son of God." What happens to God? Has he stopped creating sons, daughters? Either He has become a brahmacharya, a celibate, which is not very likely, or He is using birth control methods. But the pope goes on continually against birth control - because it is against God; God is sending people This earth is already overloaded; it is already in such a situation that if we don't cut its population by half it is going to die. There will be no need for a third world war: just the population itself will be enough to kill everybody, to starve everybody.

And God is continually sending people... either He has no idea... that at least send a small piece of land with each child, or try some new way so there is nobody hungry. Rather than real babies, make plastic babies which run on batteries; that would be easier. Once in a while you go and you can get your battery charged... and for God everything is possible. He has been doing all kinds of miracles, His son was doing all kinds of miracles: this will not be much of a miracle, creating a baby who runs on a battery.

But He goes on giving us stomachs and hunger, and no land - but the old land is losing its fertility every day. And the Catholic pope goes on saying no birth control, no abortion. Why no abortion? - because it is killing. But it is very strange coming from a pope's mind, because these popes have been making all kinds of crusades in the past and killing thousands of people. That has been their whole business: burning people, burning women just because of a fictitious idea....

Anybody could write to the pope informing him, "In our village there is a woman who is a witch." That was enough to start an enquiry; and there was a special court to enquire into whether the woman was a witch or not. They would torture the woman so much that she would find it easier to accept that she was a witch rather than being tortured continually. They would torture her till she accepted that she was a witch; and once she accepted that she was a witch, she had to be burned alive.

Thousands of women they burned alive!

Now suddenly their interest is in non-violence: abortion is violence. And the same pope's predecessors blessed Benito Mussolini in the second world war. That was not violence? The archbishop of Canterbury in England blessed the British forces - and that was not violence? - that was perfectly good? One wonders at what point abortion becomes violence.

At what point...? A child is conceived this moment - is he alive or dead? He is alive, but from where has the life come? He was alive in the semen cells before he became conceived in the mother's womb; the semen cells are all alive. They have a small life span, just two hours, so if within two hours they can find a female egg, and can enter the egg, the child is conceived. The egg is alive:

half of your being, the feminine part, is in the egg, and half of your being is coming from your father's semen. And in a single intercourse millions of cells are rushing along....

You will be surprised to know that it is there that politics starts. Everybody is running fast towards the egg, because whosoever reaches first becomes President Reagan. Those who are left behind, just a little behind... finished! Only one sperm is going to enter, then the woman's egg becomes hard and no more can enter. That is the natural process; it is vulnerable only to one. Only once in a while does it happen that two male cells reach exactly at the same time and enter. That's why sometimes you have twins, or three or four or five or six - even nine children have been known. But that is a very rare event.

Millions of sperms... and they are really fast. It is almost like a car race. They are all racing, and they have to be quick: within two hours if they don't reach, they are finished. In a single intercourse you are responsible for killing millions of beings. And what about an abortion? - just one. So whether it's one million or one million plus one, what difference does it make?

But the Catholic pope is ready, just as the Mohammedan chief imam is ready, and the Hindu shankaracharya is ready to let the population grow, because numbers have a political significance.

It is the politics of numbers - how many Catholics are there. The pope is not interested in humanity, in the future, in a global suicide, no. His whole interest is in how many Catholics there are: the more Catholics, the more power he has. The shankaracharya is interested in more Hindus, so he has more power.

Everybody is interested in power.

In the name of God they are simply trying to become more and more powerful.

God is just a useful instrument in the hands of the priest. Whatsoever the priest wants, he makes God say: he writes the scriptures, he writes all kinds of nonsense in them.... And it is a strange fact to be understood about human beings, that people become very impressed with nonsense, because it seems mystical.

For example the Bible says: "In the beginning was the word...." Now how can the word be in the beginning? Do you make any distinction between sound and word, or not? A word is a meaningful sound. Perhaps it can be said that in the beginning there was sound - but not word.

A word presupposes there was somebody who made the sound meaningful, who used a word. "In the beginning was the word...."1 am just saying hypothetically that sound would be better, more logical; in fact sound is also not possible. Scientifically sound is possible only if somebody is there to hear it, otherwise there is no sound.

I am speaking here. If nobody is here there will be no sound, because for sound two things are needed: me making a noise and your ears receiving it. Between these two the sound happens.

When there is nobody near a waterfall, you may think there will be much sound still happening near the waterfall. You are wrong; there is no sound because there is no ear.

So if even sound is not possible - what to say about a word! But they say, "In the beginning was the word"just see how nonsense becomes mystical...." In the beginning was the word. The word was with God." You have spoiled the first statement already. "In the beginning was the word. The word was with God," so already there were two - you have contradicted it immediately. And the third sentence: "And the word was God."

Now, such garbage impresses people: something very profound must be in it, that's why we cannot understand it. There is nothing profound in it - just some idiot writing. But Christian theologians have been commenting on it for centuries, different commentaries on what it means. What is "the word"? What does it mean that "The word was God," that "The word was with God"? Just three sentences - and all contradictory to each other.

If you analyze any scripture you will find these kinds of statements. And they say, "Don't doubt, believe, have faith and great will be your reward; doubt and you are misguided." But in this darkness, except for doubt there is no light.

Doubt, and not half-heartedly.

Doubt with your total intensity so that doubt will become like a sword in your hand, and it will cut all the garbage that has gathered around you.

Doubt is to cut the garbage, and meditation is to wake yourself.

These are two sides of the same coin, because burdened with all the garbage you will not be able to wake up. That garbage will create sleep in you; that's its function. It is meant to keep you asleep.

Have faith and go to sleep so you don't bother the politicians, the priests; you don't bother the vested interests; you don't bother anybody. You yourself become a man without any soul, a mechanism, a slave.

So doubt, and meditate.

And by meditation I mean a very simple thing: just be silent and start drowning in your silence.

In the beginning that too creates fear because silence is like an abyss; perhaps there is no bottom, and one wants to cling to anything available.

Silence needs courage, just as doubt needs courage.

Doubt is to throw out everything that others have put in you.

And meditation is: after everything has been thrown out, to enter your self - which no God, nobody has put there.

It has been your being for eternity and it is going to be your being for eternity.

Drown yourself in silence.

Enjoy, drink it, taste it!

Just in the beginning there is fear. Once you have had a little taste, just a little taste on the tip of your tongue, then all fear disappears, because it is so sweet, so nourishing, so immensely centering and grounding. It gives you for the first time the feel that alone you are enough, that no God is needed, no prayer is needed, that the temple is not outside but within. And as the feeling grows, and you go on entering into it, you will be surprised:

In the beginning there was silence, not sound.

In the middle there is silence.

In the end there is silence.

It is perpetual, continuous, and it is your very being: so fulfilling, so tremendously fulfilling, giving you such contentment that for the first time you feel nothing is needed. All that is needed is provided already within you.

Existence is very generous.

God is very miserly - of course, because misers have created the fiction in their own image.

God is very miserly, very cruel, very jealous, very revengeful. Just for small things... somebody smokes cigarettes - now what kind of sin is he committing? I cannot conceive that he is committing any sin. Perhaps he is committing some mistake, but that is a medical thing, it has nothing to do with religion. Perhaps he is not taking proper care of his body, but that is his business. Perhaps he will die two or three years earlier, but if he thinks of what he is going to do for two or three years more, he will smoke more, so what is the point?

But there are religions like Buddhism and Jainism - smoke and you are in hell. Strange... here that man is smoking, and there you will throw him again into fire. Here he was throwing fire into himself; there you throw him into fire! What kind of revenge is going on? And he was not throwing anything on you - whatever he was doing, he was doing to himself And he has suffered for it: he may have tuberculosis, he may have cancer. He may suffer for it - he has suffered; now what is the need of a hell? Small things, natural things, and the religions have made so much fuss about them because of the very tiny mind of the God.

Existence is very generous, always forgiving, never punishing.

But the only way to reach to existence is through your own innermost silence. That is the silence between the stars - the same silence; there is no difference.

There are no types of silence, remember that. There cannot be two kinds of silence. Silence is simply one.

Just the taste of it and you have tasted the silence that is there millions of light years away, surrounding the whole universe.

By feeling your inner silence you have felt the pulse of the universe.

I say to you, with God there is no possibility of religion.

And I say to you also, that with the so-called religions that have existed up to now, there is no possibility of religion either.

I teach you a Godless, religionless religion.

Of course, then my meaning of religion will be "religiousness". You are not a Christian, you are not a Hindu, you are not a Mohammedan. You are just a man of silence, a man of truth, a man of compassion, a man who is no longer searching - one who has arrived. And the feeling of arrival...

then there are no questions, no doubts, no beliefs, no answers either.

When Bodhidharma was dying his disciples asked him, "Master, your last message?"

He opened his eyes, and said, "I do not know anything at all - I have arrived. Knowledge is left far behind; who cares to know? There is nobody asking, there is nobody questioning, there is nobody answering; all has become silent. Hence," he says, "all that I can say is that I do not know."

That was the statement of Socrates also in the end. He said, "When I was young I thought,'I know much and soon I will know all.' But as I went on searching, doubting, enquiring" - and he was a man not of belief, but of doubt. He is far superior to any of your religious prophets, messiahs, avataras, tirthankaras - he is far superior In the end he said, "The more I started to know, the more I started to feel that I don't know anything."

His statements are tremendously beautiful, because on the surface they look contradictory. He says, "The more I knew, the less I knew. The moment I came to know all, all was lost; only ignorance remained." So he said, "There is a knowledge which is ignorant, and there is an ignorance which knows."

With belief you will come to a knowledge which is ignorant.

With doubt, enquiry, meditation, you will come to a state of ignorance which knows.

There is no need for you to be labeled. There is no need for you to be part of a congregation.

My commune is, in a way, strange, a contradiction.

My function is to make you free of all congregations, to give you total freedom to be yourself But perhaps alone you are not able to stand against the whole world. You need fellow travelers. You need people who are walking on the same path to give you courage, to keep you inspired; otherwise I would not have given you a certain color red. Those who are with me know perfectly well that this is just playfulness. Any color will do, because what has the color red to do with truth? It has nothing to do with truth. Green will be as good, blue will be as good - and even if you are naked, that will do. But I have given you the color red just out of playfulness, to give you a certain identity, a togetherness - because the vast mass is there.

These people poisoned Socrates.

These people killed Jesus.

These people killed Al-Hillaj Mansoor and so many others. I would not like that to happen to any of you.

Hence I had to commit a contradiction: create a commune. But you have to remember that this is just out of playfulness; you have not to become serious about it.

I have given you the mala with my picture in its Locket; that does not make you my follower. That simply means that you are available to me, receptive; that you can listen to me putting all your prejudices aside.

And I am not giving you any doctrine. I have none.

I will take all doctrines away from you.

I want you to become just an emptiness. And that is the ultimate quality of religious man: to know the inner emptiness. It is unbounded. It is as vast as the universe. It contains the whole universe in it.

When you are absolutely empty, stars start moving within you. The whole universe and you are no longer separate. You have found a subtle, secret door that goes from you to the whole.

God is not needed.

It is an absolutely useless hypothesis.

Nor are religions needed.

But a religious consciousness is absolutely needed - more today than ever before.

If we cannot create a great movement for religious consciousness there is no future for humanity - man is doomed.

The priests, the politicians and other vested interests together have prepared your grave; any moment they will push you into it. Many of you, of your own accord, are sitting in that grave.

The world has never been before at such a critical moment. If a great release of religious consciousness is not made available, man is doomed.

But I hope that religious consciousness is going to prevail, that man will pass through this dangerous moment and will come out of it far superior, far higher, far more humane.

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"The Cold War should no longer be the kind of obsessive
concern that it is. Neither side is going to attack the other
deliberately... If we could internationalize by using the U.N.
in conjunction with the Soviet Union, because we now no
longer have to fear, in most cases, a Soviet veto, then we
could begin to transform the shape of the world and might
get the U.N. back to doing something useful... Sooner or
later we are going to have to face restructuring our
institutions so that they are not confined merely to the
nation-states. Start first on a regional and ultimately you
could move to a world basis."

-- George Ball,
   Former Under-secretary of State and CFR member
   January 24, 1988 interview in the New York Times