Yes. The moment ego is found illusory, immediately God also disappears. Ego is an imaginary center in individuals, and God is the imaginary center of the whole universe. They are related to each other, dependent on each other. Neither God can exist without ego in you, nor can ego exist without God there above, in heaven. God is the ego of the whole.
It is not a coincidence that all the religions emphasize both together - God and you. They try to make your ego more and more - at least in appearance - a reality. To make the ego they have all kinds of disciplines: you have to do this, you have not to do this - because the ego cannot exist when you are not doing anything.
It is just as if you have a torch of fire in your hand; if you go on moving it round and round fast enough, you will see a circle of fire - which does not exist. It is illusory, you just cannot see the gaps. It is just a single fire, a flame, but moved fast it becomes a circle. That circle is simply not there. Stop moving your hand and the circle disappears.
All the religions go on teaching you, "Do something - fast, exercises, prayers; go to churches, mosques, synagogues. Read the holy scripture every day." These are all methods to create the ego in you. The torch goes on moving and goes on creating the illusory circle.
And when you start feeling that you have a center in you, it becomes very easy for you to believe that there must be a center to the whole. If each individual is moving on a center, then the whole existence must be moving on a center, and that center is God. Ego strengthened in you creates the belief, the faith in - God, and makes it look very logical.
What I am doing here is just the opposite. I want you first to learn moments of non-doing, moments when you simply are, not doing anything - the torch has stopped moving in a circle - and you are amazed. The moment you are silent, not doing anything at all, suddenly, in a strange, mysterious way, the old you has disappeared, evaporated, and a new feeling of being arises.
The ego is separate from others, has to be. It has its own territory. The bigger the territory, the bigger ego you can have. If you become the president of America, of course your ego becomes millions of times bigger. You have much money, and you go on and on accumulating money - that feeds the illusion; your territory, your power, goes on increasing.
I want you to know a state of utter nothingness. That is your reality.
The child is not born with an ego. Ego is being taught by the society, religion, culture. You must have watched little babies: they don't say, "I am hungry." If the baby's name is Bob, he says, "Bob is hungry. Bob wants to go to the toilet." He has no sense of "I". He indicates himself also in the third person. Bob is something that people call him, so he also calls himself Bob. But a day will come... as he grows you will start teaching him that this is not right. "Bob is the name for others to call you; you have to stop calling yourself Bob. You are a separate personality, you have to learn to call yourself 'I'."
The day Bob becomes "I," he loses the reality of being and falls into the dark abysmal pit of an hallucination. Once he calls himself "I" there is a totally different energy functioning. Now the "I"
wants to grow, it wants to become big; it wants this, it wants that. It wants to rise higher and higher in the world of hierarchies. It wants a bigger territorial imperative.
If somebody has a bigger "I" than you, it creates an inferiority complex in you. You make every effort to be superior-than-thou, holier-than-thou, bigger-than-thou. Now your whole life is dedicated to one stupid thing - which does not exist in the first place. You are on a dream path. You will go on moving, making your "I" bigger, and bigger. And it creates almost all your problems.
Even Alexander the Great had immense problems. The "I" within him wanted to be the world conqueror, and he had almost conquered the world. I say almost for two reasons. In his time, half of the world was not known, America was not known. Secondly, he entered India, but he could not conquer India; he returned from the boundaries.
He was not very old, he was just thirty-three. But in these thirty-three years he had been simply fighting, fighting, fighting. He had become sick, bored with the fight, killing, murder, blood. He wanted to go back home and rest, and even that was not fulfilled. He could not reach his home in Athens. He died just one day before he was supposed to reach Athens; Athens was only twenty-four hours away.
But his whole life's experience - growing richer, bigger, more and more powerful, and then also feeling an utter helplessness, not even capable of postponing his death for twenty-four hours.... And he had promised his mother that once he had conquered the world he would come and put the whole world at her feet as a gift. No son had done that for any mother before, so it was something absolutely unique that he was going to do.
But he felt helpless, surrounded by the best physicians. They all said, "You cannot survive. This twenty-four hour journey... you will die. It is better to rest here, perhaps there is a chance. But don't move. We don't see much chance even for resting - you are drowning. You are getting closer and closer, not to your home, but to your death; not to your home, but to your grave.
"And we cannot help. We can cure sicknesses, we cannot cure death. And this is not sickness. You are almost like a spent cartridge. In thirty-three years you have spent all your life energy in fighting this nation, that nation. You have wasted your life. It is not sickness, it is simply that your life energy is spent, and spent uselessly."
Alexander was a very intelligent man. He was a disciple of the great logician and philosopher, Aristotle; Aristotle was his private tutor. He died before reaching the capital. Before his death he told his commander in chief, "This is my last wish, and this has to be fulfilled." What was his last wish?
A very strange wish. The wish was, "When you carry my coffin to the grave, you have to keep both my hands hanging out of the coffin."
The commander in chief asked, "What kind of wish is this? Hands are always kept inside the coffin.
Nobody has ever heard of a coffin being carried to the grave with the hands hanging out!"
Alexander said, "I don't have much breath to explain to you, but in short, I want to show to the world that I am going with empty hands. I was thinking I was becoming bigger and bigger, richer and richer, but in fact, I was becoming poorer and poorer. When I was born I had come into the world with my fists closed, as if I was holding something within my fists. Now at the moment of death, I cannot go with my fists closed."
To keep your fists closed you need life, some energy. No dead man has been able to keep his hands closed. Who will close them? A dead man is no longer there, all energy is gone - the hands open of their own accord.
"Let everybody know that Alexander the Great is dying with his hands empty, just a beggar."
But I don't see that anybody has learned from those empty hands, because people after Alexander have continued to do the same in different ways.
Man's ego is the source of all his problems, all the wars, all the conflicts, all the jealousies, fear, depression. Feeling oneself as a failure, continuously comparing with others makes everybody hurt - and hurt tremendously, because you can't have everything. Somebody is more beautiful than you, that hurts; somebody has more money that you, that hurts; somebody is more knowledgeable than you, that hurts. Millions of things are there to hurt you, but you don't know, it is not those things that are hurting you, because they don't hurt me. They are hurting you because of your ego.
Ego is constantly trembling with fear, knowing perfectly well that it is an artifact, an artificial device created by the society to keep you running, chasing shadows. The politicians are happy, they want you to go on running. This game of the ego, reaching higher and higher, is politics. The priest is happy, you go on asking for his blessings.
One of my friends was a cabinet minister in Indira Gandhi's time. When his election was coming near, he was very much afraid whether he was going to win again or not. And now, being a cabinet minister, he was hoping someday to become the prime minister. And to lose the election and again be just nobody was very painful.
He came to me. He said, "I have never asked anything from you, but this time, you bless me. I want to win this election. There is every possibility that I will go higher in the cabinet. Perhaps I may become the deputy prime minister."
I said, "You have come to the wrong place" - because in India people go to the saints for blessings.
I said, "You have come to the wrong place. If I really give you a blessing, you will fail utterly in your election."
He said, "What do you mean? What kind of blessing is this?"
I said, "Your becoming a cabinet minister, a deputy prime minister, or even a prime minister, is not really a blessing to you. You are going in an hallucinatory direction. My blessing will bring you back to your reality."
In India, many couples, when they got married, used to come for my blessing. And Vivek used to tell them, "Don't ask for his blessing, because his blessing means divorce" - because she had seen, year by year, whoever had asked for my blessing was finished, asking for my blessing was the end of the relationship. But they could not understand it. They had come to ask the blessing that for their lives they remain devoted to each other, that their love goes on growing, their love should not know any end, it should be endless.
But this is illusory. Everything that is born, dies. And the more beautiful a thing is, the more delicate it is. Love is a beautiful flower; it withers very easily. Yes, a relationship you can carry - that is legal, social - but it will be a burden when the love between you has stopped flowing. You will torture each other in every possible way.
My blessing can be that you enjoy the moment to the fullest, and if in the next moment you feel the bridge has collapsed, then say good-bye to each other - at least in a friendly, compassionate way.
The ego and all its games... marriage is its game, money is its game, power is its game. All the games are the games of ego. The society up to now has remained playing games; it is an ongoing Olympics all over the world. Everybody is fighting his way upwards, and everybody else is pulling his legs down, because at the Everest peak there is not enough space for you all to stand.
It is a cut-throat competition. And it becomes so important to you, that you forget completely that this ego was planted in you by the society, by the teachers. From the kindergarten to the university, what are they doing? - strengthening your ego. More and more degrees go on being added to your name, and you start feeling bigger and bigger and bigger.
Ego is the greatest lie - which you have accepted as a truth. But all vested interests are very much in favor of it, because if everybody becomes aware of egolessness, this whole Olympics going on around the world will simply come to a standstill. Nobody will want to climb Everest, they will enjoy wherever they are. They will be rejoicing.
The ego keeps you waiting: tomorrow when you succeed, you will rejoice. Today, of course, you have to suffer, you have to sacrifice. If you want to succeed tomorrow, today you have to sacrifice.
You have to deserve success, and for that you are doing every kind of gymnastics. And it is only a question of a little time to suffer, and then there is rejoicing. But that tomorrow never comes. It has never come.
Tomorrow simply means that which never comes. It is postponing living. It is a beautiful strategy to keep you suffering. Politicians want you to suffer, priests want you to suffer, your educational system wants you to suffer. They all teach you that sacrifice is great: Sacrifice - only then will you be able to find something to rejoice in; sacrifice is the way.
I say it categorically, No! Sacrifice is the invention of the cunning people. There is no need to sacrifice anything because all that you need to rejoice is already here within you.
But the ego cannot rejoice in the present. It cannot exist in the present; it exists only in the future, in the past - that which is not. The past is no more, the future is not yet; both are non-existential. Ego can exist only with the non-existential, because it itself is non-existent.
In the present, pure moment you will find no ego in you - simply a silent joy, a silent and pure nothingness.
But the priest is afraid: if you come to know this nothingness, you will know immediately there is no God, because if you can exist without any crystallized center, why cannot the whole existence exist the same way?
God is nothing but your ego multiplied by everybody else's ego. God is the biggest ego in the world.
God is the greatest hallucination man has suffered, and is still suffering. If you want your ego, then you have to keep your belief in God intact. They remain together, they go together.
Many questions have come to me, asking why I insistently destroy people's belief and faith in God.
It is pure arithmetic: without destroying God I cannot help you to destroy your ego. If there is no God and existence can remain flowing, moving, growing, expanding; nobody is controlling it, nobody is maintaining it, it is autonomous....
That's what I mean when I say there is no God. I am saying existence is autonomous. Trees are growing of their own accord, birds are flying of their own accord, the sun is rising of its own accord.
And it is beautiful that nobody is behind this beautiful existence, turning it into a puppeteer's show.
That's what the religions teach - all the religions without exception - that you are only a puppet.
With God there, you cannot be anything more than a puppet. The strings are in his hand.
They have a proverb in India that not even a leaf moves without God's permission. Nothing happens without God's permission, so this whole existence is a permanent slavery. And it is very strange, the same people who say, "Not even a leaf moves without his support...." Then how do people commit murder? Then how do people commit rape? Then how do people become thieves? If not even a leaf moves without him, the murderer is not responsible, the rapist is not responsible. If anybody is responsible, it is the puppeteer.
But strange... you will be punished for an act over which you have no control. You will be thrown into hell because God managed to make a murderer of you. It is God who manages Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Nadir Shah, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mussolini. It is God. If one million Jews are killed by Adolf Hitler, religions have no guts to say the truth: that it is God who is pulling the strings of Adolf Hitler - the poor puppet - and he is killing people.
Religions want you to be responsible for your acts on the one hand, and on the other hand, God has created you, and everything that is in you is created by God.
I have asked many saints, "How do you reconcile this contradiction?" and I have never received any answer. They said, "It is beyond human comprehension." You can comprehend God, that he created the world. You can comprehend that a particular sin will throw you into hell, another particular act will take you to heaven. You can comprehend everything else....
I have seen in India, in temples, there are maps hanging which show where hell is, where heaven is, where God lives, his house. These idiots who made these maps didn't know anything about America, because those maps were made thousands of years ago. Even now they are hanging - without America! They knew about heaven and hell, and they didn't know anything about this very earth on which they were living.
Your ego is just an idea implanted in your mind. It is poisonous. Your ego keeps driving you madder and madder.
What I call meditation is nothing but a great decision on your part to have a few moments at least when you are not doing anything - not even thinking anything, because that is also an act. You simply are. In that simple existence you will find no ego inside you, and it will bring such clarity.
Because all the turmoil of the ego is no longer there, your vision takes wings, you can see that God is nothing but the ego of the whole universe.
If you can exist, breathe, be, and there is no sense of "I," it makes clear to you that there is no need for any God, that there is no need for this slavery under which we have all lived for millennia, that you are not a puppet, that you are an individual. And nobody is responsible for your acts, remember.
That is very significant.
Why did people decide to remain slaves for so long? Why did they continue to believe in God, repressing their doubts and queries? - for the simple reason that the presence of God makes you irresponsible. He is the all-knower, he is everywhere; you are just to follow his commandments.
And there are people like Moses who say that they have seen God, heard him, and they bring stone tablets with commandments written on them. They say, "This is God's own handwriting." Of course, he knew only Hebrew, that's why he wrote the commandments in Hebrew. And he gave his commandments to Moses because the Jews are his chosen people.
This fiction that Moses created is responsible for all the miseries Jews have suffered all through history. If you carry the idea that you are the chosen people of God, then naturally you are superior to everybody. As a by-product you are making everybody your enemy. And the Jews are still carrying the same idea. God has been used by priests and prophets and messiahs to keep you deluded, deceived. But why did you accept all kinds of nonsense? There is a reason: it relieves you of all responsibility.
When you are with me, I make you responsible for every act. And if there is no God, and you are a free individual, naturally you have to be very alert and awake, because there is no one protecting you from on high. Even Jesus was under that delusion. On the cross he was crying, "God, my Lord!
Have you forsaken me?" He was thinking that God was behind him; that was giving him an illusory strength and power. His authority was because he was God's messenger.
Jesus was fully convinced that on the cross God was going to come down and prove to the whole world that Jesus was his only begotten son; and those who were crucifying him would suffer in hell for eternity, and those who were with him would be raised in glory to heaven, to enjoy it forever.
These deluded people are your messiahs. These people need psychiatric treatment! Instead of putting them in a madhouse, you have been worshipping them. Why? The same reason: they relieve you of a great thing - responsibility. They take your responsibility on their own shoulders; and of course, they have a direct communication line with God.
I want you to be silent, meditative, searching inside yourself, looking... is anyone there? And you will be surprised - there is no one, just pure existence, autonomous. There is no entity in you. You are part and parcel of the whole existence. You are connected to the trees and to the rivers and to the ocean in a thousand and one ways - visible, invisible. You are not separate.
Can you remain alive without breathing? Perhaps for a few seconds you can manage, because you have a certain storage of oxygen in your lungs. So it is not a big deal that you can keep your nose closed and you can dive in water for a few seconds. But soon you start feeling suffocated; a little more and you will be finished. What are you doing when you close your nose? You are disconnecting yourself from the atmosphere, the air, that surrounds you. It is invisible, but it is very tangible. You can feel it with your hand. You are constantly taking it in, sending it out. It is there.
Eighty percent of your body is water - and not just water, but sea water. That's why you are constantly in need, not only of ordinary water, you have to have sea water. That's why salt is one of the most necessary things in the world. In your body, inside, it is exactly the same combination of salt water and other chemicals as in sea water.
When you go to the beach, why do you feel a sudden joy? The salty breeze, the vast ocean. the waves.... Why do you suddenly feel more alive? Because you are part of it. Eighty percent of you is part of the ocean! There is a certain need for your body, once in a while, to be close to the ocean so you can renew your love affair with it.
Why do you feel good looking at the green trees? When you go to a lush, green forest something in you starts dancing. The cool breeze, the green color surrounding you.... Do you know that trees are constantly supplying you with oxygen, that you are constantly supplying carbon dioxide to the trees, that you are not separate - you are connected by very invisible bridges.
On the full moon night, you can see the ocean is affected: its waves are bigger, as if it wants to touch the moon. Something in the ocean is stirred by the full moon. It is now an established scientific fact that your great oceans - the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian ocean - all your great oceans are really the places from where the earth was removed to make the moon.
In the beginning the earth was not solid, and when something is not solid and is moving, spinning, it will throw off a few parts of itself automatically because they are loose, they are not solid. The earth has thrown off millions of its parts. When you see a star falling in the night, it is not a star, it is just some part of the earth that has been floating beyond the gravitation of the earth and has come back into the area of gravitation. Two hundred miles around the earth is its area of magnetism. Every night thousands of those stones enter, and this has been going on for millions of years. Still they are not exhausted.
The biggest part thrown off by the earth, was the moon. Of course, if such a big part drops out, it leaves big holes on the earth. These holes became oceans, water collected in them. On the full moon night something in the earth remembers, something in the ocean stirs. They are still in communication.
And you must remember that on the full moon night you also feel very good. Poets for centuries have been writing poetry about the full moon. Singers have been singing, musicians have been playing on their instruments to the glory of the full moon. Why does this full moon attract you? Because you are also eighty percent ocean.
More people go mad on the full moon night than any other night. More people commit suicide on the full moon night than any other night. More people have become enlightened on the full moon night than any other night. It cannot be just coincidence - for millions of years the same thing....
Gautam Buddha was born on full moon night; he became enlightened on full moon night - the same full moon night, the same month. And he died on the same full moon night, the same month. He must have been really in deep communication with the moon. It is not visible; everything need not be visible.
We are connected with the whole universe. The moment your ego disappears, this connection with the whole becomes absolutely certain. There is no need to worship - you are then worshipping yourself. There is no need to pray. To whom are you praying? Then what is left for you is to rejoice, to enjoy all the gifts of existence. They are your inheritance! They belong to you, you belong to them.
There will be a totally different humanity if all the egos disappear. This whole earth will become a disco - Zorba the Buddha. People will be dancing, singing, enjoying. And there is so much to enjoy that who bothers about having a big post in the government? A few idiots may do that, but nobody will be jealous of them. And if you are not jealous of them, their joy at holding the big post of the president or the prime minister will be finished. Nobody cares! Ronald Reagan passes by and you don't even say "Hi."
Sooner or later those idiots will also come to their senses. What has happened? Nobody is recognizing them, nobody is bothering who they are. And everybody is so blissful.
Ego disappearing, God disappears. Ego disappearing, hope disappears, despair disappears. Ego disappearing, there is no hell, no heaven. Ego disappearing, you become part of the universe, as you really are.
To me, this is enlightenment, this is liberation. Nobody can do it on your behalf. That's why I say people like Jesus are talking nonsense - that they have come to save others, they are saviors. And it is not only Jesus, all the religions have their own buffoons.
Nobody can do it for you, you will have to do it for yourself, you will have to take the responsibility.
Whatever the society has forcibly implanted in you, you have to undo it.
Silence does the miracle. That's why I say, yes, absolutely yes: your ego and God are not separate.
God is the ego of the whole; your ego is the ego of the part. And the vested interests would like you to continue carrying the ego, because if the ego disappears, God disappears. All churches, all temples, mosques, gurudwaras, will have to be turned into discos where people come to dance and sing and play. That will be true religion.
It is simple. from the very beginning a child is told what is right, what is wrong. He is never given freedom to choose on his own. He is taught principles; he is not allowed to enquire and to find out himself. And of course, whenever he does anything on his own, he is disapproved of by the family, by the society, by the school, by everybody. He becomes shaky. Just to do anything on your own is not accepted by the society. You need approval for everything.
When I was a small child, as far back as I can remember, I could not understand it. I said, "It is my life, I am going to live it. You have lived your life. Why should you impose things upon me?"
There used to be an annual fair a few miles away from my town. I went there without asking my family. For three days I enjoyed the place. It was by the side of a very big and beautiful river, and there were so many magicians and dancers and dramas.... Those three days just passed so quickly.
When I came back home, everybody was angry. My father asked me, "If you wanted to go to the fair, why didn't you ask?"
I said, "Because I wanted to go. If you are honest enough, tell me: if I had asked would you have said yes? Just be honest, at least once." And I looked into his eyes. For a moment there was silence.
I said, "Your silence has said much."
He said, "Perhaps you are right; I would not have allowed you to go there because there is gambling, prostitutes, and all kinds of ugly things. I would not have allowed you to go there."
So I said, "Things are clear. I wanted to go - that's why I did not ask. And from now on," I told him, "remember, whatever I want to do I will not ask you. Whatever I don't want to do, perhaps I may ask you, because I am always contrary."
I wanted to cross the river - in the rainy season it becomes so big, it is a mountainous river. In summer it shrinks and becomes small. In rainy seasons, suddenly it becomes vast.
I wanted to swim. I went - it was risky. When I came back home... because it took me six hours to go to the other side. You cannot swim straight in a mountainous river; the water is going down so forcefully that you can reach to the other shore only three, four miles down. Then four miles you have to walk - not four miles, you have to walk eight miles. And then again you can swim back to the place from where you had started. They thought I must have drowned because by the time I reached home they were all searching with boats, looking for my dead body.
I said, "What are you doing?"
They said, "We could not believe that you would do it. You should have asked!"
I said, "I wanted to do it. Whether I die or remain alive does not matter. Whatever I want to do, I am ready to pay for it; it is my responsibility. I am not to be dominated, I am not a puppet."
I had to struggle constantly with my family - and they were all well-wishers. I had to fight constantly with my teachers, with my professors, with my vice-chancellors - and they were all well-wishers.
Their intention was not bad, they wanted to help me. But to everybody I made it absolutely clear all through my life that I didn't want to be helped, because that creates dependence.
One of my professors - he is now retired, so I can say the truth... Professor S.S. Roy retired as head of the department of philosophy in Allahabad University. He was my professor, and he was very much concerned; he loved me, he wanted me to become somebody. And I told him, "I am not going to become somebody, I don't have that desire. I want to become nobody."
He said, "Don't talk like that. The examinations are coming, and I know you don't have any textbooks."
I never purchased any textbooks. I purchased thousands of books - in my library when I left India, there were one hundred fifty thousand books of rare value - but I never purchased a single textbook.
He knew it. Just when the examinations were to begin, he called me. "Tomorrow morning," he said, "your examinations are to begin, and this is the questionnaire that you have to answer. So please sit with me and answer me, because I want to know.... I have set these questions, this paper has been made by me, so you answer me, one by one, so that I am certain that you will not fail - at least in my paper. It will be a shame if you fail in my paper."
I said, "You don't be worried." I took that questionnaire and just threw it out the window, tearing it into pieces.
He said, "What are you doing?"
I said, "I am going to answer the questions. Whether I pass or fail does not matter. What matters is that I do not want to be dependent - that will keep me burdened my whole life. You love me, I can understand it, but your love is not very much if it cannot understand what I have done. I have not seen those questions; I want to see them tomorrow morning in the examination hall. And finally those copies will be coming to you; then you can see my answers."
He said, "I gave you the whole paper - which is illegal, criminal; I risked my prestige for you. But I should have known before, because I know the type of a person you are. I can understand," he said, "you don't want to be obliged."
I said, "That's true. Neither do I want to be obliged, nor do I want to oblige anybody else in the world. Everybody should be on his own, choose his way. I would rather go to hell, but not losing my freedom, than to heaven, being directed by somebody else."
You are asking why we go on seeking the approval of others. It is because you are uncertain of yourself. You have been brought up in such a way that uncertainty has become your very second nature. Somebody with authority, power, prestige, approves of you, then you feel good, then you know that you must be right. You cannot decide on your own, because from the very childhood whatever you did on your own was found wrong and you were punished for it. That child is still there; just your body has grown. But your mind is somewhere in your childhood, still seeking approval.
Someday you have to stop it. The day you stop it, you start growing. If you don't stop it you will remain a child even when you are dying - a hundred years old and you will still be a child. Even while dying you will need approval.
At the death moment, when it is coming close, immediately the priest is called, the bishop comes, the maulvi is called, the pundit comes; and they start giving you great advice for the future life. They won't allow you even to die freely. They have not allowed you in your life to live freely, how can they allow you to die freely?
In fact, you also would not like to die freely, because you don't know; now you are entering into an unknown dimension. You need someone who knows, who can give you courage, who can say, "Don't be worried, only the body dies; your soul will still remain." If you are a Hindu the advice will be different, but the basic thing is the same - that you cannot die in freedom.
Sometimes it happens, a person suddenly dies. The person is dead; by sheer accident he died in freedom without any priest around. But these priests of all the religions are really the jailers of your consciousness. The person has died but the ritual will be done. If you are Hindu, the mantras of the VEDAS will be recited - and the man is no more! Water from the holy Ganges will be poured in the mouth of the corpse, because Hindus believe that the water of the holy Ganges takes you into heaven.
They have this fiction that the Ganges is really a river of heaven. One great ascetic, Baghirath, prayed to God, did all kinds of austerities possible, tortured himself as much you can imagine, and prayed, "I will continue my austerities until you send the Ganges to the earth." And he succeeded:
the Ganges came down from heaven to the earth. That's why its water is heavenly, it is pure.
If you drink it before death it will take you to heaven. So in every Hindu family they preserve the Ganges water. Who knows? - any time somebody can die. It is good if he drinks it before he dies.
If by accident he misses, then no harm - you can drop a little water into his mouth, hoping that he will go to heaven. Even after death you are not going to allow freedom.
Freedom comes as a by-product of meditation.
Once you start knowing your inner being, you have then the insight of what has to be done and what has not to be done. And it comes from your own still, small voice. It can be heard only in silence. For the first time you start moving in freedom, living in freedom. And remember, the slave - particularly the psychological slave - cannot know of any rejoicing, any blessing. He wants approval. Approval of whom?
I asked my father, my teachers, my professors, "Are you certain what you are saying is right?" - because in the world there are so many cultures, so many religions, and they are all certain and they are all contradicting each other. They cannot all be true. They all can be false, but they cannot all be true. And how to decide who is right? Perhaps one is right, but how to decide?"
And I have never received an answer that satisfied me. Then I told them, "Then let me alone. You yourself are uncertain. You start quoting the VEDAS, THE BIBLE, the KORAN; you are seeking approval. But what are the grounds for the certainty that Mohammed was not mad?"
A very simple person can see that these things that Mohammed is saying cannot be right.
Mohammed says every man can have four wives. Now, in the world there are not four times more women than men, they are equal. Nature keeps the balance. If one man marries four wives, he takes away three men's right to be married. Now three persons have to remain celibate their whole life; they have been forced to remain celibate. They are bound to become perverts; they will find some way to express their sexuality. I don't see that Mohammed is saying anything which makes sense.
Hindus say that when the husband dies, the wife has to jump into the funeral pyre of her husband; then only does she prove that she was sincere towards her husband. For thousands of years, millions of women had to jump alive into the funeral pyre of a husband who had done nothing except beat them and make them pregnant continuously. And they were treated just like cattle.
She should rejoice that that dodo is dead. On the contrary, she is forced.... And they had made arrangements, because alive... just think of yourself jumping into the fire - you will try to come out of it. So there were brahmin priests around the fire with burning torches to push her back. And so much purified butter was poured into the funeral pyre that there was smoke surrounding the whole area, so nobody could see what the priests were doing.
In the second circle, there was another group of priests who were chanting the VEDAS so loudly that the poor woman's screams would be lost. Yes, you can find the authority for this in the Hindu scriptures, but the very thing is ugly, inhuman. And whoever has written that was not a man of sanity.
He was a male chauvinist; he was not interested in human values.
If the woman refused... and a few women were courageous enough to refuse, they didn't want to die. Yes, they loved their husband, but that does not mean that they had to die with the husband.
They loved him, but they were not going to commit suicide. These women were treated very badly.
They could not marry again. Manu, the greatest Hindu authority on all kinds of things, says they cannot marry again.
Strange - a man can marry again, and a man is not asked to jump into the funeral pyre of his wife.
Anybody can see the point, that this is simply fascist on the part of men. This Manu is not a man of truth, a man of silence, a man of wisdom. You will be surprised, Manu's book is five thousand years old. Even Hindus who believe in it feel a little bit ashamed because there are many things in it which make them feel ashamed.
But Friedrich Nietzsche - who was the philosophical source of Adolf Hitler's fascism - respects Manu as he respects nobody else. Adolf Hitler declared Manu one of the most significant authorities as far as morality is concerned. And these are not Hindus. You can see the relationship: these are fascists, and Manu approves of all kinds of fascism.
The Hindu widow remains alive in a very ugly way - if she chooses to remain alive. Her hair is cut so that she does not look beautiful. She cannot use any ornaments, because the man for whom she was supposed to look beautiful is dead. She cannot use any colored clothes, only white. All her hair, which is one of the most beautiful parts of a woman - is shaved. That hair gives a certain individuality to each woman.
She cannot use any cosmetics, she cannot use any ornaments. Even the cheapest glass bangles have to be broken. She has to hit her hands on the earth, on the wall, on the stone, to break the glass bangles. It brings blood to her hands. She cannot go in any place where celebration is happening. She cannot participate in any marriage, she cannot participate in any festival. She has to remain isolated, and she has to be treated just like a servant.
She does all kinds of things like a servant - utterly degraded, deprived of her humanity. You cannot see such humiliation anywhere. It would have been far better to have jumped into the fire - within minutes things would have ended. Now this woman has to suffer perhaps fifty years, sixty years.
She will be just a living corpse.
If you ask the professor, as I used to ask, "What do you say?" - because Hindus believe Manu is a Maharishi, a great seer. And I say, "he must be the greatest blind man ever! Seer, my foot! This is the law that he has given to the Hindus. You go on finding approval in scriptures - and you don't know who wrote those scriptures, what kind of people they were."
Neither any man can be the source of approval, nor can any scripture be the source of approval.
You have to listen to your own inner voice, and move accordingly.
That's the way of the sannyasin.