Man is a very strange being. He was not supposed to be so, but he has been in every way forced to be unnatural - and that is the source of his strangeness. He has become not only a stranger to others, he has become also a stranger to himself, because anything against nature is against yourself... you are nothing but a song of nature, just as the birds are singing and the trees are standing in silence.
Except man, in the whole existence everything is smooth, beautiful, without any discrimination of the superior and the inferior - no tree is a saint or a sinner. But man has fallen into such divisions that his life has become not a joy, but a burden that he has to carry somehow from the cradle to the grave.
It is a very subtle logic: First, the priests of all the religions poisoned you against yourself, forced you to be anti-life. And then, when you became miserable, they came from the back door to console you. Then they became mediators between you and God.
I have heard about two brothers who used to do a business in partnership - that is the business of the priest. The first brother would go to a city in the night, in the darkness when everybody was asleep, and he would put coal tar on people's windows, doors, and walls. In the morning when people would see it, they could not believe what had happened; the whole city had been made ugly.
But suddenly, as they were wondering about who had done it, they would hear the other brother say that if somebody wanted his windows or doors cleaned, he has all the expertise needed to clean them. So he would clean and earn the money. While he was cleaning and earning the money, the other brother would have moved to another city. And in this way they were doing a lot of business.
But it is not business. It is conspiracy.
That's what the priests have done to man.
First they make you sick, and then they come as your saviors. First they crush you into subhuman beings - degraded, undignified, rejected, condemned - and then they will come, saying, "Don't be worried. If you follow us, all your misery will disappear; if you listen to us, we will arrange that you are accepted by God, in paradise - with great rewards."
This conspiracy has been going on since the very beginning. It has become such a big business; almost everybody is a client, a customer, to some kind of priesthood - Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Jaina, Mohammedan. But the basic business is the same. And the rivalry between the religions can be understood as the simple rivalry of all shopkeepers who are selling the same commodity.
Every religion is trying to prove that his commodity is better than anybody else's. Jesus says, "Those who follow me will enter into the kingdom of God, and those who do not follow me will fall into eternal hell." But the same is true about all religions. In different ways, in different languages, that is the message: only we can save you.
I call it a very strange phenomenon that millions of people have not looked into: Who has made you guilty that you need to be saved from guilt? Who has made you self-condemning that somebody needs to teach you how to drop it? Who has crippled you? The same source that has been crippling you comes to teach you how to walk, how to run - they are the same people.
They have been fighting amongst themselves - not for any fundamental question of life, but just on the number of customers. Every religion wants the whole humanity to belong to it. It is big business.
I have heard that the Jews have never been able to forgive themselves because they crucified Jesus - who was born a Jew, lived a Jew, died a Jew. Jews are very intelligent people. They have not even forgiven themselves after two thousand years, because by crucifying Jesus they have lost the biggest business that the poor boy was offering. Now Christianity is the biggest religion; it is the biggest established firm which deals in commodities which are invisible. And a business that deals with commodities which are invisible can never go bankrupt.
One man in New York declared, advertised, that he has found the secret of making invisible hairpins for women. Naturally there was a great crowd continually pouring into his shop, and he was handing them beautiful packages. They would open the package and, of course, there was nothing inside.
But how can you see the invisible pins?
Just one woman was a little suspicious. She asked the salesman, "Are you sure the invisible hairpins are inside the box?"
He said, "If you ask me, madam, we have been out of stock for three weeks, but business is going on, so we have dropped producing. What is the point? Just empty boxes are being sold, why trouble to create invisible hairpins?"
Religion has been selling you invisible things: a God, which is just a lie - and one lie leads to another lie... a prayer, and a priest, and a temple, a synagogue, a church, a HOLY BIBLE, a GITA, a KORAN... the business goes on and on. Priests grab the child from the very cradle - they don't miss a single moment. And they go on exploiting him, even when he is dead. Then, on his behalf, they exploit his relatives - the rituals that have to be done after death.
Hinduism is perhaps far more clever than any other religion - obviously, it is the oldest religion in the world. Not only does it go on exploiting you when somebody dies, it goes on exploiting you for all the people that have died - your father, your forefathers. Every year, a certain ritual has to be done for them. And of course, the priest has to be paid for it.
The priest has invented very special strategies. One of them is repentance; and today's statements of Kahlil Gibran, discuss this ugly idea of repentance.
AND SOME OF YOUR ELDERS REMEMBER PLEASURES WITH REGRET LIKE WRONGS COMMITTED IN DRUNKENNESS.
The elders, when they were young, had enough courage to fight with all the anti-life forces. They lived their life as much as possible according to nature - they enjoyed, they laughed, they loved, they danced.
But in old age, death starts to be the most important problem. Now they are afraid of all those days of pleasure, now they remember that the priests have been telling them, "Don't commit these sins; otherwise you will suffer." Now death can happen any moment, and they have not gathered any virtue to be rewarded; in their hands are only so-called memories of the sins that they have committed. They regret, they repent, they confess to the priest, "Ask God to forgive us. We were not aware; we are sorry that we did not listen to you."
Every religion has created its own strategy.
Just a few days ago, the Catholic pope declared, "You cannot confess directly to God. It is one of the greatest sins to confess directly to God. You have to confess to the Catholic priest. He is the mediator and he will convey the message to God."
You can see the simple cunningness. How can man not be directly connected with the source of life? He is already connected; otherwise, how can you be alive? Who breathes in you, except God?
By "God" I mean the totality of life. Who is beating in your heart? Who sings in you, who loves in you, who dances in you? You are continually in contact with the source of life. You are immersed in it. The mediator is not needed at all.
But the Catholic pope understands that if people start confessing directly to God, then millions of Catholic priests will be out of employment. Not only will they be out of employment, if people don't confess to them they will lose their power over people.
The greatest power in the world is to expose yourself before somebody. Particularly what you think is evil, a sin, you want to hide it. Once you have confessed to a priest, you cannot leave the Catholic fold. You will always be afraid - the priest can expose you to the public. So it is a very deep psychological slavery. And it pays too, because the priest will give you some punishment. He will ask you to put in the donation box, ten dollars, twenty dollars, thirty dollars, according to the seriousness of your sin.
One day it happened... A rabbi and a bishop were very great friends, and they both used to go together to the movies, to the racecourse. The whole city wondered, "One is a rabbi, a Jew. One is a bishop." But they had a great friendship. On the Sunday, the rabbi reached the church and was told, "The bishop may not be able to go with you to play golf, because there are so many people waiting for confession. He is in the confession box." So the rabbi went into the box and said, "Finish it quickly."
He said, "I am trying hard, but it seems this week too much sin has been done in the city. A long queue is still waiting, and I have to get ready."
The rabbi said, "Just let me see how you do it, because I don't know what confession is. Just one or two instances, and then you go and get ready. And nobody will know" - because the confession box is made in such a way... a small window, and on the other side is the confessor; the priest sits behind the wall and listens from there. The rabbi said, "I will do it, you just go."
He had seen two, three confessions. A man came and said, "Father, I am very sorry, but I again raped a woman." The rabbi was at a loss - what to say? He had never done it before, he was very immature at the profession. But he had heard two, three confessions. He said, "Twenty dollars."
The man said, "This is too much, because last time I raped someone you asked for only ten dollars."
But a rabbi is a rabbi. He said, "Don't be worried - ten dollars in advance. You can do one more rape and need not come to confess. But give twenty dollars." A Jew understands business.
First, religions make people feel guilty about all pleasures. When you are young, you may not listen.
Perhaps the life energy is so strong that all the preachers may shout from the rooftops, but life will take you on its own path.
Life does not believe in any religion.
Life itself is religion.
It does not listen to anybody.
It knows its way, its longing, its desire. It knows where to move. It does not need anybody to guide it - because all guidance is misguidance.
Never tell a river, "You are moving wrongly. I will show you the shortcut - and a virtuous one. You are enjoying too much the mountains and the valleys and the forests and the songs of the trees and the flowers. This is unforgivable. I will show you the right path - the path through the desert."
But rivers don't listen to the priest; they go on singing their song in strange mountains, virgin forests.
Without any guide, and without any map, without any preacher, without any church they reach to the ocean - that is a simple, natural phenomenon.
If one follows life - without any hitch, without any hesitation, wholeheartedly - it will lead you to the divine source of all. No priest is needed.
The pope says, "Without the priest you should not communicate, you should not confess to God, it is a sin."
I say unto you that the pope is the greatest sinner by making this statement. He is trying to disconnect you with God and connect you with an agent, the priest. Those dollars that are given as punishment never reach God, and what will God do with dollars? There is no shopping center there.
I have looked in all the scriptures of the world, and there is not even a mention that there exists a shopping center or a movie house. What will God do with the dollars?
Those dollars go in the pocket of the priests - not all, only the commission. The major part goes to the pope, to the Vatican. This is business, pure business - exploitation disguised as religion.
But all religions have different ways.
I used to go to Allahabad University to speak. Allahabad is one of the holy places of the Hindus, and there you will find a Hindu priest - which are the ugliest in the world, because they exploit. And because they have to be celibate, a psychological phenomenon is bound to happen: one who is trying to be celibate will start eating too much - it is a substitute. So they are fat and ugly. I have always wondered - just as there are beauty competitions, there should be competitions for ugliness; and I am absolutely certain that a Hindu priest would win the world prize.
From the very railway station, as you get down, the priest starts catching hold of you. Just like the taxi drivers say, "Come to my taxi, it is the best," those priests try, "Come to my house" - they have a guest house where their clients stay. They have to pay the priest, because he will take them to the holy river, the Ganges, for a dip; they will be chanting mantras from the VEDAS, and you take a dip, and all your sins are washed away - but you have to pay for it. You can go yourself - the Ganges is there - but unless the priest is chanting the mantras from the VEDAS, your sins cannot be washed away.
It happened that one man came to Ramakrishna and asked, "I have become old, and I am feeling very regretful that I wasted my life - enjoying mundane pleasures, never listening to the saints. Now there is no time left to practice and discipline virtue. But our great sages have found a shortcut for people like me: I am going to the Ganges. And the Ganges was flowing just behind the temple of Ramakrishna, where they were discussing it.
Ramakrishna said, "You are going to the Ganges? But the Ganges is flowing just behind the temple.
You can have as many dips as you want; you can swim, you can become a fish, you can remain in the Ganges. Why should you go to Allahabad?"
He said, "Because unless a priest is chanting special mantras, the Ganges will not be of any help.
The priest is needed as a mediator."
Ramakrishna was a very simple man. He said, "If you have to go, then you have to go. Just remember one thing: have you seen the big trees standing on the bank of the Ganges?"
He said, "Yes, I have seen them, but what do those trees have to do with it?"
Ramakrishna said, "Perhaps you are not aware.... It is true that when the priest chants the mantras and you take a dip, all your sins are washed away. But have you ever thought, where do they go?"
He said, "I have never thought about it."
Ramakrishna said, "They just jump out of you, sit on the trees and wait for you to come out. How long can you remain in the Ganges, and how long can the priest go on chanting? They really enjoy it; your sins enjoy and laugh at the foolishness - because soon you will pass under those trees.
They will jump on you again. And the danger is that somebody else's sins may also jump on you.
They have a choice. They may be getting bored with the person they have been with. Looking at a beautiful guy like you.... Your sins are bound to jump on you, but others' sins... all those trees are not standing there without purpose. You can go, but remain in the Ganges; never come out of it."
He said, "That will mean death."
Ramakrishna said, "I cannot help it."
Every religion first creates the idea of guilt in you. Guilt for what? Because you loved a woman, because you loved a man? What is wrong in it? Because you enjoyed beautiful clothes? What is wrong in it? Existence is not against beauty; otherwise it would not create the peacock, with so many colors. Existence is not against beauty; otherwise there would be no flowers, only thorns.
Existence is not against enjoyment. The birds are singing, calling their lovers, the peacocks are dancing, rainbows appear in the sky, the silent music of the night and millions of stars... existence is so immensely beautiful. But religions say, "To appreciate beauty, to be sensitive to beauty, is a sin.
Even to enjoy your food is a sin" - anything that gives you pleasure, they are all against it - "and you will regret it, one day. It is better to live the life of a desert, not of a garden."
This anti-life attitude... when people become old, weak, sick, and death is knocking on their doors, they become victims of these ideas. So it is significant that your...elders remember pleasures with regret like wrongs committed in drunkenness. This is sheer foolishness! Those pleasures are gifts of existence to you. Rather than being grateful, you are being repentant; rather than being thankful you are suffering regret.
Religions have destroyed human souls so badly that man will never attain dignity until all religions disappear into museums. They don't have any place in life.
Kahlil Gibran says:
BUT REGRET IS THE BECLOUDING OF THE MIND AND NOT ITS CHASTISEMENT.
It does not make you chaste, it simply clouds your mind, makes you miserable. What kind of a virtue is it that does not give you a dance, a smile - it simply beclouds your mind? You are already full of all kinds of holy cowdung... and then regret.
People die regretting - miserable, afraid, guilty, sinners. They miss the beauty of death, the silence of death, the depth of death. They miss the highest climax of life.
Death is not an end.
It is the very crescendo of life.
They have missed their life because they never lived totally. They were not allowed, by all these religions, to live totally. They have always been thirsty and hungry because their cups have never been full, never been overflowing. And just a little water does not quench the thirst; instead it makes it worse - you feel more thirsty. Under the unfortunate influence of religions, man has become almost a skeleton, losing his dignity, his beauty, his courage, his boldness - just full of rubbish. And he dies with tears, not with a smile on his lips.
It is good to watch somebody dying. Just see the face of the man - is it radiant with joy? That shows he has lived his life; he has not bothered about all these idiotic ideas irrelevant to life, against life.
Anything that is against life is against God, because life and God are simply different names for the same source. But you will rarely find a man dying with a radiant face. You will see the miserable, the sinner - all has surfaced; fear of punishment, of hell, is written on the face.
I have never found anything more criminal than the teachings of religions... murderous. But their whole business depends on murdering you, inch by inch, destroying your courage to live, making you afraid to go with the unknown.
Kahlil Gibran says:
They should remember their pleasures with gratitude... not with regret.
It was a beautiful life - full of sweet memories of love, of friendship, of music, of poetry, of painting, of creativity. Such a beautiful life - which you had not asked for, a free gift - and you are dying with regret?
You should die with gratitude.
All that happened has made you mature, centered, grounded, has made you fulfilled, content, has led you to the highest peaks and greatest depths. You have known the beauty of darkness, and you have known the beauty of light.
Even if there have been mistakes, there is nothing to regret - you were new in the world, you were a child in the world. Many times you fell, but each fall made your feet stronger, each fall made you fall less. Each fall has been a tremendous learning; it has created compassion in you.
When somebody else falls, you don't condemn him - you know he is as human as you are. You don't have any judgment about it. One learns only through mistakes; if a person decides that he will not commit any mistake, he is not going to learn anything in life. He will come empty, he will go empty.
I have heard... in a holiday resort in California, a beautiful limousine stopped in front of a hotel. A woman came out and asked the manager, "Send out four persons immediately. My son has to be taken to the room which is reserved."
The manager of course thought that the son must be crippled. He sent four strong men, because he saw that the son was very fat. But those four people found that he had perfect legs. Why should he be carried, like a corpse? Even the manager was amazed - a beautiful boy, not more than twelve years old, but so fat. The manager asked the woman, who was the mother of the child, "Why are you... is he sick? Is there some problem? Why is he being carried? Can't he walk just a few steps?"
She said, "We can afford it. Walking is for those who are poor. My son will never walk; he has always been carried by servants."
But do you think this son will ever live if he is not allowed to walk because the mother can afford servants? If he cannot walk, can you imagine that he will ever dance? - servants can dance. Will he ever love? - servants can do that.
Love is a great exercise. It must be remembered that not a single human being, man or woman, has ever died while making love. No heart attack.... People have been dying in all kinds of situations, but never while making love, because while making love their life comes to its climax. That is not the moment to die; that is the moment to live, and drink the juice. No man has ever died of a heart attack while making love - that is the safest way to survive. The most dangerous place is your bed:
ninety-nine percent of people die in the bed, remember that! When everybody is gone, just slip onto the floor if you want not to die; it is up to you - but the bed is the most dangerous place.
THEY SHOULD REMEMBER THEIR PLEASURES WITH GRATITUDE, AS THEY WOULD THE HARVEST OF A SUMMER.
Life should be a sowing of seeds - of pleasure, of songs - and life should be a harvest of the summer. An authentic man who has lived totally, without being disturbed by all kinds of idiots - Christian, Hindu, Mohammedan.... They are dead, and they don't want you to live either. They have been stupid, and they are jealous that you may live and enjoy. So in every temple, every synagogue, every church, whatever is being taught is against life, against love, against enjoyment, against pleasure. But what remains then - just to be miserable?
If you remain miserable, then naturally your death is going to be a darkness. But if you have lived your life totally - with joy, all its ups and downs, all its tears and laughters - your death is going to be a beauty, an opening of a door to more life, on a higher level, to more consciousness.
YET IF IT COMFORTS THEM TO REGRET, LET THEM BE COMFORTED.
There are so many miserable people - in fact, they are the majority - and they cannot tolerate anybody else who is not miserable....
Why is the whole world against me? I have not harmed anybody, I have not committed any crime. It is unprecedented that the whole world, all the religions, all the nations, all the politicians, should be against a man who is absolutely innocent.
But I know their reason, why they are against me:
They are miserable, and I teach you to be blissful.
They have been living in sadness - sadness has become their second nature - and I teach you to live fully, intensely and totally. Then even your tears will be part of your laughter. Then your dark nights will also be nothing but moments of relaxation and peace, and wombs for a new day, a new dawn.
My teaching is for life, and all the teachings in the world that have gone by are against life - that is their problem. And they cannot argue.
Kahlil Gibran says: yet if it comforts them to regret, let them be comforted. It is their business. Just say the truth, and leave it up to them; don't disturb even their misery. Perhaps deep down they are enjoying their misery.
It is a well-established psychological fact that people enjoy misery because it brings sympathy.
When you are miserable, everybody is sympathetic to you, everybody comforts you. When you are happy, nobody comes to you to comfort you, to sympathize with you - that would be absurd. It is a very cunning game: You are miserable, somebody sympathizes with you; you enjoy the sympathy - because you have missed love.
Sympathy is a poor substitute for love, very poor. You don't know love. You think sympathy is a very loving attitude, so you enjoy sympathy; and the person who is sympathizing enjoys seeing you in misery. He becomes higher than you; he is the sympathizer, not the sympathized - he is in a better position. When your house is burning, the whole town will gather to sympathize with you, feeling deeply happy that their houses are not burning.
My grandfather died. In my family, he was the oldest, and I was the youngest, but by a strange coincidence, we were great friends. And all those who were in between were against both of us.
They were against me; they said, "You take the old man to the movies? It doesn't look right at his age." And when a great woman dancer had come to the city, and I took my grandfather, the whole family was so angry that when we came home, they would not open the doors.
I shouted to them, "What is the matter? If you don't open the doors, I will wake up the whole neighborhood."
They knew that when I say something I mean business, so they immediately opened the doors. They said, "You are spoiled, but we had never thought that a small child would spoil the oldest man of the family. That woman is a prostitute."
I said, "We had not gone to any prostitute, we had gone to see a beautiful dancer. She may be a prostitute in your eyes, but we have nothing to do with her private life, that is her business. We had gone to see her dance. She dances so beautifully that I could not afford not to take my grandfather; he is my friend."
Whenever a saint had come to the town, he used to take me and he would tell me, "Make a good mockery of him. Ask such questions that he cannot answer. And don't be worried - I am with you." So I used to stand in the middle of the meeting, and my grandfather would be standing by my side, with his big staff, so nobody could interfere with me. They knew, "That grand old man is also dangerous." Slowly, slowly saints stopped coming, because they had no answers for any real questions - just small questions, but they had no answers.
When he died, I was sitting.... It was a beautiful winter morning and the sun had risen. I was just sitting at the door, because everybody else of the house was surrounding the old man. One of my uncles asked, "This is strange; your great friend is dead, and you are sitting outside the house enjoying the morning sun."
I said, "When he was alive none of you sat with him, except me. I am just giving you a chance; there will never be a chance again. But you can sit only by the side of the dead, not by the side of the living."
Neighbors came to sympathize, to comfort - they met me first, because I was sitting outside the house - and they would start weeping, and tears would be rolling down their face. I said, "Don't pretend," and they were very much shocked. I said, "These tears are crocodile tears, because I never saw you coming to the old man when he was alive. He was a lion; he could have made a breakfast of you. Now that he is dead....
But he had lived so totally, and his death was so beautiful. At the last moment he called me, took my hand in his hand, and said, "I have lived totally, without any regret. Just remember it: never listen to anyone, just listen to your own heart."
So I said to the neighbors, "There is no need to cry for a man who lived so blissfully, so beautifully.
When your grandfather dies, then you can cry. And remember, I will not come, even to comfort you."
They could not understand what I was saying, and when somebody from my family dragged them in, they said, "Don't talk to him." They said, "He said very insulting things to us - that our tears are crocodile tears."
Coming back, I said, "Enjoy that your grandfather is still alive. In this comfort, I can see your heart enjoying that somebody else's grandfather has died. Your grandfather is alive, but I want to tell you - your grandfather has been dead all his life!"
They said, "We are not even talking to you."
I said, "It doesn't matter. But I wanted to be clear to you that all this comfort and sympathy is for those who have missed life, who have missed love, who have not lived according to their own longings."
My grandfather was a simple man, but unpolluted, uncorrupted by the priests. His death was as beautiful as his life.
Kahlil Gibran says: yet if it comforts them to regret... if they feel some kind of consolation in regret - perhaps they think by regretting, repenting, they will be forgiven - then...let them be comforted.
But they have missed the whole opportunity that was given to them by nature. They had come empty-handed, and they have gone empty-handed.
AND THERE ARE AMONG YOU THOSE WHO ARE NEITHER YOUNG TO SEEK NOR OLD TO REMEMBER....
The middle-aged people - they are not young, vibrant with energy, overflowing with life, seeking and searching new ways of finding more and more pleasure and ultimately, blissfulness. If you are not too young to seek, nor too old to remember.... The old man has nothing else left - he simply remembers, regrets. Life has slipped out of his hands, and there is no way of going back; there is no way of getting that life again.
AND IN THEIR FEAR OF SEEKING AND REMEMBERING THEY SHUN ALL PLEASURES....
These middle-aged people are in a kind of limbo. They are not young enough to seek, they are not old enough to regret. They are hanging in between, wishy-washy. They can't go the way the young can go, they can't go the way the old go. They are in a constant conflict and division - some part of them wants to be young, and some part of them wants to be old. They live in anguish.
I must remind you that most heart attacks happen nearabout the age forty-two, or a year earlier, or a year later. Youth is gone, old age has not come, and the tension is too much. A heart attack in these years is really not a physical thing. Of course, it expresses as a physical symptom, but deep down it is psychological.
The middle-aged man lives the most difficult life. He is like a bridge - neither on this side, nor on that side. He cannot mix with those who are still dancing, and he cannot mix with those who are praying and confessing in churches, in temples, in mosques. He is really lost; he does not know what to do, where to go. And this happens only because he has not lived his youth totally.
If you have lived your youth totally, you will remain young to the very last breath of your life. Your body may become old, but your freshness and youthfulness will remain the same.
Hindus brag very much that, in their calculation of time, the beginning was the best age: satyuga, the age of truth. And they brag about it because nobody died young.
I was talking to a Hindu saint, and I said, "Don't brag about it; it is nothing to be bragged about. I see some other meaning in it, and my meaning is supported by immense evidence discovered by science. The farther back we go... we have found skeletons of people who must have died at the age of forty; we have not found a single skeleton of a man who has lived more than forty years, so don't brag about it - you are not aware of the reality. The reality is, that in your satyuga people used to become old nearabout thirty-five, and died nearabout forty. Naturally, nobody died young."
But in my conception, just the reverse should be the case; even if you die at the age of ninety or a hundred, you should still die young. Your youthfulness is a totally different phenomenon to your aging: aging is physical; youthfulness is your approach towards life.
If you are for life and not against life, you will remain young - in your inner world - to the very last breath, and there will be no middle age.
Middle age is a gap - a gap which is more like a nightmare, because youth is gone and old age has not come yet. You cannot seek pleasures, and you cannot even regret - regret for what? You have never lived; the question of regret does not arise. So the man feels utterly empty between youth and old age. The gap is horrible - the most painful experience of life.
And in their fear of seeking and remembering they shun all pleasures.... They cannot seek pleasures, because it looks embarrassing to mix with the young people, to go to a disco and dance - a middle-aged person feels out of place; and he cannot sit with the old, who are only full of repentance. His situation is really bad! This was just a small experience of middle age.
... THEY SHUN ALL PLEASURES, LEST THEY NEGLECT THE SPIRIT OR OFFEND AGAINST IT.
They live only in fear, in trembling.
BUT EVEN IN THEIR FOREGOING IS THEIR PLEASURE.
There is a psychological disease called "masochism". No ancient scripture even has any idea about it; not that the disease was not existent then - it was more existent than it is now - but they had a different name for it. They used to call it "saintliness." "Masochism" is derived from a man's name, Masoch. He used to beat himself, torture himself. Unless there is some pleasure in it, why should one do it?
There is also a contrary disease which balances masochism, and that is sadism. That, too, comes from the name of a man, de Sade. Sadism means enjoying torturing others. By the way, if a sadist and a masochist get married, that will be the best couple in the world. They will be absolutely happy, because both are enjoying - one is enjoying being tortured, one is enjoying torturing. If you are getting married, don't ask the astrologer, go to a psychoanalyst and find out to which class you belong. If you are a sadist, then getting married to a sadist is a misfortune; if you are a masochist, then getting married to a masochist means you will suffer your whole life and will never get any pleasure. Find out to which class you belong, sadist or masochist, and always marry the opposite one - just as a man marries a woman.
People who are continually repenting about the sins that they committed in drunkenness, in their youth, you watch their faces. They enjoy it.
One woman was confessing in a Catholic confession booth. The priest was tired of the woman, because she went into such detail that even he himself started feeling a sexual urge. She used to say, "Father, forgive me, I made love. And ask God also to forgive me." And then she would go into the detail of how it happened, step-by-step. The first time it was okay, the second time...? The third time it was too much - because it was the same details, the same man.
The priest asked, "If you regret it so much, then why do you go on making love to that man?"
She said, "Who is making love to that man? It happened only once, but just to remember it gives me so much pleasure. It is such a pleasant memory - and whom to tell it to? This confessing is the only place.... I wait seven days, think of me, so that when Sunday comes I will go again; and I go into the whole detail, again and again."
The priest said, " Listen, the first time the details were not so great, the second time they became greater, and the third time they became even greater."
She said, "When you are enjoying something, why not exaggerate?"
My own experience about people who are always saying that they have gone astray in their youth, have forgotten God, have not listened to the advice of the wise ones, is the same: I have always seen their face aglow. They are enjoying it again. It is not just memory; they are reliving it again.
In their mind, these are two different things. A memory is mechanical - two plus two are four, this is memory. But remembering they made love to a woman or a man, I have seen them excited, and their face becoming red, and their eyes again becoming young, shining. This is not regret; they are reliving it.
So even in people's regret, repentance, there is something that gives them pleasure, but it is hidden underneath. So on the surface they are trying to become saints, and deep in their psyche they are enjoying something that they cannot live anymore. Those days are gone; that energy is gone, but they can at least relive it. But if they relive it directly everybody will condemn them; so confession, repentance, regret, is a good excuse. In this way the confessor enjoys - and the priest too.
I have heard... a woman was describing that she has been raped. The father, the priest, knew that the woman was a beautiful woman. He told her, "This is very bad. You should have resisted; you should have done everything to prevent it."
She said, "I tried, but half-heartedly. That's why I have come to confess, because otherwise it is not my sin - somebody else has raped me. He should have come to confess, but I have come to confess. Although I was trying, my effort was half-hearted; deep down I wanted to be raped." At this moment the priest was also an ordinary human being, not an enlightened Gautam Buddha. He said, "The case is too serious; you come to my room. First I want to understand the exact details of what he did."
The woman said, "He told me to undress." The priest said, "So did you undress?" She said, "I undressed." The priest said, "This is strange, if you knew that he was going to rape you...."
She said, "I never knew that he was going to rape me. I thought perhaps some medical examination or something... so I undressed." The priest said, "Do it, so that I can see how you did it."
She undressed. The priest kissed the woman and asked, "Did he do this?" The woman said, "Yes, father, but he did more."
So he started playing with her breasts, and asked, "Did he do that?" She said, "Yes father, but he did more."
It was too much. Now the father was trembling; he forgot all about THE HOLY BIBLE and God and confession, and made love to the woman. And he asked, "Did that rascal do this, too?"
The woman said, "Yes, father, and he did something more." He said, "Something more? It is inconceivable. What ???something more?'"
The woman said, "Father, he gave me gonorrhea."
But this is how your priests, all your confessions, go on. Now the father regrets it - but it is too late.
AND THUS THEY TOO FIND A TREASURE THOUGH THEY DIG FOR ROOTS WITH QUIVERING HANDS.
BUT TELL ME, WHO IS HE THAT CAN OFFEND THE SPIRIT?
This is a very significant question he is raising.
Kahlil Gibran is saying: but tell me, who is he that can offend the spirit?
These small things that you are regretting cannot offend the source of life, because in fact it is the source of life itself that is expressing itself through you. You are not responsible. By regretting, you are unnecessarily making yourself important - as if it is your doing. It is not your doing. All that you have done, if it has been done by your natural longings then if anybody is responsible it is the very source of life. You need not confess.
Confession is nothing but a new decoration for the ego: "I have done it, and now I am doing another thing - I am regretting it."
Kahlil Gibran says: There is no way to offend the spirit. Either you can live naturally, joyously, or you can live in misery; but you offend only yourself, you wound only yourself. You cannot offend the spirit, the universal source of life. You are too small. A dewdrop cannot offend the ocean, whatever the dewdrop does.
It is something to be remembered always that you cannot offend existence; hence there is no need for any regret, no need to feel guilty. It is the universal spirit itself, expressing itself in different forms.
Don't take the responsibility on your shoulders - that is an egoist standpoint. That's why if you see your saints you will find all of them full of ego.
SHALL THE NIGHTINGALE OFFEND THE STILLNESS OF THE NIGHT...?
When the nightingale sings in the night, is the silence of the night offended? No, not at all - on the contrary, the nightingale's song makes the silence of the night deeper. Before the song, after the song... you can feel the depth. The nightingale's song has not been a disturbance but an offering; it has made the silence a fullness, not just empty.
... OR THE FIREFLY, THE STARS?
Can a firefly offend the spirit of the stars? Should she confess, should she go to a Catholic Church?
Nobody is offended. In fact, the firefly brings something of the stars closer to you, closer to your garden, closer to your roses and your flowers, sometimes even inside your house - something of the stars, in the darkness of your room.
It is not offending the stars. It is a messenger, there is no question of any regret. It is not competing with the stars, it is simply bringing, in a small amount, the same light, the same dance. Where stars cannot reach, the firefly can reach.
AND SHALL YOUR FLAME OR YOUR SMOKE BURDEN THE WIND?
Do you think your flame, your youth, your smoke, or your old age, can burden the wind? Then what is the need to repent? Jesus was obsessed with repentance; He repeats the word more than any other word - "Repent, repent," again and again.
Christianity is a religion of repentance; hence I say it is the lowest religion in comparison to other religions. And the sole responsibility goes to Jesus because he is emphasizing repentance, making you feel guilty. But life is always balancing....
Zarathustra balances Jesus. Zarathustra is the only person out of all the religious founders who is in deep love with life. Perhaps that is the reason why the followers of Zarathustra are the smallest minority in the world. They live here in Bombay, mostly; Bombay is their whole world. Just a few fragments maybe live in Khandala and Lonavala, but Poona is the end; beyond it, you will not find any follower of Zarathustra. And nobody thinks them religious - because they love life, they enjoy life.
When Friedrich Nietzsche wanted to write something parallel to the gospels of Jesus, he chose the name of Zarathustra - although he knew not much about Zarathustra. It is such a small minority that nobody includes it in the world religions. But Friedrich Nietzsche was as much in love with life as Zarathustra, and that is the link.
When he wrote THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA he is speaking in the name of Zarathustra; but whatever he is speaking, without knowing Zarathustra, is harmonious with the spirit of Zarathustra - because it is the only life-affirmative religion in the world. Friedrich Nietzsche is Zarathustra reborn; neither Zarathustra has been understood, nor Friedrich Nietzsche.
This book, THE PROPHET, was written by Kahlil Gibran under the impact of Friedrich Nietzsche's book THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA. He was so impressed by the book that he himself tried to write a book on similar lines. Zarathustra is not a historical figure to Nietzsche, because he knew nothing about Zarathustra, except the name, but he had chosen the right spokesman for his own philosophy.
In the same way, Kahlil Gibran has chosen Almustafa - a fictitious name - and is speaking through him. Almustafa is just a mask. The mask was needed because he is saying things which go against Christianity; but because it is only a fiction, nobody is offended. Even the popes have not listed his book on their black list, saying that no Catholic should read it. My books are on their black list - no Catholic should read them; even reading them is committing a great sin.
THINK YOU THE SPIRIT IS A STILL POOL WHICH YOU CAN TROUBLE WITH A STAFF?
OFTENTIMES IN DENYING YOURSELF PLEASURE YOU DO BUT STORE THE DESIRE IN THE RECESSES OF YOUR BEING.
In this single statement, the whole philosophy of Sigmund Freud is contained. In denying yourself pleasure... you are but storing all those desires in your unconscious. Soon they will explode, or they will find some perverted way. All sexual perversion in the world is because of the life-denying religions. Homosexuality, sodomy, and all kinds of perversions are not going to disappear unless celibacy is banned, and renunciation of life is condemned by the whole of humanity as a sin against life.
Man goes on becoming more and more perverted; and the wonder of wonders is that the same people who are responsible for creating homosexuality, sodomy, and all kind of strange things, are the cause of it - on the one hand they condemn homosexuality, and on the other hand they preach celibacy.
Homosexuality and sodomy were born in the monasteries of religions. Hence I condemn all those religions - because they are responsible for creating a dangerous disease, AIDS. It is a religious disease, a spiritual disease, a very respectable disease, and it has an ancient heritage; all the great founders of religion have contributed to it.
But still man seems to be not in his senses. Now many governments of the world are passing laws against homosexuality - homosexuality is a crime now in many places - but nobody is talking about proclaiming celibacy to be a crime, although it is celibacy that has created homosexuality.
Homosexuality is only a symptom, and fighting with the symptom is not going to help. The disease will come from some other source - perhaps worse. If homosexuality is stopped, sodomy will come in. Sodomy means making love with animals; it comes from the Old Testament. There used to be a city, Sodom, where people used to make love to animals; hence the word "sodomy." If you stop homosexuality, you will push people towards sodomy; then stop sodomy - but don't look at the root cause!
No animal in the wild is ever homosexual, but animals turn homosexual in a zoo because they cannot find the female. What can they do with their sexual energy? To say it exactly; religions have turned the whole earth in a zoo.
WHO KNOWS BUT THAT WHICH SEEMS OMITTED TODAY, WAITS FOR TO-MORROW?
Today you can suppress something, but tomorrow it will assert itself with vengeance. Today it was natural, tomorrow it will be perverted.
EVEN YOUR BODY KNOWS ITS HERITAGE AND ITS RIGHTFUL NEED AND WILL NOT BE DECEIVED.
Listen to the wisdom of your body. It knows its heritage, it knows its longings. Rather than listening to THE HOLY BIBLE, and the holy KORAN, and the holy GITA, listen to the holy body.
AND YOUR BODY IS THE HARP OF YOUR SOUL, AND IT IS YOURS TO BRING FORTH SWEET MUSIC FROM IT OR CONFUSED SOUNDS.
If you remain natural, there will come sweet music. If you become perverted, your body will create only confused sounds.
AND NOW YOU ASK IN YOUR HEART, "HOW SHALL WE DISTINGUISH THAT WHICH IS GOOD IN PLEASURE FROM THAT WHICH IS NOT GOOD?"
GO TO YOUR FIELDS AND YOUR GARDENS, AND YOU SHALL LEARN THAT IT IS THE PLEASURE OF THE BEE TO GATHER HONEY OF THE FLOWER, BUT IT IS ALSO THE PLEASURE OF THE FLOWER TO YIELD ITS HONEY TO THE BEE.
Remember - there is nothing bad in life; it is only that one part enjoys giving and another part enjoys receiving. It is almost like your two hands - one hand gives, the other hand takes.
He is saying, "Rather than philosophizing about the problem, just go into the garden and see that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey; but it is not bad, it is not harming the flowers.... but it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee. They both are enjoying the moment.
When the bee is humming with joy, gathering honey, and the flower is dancing in the sun, yielding its honey, there is nothing wrong.
If priests were asked they would say to the bees, "This is not good. You are stealing honey, and you are not rightfully married to the flower. Where is your marriage certificate?"
And they will also condemn the flower, "It is not good to attract honey bees for your honey, because this is creating lust." The priests are very clever in destroying all that is beautiful.
Life is both - day and night, the flower and the bee, the man and the woman, birth and death.
Nothing is wrong and nothing is evil.
To understand this is to enter into the world of religious consciousness.
FOR TO THE BEE A FLOWER IS A FOUNTAIN OF LIFE, AND TO THE FLOWER A BEE IS A MESSENGER OF LOVE, AND TO BOTH, BEE AND FLOWER, THE GIVING AND THE RECEIVING OF PLEASURE IS A NEED AND AN ECSTASY. PEOPLE OF ORPHALESE, BE IN YOUR PLEASURES LIKE THE FLOWERS AND THE BEES.
Or should I read, "People of Poona - except the police commissioner of Poona - be in your pleasures like the flowers and the bees!"