The priests perhaps are the only people in the world who do not know anything about religion, because to make God a profession is simply unbelievable.
Love can never be a profession.
Priests belong to the same category as prostitutes. Perhaps prostitutes are better than the priests because they sell only their body, their lust - but not their love. But the priests are selling the highest form of love, known as God. Naturally they know nothing about God, although they are full of knowledge about God. But to know ABOUT God and to KNOW God are totally different things.
To know about is borrowed. There are things which cannot be borrowed. My thirst I cannot give to you, neither can I give my well-being to you.
I cannot invite you to my innermost soul.
There one goes in absolute aloneness.
But the priests have converted the idea of God into a great profession; perhaps they are worse than the prostitutes. Without priests there would have been no prostitutes. It is because of them that prostitutes exist.
You will be surprised to know that in India, particularly in the South, every temple had prostitutes - not one, but dozens of them. They just have changed their names - they were called devadasis, servants of God - but their function was to attract people to the temple. The temple that had the most beautiful prostitutes prospered, accumulated much money.
They made it a rule that any beautiful girl born in their city had to be offered to the god. Now, this god is a dead statue of stone; the beautiful girl was really offered to the priests. They used these women for their own sexual lust, and afterwards they became their advertisement to call the customers to come to their temple. Richer customers would remain there not for worshiping God, but for enjoying the prostitutes. And these priests never thought that they were functioning like pimps. But this has been so in different ways all around the world.
Prostitution is a by-product of a forced marriage, and priests created the forced marriage. They don't call it forced marriage, they call it arranged marriage - but who has the right to arrange marriage?
Love knows its own ways. It needs no astronomers, no priests, no palmists; it finds its own way.
It is stupid to say that love is blind. This idea, that love is blind, has been created by those who want to be guides for the blind. Lust is blind; love is just the opposite - clear perceptivity. The more loving you are, the more your perception is clear and profound.
But whenever you create a forced institution, on the side something ugly happens - on the margin - because man cannot remain in bondage. And if marriage becomes a bondage, then he wants some freedom. And that freedom has destroyed millions of women.
In the West recently, because of the women's liberation movement, a new institution has come into being - male prostitution. If men and women are equal, then why should only women be prostitutes?
Why should there not also be men who are prostitutes? In cities like London or San Francisco you will find male prostitutes too. The woman is coming out of bondage, just as man has always lived, but it is ugly. And who is responsible? The priests are the responsible people.
There is no need of priests in the world - they don't have any function to do. By definition, a priest is a mediator between you and God, but what is the need of a meditator? You are children of God; does a child need a mediator to his own mother or to his own father? Perhaps he may not be so articulate in communication but even his inarticulate communication is far more beautiful and innocent and real and sincere than a mediator's.
First the priests created the idea of God; it is one of the most unnecessary hypotheses.
Nobody needs God.
Yes, everybody needs godliness, everybody needs to become divine - that is the further evolution of humanity, the highest peak of consciousness.
But priests are not interested in godliness - because godliness is a quality that you have to grow within your soul. They need a God far away in the sky. Once you have accepted the idea, then certainly the God is so far away - you have never seen him, you have no conception of what this God is - you need somebody to give you the definition of God, to give you rituals that will lead you to God; you need someone as a guide. The God is bogus, but the guide needs the God; otherwise who is going to be exploited in the name of God?
In the name of God, more crimes have happened on the earth than in any other name. Millions of people have been killed, burnt alive, just for a name which is contentless. But the priest needs it.
Without the God, the priest and his temple and his rituals and his scriptures - holy scriptures - all disappear. It is a very strange thing: Hindus think their VEDAS are written by God, Jews believe their TORAH is written by God, Christians believe THE BIBLE is written by God, and the same is true about all other religions. But all these scriptures are so contradictory that either God is mad, or these are inventions of the priests. And different priests in different cultures, different societies, had to invent different ideas.
For example, in India, the paradise is always cool. They had not come to know the word "air- conditioning" at that time, but the description is exactly that Hindus' paradise is air-conditioned, centrally air-conditioned; because India is so tortured by the heat of the sun, the priest has to give an idea which appeals to those tortured by the sun. But the Tibetan priest cannot believe that paradise is air-conditioned. The Tibetan priest has a very warm, always sunny, never-clouded sky, with no snow... and they are talking about the same paradise!
But they are talking to different people, and they have to fulfill their needs. So it is not God or paradise that they are defining; they are simply consoling you. The Hindus have in their hell eternal fire, of course, for the sinners; the fire burns them, but does not kill them and they go on being burned for eternity. Death would have been a great blessing, but the fire simply burns; it does not kill. And the Tibetans have their hell all the year round full of snow, utterly cold. It does not take much intelligence to see that these people are not aware of reality. They are certainly aware of the need of the people....
And if for thousands of years a certain thing is repeated again and again, it starts becoming a truth.
Adolf Hitler used to say, "I don't see any difference between the truth and the lie. The only difference is that the truth is a lie repeated so often for centuries - and the lie is a new truth." It will take a little time to sink into your hearts. In the name of God they have been making everybody afraid; and a man who lives in fear does not live. Fear is exactly the opposite of freedom.
Man can live only in freedom.
Fear shrinks his soul.
He is constantly afraid to do anything, because everything that you can enjoy, everything that you can feel is beautiful, is condemned.
Yesterday we were talking about beauty. Almustafa forgot one thing - he forgot what the police commissioner of Poona says about beauty. He says: "Beauty is obscene." He has given orders to us that my people should not be obscene inside the ashram or outside the ashram. Perhaps he is unaware of the fact that five thousand years of thinking have not been able to describe what obscenity is.
He should give the definition - what does it mean to be obscene? To kill a man is not obscene, but to hug a man is obscene; to kill thousands of people is not obscene - a war, a world war is not obscene! Not a single priest has said that world war is obscene! But beauty is obscene, life is obscene - you should live hiding in dark caves. You should not come into the sunlight and you should not dance with the winds and you should not play with the trees and you should not sing with the birds - all these things are obscene. And the police commissioner with his gun is not obscene.
It seems there are death-worshipers, particularly the people who become attracted towards professions like the priests, the police, the army - they are in the service of death, not in the service of life; their whole profession is obscene, their very mind is obscene. But it is a strange story that they have been calling beauty obscene - is a roseflower obscene because it is naked?
There have been all kinds of idiots in the world. In England in the Middle Ages, ladies were very much influenced by the priests... for the simple reason that the man was free to go anywhere and the woman was only free to go to the church; naturally they became conditioned by the church more and more. In the Middle Ages they used clothes even for their dogs; when they would go for a morning walk and take the dog with them for a walk, it was covered with beautiful clothes. A naked dog is obscene! Not only that, even the legs of chairs - because they were called legs - are covered! Legs could not be naked, it was obscene. A poor chair...!
The priests are the most poisonous people in the world - they have divided humanity, they have given people superstitions, insane ideas. And here and old priest asked:
SPEAK TO US OF RELIGION.
The priests don't know what religion is. The question is out of ignorance, because I have known priests and monks of all kinds of religions - they are the most ignorant people about religion. They repeat like parrots, but religion has not been an experience to them.
The word religion is very beautiful, but because of these priests it has fallen into wrong company.
The word comes from an origin which means "coming together." But the priests have been doing just the opposite! They are creating splits in man, not oneness.
Religion means creating in man an organic unity. It has nothing to do with God, it has something to do with you. It has nothing to do with worship, it has something to do with a transformation of your own consciousness.
There should not be any conflict within you; whatever you do should be done in totality, with your wholeness. Then, whether you are chopping wood or carrying water from a well - it doesn't matter what you are doing - if you are doing it totally, fully, it is religion. Religion makes man healthy and whole.
But your religions have made man sick, split and schizophrenic. There are reasons for it - because a man who is healthy and whole cannot be enslaved and cannot be exploited. He has an individuality of his own and a style of life of his own. He is neither a Christian nor a Hindu nor a Mohammedan.
He is simply a child of this universe, as everybody else is. Nobody is higher and nobody is lower, nobody is a brahmin and nobody is a sudra. But the priests will disappear.
I have heard a beautiful story. In a pub one night a group of friends came and drank alcohol to the full. The shopkeeper was very happy, because such people don't come every day. When one of them was paying the money, he said, "I hope you will go on visiting us."
The man said, "Just pray for me - if my business prospers, I will be coming every day."
The man said, "Of course, I will pray morning and evening that your business prospers." And then suddenly the idea came to him, that it would be right to enquire what his profession is. So he asked, "Forgive me, but I want to know, what is your profession?"
The man said, "Don't ask that. I am a grave-digger! If more people die, my business goes well. If nobody dies, I cannot afford to come to your pub. So pray for my business - don't be bothered what my business is."
There are people whose business is grave-digging! Naturally their prayer will be, "God, don't forget me. I also have to survive. Kill as many people as you can!"
The priests have been praying in their hearts that man should never get out of his sickness, unhealthiness, insanity, because these are the people who come to the temple, to the mosque, to the synagogue, to the church. You will rarely find young people in the churches, but you will always find old men, old women, because now death is approaching, and only the priest knows how to help them. And the priests go on pretending that they know.
I was visiting a very beautiful place in Agra. Agra is famous all over the world because of the Taj Mahal. But in Agra and the surrounding area there is a small sect of Hindus called radhaswami. For almost one hundred years, their priests had been making something which should be better than the Taj Mahal. It is difficult, but they have made the ground floor; and the ground floor shows that, if they go on exploiting people, perhaps they will defeat the Taj Mahal one day. It is only half-built, but you can see even the half-built has more art, more beauty than the Taj Mahal.
They invited me to their temple, which is going to be the samadhi of their guru, who founded the religion, and they showed me, in beautiful marble, a map of stages of spiritual evolution; they said, "There are fifteen stages of evolution." Mohammed and Moses are just in the fourth stage; Jesus, a little better, in the fifth stage. Mahavira, a little better - sixth stage. Kabir and Nanak, a little better still, were in the seventh stage, and Gautam Buddha is also in the seventh stage. And then there is a gap. In the fifteenth stage - the last - is their own guru.
They said, "What do you think about it?"
I said, "It is absolutely right. Just one thing is missing in it - but it is bound to be missing."
They said, "What is missing in it?"
I said, "There are sixteen stages, not fifteen."
They said, "Sixteen? But in our scripture there are written only fifteen stages!"
I said, "It is written, because your guru has reached only fifteen stages. I am living in the sixteenth!
Your guru tries to enter, but I don't allow him - he goes on trying to climb to the sixteenth and I go on pushing him back to the fifteenth."
They were very shocked. And when I went there the next time, they had made sixteen stages, and their guru was in the sixteenth.
I said, "It won't work. Your guru could enter in the sixteenth because I have moved to the seventeenth! You cannot keep pace with me; your guru has to be one stage behind."
Stupid ideas, just mind games.... I said, "Your scripture has been saying there are only fifteen.
From where has this sixteen come? - because I mentioned it. I am not in any stage, I am not a prisoner. I have wings and I fly in an open sky where you don't leave even footprints - what to say of stages? Is this some kind of school? Somebody is in the kindergarten, somebody is in the middle school, somebody is in the high school; somebody is in the college, graduating, somebody is studying a postgraduate course in the university; somebody is working on his Ph.D. and somebody has a D.Litt."
I said, "Don't be foolish. Remove this stone. Your temple is coming beautifully, but this stone is ugly and shows your intrinsic desire - why you want to make it better than the Taj Mahal.
A spirit of competition is not the way of religion. Religion does not compete, because everyone is coming from the same source and going to the same source. A few people go slowly, a few people run, a few people have speed - that does not matter! There is no inferiority, no superiority.
Religion has nothing to do with your so-called ordinary world; it has something to do with your psyche, with your spirit. You should be one organic unity. Out of that organic unity arises the music which is celestial.
AND HE SAID, HAVE I SPOKEN THIS DAY OF AUGHT ELSE?
He is telling the priest, "You have not heard me. What else have I been talking about the whole day?
- talking about love, talking about creativity, talking about consciousness, talking about freedom."
But the mind of the priest does not think these things are religious. He means talk about God, talk about heaven and hell, talk about the theory of karma, talk about reincarnation - and all those things are just words, without any content.
Almustafa is talking about the authentic religion. I gave this book THE PROPHET to one of my colleagues in the department of philosophy of the university. He was teaching religion. He looked at the content and he said, "Why have you given this book to me? It is not about religion. Love, freedom, creativity, the relationship between parents and children - I don't see anything," he said to me, "about religion in it."
I said, "You don't know what religion is, and you have been teaching for almost twenty years! Not only are you in darkness, you have been spreading darkness amongst other people. These are the authentic religious questions. God is not; neither is hell nor heaven."
On his table I saw one book that he was reading - it was Swendenborg's HEAVEN AND HELL. That is "religion." Now what does this fellow Swendenborg know about heaven and hell? Fictions! So the first thing to remember is, religion is not a fiction. Don't get caught in fictitious ideas.
Religion is a reality, a day-to-day reality, a moment-to-moment reality that you are living. You can live your life religiously, you can live your life irreligiously; but again remember - the definition should not come from the priests, the definition should come from the mystics.
If you ask the priests, "What is living religiously?" then they will say, "Going to the church every Sunday." And what is church? - a religious kind of Rotary Club. It has a social function; people meet and gossip, and it is good. What else to do on Sunday? And it gives you respectability that you go every day, every Sunday.
Hindus have a different approach - go to the temple any day, any time. But the priest has to sleep also; so the Hindu priests have invented an idea - which does not exist in any other religion - that in the morning Krishna wakes up, and in the evening he goes to sleep, so you cannot go in the night.
It is really the poor priest who needs sleep; otherwise there are all kinds of idiots who will go in the middle of the night or at any time.
Man's stupidity knows no limits. I was staying in Punjab in one of my friends houses. As I passed from a room that was their small temple, I could not believe my eyes - I have never felt so sad about human beings. Sikhs don't have any statues in their gurudwaras; they are worshipers of a book, their holy book, GURU GRANTHA SAHIB. What I saw I could not believe. Guru Grantha Sahib, the book was there and just in front of the book - toothpaste and a toothbrush.
I said, "I have never thought in my life that toothpaste and a toothbrush have any religious meaning!"
He said, "They have! Guru Grantha Sahib will wake up, so the first thing is to wash his mouth."
I said, "You are absolutely an idiot, because this is only a book. If the Hindu brings food to his god, at least there seems to be some relationship - the god at least is a statue of man, although the god never eats; but there seems to be a certain relevance. But a book... after toothpaste, I think a cup of tea? Then lunchtime, then teabreak, then supper."
I asked my friend, "Have you ever thought about what you are doing?"
But religion is a fiction; the religion that has been taught and invented by the priests has no relationship with reality. That's why the priest could not get the idea that Kahlil Gibran is speaking religion and nothing else.
IS NOT RELIGION ALL DEEDS AND ALL REFLECTION...
It is not a question of worship; it is a question of living. All your deeds, all your thoughts, should be religious. But never ask the priest, because if your thoughts are concerned with beauty, truth, love, he will not think that they are religious. If your deeds are out of compassion, if your deeds are nothing but gratitude to existence, he will not think of them as religious.
AND THAT WHICH IS NEITHER DEED NOR REFLECTION, BUT A WONDER AND A SURPRISE....
Deeds are the outermost, the very periphery of your being; thoughts are a little deeper. But there are even deeper realms - wonder and surprise. No religion says that wonder and surprise are religious, that they are virtuous. But I say unto you, there is nothing more religious than eyes full of wonder, seeing a beautiful flower.
It is so unbelievable - out of the earth which has no colors, which has no fragrance, which has no greenery, arises a tree with green leaves, which brings flowers of different colors and different fragrances and fruits. And it is a miracle when you see a tree, because the tree is going against gravitation - gravitation pulls everything downwards. The tree is not even in the bondage of gravitation in which you are; the tree goes on rising higher and higher. It seems its destiny is the stars.
In Africa, where there are very thick forests, trees go very high - just to say "Hello" to the sun, to the moon. The forests are so thick that if you are a small tree or a small bush you don't have any chance of seeing the sky full of stars, of seeing a beautiful sunrise and a beautiful sunset. The trees are continually being religious. Even animals are full of wonder, full of curiosity; in their own way they are also searching and seeking something.
In Switzerland, at a small station, there is a statue of a dog. The dog belonged to a man who used to go every morning to work in the city; he lived in a small village. His dog used to come to give him a send-off every morning, and when he would return in the evening, the dog would be waiting on the platform to welcome him home.
But one day the man went and never returned. There had been an accident, and he died. But the dog waited. The train came; the dog went into every compartment, tears in his eyes, looking for his master. All the passengers left, but the dog would not leave. He waited for the next train - perhaps the man had missed the train.
He would not eat anything and he would not drink anything, and he was sitting in the same place continuously for seven days. At first the stationmaster and the staff tried to chase him away, but by and by, they felt that they were not doing good. With a continuous flow of tears, he was checking every train, day in, day out. Not a single train passed that he did not go into and look in every compartment. And on the seventh day, hungry - because he used to eat with his master - he died in the same place, waiting.
Can you say this dog was not religious? He knew what love is, more than human beings. He knew what friendship is, he knew what dedication is. And the village and the stationmaster realized the fact that they had been very cruel in chasing the dog away. Just as a repentance, they made a statue of the dog - who is still waiting, eyes fixed upon the same compartment from which his master used to come out.
Religion is something so vast. It is not confined in any church, in any temple, in any mosque; it is not confined in any scripture. It is a question of your consciousness. Are you full of wonder like a small child? Is there anything that surprises you? If nothing surprises you and nothing fills you with wonder, you are dead; otherwise, the whole existence is your temple. Trees are meditating, birds are praying, stars are continually moving around a center which science has not been able to find yet; perhaps their movement is nothing but a prayer.
As I see it, religion is not theology; it is more poetry, more mysticism, more innocence, more wonder, more surprise.
... EVER SPRINGING IN THE SOUL, EVEN WHILE THE HANDS HEW THE STONE OR TEND THE LOOM?
You may be doing anything, but your heart can be in meditation.
The great Indian mystic, Kabir, was a weaver. He had thousands of followers and they asked him again and again, "It doesn't look right that our master should continue to weave clothes, and every market day should go to the market, sit in the street and sell his clothes. We are here; we can fulfill all your needs - whatever you need."
Kabir laughed and he said, "You don't understand, because you can only see what is happening outside. When I am weaving the cloth, deep in my heart I know I am weaving it for God. Deep in my heart I know that I have to go to the market, because that unknown God may come in any disguise, as a customer."
He never addressed his customers in any other way than "God." He used to say, "So You have come?
Seven days I have been working for You. And remember, this is not just a cloth - I have woven my very heart into it. Take care of it. I have made it with great love, with great prayer. I had no idea in what disguise You would come, but You have come; whoever comes is a form of God. This is my only religion. I am a weaver; to weave with silence, with prayer in the heart, is my religion." So it is not a question of what you are doing.
WHO CAN SEPARATE HIS FAITH FROM HIS ACTIONS, OR HIS BELIEF FROM HIS OCCUPATIONS?
But that's what is happening all over the world: your faith is not your actions, your belief is not your occupations - you have separated them; you have imprisoned your God in a temple. Once in a while you go there, and the remaining time there is not even a small stirring in your heart for God.
Unless all your actions become your faith, your trust, unless all your efforts are full of love and prayer, you don't know what religion is. The religion that you are aware of is false, and the priests that you know, know nothing about the true religion. Your popes, your shankaracharyas, your Ayatollah Khomeini, these are not the people who know what religion is.
There was a mystic who was a potter. His name was Gorakh. He continued even after his enlightenment to make beautiful pottery. Many times his disciples said, "It doesn't look good."
He said, "I am a potter. I can pour my love and my creativity and the song of my heart only into creating beautiful pots, and I feel so happy when God comes to take them from me. That's why I don't have to go to any temple; God Himself comes in many disguises to my house. And because the pots are created for God, it is no longer just an occupation. It has become faith, it has become religion.
WHO CAN SPREAD HIS HOURS BEFORE HIM, SAYING, "THIS FOR GOD AND THIS FOR MYSELF; THIS FOR MY SOUL AND THIS OTHER FOR MY BODY"?
The mind that thinks in divisions is not a religious mind. The mind that thinks that something is profane and something is sacred is not religious.
You cannot say, "This for God and this for me" - because the one who knows God forgets all about himself - he not only forgets all about himself, he does not find himself at all. Either you can exist or God can exist - you both cannot exist together; there is no coexistence possible. If you are, then your God is phony. Only your disappearance will make God a reality, a truth. And you cannot even divide: This is for my soul and this is for my body; they are not separate, they are meeting in God.
Do you see a simple point? For thousands of years you have been divided in many ways - the body is separate, you are separate. But can you live a moment without breathing? Breathing is a function of the body, not of the soul. Just as without the soul the body cannot live - it dies, returns to the basic elements of life: air to the air, fire to the fire, earth to the earth, water to the water, sky to the sky - in the same way, without the body the soul cannot remain for a single moment. They are not two; they are meeting in God, they are bridged by God.
So don't say this is for my body and this is for my soul - you are one unit. Respect your body the same way as you respect your soul. Your body is as sacred as your soul is. In existence everything is sacred because the whole thing is throbbing with the heartbeat of the divine.
ALL YOUR HOURS ARE WINGS THAT BEAT THROUGH SPACE FROM SELF TO SELF.
You are moving moment to moment, from one stage of consciousness to another stage of consciousness. The body may be fast asleep, but it is also conscious. You know if you are asleep and a mosquito starts disturbing you - and particularly in Poona there are only two kinds of people who can disturb you, the mosquitos and the police commissioner; they belong, really, to the same category. Mosquitos are at least a little more gentlemanly; before they suck your blood they dance around you, they sing around you, they pay the price, and they don't carry guns - you remain asleep and your hand removes the mosquito. The body has its own consciousness.
The scientists say the body has millions and millions of living cells; each cell has its own life. You have lost the capacity of wonder; otherwise you would wonder first about your own body, how the body turns the bread into blood. We have not been able to find a factory yet where bread can be turned into blood. And not only that, it sorts out what is needed and what is not needed by your body; that which is not needed is thrown out, and that which is needed is needed for different functions.
The body goes on supplying different places, different parts of your body, whatever their need is.
You eat the same food for all your needs; out of the same food your bones are made, your blood is made, your skin is made, your eyes are made, your brain is made, and the body knows perfectly well what is needed and where it is needed. The blood is circulating continuously, supplying particular chemicals to particular parts.
Not only that, the body also knows the priority. The first priority is your brain - hence, if there is not enough oxygen, first the body will give the oxygen to the brain. The other parts are tougher and they can wait a little, but the brain cells are not so tough. If they don't get oxygen for six minutes they will die, and once they are dead they cannot be revived.
It is a tremendous work of intelligence to be alert about the different functions. When you have a wound, then the body stops supplying certain parts which can survive, but first the wound has to be healed. Immediately the white cells of the body rush towards the wound to cover it so it is not open.
And then inside, the work, the very subtle work, continues.
Medical science knows that we are not yet as wise as the body is. The most prominent physicians have said that we cannot cure the body; the body cures itself - we can only help. At the most our medicines can be of some help, but the basic cure comes from the body itself.
It is a wonder how it is being done. It is such a vast work. I have come to know from one scientist friend, who has been working on the functions of the body, that if we want to do all those functions we will need almost one square mile of factory with many complicated mechanisms, computers.
Then, too, we are not certain that we will succeed - and your religions have been condemning the body and telling you that to take care of the body is irreligious.
The Jaina monks don't take a bath because that is caring for the body, that is materialism. They don't brush their teeth. Guru Grantha Sahib brushes his teeth, but the Jaina monks don't brush their teeth. They used to meet me in the past, and I had to tell them, "Don't feel offended, but sit as far away as you can, because you stink." Moving naked on the dusty roads of India in hot sun, perspiring, gathering the dust, no mouth wash, no bath - and they are worshiped because of these stupid things! Because they have renounced the body, they don't care about the body. They don't know even what the body is; they have never wondered about its miracles. So don't say, "This is for my soul and this is for my body" - you are one.
First, inside you become one with your body, then become one with the whole existence. The day your heartbeat has a synchronicity with the universe and its heartbeat you have found religion - not before it.
HE WHO WEARS HIS MORALITY BUT AS HIS BEST GARMENT WERE BETTER NAKED.
There are people who think they can be moral without being religious. Morality is only a shadow that follows the religious man, not vice versa. It is not that you have to be moral first and then you can become religious - that's what the priests have been teaching you - first be moral! They are putting the cart before the bullocks. And if you have not moved anywhere - no evolution - there is nothing to be surprised about. Morality is only a very small thing.
If your consciousness rises to the height of religion, morality will come on its own. Morality grows like leaves on the trees; you simply water the trees. You take care of the roots. You need not pull the leaves out of the tree - you will destroy them; they will come when the time is ripe. You don't have to be worried about them. But all your so-called priests are teaching morality, and that's why people have become hypocrites. I have never come across a moral man who is not a hypocrite. Only a religious man has an authentic morality.
He who wears his morality but as his best garment... People are using morality as a decoration for their respectability. Kahlil Gibran is right when he says, "It was better he was naked." At least in his nakedness he would be natural, not a hypocrite. And out of being natural one can move towards being religious, but from hypocrisy you cannot move anywhere; it is a dead-end street, it goes nowhere.
The moral person is never joyful; he is always sad. It is a natural consequence of standing on your head. If existence wanted you to stand on your head, it would have grown legs on your head. But there are idiots who are trying to improve upon nature.
I have never seen a single yogi in the whole country who shows any intelligence, because standing on your head you disturb the whole system, the whole wisdom of the body; too much blood rushes towards the head because of gravitation. That much blood is not needed; it floods.... If the mind is flooded with blood its very delicate tissues, which create intelligence, are destroyed. Animals have not been able to create intelligence for the simple reason that they are horizontal beings; their whole body gets the blood in the same proportion.
Have you ever observed why you use a pillow in the night? Without the pillow you cannot sleep, because too much blood goes on coming - your head is lower than the body - and that blood goes on disturbing your whole mechanism; you cannot sleep. You need a pillow to keep your head a little higher, so it receives only the right proportion of blood.
Never be a hypocrite; whatsoever the price you have to pay, it is better to pay it. Hypocrisy is cheap - you don't have to pay anything for it - but you are destroying your very soul and your very possibility of growth.
THE WIND AND THE SUN WILL TEAR NO HOLES IN HIS SKIN.
Don't be worried. Even if you are naked, the wind and the rain and the sun will not tear holes in your skin.
Hypocrisy prevents reality reaching to you; it becomes a barrier. Yes, it gives you respectability - but what are you going to do with respectability? It has no essential meaning.
AND HE WHO DEFINES HIS CONDUCT BY ETHICS IMPRISONS HIS SONG-BIRD IN A CAGE.
Listen to your nature, not to the so-called priests and preachers. They will give you beautiful garments of morality and ethical conduct, but they will destroy your very center of being - or at least they will not allow you to reach to your own self. To miss your own self means you have missed your whole life.
THE FREEST SONG COMES NOT THROUGH BARS AND WIRES.
Out of bondage, out of the prison, the freest song cannot come; it is simply impossible. Only freedom becomes a song, and that song is the prayer that comes out of your freedom.
AND HE TO WHOM WORSHIPPING IS A WINDOW, TO OPEN BUT ALSO TO SHUT, HAS NOT YET VISITED THE HOUSE OF HIS SOUL WHOSE WINDOWS ARE FROM DAWN TO DAWN.
Religion is not a window; it is not a Sunday affair. It is not that in twenty-four hours, for one hour you become religious, and twenty-three hours you do everything which is irreligious. Do you think that one hour of phony religiousness can win over your twenty-three hours of sincere dishonesty? So if in the end you find all your worshiping has been in vain, nobody is responsible except yourself. Your prayer, your meditation should be...from dawn to dawn.
A beautiful incident is reported in the life of Gautam Buddha. One of his closest disciples, Ananda, was also his caretaker. He used to sleep in the same room. He was following Gautam Buddha like a shadow twenty-four hours a day. He was puzzled about one thing, that Buddha slept in a certain posture - which has become known as the "lion's posture" because of Buddha. He remained the whole night in the same posture. He did not toss and turn.
Ananda watched him many times, waking in the middle of the night, but he was in the same posture.
One day he said, "I am now tortured too much about one question, and I have to ask it. I am not supposed to ask such stupid questions, but it is going on and on in my mind: The whole night you remain in the same posture; do you sleep or not?"
Buddha said, "The body sleeps because the body is tired, but as far as my consciousness is concerned, it cannot sleep; so I am asleep and yet a part of me is witnessing. And I have found the right posture, the most restful posture, so there is no need to change it."
You must have observed that you change your posture too many times in the night if you are feeling restless in the mind. If your mind is relaxed, your changing of posture is less, but if the mind is completely transcended you can sleep in one posture.
People have been asking how I go on sitting in the same posture for two, three hours every day in the morning, in the evening. I have found the right posture for my legs, and when I am talking to you I am wholy and totally involved with it and my legs know perfectly well not to disturb me - I never disturb them. It is just a friendly contract.
Meditation is not something that you do, and then go for other things. Meditation is something like breathing: whatever you are doing is separate, but the breathing continues.
People come and ask me: "What is the right time for meditation? - morning, evening, night? How long should one meditate?" They are asking wrong questions.
It is not a question of the right time: Whenever you are meditating it is the right time, and whenever you are not meditating it is the wrong time. And it is not a question of how long you should meditate.
Meditation has to become your heartbeat; even when you are asleep the meditation continues like an undercurrent. So...from dawn to dawn....
I have seen many kinds of so-called religious people. In my village, just in front of my house, there was a sweetshop. The man was very religious - so-called religious; he was continuously having his beads in his hands. To avoid people seeing this, he had made a bag. Inside the bag he used to keep his hand, and his beads, and he went on repeating, "Rama, rama, rama..." with each bead.
That bead is a device of counting; otherwise, you will have to say, "Rama one, rama two, rama three..." and it will be difficult and more complicated - and you may forget the numbers. There are one hundred and eight beads, so if you have gone one round you have taken the name of God one hundred and eight times. Then the second round begins, and this goes on.
While he is doing this, if a dog enters and he chases the dog, the beads continue - he has forgotten "Rama" - and he will make some sound so that his wife comes and chases the dog. If a customer comes, one hand will go on doing the ritual while he sells the sweets and haggles about the price. I was wondering, "What kind of meditation is this?" It is not meditation; it is a very poor substitute for it.
Tibetans are more intelligent. They don't have beads, they have a wheel with one hundred and eight spokes. They go on doing their things, and go on turning the wheel. When the wheel slows down, they turn it again and their work continues. One lama was staying with me. I said, "Have you heard about electricity?"
He said, "Why are you asking that?"
I said, "Unnecessary trouble! Just plug your wheel into the electricity; it will go on - all the fans are going on. You need not bother. Even if you go out the prayer will continue; even if you die, the prayer will continue."
People have been deceiving even existence, even their own being. But this is sheer unintelligence.
Meditation does not mean to repeat a name, it does not mean to chant a mantra; it means to remain silent, centered, peaceful. Then you can do everything - but your inner silence remains untouched, your serenity remains without any disturbance. And that inner silence and serenity show from your eyes, from your hands, the way you walk, the way you sit - because it gives you a grace, a beauty.
That was the definition of Kahlil Gibran: beauty is not a need but an ecstasy. If your inner world remains in a silence, you will be living ecstasy, dawn to dawn; your whole life will become meditation.
Meditation is not a ritual. It has to become your very life, your very being; and then everything that you do will have grace, will have beauty.
In this silence you will come in contact with the silence of existence, because existence understands only one language - and that is the language of silence. It does not understand Sanskrit nor Hebrew nor Arabic nor Prakrit nor Pali; it does not understand any language other than the language of silence. When you say nothing you are heard; when you say something you are simply wasting your breath.
When you are so silent, as if you are absent, the miracle happens - the greatest miracle, I will call it. When you are absent you have a presence which is divine; and to attain this presence is to be religious. And the way to this presence is religion. It is not in the scriptures and it is not in the synagogues and gurudwaras - it is within you.
Yes, I say unto you again: The kingdom of God is within you.