From Ignorance to Innocence 18

Eighteenth Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - From Ignorance to Innocence by Osho.
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What is the difference between a religion and a cult? – because the Christians go on calling the people around you a cult. It seems difficult for them to accept us as a religion. What could be the reason behind it?
It is a complex question. You will have to understand many things before the question can be answered.
Religion is an individual experience. Only an individual can be religious. The cult is an establishment, it is an organization, it has nothing to do with religion at all. It exploits in the name of religion. It pretends to be religious and lives on the past.
For example, Christians will say that they have a two thousand year history. But the past is dead, it is a corpse. This is a very strange world in which we live. When Jesus was there, Jews could not accept him as religious: he and his followers were a “cult.”
Jesus is a religious man so there was the fragrance of religion around him, and those who were sensitive, available, receptive, came close to Jesus. This coming to Jesus was not a question of any intellectual conviction; it was more like a love affair. They simply fell in love with the man. The religious man never converts anybody, but his presence inspires many people to be with him. A religious person has no followers, only fellow travelers – it is impossible for a religious person to insult somebody by calling him a follower.
When Jesus was crucified, a strange thing happened, something that has happened to almost all the religions. The same type of people who had crucified Jesus – the rabbis, the priesthood – the same type of people gathered around the dead religious phenomenon, which had gone, which was not there anymore.
It is just like the fragrance of a flower. The flower is gone, the fragrance lingers on a little – and then it is lost. Religion cannot have a continuity. It will always be individual, here and there. One individual becomes enlightened and suddenly people start becoming attracted toward him as if by a magnetic force.
Jesus is not an intellectual; he is not even educated. He is not a theologian; he cannot argue for God or for religion. In all his teachings there is no argument, they are statements. A philosopher argues, a religious person states. The philosopher argues because he does not know; it is through argument that he wants to come to a conclusion. But the religious person knows it. He states it, it is a declaration – and he also knows that there is no way to prove it. No argument is going to be supportive of it.
But once that magnet disappears… The priest is the most cunning part of humanity – and clever. He is a businessman, he sees the opportunity of a great business. While Jesus is alive, it is dangerous to be with him. No businessman will come close to him – only gamblers may risk it and be with him. It is dangerous to be with him: he can be crucified, you can be crucified.
But once he is dead it is a great opportunity for business. Then a new kind of people start gathering around: they are the priests, the popes, the imams, the rabbis – learned, scholarly, argumentative, dogmatic. They create the dogma, the creed. They create the cult.
On the dead body of a religious person, a cult is created. Christianity is a cult.
Friedrich Nietzsche used to say… And I feel that he has the tremendous quality of seeing certain things which others go on missing. The man was mad, but sometimes mad people have a very sharp intelligence. Perhaps that is the reason that they go mad. Friedrich Nietzsche says, “The first and the last Christian died on the cross two thousand years ago. Since then there has been no Christian at all.” And he is absolutely right.
Jesus was the only Christian, although he never knew the word Christian. He knew only Aramaic, the language which he spoke, and a little bit of Hebrew, the language which the rabbis spoke. But he had no idea of Greek. The word Christ is a Greek word, and the word Christian comes out of Christ. Jesus never in his life heard the words Christ or Christian. The Hebrew word for Christ is messiah, so Jesus knew messiah.
But once he died… And it was very strange that when he was alive, overflowingly alive, and was ready to give, to share, to pour his being into their being, the people were avoiding him. But once he was dead, the priests were not going to miss the opportunity.
The priests immediately gather around the dead body of a Buddha, of a Jesus, of a Lao Tzu, and they immediately make the catechism. They start making a church on the dead body.
If Jesus comes back, the pope will be the first person to ask for his crucifixion again, because Jesus will disturb the whole business. That’s what he was doing the last time he was here.
Why were the rabbis angry? The business was going so well, everything was settled, everybody was satisfied and suddenly this man Jesus comes and starts disturbing people’s minds. He starts people thinking, inquiring, seeking. The establishment cannot tolerate such a person, because if you start seeking and searching, soon you will find that the establishment is standing on a dead body.

I have heard that one day the bishop of New York phoned the pope, a long distance call, and he was really in a very shaky condition. He said to the pope, “A hippie-like man has entered the church and when I asked him, ‘Who are you?’ he said, ‘Can’t you recognize me? I am your Lord Jesus Christ, exactly.’ What am I supposed to do in such a situation?”
The pope said, “You idiot! Just call the police. If he is just a hippie, there is no problem. If he is really Lord Jesus Christ then let him be imprisoned before he creates any disturbance – and get moving. If he is the Lord, just get busy and phone the police – and be quick to get him imprisoned.”

The same trouble will be there. Jesus has promised in the Bible, “I will be coming back,” but I can tell you authoritatively that he is not going to come – one experience was enough. Who wants to be crucified again? And that time at least there was a consolation: these were Jews, orthodox, traditional; they could not understand the revolution that he had brought. This time, even that consolation will not be there. It will be the Christians, his own people, who will crucify him.
Last time, Jesus had prayed to God, “Forgive these people because they don’t know what they are doing.” What is he going to do this time? He will have to pray, “Forgive these people – they know perfectly well what they are doing.” But they will do exactly the same thing.
A cult is a business, a religious kind of business. It has a religious jargon; it has no experience. Yes, once somewhere in the past there may have been a flower, but it is gone. Centuries have passed, and since then the priest goes on pretending that he is the representative of that fragrance. Nobody can represent fragrance: it comes with the flower and goes with the flower. But the priest can create a plastic flower, can even put French perfume on it… And that’s what he has been doing in all the religions.
Religion is rebellious, is bound to be so, because religion starts saying things that the tradition will oppose. Only one of these two can exist: either the mass, unintelligent crowd mind which creates the tradition, or a man like Jesus or Buddha or Mahavira. They are alone. And what they are saying can be understood only by the chosen few. What they bring to the world is something so otherworldly, that unless you can have a heart to heart contact with them, there is no way of understanding them – you will misunderstand.
Jesus is misunderstood. Socrates is misunderstood. Al-Hillaj Mansoor is misunderstood. Whenever you find a religious man, it will be simple to ascertain that all around him there will be misunderstanding. But once he dies, things settle down. Once he dies the priesthood makes a new business. Now, Jews have been suffering almost a heart attack for nearly two thousand years, for the simple reason that they missed the business. Christianity is now the biggest business in the world, and they missed. And Jews are not the people to miss when there is a business; they have the eye to see it.
I have heard a story…

It has been happening for centuries that every year on a particular day in the Vatican, the chief rabbi of the city comes with roll in his hand to Saint Peter’s Square where the pope waits for him. Jews and Christians gather in thousands to see this meeting of the pope and the chief rabbi, but what transpires between them, nobody knows. The rabbi bows down, gives the roll to the pope. The pope bows down – that’s all.
The next morning, the roll is sent back to the rabbi to keep for the next year. For two thousand years no pope bothered to look into it, but this Polack pope became curious: what is this? What kind of convention is this that has been going on and on? And every time the rabbi gives it to the pope and the next morning it has to be sent back, ceremoniously – the same roll goes back. What exactly is in it? He opened the roll. It was very ancient – two thousand years old. And do you know what he found? It was the bill for the last supper!

The Jews were still asking, “Pay for it at least.” And of course Jesus died without paying, so…
Religion is basically rebellion against dead traditions, meaningless conventions. It is a revolution to bring the birth of a new man, of a new consciousness.
The cult is not concerned with the new man. The cult does not want the new man ever to be born, because with the old, things are so at ease, why create trouble? Who knows what the new man will be?
And they are right. The new man is going to be trouble. He is not just going to accept any idiotic concept; he will ask questions. He is not going to be faithful. He will be basically a man of inquiry. He will doubt – he will not believe.
A religious man doubts, but never believes. He inquires, because doubt leads into inquiry; and he questions till he finds the answer on his own. Then there is no question of belief or faith – he knows.
If you ask him, “Do you believe in God?” he will say no. You will be surprised – a religious man saying no! And if you ask him, “You are a religious man and you say that you don’t believe?” he will say, “Yes, I repeat it again: I don’t believe because I know; belief is for those who are blind. A blind man believes in light, a man with eyes knows. Do you believe in light?”
But the believers are docile, ready to submit, to surrender to any idiotic concept. Ask the Christian, “What do you mean by the virgin birth?” – and each Christian believes in it; if you don’t believe in it you are not much of a Christian.
Just a few days ago a bishop in London was thrown out of his bishophood because he said, “I don’t believe in the virgin birth.” If you don’t believe in the virgin birth, then you are not a Christian, so what right have you to be a bishop? And you are spreading dangerous ideas in people’s minds. Tomorrow you will say, “I don’t believe in the Holy Ghost.” It is bound to come, that “Who is this fellow, the Holy Ghost? Doing unholy things, making a poor virgin Mary pregnant, still he remains the Holy Ghost!”
And if you suspect the virgin birth and the Holy Ghost, how long can you believe in a God? – because out of the trinity you have already doubted two. The third you have not seen, and you cannot meet a person who has seen him. They will quote scriptures, but scriptures cannot satisfy a religious man. He wants to taste truth himself. But that creates difficulty for the cult. The cult may be any: Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian, Jewish; it doesn’t matter – these are all cults. Perhaps there has been a religious man in the beginning. I say “perhaps” because priests are so cunning they can make a whole church even without a real religious man’s dead body; that is not such a necessity.
I am reminded of a small story.

A young devil comes running to the chief devil and says, “Do something quickly; just now one man has found truth. I am coming directly from there. Something has to be done. His truth has to be stopped, otherwise he will destroy our business.”
It is obvious, if people become truthful and people start discovering truth, what business has the devil left? But the old devil laughed and he said, “You are too young, too new to the business. Our people are already there.”
He said, “But I didn’t see anybody.”
The old devil said, “You will take a little time to understand. Did you see the priests around the man?”
He said, “Yes.”
The devil said, “They are our people. They won’t let the truth go anywhere. They will make a dogma out of it and they will not leave the man who has found the truth. Let him find it. They will surround him – they will become the mediators between him and the masses, and they are our agents.”

All priests are the devil’s agents. They have no interest in truth, no interest in inquiring about the ultimate reality. Their interest is how to exploit man’s fear, man’s greed.
They exploit your fear by creating hell. They exploit your greed by creating heaven. They exploit your helpless state by creating God. They give you certain scriptures, mantras, prayers, and they say, “These will save you; you are protected. You need not be worried, you are not helpless. And we are always there between you and God – you can depend on us.” They don’t know of God at all. They have nothing to do with God. But God is a beautiful concept to exploit people who are feeling psychologically sick, afraid, fearful – and the whole of humanity is in the same situation.
Whenever a religious man comes, he starts transforming you, not consoling you, because by consolation, your sickness is not going to disappear. Only by transformation can you be absolutely on your own, can you be absolutely contented with yourself and with existence.
But the priest does not want you to be contented. He wants you to be discontented; otherwise why will you go to the priest? For what? He does not want you to become courageous. He wants you to be cowards forever, because only cowards will come crawling to his feet. Why would the courageous come to him? There is no need.
The religious man destroys the need for the cult; hence, whenever there is a religious man and around him the climate of religion, all the cults will be against him.
So this is a strange situation – Christians calling us a cult! They are a cult. Hindus are calling us a cult; they are a cult because their religious people died two thousand, three thousand, five thousand years ago. And nobody actually knows whether there has been any religious person in the beginning at all or whether it was a fiction from the very beginning.
George Gurdjieff, one of the most penetrating intellects of this century, used to say, “There has never been a Jesus Christ. It was only a drama that used to be played; and slowly, slowly, the priests became aware that this drama can be utilized: ‘Make it history.’” One thing is certain, that except for the Christian New Testament, there is no reference to Jesus Christ anywhere, in any scripture.
If a man of the caliber of Jesus was there, it is impossible that somewhere in the Jewish scriptures his name would not have been entered – and particularly when he was crucified. Crucifixion makes his name the most historical name. In fact, now we know history only according to Jesus: before Christ, after Christ… That’s how we know history. That man becomes the central point of our whole history. Such an important person is not even mentioned anywhere: neither in Jewish scriptures, nor in Roman scriptures – Judea was under the Roman Empire.
Certainly in the Roman files Jesus must have been referred to. If you crucify a man, at least he deserves a place somewhere in your bureaucratic files. But nowhere, except those four gospels which are written by his four disciples… He is simply nonexistent. If you just lose those four disciples’ gospels, Jesus becomes only gossip. Gurdjieff was very insistent that he was just gossip, and that cunning people had used the drama and made history out of it – and a great business of course!
It is bound to be the case, that while I am here nobody is going to accept you as a religion. And you are a religion only while I am here. The moment I am gone, the best way is to disperse just like a fragrance. The worst way is to become a cult. Then these people – Christians and Jews and Hindus and Mohammedans – will accept you also as a religion. They will accept you as a religion only when you have become a cult. Do you see the strange logic of the world? When you have lost contact with a living experience, then of course you are as dead as they are, and of course dead people don’t argue. And one dead person pays respect to another dead person – it is just courtesy, simple manners.
But how can the dead people be respectful to a living person? They are dead; that hurts. They don’t know; that hurts. They have only beliefs – and who knows whether those beliefs are true or not. There are three hundred religions on the earth, three hundred different dogmas, creeds. Do you think all three hundred dogmas and creeds can be true?
Truth can only be one.
You may verbalize it differently, but you cannot make two creeds out of it. Your languages may be different. Your concepts about it may be different, but anybody can see that it is about the same truth.

You must have heard the story of the five blind men who went to see an elephant. In the first place, blind people should not go to see something; that is an absurdity. But they were curious, and the whole village was agog because for the first time an elephant had come to the village. So they also decided, “Let us go.”
They could not see but they said, “We can at least touch and feel, and we will see what this elephant is.” And they all five touched the elephant, of course from different angles. Somebody touched the leg of the elephant; he said, “I have found it. The elephant is just like a pillar, the pillars that we have in the temple, exactly like a marble pillar.”
Another man said, “You idiot, you must be touching some pillar, because what I see is totally different.” He was touching the ear of the elephant, and he said, “It looks like a fan.”
In India, in the hot summer, before electricity came into being, there used to be fans hanging from the ceiling. And one person, a poor person, would go on pulling the fan with a rope the whole day, and the fan would give you, at least for the few rich people, cool air the whole day. Or people would be standing on both sides with two big fans the shape of an elephant’s ear, and they would both be fanning you.
So the second man said, “This is impossible what you are saying.”
A third one contradicted them both, and the fourth one contradicted all three. Then the fifth one said, “You are idiots; I should not have come with you, because it is nothing but a brush” – he was holding the tail. “And so much ado about nothing; just a brush hanging with something… I don’t know what it is hanging with because I can’t see.” They were all quarreling the whole way back home.

But how can you decide when you are blind? You should accept one thing, that you cannot see. If you don’t accept that then there is going to be trouble.
These cults have no eyes. I have asked bishops, rabbis, shankaracharyas, Jaina monks, Buddhist bhikkus, “Have you experienced it? And at least, for once, be sincere and be truthful.”
And they have all told me, “In private we can say we have not experienced it, but in public, if you ask us, we will absolutely deny that we have ever said it – because in public we have to pretend. We have studied…”

When I spoke for the first time in Mumbai, in 1960, a Jaina monk also spoke with me. We were the two to address the meeting. He spoke before me because he was a well-known person; I was absolutely unknown. And when he finished and I stood up, people from the hall started leaving because nobody knew me. I had to tell those people, “Just for five minutes, stand still wherever you are. After five minutes you are free to leave or to sit down.” Of course they stopped because I was asking for just five minutes and it wouldn’t have looked good to go out just like that.
I said, “Just for five minutes – look at the clock and after five minutes just empty the hall; there is no need to be here. But I have just a few things to say in five minutes. First: this man who spoke before me knows nothing; he is just a dodo!” Many who were standing sat down. I said, “For five minutes, stand up! For five minutes keep standing then you can either sit or go out.”
This man had been talking about Mahavira, the founder of Jainism. Mahavira’s original name was Vardhaman. Mahavira is a given name. Mahavira means very courageous, a great warrior – because in Jainism, truth has to be conquered. That is the exact meaning of Jaina; Jaina means the conqueror. Jainism means: the religion which teaches you how to conquer the truth – and Mahavira conquered it, so his name was changed from Vardhaman to Mahavira. Now, Vardhaman is almost forgotten.
That monk was saying, “Vardhaman was born as a son to a king,” and “Vardhaman renounced the palace, the kingdom,” and “Vardhaman became realized.” And he was using both names – Vardhaman and Mahavira – without any trouble, and all the people who were present there were Jainas so they understood it.
But I said, “This man does not understand that he is talking about two persons, and he is very confused.” The people looked at me. I said, “Vardhaman is one person; Mahavira is totally another. When Vardhaman died, then Mahavira was born; they never met. This man has been talking as if they were one person and was saying that Mahavira was born to redeem you all from suffering, from misery.”
I said, “That’s a lie, because Mahavira himself has said, ‘Nobody can make you miserable, and nobody can make you happy, except you.’ So how can he redeem the whole world? He cannot redeem a single person. He himself is saying the truth: ‘It is you who cause your misery. If you understand the cause of your misery, you stop causing it.’ And ecstasy is your nature. Misery is your effort, your great endeavor, your success.
“To be miserable, you have to stand on your head, upside down. You have to be as unnatural as possible, you have to swim upstream. To be ecstatic, blissful, you just go down with the river. You are in a let-go. You simply allow your nature to be what it is. Mahavira says, ‘Nobody can make you miserable. Nobody can make you happy’ – and this poor fellow was saying that Mahavira was born to redeem the whole world.”
I said, “Five minutes are over, now you can decide: either you sit down or get lost.” They all sat down, but the monk was very much puzzled. It was an air-conditioned hall but he started perspiring. But he was a sincere man, and when I finished, he whispered in my ear, “Can you come to my temple just for ten minutes? I cannot come to your place – otherwise I would have come – because my followers will not allow me to go anywhere.” Such a great monk with so many followers, and going to meet some unknown person; and someone who has made a mockery of him, who has criticized him on every point.
I said, “There is no problem; I will come.”
I went there. Nearly one thousand people had gathered because people came to know that I was coming, and they had seen what had happened in the morning. But the monk said, “I want to talk to him in private, so please sit outside; we will be going into the small room.” We went in. He closed the door and started weeping, crying, tears…and he must have been seventy years old. I said, “But why are you crying?”
He said, “I am crying because for the first time I felt that I really don’t know anything. For fifty years – because I was twenty when I became a monk – for fifty years I have been teaching people as if I know. I have called you just to confess that I don’t know anything. I cannot say it in front of people – I am not that courageous – because if I say that in front of people, I will be thrown out.
“No, for fifty years I have not worked. I have been worshipped for fifty years. I have been looked after; thousands of people think of me as their master, and if I say that I don’t know anything, they will kill me. They will say, ‘Then why have you been deceiving us for fifty years?’ I cannot say it to them, but I wanted to unburden my heart to you – I don’t know. First I was shocked, angry, by what you said in the morning, but as I started thinking about it, everything seemed to be right.
“First I was thinking to stand up and argue against you, but I saw clearly that no argument was going to help – because I am not arguing; what I am saying is simply stating.” He said, “I would love to know myself. Enough of belief – fifty years I have wasted; and I am just standing where I started.”

This happened to many religious leaders with me. When they were alone they accepted what I was saying, but in public they have a different face, a different mask. Now, these people – they may be Christians, they may be Jews, they may be Hindus – they don’t know. Knowing is not a function of a crowd. I can see, you can see, but there is no way that we can both see from the same place.
You cannot see through my eyes. I cannot see through your eyes. I can neither stand in your space, where you are standing, nor can you stand in my space, where I am standing.
Exactly like that, religion is absolutely individual. And whenever you organize it, the priesthood immediately takes over. If the man who has experienced is alive, he may try to make sure that the religion does not become a cult.
That’s what my whole effort is.
So as long as I am here with you, it is not going to become a cult. But once I am gone then it will be very difficult to avoid, because up to now, there are so many religions in the world and nobody has succeeded.
Krishnamurti tried his best. Nobody has done so much against becoming a cult, but it seems not to be succeeding. He dissolved the organization in 1925. An organization had been made for him, The Star of the East, to spread his truth and experience to the whole world. He dissolved the organization. He returned the castles and the money and the land, and everything that had been donated to the organization, to their original owners. And he said, “I don’t want any followers.”
He has been continually saying from that time, “Nobody is my follower,” but there are people who say, “We are Krishnamurtiites.” Now, what can you do? He is still alive, and every day he is saying, “Nobody is my follower, and I am not your leader, teacher, master, anything.” But people just repeat these words and say, “We are Krishnamurtiites.”
When Krishnamurti dies they will again join together, because the master is dead now and something has to be done in his memory – make a temple, make a church, make a memorial, make an organization – so his truth goes on living.
Truth is not some thing. It is not a thing that you can preserve. It disappears with the person who has experienced it.
Can you preserve love? There may be two great lovers and you see the phenomenon of love happening; can you preserve this phenomenon? Those two lovers die; can you preserve that climate? – that transfiguration that was happening between those two persons? How can you? It is not a thing; you cannot hold it in your hands, and you cannot put it in a safe deposit. You cannot make a temple out of it or a church out of it or a creed out of it.
Love happens between two persons – truth is even more difficult: it happens within a single individual being. At least in love there were two, and there was something visible outside also. Any observer could have seen something intangible but yet comprehensible transpiring between two persons. You can see it in their eyes, in their faces.

Once I was traveling in a train, and a couple was with me, a very old couple, a Spanish couple. They had come to India to travel. The man must have been eighty, the woman must have been seventy-five; it was time they should have been in their graves. But I was surprised to see their love – because we had to be together for twenty-four hours – in each and everything that they did, just small things. It is not in big things that you have to show your love, just small things…. But I could almost touch their love. It was so visible you could see it. I asked the old man, “This is a rare phenomenon; how long have you been together?”
He said, “If you count the years, we must have been together for at least sixty years – she was fifteen when I first met her – but those sixty years don’t seem to me as sixty years; they have all become a small moment, condensed, herenow. I never think of all those moments that have passed because this moment contains all of them.”

But once these people are gone, you will not find that aroma, that aura, that feel. It will be gone too; it is too subtle.
With truth it is even more difficult, because it is a single individual who has experienced his own being and is so full of ecstasy that if you allow, he may overflow; if you are available, he may enter in you.
If you are reluctant and resistant… This phenomenon is so delicate that a little resistance on your part and you miss it. So anybody who comes here with a certain prejudice, a certain mind, a certain idea, is going to miss me. If he comes here open, vulnerable, then he will taste something of religion, he may smell something of religion. And that is the only way to know religion: to be in close proximity to a religious man. It is infectious.
But you cannot get it even if you hug pope the Polack. There is nothing… A Polack is just a Polack. He may also hug you and may crush your bones, because a Polack hug is a little difficult on the ribs. But you will not find anything.
I have met thousands of people who are known as great religious masters and teachers. India is so full of sages and saints you can meet them anywhere. There is no need to seek and search. They are seeking and searching for you, and fighting: “You belong to me, not to yourself” – whosoever catches hold of you first. But they are all parts of a certain cult, repeating parrot-like – exactly parrot-like or you can say computer-like – scriptures, great words. But words only mean that which the person has.
When Jesus says “truth” or Buddha says “truth,” the word has meaning in it. When the Buddhist monk says “truth,” there is no meaning in it; it is an empty word, there is no content in it.
You ask why they can’t accept you as a religion. It is obvious: they are in the marketplace; everybody is shopping and peddling his own goods. Now you come as a competitor, and you start selling new things which are more attractive because they are alive. They become afraid that their young people, their young boys, their young daughters, may get attracted to you – and they are getting attracted, they are not wrong. And that’s what makes them freak out: these people should be going to church or to the synagogue – what are they doing here, in this place? They should listen to the rabbi, to the minister – what are they doing here?
And certainly when they see you, they cannot figure it out. They have a certain idea: you should fit with that idea, then you are religious. And certainly I am trying my best so that you cannot fit in with anybody’s idea – including mine! – so that you can be just yourself.
My whole religious approach is to give you back to you.
You have been stolen. You have been covered, conditioned in every possible way. They have closed all the doors of approach to yourself.
My whole work is just to make doors and windows in you. And if I can withdraw all the walls and leave you just an open sky, you will know what religion is. But you will not fit with anybody else’s idea of religion. They are going to call you all kinds of names. For them, cult is a condemnation, so they call you a cult.
Just the other day I was looking at a panel on the TV with one rabbi and two Christian priests – one must have been Catholic, one Protestant or something, different denominations – discussing me and what is happening here. And the rabbi said, “It is a cult.”
The coordinator asked, “What is a cult? – and what is the difference between a cult and a religion?” And what the rabbi said, I agree with, but for a totally different reason.
The rabbi said, “A cult is when there is a charismatic person and people are hypnotized, magnetized by him, surround him; and when the man dies the people disperse – no tradition is created. That is a cult.”
What he is saying, I am also saying – exactly the same but for different reasons. He says, “If the cult survives the death of the founder, then it becomes a religion.” When Jesus is alive it is a cult, because it is his charismatic personality… When Jesus is dead then it becomes a religion. A very strange idea: religion being born out of a cult. The cult should not be a condemnatory thing; it is the mother of religion, it is the womb from where the religion comes. It is a potential religion.
But he was saying, “The cult is bound to disappear because it was only the charismatic person, it was his charisma, his magic that kept people together. Once he is gone, then there is nothing to hold onto. Then people disperse and the cult dies.” I say this is actually the definition of religion.
In a more intelligent world there will be no tradition. Religious people will be born, and with a religious person a religion will happen. Many more people will come, become close to him and will drink out of his well. Jesus says, “Eat me, drink me.” Yes, they will eat, they will drink and they will be transformed in the whole process. And when the religious person is gone, certainly there is no need to make a tradition, because tradition will be dead.
Yes, you loved your father but when he died you took him to the grave. You didn’t say, “He was my father, how can I take him to the grave or to the funeral pyre? I am going to keep him in my house. I loved him, he loved me…” No, when your father is dead it is sad but a natural phenomenon. Everybody who is born is going to die. You say good-bye to him with all your gratitude. The same should be the case with every religious teacher.
Jesus is perfectly good, but Christianity is a disease. Moses is perfectly good, but Judaism is a curse. And the same is true about all of the religions. The people at the very source were really beautiful, but every beautiful flower dies. Even beautiful stars die and disappear, and don’t leave even a single trace behind. So what is the need for any religious person to leave a tradition behind him?
I am not going to leave a tradition behind me.
While I am here, enjoy the moment. Celebrate the moment. Why be bothered for the future? And remember one thing: anybody who tries, after me, to make a tradition is my enemy, is not my friend and is not your friend either. He belongs to the devil. He is now creating a church – and then the popes will come and everything. Then the businesses start and businessmen come in and religion disappears completely.
It is better it disperses in the universe, rather than becomes a part of the religious marketplace.
So whenever people ask me, “What is going to happen to your religion when you are not?” I say, “Why should you be worried? While I am here, it is enough.” And there will be people… Somebody will blossom and there will be religions. People will go on blossoming, but don’t make traditions because those traditions prevent other people from blossoming. Leave the space. If you had not been told to be a Jew or a Hindu or a Mohammedan or a Christian, and space had been left for you, perhaps you may have blossomed by now.
But from the very beginning they started clipping you, cutting you, cropping you…
Mukta was my gardener in Pune. She was always moving around with scissors, and whenever she would see me she would hide her scissors. I said, “Don’t do this. Why are you unnecessarily cutting these trees?” One tree particularly she used to call a monster, because she wanted to cut it. So first you have to call it a monster and then it becomes easy to cut.
First you give it a bad name – it is a cult – and then it is good to destroy it. It was a monster. And it was such a beautiful tree, it was growing huge, but whenever I was not watching, she was cutting it. If it is a monster, then let it be a monster; it is that tree’s nature. Who are we to destroy it or to give it the shape of our ideas? Mukta has been in difficulty with me because she is Greek and follows the tradition of Aristotle – logical, mathematical. She wanted to create a European garden around my house.
I said, “It is not possible.” And a European garden, particularly the English garden, is so much against nature, because where in nature do you find symmetry? But in an English garden you will find symmetry. They will cut two trees symmetrically, will make lawns symmetrical, will put plants symmetrically… Symmetry is unnatural, nature is asymmetrical.
So in a Zen garden in Japan you will not find any symmetry. Even if there is, the Zen people won’t allow it; they will disturb the symmetry – something has gone wrong.
Nature is wild, and when it is wild it has freedom.
A religious person is also wild. In his wildness is his freedom and in his freedom he finds truth. In his freedom he finds himself. In his freedom he finds everything that there is to be found in existence.
But a cultist remains full of rubbish and crap, borrowed empty words; maybe great words – God, soul, truth – but all empty because he has not lived any of them. And unless you live it, it has no meaning.
Only life gives meaning.
So it is true that they will not accept you as a religion – but why bother about them? Who cares? I am not interested that they should accept us as religion. We don’t need anybody’s acceptance, recognition, certificate. Who are they?
Those three people in the panel finally decided, “It is time now that we should have a dialogue. We should go to these people and we should have a dialogue.” I simply laughed at the idea – the Jew sitting there, and on each side the two Christians sitting there.
The Jews did not have the courage to have a dialogue with Jesus – or do you think the crucifixion was a dialogue? What dialogue can they have with me? If they know, there is no need for them to come here. If they do not know, then it is going to be a monologue. I will speak and they will have to listen. A dialogue is not possible.
If you also know, and I also know, there is no need for a dialogue – silence is enough.
If you don’t know, and I don’t know, then too there is no point in a dialogue, because it will not be a dialogue, it will become a wrestling match.
I say I know. So with me there is only one possibility – a monologue.

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