ARE YOU AGAINST ALL THE RELIGIONS? WHAT IS THEIR MOST FUNDAMENTAL MISTAKE?
YES, I am against all the so-called religions because they are not religions at all. I am for religion but not for the religions. The true religion can only be one, just like science. You don’t have a Mohammedan physics, a Hindu physics, a Christian physics; that would be nonsense. But that’s what the religions have done — they have made the whole earth a madhouse. If science is one, then why should the science of the inner not be one, too? Science explores the objective world and religion explores the subjective world. Their work is the same, just their direction and dimension are different.
In a more enlightened age there will be no such thing as religion, there will be only two sciences: objective science and subjective science. Objective science deals with things, subjective science deals with being.
That’s why I say I am against the religions but not against religion. But that religion is still in its birth pangs. All the old religions will do everything in their power to kill it, to destroy it — because the birth of a science of consciousness will be the death of all these so-called religions which have been exploiting humanity for thousands of years. What will happen to their churches, synagogues, temples? What will happen to their priesthood, their popes, their imams, their shankaracharyas, their rabbis? It is big business. And these people are not going to easily allow the true religion to be born. But the time has come in human history when the grip of the old religions is loosening.
Man is only formally paying respect to Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Mohammedanism, but basically anybody who has any intelligence is no longer interested in all that rubbish. He may go to the synagogue and to the church and to the mosque for other reasons, but those reasons are not religious; those reasons are social. It pays to be seen in the synagogue; it is respectable, and there is no harm. It is just like joining the rotary club or the lions club. These religions are old clubs which have a religious jargon around them, but look a little deeper and you will find they are all hocus-pocus with no substance inside.
I am for religion, but that religion will not be a repetition of any religion that you are acquainted with. This religion will be a rebellion against all these religions. It will not carry their work further; it will stop their work completely and start a new work — the real transformation of man.
You ask me: What is the most fundamental error of all these religions? There are many errors and they are all fundamental, but first I would like to talk about the most fundamental. The most fundamental error of all the religions is that none of them was courageous enough to accept that there are things which we don’t know. They all pretended to know everything, they all pretended to know all, that they were all omniscient. Why did this happen? — because if you accept that you are ignorant about something then doubt arises in the minds of your followers. If you are ignorant about something, who knows? — you may be ignorant about other things also. What is the guarantee? To make it foolproof, they have all pretended, without exception, that they are omniscient.
The most beautiful thing about science is that it does not pretend to be omniscient. Science does not pretend to be omniscient; it accepts its human limits. It knows how much it knows, and it knows that there is much more to know. And the greatest scientists know of something even deeper. The known, they know the boundaries of; the knowable they will know sooner or later — they are on the way, but only the greatest scientists like Albert Einstein will be aware of the third category, the unknowable, which will never be known. Nothing can be done about it because the ultimate mystery cannot be reduced to knowledge. We are part of existence — how can we know existence’s ultimate mystery? We have come very late; there was nobody present as an eyewitness. And there is no way for us to separate ourselves completely from existence and become just an observer. We live, we breathe, we exist with existence — we cannot separate ourselves from it. The moment we are separate, we are dead. And without being separate, just a watcher, with no involvement, with no attachment, you cannot know the ultimate mystery; hence it is impossible. There will remain something always unknowable. Yes, it can be felt, but it cannot be known. Perhaps it can be experienced in different ways — not like knowledge.
You fall in love — can you say you know love? It seems to be a totally different phenomenon. You feel it. If you try to know it, perhaps it will evaporate in your hands. You cannot reduce it to knowing. You cannot make it an object of knowledge because it is not a mind phenomenon. It is something to do with your heart. Yes, your heartbeats know it, but that is a totally different kind of knowledge: the intellect is incapable of approaching the heartbeats. But there is something more than heart in you — your being, your life source. Lust as you know through the mind, which is the most superficial part of your individuality, you know something from your heart — which is deeper than the mind. The mind cannot go into it, it is too deep for it. But behind the heart, still deeper, is your being, your very life source. That life source also has a way of knowing.
When mind knows, we call it knowledge.
When heart knows, we call it love.
And when being knows, we call it meditation.
But all three speak different languages, which are not translatable into each other. And the deeper you go, the more difficult it becomes to translate, because at the very center of your being there is nothing but silence. Now, how to translate silence into sound? The moment you translate silence into sound you have destroyed it. Even music cannot translate it. Perhaps music comes closest, but still it is sound. Poetry does not come quite as close as music, because words, howsoever beautiful, are still words. They don’t have life in them, they are dead. How can you translate life into something dead? Yes, perhaps between the words you may have a glimpse here and there — but it is between the words, between the lines, not in the words, not in the lines.
This is the most fundamental error of all religions: that they have deceived humanity by blatantly posing as if they know all. But every day they have been exposed and their knowledge has been exposed; hence, they have been fighting with any progress of knowledge. If Galileo finds that the earth moves around the sun, the pope is angry. The pope is infallible; he is only a representative of Jesus, but he is infallible. What to say about Jesus — he is the only begotten son of God, and what to say about God…. But in the Bible — which is a book descended from heaven, written by God — the sun goes around the earth. Now, Galileo creates a problem. If Galileo is right, then God is wrong; God’s only begotten son is wrong, the only begotten son’s representatives for these two thousand years — all the popes who are infallible — are wrong. Just a single man, Galileo, destroys the whole pretension. The whole hypocrisy he exposes. His mouth has to be shut. He was old, dying, on his deathbed, but he was forced, almost dragged, to the court of the pope to ask for an apology.
And the pope demanded: “You change it in your book, because the holy book cannot be wrong. You are a mere human being; you can be wrong; but Jesus Christ cannot be wrong, God Himself cannot be wrong, hundreds of infallible popes cannot be wrong…. You are standing against God, His son, and His representatives. You simply change it!”
Galileo must have been a man with an immense sense of humor — which I count to be one of the great qualities of a religious man. Only idiots are serious; they are bound to be serious. To be able to laugh you need a little intelligence. It is said that an Englishman laughs twice when he hears a joke: once, just to be nice to the fellow who is telling the joke, out of etiquette, a mannerism; and second, in the middle of the night when he gets the meaning of the joke. The German laughs only once, just to show that he has understood it. The Jew never laughs; he simply says, “In the first place you are telling it all wrong….”You need a little intelligence, and Galileo must have been intelligent. He was one of the greatest scientists of the world, but he must be counted as one of the most religious persons also.
He said, “Of course God cannot be wrong, Jesus cannot be wrong, all the infallible popes cannot be wrong, but poor Galileo can always be wrong. There is no problem about it — i will change it in my book. But one thing you should remember: the earth will still go around the sun. About that I cannot do anything; it does not follow my orders. As far as my book is concerned I will change it, but in the note I will have to write this: ‘The earth does not follow my orders, it still goes around the sun.'”…
All the religions of the world are bound to pretend that whatsoever there is, they know it. And they know it exactly as it is; it cannot be otherwise.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
From Ignorance to Innocence
Chapter title: Truth: not a dogma but a dance
9 December 1984 pm in Lao Tzu Grove
Osho has spoken on scientists like Aristotle, Chamberlain, Copernicus, Darwin, Descartes, Eddington, Edison, Einstein, Euclid, Galileo, Leibnitz, Kepler, Newton, Ptolemy, Pythagoras, Ramanujan, Rutherford and many others in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses: