Man’s problems have increased as time has passed. It should have been otherwise—that the problems would be less and less as man has become more and more cultured, educated, civilized. But the more he is cultured, the more he is civilized, the more he is educated, his problems have increased out of all proportion. And religions go on proclaiming that they have the cure for every disease, for every spiritual sickness. But man is suffering from spiritual sickness all over the world—everybody is feeling hollow. And these religions have not been of any help; on the contrary, they have increased his problems by their wrong, unnatural, stupid teachings.
It was Mrs. Levy’s third visit to the doctor for a cure from her cold. ‘Doctor,’ she complained, ‘nothing you have given me has been of any use. Mr. Levy complains that I keep him awake all night with my cough. Can you do something—anything to cure me?’
‘Okay,’ the doctor replied, ‘go home and have a hot bath and without drying yourself stand in the nude where there is a strong draft.’
‘Really,’ Mrs. Levy sniffed, ‘will that cure me?’
‘No,’ replied the doctor, ‘but it will give you pneumonia, and I can cure pneumonia.’
These religions have been giving you bigger diseases. Perhaps, in a certain way, when you have a bigger disease you tend to forget the smaller one.
I have heard about Mulla Nasruddin, that he was purchasing shoes in a shop. The shopkeeper said, ‘Mulla, are you mad or something, because you are trying on shoes which are not going to fit. You need shoes that are one size bigger.’
Mulla said, ‘Don’t disturb me. I have always used that size and I am going to continue to use that size. I am a man of principles.’
The shopkeeper said, ‘It is up to you, but you will suffer the whole day. The shoes will pinch you.’
Mulla said, ‘That’s what I want.’
The shopkeeper said, ‘But why do you want that?’
He said, ‘You don’t understand the psychology of it. Suffering the whole day, when I come home and take off my shoes, it is such a relief that I say, ‘My God!’—it brings such pleasure. Without these shoes, life is nothing but misery. The whole day they keep me away from all miseries. I don’t have enough energy to look at other miseries. What my wife is saying, who has ears to hear her? My shoes are pinching me so badly that I am only hearing my shoes. She goes on talking to herself—she has become accustomed to monologues. Business is bad, things are going from bad to worse, but nothing worries me. My only worry is my shoes. The shoes keep me away from all the miseries of the world; and in the end, before going to bed, taking them off gives me such relief that I sleep so relaxedly, so deeply… And you are suggesting that I wear shoes that are one size bigger? You are going to destroy my life!’
These religions have provided you all with shoes that don’t fit—shoes which may have fit somebody five thousand years ago. They have given you pants which don’t fit. They are making a mockery of you, because those shoes are not made according to your needs, those pants are not made for you, those shirts are not made for you. Everything that these religions are supplying for you has been made by somebody else for somebody else far back—centuries before. Nothing fits; everything gives nothing but pain.
But these religions have been teaching you: blessed are those who suffer, blessed are those who live in misery, blessed are those whose lives are of hostility, asceticism, self-torture, because they shall inherit the kingdom of God. So just to inherit the kingdom of God you go on wearing shoes that don’t fit, caps that are so loose that you cannot see—they cover your eyes. Clothes that are either so small that you want to jump out of them or so loose that a crowd can live inside them—the whole family can be accommodated.
The rebellious man cannot accept any of this idiocy. His religion is his intelligence. His religion is his consciousness. His religion is his awareness. And out of his awareness, he becomes as free as a bird on the wing, as beautiful as a lotus in the pond, and as joyous as a cuckoo singing from the mango grove. He starts living for the first time, and he knows that life is the only God there is—there is no other God. The rebellious man is a pagan. He worships the trees, he worships the stars, he worships the rivers, the mountains. He worships man, he worships everything that is alive—because wherever there is life, there is godliness.