Chapter 2: Abandon Hope All Those Who Enter Here
Christianity is only an offshoot of Judaism. Their basic theology is not different. They differ only on one point, that Jews will not accept Jesus as their prophet, as their messiah. Just that single point; otherwise there is no problem. You can see it: the Christian Bible consists of both - the Old Testament which is Jewish, and the New Testament, which contains the gospels of Jesus. But the Christian has not denied the Old Testament, it is still his holy book.
Look at the bible of the Jews; it has only the Old Testament, the New Testament is not there - cannot be there. They crucified the man as a criminal. They crucified Jesus as one who was against the whole tradition, convention; he was a heretic.
These two religions are not really two, and both these religions are the roots; existentialism is their ultimate fruit. For centuries they have been giving hope - there is bound to come a time when some intelligent person is going to ask, “How long do we have to wait for Godot?”
I used to think that Godot must be the German word for God. I asked Haridas, my German sannyasin, “Does Godot mean God?”
He said, “No!”
I asked, “Then what is equivalent to God in German?”
He said, “Gott!”
I said, “That is even worse that Godot! Godot sounds nearer than Gott!”
But people have been waiting and waiting for centuries; neither the messiah comes, nor does human misery disappear. On the contrary, it goes on increasing. We have made the world more educated, more cultured, without seeing the fact that if people are more intelligent they are going to ask questions which uneducated masses have never asked before. They are going to ask, “How long will it take for the fulfillment of our hopes?” And there is no answer.
They were asking the same question of Jesus two thousand years ago, and he said, “Don’t be worried. Soon I will be coming.” Now, two thousand years.isn’t the “soon” finished?
If the “soon” takes two thousand years, then any intelligent person will have doubts. And what is the guarantee that he is coming in the future? Two thousand years can pass, ten thousand years can pass. His “soon” seems to be very elastic, you can do anything with it. You can go on stretching it out for thousands of years and man’s suffering goes on becoming more and more.
Man has never suffered so much as he is suffering now, for the simple reason that man has never been so intelligent before. Buffaloes don’t suffer. Have you seen a buffalo sad, bored? Have you seen a donkey in very great despair?
Religions have tried hard to make sure that people should not become intelligent. Intelligence was their monopoly: the priest knows, and you should just have faith. The masses went on believing this up to this twentieth century, and it is not a coincidence that existentialism burst out in Europe - not in India, not in Ethiopia.