Chapter 6: Religion: The Last Luxury
Because of that, Christianity could not achieve higher peaks. If you compare the Hindu scriptures, the Upanishads, with The Bible, The Bible seems poor and childish. The words are the same, the experiences are also the same in a way, but Christianity still remains a religion. Religion - the organized body - and mystical experiences are two different things.
Aren’t authentic experiences always the same?
They are, but these spiritual experiences which are the same are individual experiences. The question concerns society, not individual mystics. What I am saying is that a poor man can become a mystic, but a poor society cannot become religious. A rich man is not necessarily religious, but a rich society will become hungry for religion. The moment a society becomes rich, new problems arise. These problems are not concerned with physical bodies and physical needs; they are more psychological.
If a poor man falls ill the illness is more or less concerned with the body. If a rich man falls ill the illness is more or less concerned with the mind. America needs more and more psychologists and psychoanalysis now because now the greatest number of madmen exist in America. American psychologists say that at least three out of four people are off the rails, not normal.
Your mind’s needs arise for the first time when your bodily needs are fulfilled. And religion is a need of the mind, not a body need. That is why animals can live without religion, but man cannot - the mind has come in.
When you are rich, ninety-nine percent of your concern is diverted to the mind. A rich individual may not be religious and a poor individual may be religious, but a poor society as a whole can have religion only as a substitute for economic wealth. Its prayer is not authentic because its prayer tries to demand, to get something.
America is going to become very important and meaningful as far as religion is concerned - America and all the countries that are becoming richer and richer each day. In the coming days communism will be significant in poor countries and religion will be significant in rich countries. There is no future for religion in poor countries. Within the next twenty years they are all going to turn to communism.
China was a religious country; Russia was a religious country, as religious as any country. And they could wipe out religion in just ten years! China was a Buddhist country - both Taoism and Buddhism were deeply rooted there.
But there, the governments were against religion. That is not likely to happen in India.