Chapter 5: The “Master of Silence”
With religion everything is inner, subjective, mysterious, and the path is not on a plain. It is a hilly track. There are many ups and many downs, and the path moves like a spiral. Again and again you come to the same place, maybe a little higher. And whatsoever you say cannot be verified, there is no criterion of verification. Because it is inner, no experiment can prove or disprove it; because it is mysterious, no logical argumentation can decide this way or that. That’s why science is one, but there exist almost three thousand religions in the world. You cannot prove any religion false. Neither can you prove any other religion to be true or authentic. That is not possible, because no empirical test is possible.
A Buddha says that there is no self inside. How to prove this, or how to disprove this? If somebody says, “I have seen God,” and he sounds sincere, what to do? He may be deluded lunatic, he may have seen a hallucination, or he may really have seen the reality of existence. But how to prove, or disprove? He cannot share his experience with anybody, it is inner. It is not like an object you can place in the middle and everybody can watch it, and everybody can experiment and dissect it. You have to take it in faith. He may sound absolutely sincere, and may be deluded: he may not be cheating you, trying to cheat you, he may be himself deceived. He may be a very true person but he has seen a dream and thinks it is real sometimes dreams have the quality that they look more real than the reality itself. Then dreams look like visions. He has heard the voice of God and he is so filled with it, so thrilled. But what to do? How to prove that he has not gone mad, that he has not projected his own mind and idea? There is no possibility.
If there is one genuine religious man, there are ninety-nine others all around him. A few of them are deluded: poor, simple fellows, good at heart, not trying to harm anybody, but still they harm. Then there are a few cheats, robbers, deceivers: cunning, clever people who are knowingly doing harm. But the harm pays. You cannot find a better business in the world than religion. You can promise, and there is no need to deliver the goods, because the goods are invisible.
When things are invisible, you can go on selling, promising. There is no need to deliver the goods, because in the first place they are invisible, so nobody can ever detect them. And you cannot find a better business than religion, because the goods are invisible. I have seen many people being deceived, many people deceiving. And the thing is so subtle that nothing can be said for or against.
For example, I know a man who is a simple, plain, stupid man. But stupidity has its own qualities. Particularly in religion, a stupid man can look like a paramahansa. Because he is stupid, his behavior is unexpected, just like an enlightened man. The similarity is there. Because he is stupid, he cannot utter a single rational statement just like an enlightened man. He is foolish, he doesn’t know what he is saying, how he is behaving. Suddenly he can do anything: and this sudden doing seems to be as if he belongs to another world. He has epileptic fits, but people think he is going into samadhi. He needs electric shock treatment! Suddenly he will go into a fit and swoon, and the followers will beat their drums and they will sing to the glory of God, that their master has gone into great samadhi, ecstasy. And his mouth starts foaming, and his saliva flows out - he is simply in a fit. He has no intelligence. But that is a quality, and there are deceivers around him who go on spreading things about the “baba.”