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Chapter 17: You Just Need a Little Courage

Sheela wanted a dead religion. Every priest or priestess wants a dead religion, because it is predictable. Everything is just a catechism. There is no opinion, no evolution, no growth. Just look at Christianity: two thousand years have passed - have they gone even an inch farther than Jesus Christ? Twenty-five centuries have passed since Buddha - have Buddhists gone a single step ahead? This is destroying growth, destroying evolution.

Now I want my people to remain open, alive, growing, always fresh and new. It remains a new kind of phenomenon, religiousness: no label attached to it, because every label is a full stop. And I don’t like full stops, I don’t like even semi-colons: Life is always ongoing..

One journalist was very much worried; he said, “You have destroyed Rajneeshism, the religion. Now you will be in great trouble on two counts: first, Rajneesh Foundation International will lose its tax-exempt status.”

I told the man, “Don’t you worry about it. We have burned religion but not religiousness; and we will fight so that a man can have a growing experience of religiousness without being part of a mob psychology, without being a member of a collectivity. That is perfectly good for the sheep, but not for lions. And I want my sannyasins to be lions, not sheep.

“Nobody can take away the tax-exempt status. We are more religious than any Christian, any Hindu, any Mohammedan. We have just buried the dead structure and freed the soul of religion. That freedom is religiousness.”

He was also worried that it would be difficult now for me in reference to my immigration, on the same grounds. It is not going to be difficult for me at all. If you don’t have a category for religiousness, that is your fault. Make a category for religiousness.

Even in my interview with the INS, I had made it clear that this is no ordinary religion; it is simply a way of life, a quality of religiousness.

The INS officer said, “But it is difficult, because we don’t have any category for that. We have a category for religion.”

“Then,” I said, “you can write that it is a religionless religion.” And that is on record.

What does “religionless religion” mean?

It simply means a religiousness.

And I love fights. It is so exciting. I am all for fighting - of course, nonviolent fighting, not with guns. Guns are used only by retarded people. I have enough intelligence to fight, to argue. And I will argue my case up to the Supreme Court.

I would like the Supreme Court to give me special permission to fight my case myself. An advocate can be an assistant to me, but I do not want to be lost in legal jargon. I am a straightforward, simple man. And what is the need for truth to have any advocate to defend it? Truth is not defensive; its presence is enough, and its victory is absolutely certain.

So there is no question. The movement of sannyas has been freed, it has not been stopped. It was being stopped.

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