Chapter 1: You Are Always on the Funeral Pyre
Just think: you are in an air flight and somebody comes and says, “There is no pilot.” Suddenly there will be a panic. No pilot? “No pilot” simply means you are doomed. Then somebody says, “Believe the pilot is there - invisible. We may not be able to see the pilot, but he is there; otherwise how is this beautiful mechanism functioning? Just think of it: everything is going so beautifully - there must be a pilot. Maybe we are not capable of seeing him, maybe we are not yet prayerful enough to see him, maybe our eyes are closed, but the pilot is there. Otherwise, how is it possible? This airplane has taken off, it is flying perfectly well; the engines are humming. Everything is a proof that there is a pilot.”
If somebody proves it, you relax again into your chair. You close your eyes, you start dreaming again - you can fall asleep. The pilot is there, you need not worry.
Buddha says: The pilot exists not - it is a human creation. Man has created God in his own image. It is man’s invention; God is not a discovery, it is an invention. And God is not the truth - it is the greatest lie there is. That’s why I say Buddhism is not a religion in the ordinary sense of the term. A God-less religion - can you imagine? When for the first time Western scholars became aware of Buddhism they were shocked. They could not comprehend that a religion can exist - and without God! They had known only Judaism, Christianity and Islam. All these three religions are in a way very immature compared to Buddhism.
Buddhism is religion come of age. Buddhism is the religion of a mature mind. Buddhism is not childish at all - and it doesn’t help any childish desires in you. It is very merciless. Let me repeat it: There has never been a man more compassionate than Buddha, but his religion is merciless. In fact, in that mercilessness he is showing his compassion. He will not allow you to cling to any lie. Howsoever consoling, a lie is a lie. And those who have given you the lie, they are not friends to you, they are enemies - because under the impact of the lie you will live a life full of lies.
The truth has to be brought to you, howsoever hard, howsoever shattering, howsoever shocking. Even if you are annihilated by the impact of the truth it is good. Buddha says: The truth is that man’s religions are man’s inventions. You are in a dark night surrounded by alien forces. You need someone to hang on to, someone to cling to.
And everything that you can see is changing - your father will die one day and you will be left alone, your mother will die one day and you will be left alone, and you will be an orphan. And from the very childhood you have been accustomed to having a father to protect you, a mother to love you. Now that childish desire will again assert itself: you will need a father-figure. If you cannot find it in the sky, then you will find it in some politician.
Stalin became the father of Soviet Russia; they had dropped the idea of God. Mao became the father of China; they had dropped the idea of God. But man is such that he cannot live without a father-figure. Man is childish. There are very few rare people who grow to be mature.
My own observation is this, that people remain near about the age of seven, eight, nine. Their physical bodies go on growing, but their minds remain stuck there somewhere below the age of ten.