Chapter 9: A Stranger to Yourself
Religion is existential. It is non-philosophic. It is not thinking about God: it is experiencing God. It has nothing to do with about and about. Its approach is direct. It does not go in rounds. It simply hits the target. It moves like an arrow, straight.
Jesus says to his disciples: “Straight and narrow is my way.” Straight.the shortest distance between two points - that is the meaning of ‘straight’. Philosophy is zigzag, the longest distance between two points - that’s what philosophy is. Religion is the shortest distance between two points, the straight line, absolutely straight. It does not waste a single moment in unnecessary questions.
And it is narrow. Why narrow? Because only one can walk on it. Religion is absolutely personal. You cannot take your wife with you or your children with you. You cannot move in crowds. Hence, crowds are never religious. You may call those crowds Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian - crowds are never religious. The very psychology of the crowd is political, it is never religious. Only individuals are religious.
A buddha is religious, but Buddhists are not. A Krishna is religious, but Hindus are not. A Christ is religious, but Christians are not. What are Christians then? They have created a politics in the name of religion. The mob mind always creates politics. It is ambitious, imitative, mediocre.
The religious person moves alone. He is not a sheep: he is a lion. He moves alone. Hence the path is straight and narrow. You cannot have your friends with you. The deeper you go in your being the more alone you are. When you reach to the innermost core of your being, you will be alone there. Absolutely alone. There will not even be a God separate from you - you will be God.aham brahmasmi, ana’l haq. There from your very ground of being arises the feeling: I am God, I am the truth - I am the real.
God is never encountered as an object. You find him as the center of your subjectivity. The path is really narrow.
Kabir has said: prem gali ati sankari, tamai do na samaye - the path of love is very narrow, it cannot contain two. Lovers become one. If there is love, they become one. If there is no love, they remain two.
The path to God is love. The path to God is not mind, logic, argumentation, philosophy. It is intuitive. It is of the heart.
You can change your philosophy but it will not change you. You will remain the same. I have seen Christians becoming Hindus, Hindus becoming Christians, and I have not seen any change at all. You can go to the church or to the temple or to the gurudwara - how is it going to make any change in you? The one who goes remains the same. The church changes, the structure of the building is different, but the structure of the mind that goes to the church or to the temple is the same. You bow down to Krishna or you bow down to Mahavira - Mahavira and Krishna are irrelevant. The one who is bowing down, the structure of his mind, the pattern of his mind - that’s the question.