Chapter 27: Religion Is the Last Luxury
I don’t know what they would do with Jesus. I know about myself, that America would like to kill me, the Soviet Union would like to kill me; every country in the world would like to kill me, for the simple reason that I don’t belong to any tradition, any religion, any ideology. Jesus would not have been crucified by communists. They would have laughed at him, they would have, made a joke out of him. He would have been just a buffoon. They would not have taken the trouble to crucify a simpleton. Jews unnecessarily created the trouble for the whole world.
If Jesus had not been crucified there would have been no Christianity. Christianity is because of the crucifixion, not because of Jesus. Alive, he had no impact. Only twelve fools - uneducated, illiterate - were his apostles. Not a single rabbi, not a single scholar, not a single intellectual was impressed by him. But the crucifixion made him special, and that crucifixion became the source of Christianity.
I don’t think communists are so foolish. They have learned much in these two thousand years; they would not crucify Jesus. And there was no need! He was just wandering on his donkey, talking nonsense; you could have enjoyed it. If you didn’t like it, didn’t enjoy it, there was no fee to be paid.
You were quoted as saying that you consider yourself the guru of the rich. What do you think we should do with the poor?
As far as I am concerned, it is not a question of my being the guru of the rich. Religion itself is possible only for those who have known all the luxuries of life and have found them meaningless. Religion is the last luxury. The poor man cannot afford it. He cannot afford even food, he cannot afford even shelter, he cannot afford a little education for his children; how can he understand Mozart, Leonardo da Vinci, Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky? It will be beyond his comprehension. And these people are nothing - when it comes to religion, it means the ultimate mysteries of life.
The poor neither has the time nor has the appetite nor has the intelligence to take such a flight. So it is not a question of my being the guru of the rich, it is more fundamental. Only the rich can afford religion. The poor can afford communism, but not religion. For the poor, communism is religion and for the rich man even Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism are not satisfying because they are all old rotten. He needs something up to date - and that’s what I am offering.