Chapter 1: Pseudo-Religion: The Stick-on Soul
The first question:
Why is humanity today becoming more and more miserable?
The cause is very simple, perhaps too simple. It is very close, very obvious, and this is the reason why most people go on missing seeing it. When something is very obvious you start taking it for granted. When something is too close to your eyes you cannot see it. For seeing, some distance is needed.
So the first thing I would like you to remember is that it is not only today that humanity is miserable. It has always been miserable. Misery has almost become our second nature. We have lived in it for thousands of years. That closeness does not allow us to see it; otherwise it is so obvious.
But to see the obvious you need a child’s vision.
And we are all carrying thousands of years in our eyes. Our eyes are old; they cannot see afresh. They have already accepted things, and forgotten that those things are the very cause of misery.
The religious prophets, the political leaders, the moral lawgivers - you have respected them, not even suspecting that they are the cause of your misery. How can you suspect them? Those people have served humanity, sacrificed themselves for humanity. You worship them; you cannot relate them to your misery.
The causes of misery are camouflaged behind beautiful words, holy scriptures, spiritual sermons.
It happened when I was a student, the first prime minister of India came to visit the city. In Jabalpur, all the dirt of the city flows just in the middle of the city. The city is very big - ten times bigger than Portland - and just in the middle of the city, all the dirt flows like a river. There is a bridge over it, and to pass that bridge is to know something about hell. I have never seen any place so stinking.
The day Jawaharlal, the prime minister, came to visit the city the bridge was one of the greatest problems. He had to cross it - that was the only way to get to the other part of the city. So they covered the bridge with mogra flowers. It was summertime, and the mogra is so fragrant a flower. The whole bridge on both sides had garlands of mogra hanging. You could pass across the bridge and you would not be at all aware that just behind those mogras, the wall of flowers, was the most dirty place possible.