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Chapter 1: Life Is Such a Puzzling Affair

And there is so much unholy in it.

These so-called holy scriptures cannot even be considered great literature. Their standard is so mundane, so mediocre that all the religions of the world have thought it is better that they should remain in languages which nobody understands anymore.

When you hear somebody chanting sutras in Sanskrit, it seems they must have meaning of tremendous significance - particularly all old languages are very musical. They had to be, because writing came into existence very late, and people had to remember. And it is easier to remember poetry than to remember prose. So all holy scriptures are poetic, and all old languages - Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, Chinese - are all very musical. If you don’t understand them, they sound great. It feels like there must be a secret hidden meaning in these musical, beautiful words.

Translated, they fall flat on the ground; there is nothing much in them. They are so ordinary that sometimes one feels ashamed - this is my holy scripture? Many of the holy scriptures are full of obscenity, full of pornography. The Holy Bible has five hundred pages of sheer pornography. The pope was afraid because to bring the Bible into ordinary living languages, which people know and use, was dangerous. And celibacy was the fundamental attitude of all religions, not only of Christianity.

Martin Luther was so angry because he could not become the pope - and it was not in his hands to become the pope; a pope is elected by the cardinals.

They have a special way of electing a pope: there are perhaps two hundred topmost cardinals who gather in the Vatican whenever a pope dies. There is a special place in the Vatican where there are two hundred small cells. Those cardinals move into those cells for twenty-four hours, fasting, praying, finding the message of God within their hearts: who should be the pope? After twenty-four hours, they write the name of one of the cardinals from amongst those two hundred cardinals, and then all those pieces of paper are collected. Whoever gets more votes, whoever gets his name written by more cardinals than anybody else, is chosen as the pope.

It is a very strange election: you cannot campaign, you cannot ask somebody, “Please give your vote to me” - it is prohibited. And you cannot meet anybody else while you are deciding; you are closed in your small cell. It is hoped that, fasting and praying, you will do something which will be right, which will not come out of political considerations but which will come out of deeper feelings: who is really capable of being the head of the whole religion? - because he is going to be the representative of Jesus Christ.

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