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Chapter 1: The Great Illusion

This is why we build mosques and temples and gurudwaras. We construct the churches and temples next to our shops and homes in order to make them a part of the world. Christians, Hindus, Mohammedans, Sikhs, Jainas.we add these religious differences to our worldly turbulence - as if there is not already enough trouble, enough politics; as if there is not already enough warfare, we add religious warfare, we fight in the name of religion. As it is, there is more than enough competition - in the name of nations, for money, for prestige; but to these we add religious competition. We make even religion a part of the world. This is the art of the mind.

Have you observed one thing? You must all have had dreams in which you dreamed that you woke up and the dream was broken. The alarm has gone off, it is morning, you are awake, you get out of your bed, you stand up and the dream has ended - but this was all part of the dream. But to know that you had only dreamed all this is not possible until you really wake up in the morning. And to dream that one is awake is the most dangerous dream of all, because this is the pinnacle of illusion. The deepest dream of all is when a man dreams in the midst of his worldliness that he is religious. Instead of going on the search for godliness, we create a phony God around ourselves. If we go in search of real godliness, we will come to an end. To save ourselves we invent the false God.

Scriptures say God created the world. They may be right, but if we look at the gods around man - they are all manmade. The image enshrined in the temple is made by you. And man is very clever: he bows and worships before the image he himself has made. He himself carves the image, he himself installs it in the temple, he converts stone into a god, then kneels and prays before it. A great game! He offers worship and prayer to his toys, and returns home satisfied that he has been to the temple.

This whole web is created by words. So it is rightly asked why understanding the verbal meaning does not lead to realization. Actually, nothing is understood through the word; only a substitute for understanding is created. It appears that one has understood, and this appearance is bad. So the first thing to be understood is that there is no value in verbal understanding. It is just a way to hide our non-understanding. It is like covering our nakedness with clothing: our nakedness does not disappear, inside we still remain naked. If we are clever we can make our nudity even more obvious through the kind of clothes we wear and the way we wear them. A naked man, a naked woman, is never as nude as the illusion that can be created by wearing the right clothes. Your words, your false understanding, will not eradicate your inner poverty, but only hide it.

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