You can say to your wife during the day a hundred times, “I love you.” But if your heart is not in it, you know that these words are dead, that these words have no wings. And you know that moment also when you really love, and you say, “I love you.” And the difference! And the difference is immense. The words are the same; there is no way to detect any difference in the words. No phonetic analysis, no analysis of the sound, is going to find any difference. But you know: when you love, those words are no more ordinary – they are radiant, they have a luminosity, they are aflame. Your heart beats in them, they are alive.
And when you are just repeating it because it has to be repeated – because there are books in the world like Dale Carnegie’s books and Napoleon Hill’s books, which go on saying that even if you don’t love, go on repeating – it helps. It lubricates relationship. Maybe they are right, it lubricates, but it is not the true thing. You may live a smooth life, but just to live a smooth life is worthless. One has to live a life of passion and prayer and love – not just a smooth life. One has to live a life of adventure, of exploration. not just a smooth life! One has to live totally. One’s life torch has to burn from both ends – even though it is only for one single moment, but then that single moment is eternity. When you live at the optimum, then you know what life is. And then you know the celebration of it and the benediction of it.
Religion is not a formality. Avoid formalities. If you really want to be religious some day, avoid formalities. The greatest danger with formality is that if you become accustomed to formality you will never become aware that you are missing the real thing. The man who carries false coins and thinks they are real coins will not search for the real. That is going to be his misfortune.
Never be formal about religion. Never be a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan – these are all formalities. Be prayerful, but not in a formal way. Let prayer arise. Wait for it. Long for it! Search for it!
Imitation is borrowed. Formality is borrowed. others teach you what to do. And religion requires a mature person, not just a person who is like a parrot.
It is not a formality because it is not part of culture, civilization, society. In fact, religion is basically asocial – not anti-social but asocial. It takes you beyond society. You are caught up by the society, you are conditioned by the society. The society is your prison. It does not allow you to move out of its boundaries. It gives you enough rope so that you can have a certain feeling of freedom, but you are not free. No society allows freedom. No society exists for freedom. The name of freedom is being exploited, but no society is free.
To have a free society will mean to have no society at all – then there will be pure individuals. And all that we know as society will be just a formal arrangement: like the post office and the railway department – a formal arrangement. No imposition of any inner structure. No imposition of any obedience, but a help, a nourishing help, so that everybody can become himself. Not that he has to conform to a certain mold.
No society yet exists which is religious, not even the Indian society. Indians like the idea very much, and their so-called gums go on roaming around the world and declaring to the world that India is religious – it is all nonsense. Formally they are right, but religion has nothing to do with formality.