Now, these people who were wounding themselves, killing themselves slowly, they were pathological; and the people who used to come to see them, they were also pathological. The saints were masochists and the onlookers and the worshippers were sadists – they both were in a subtle ill state of affairs.
There have been saints who cut their genital organs. There have been women saints who cut their breasts. What will you call these people? But they live according to the belief – they are believers!
Man has to get rid of all this stupid kind of religiousness. Man has to get rid of all this nonsense that has persisted down the ages. It is because of this nonsense that religion has not become part of everybody’s life.
No, religion need not be based on belief. Religion has to be based on experience – not on fear but on love; not on negation of life but on affirmation of life. Religion has not to be a belief – it has to be a knowing, an experiencing. That’s why I say belief is a dirty word here. Knowing, loving, being – these are real words.
And, belief hinders them: you cannot know if you believe, you cannot love if you believe, you cannot see if you believe. And remember: I am not saying that you have to disbelieve, because disbelief is again belief. The atheist and the theist are not different – they are in the same boat, they are fellow travelers. The theist believes God is, the atheist believes God is not – but both believe. Their beliefs are antagonistic, but as far as belief is concerned both are believers. There is not much difference.
What I am saying is: neither belief nor disbelief is needed – because you don’t know, so how can you believe? and you don’t know, so how can you disbelieve? When belief and disbelief are both dropped, there is silence. When belief and disbelief have both disappeared, you are open to truth; then you don’t have any prejudice, then your mind is no more projecting. Then you become receptive.
Neither believe nor disbelieve. Just be watchful, receptive, open! – and you will know.
And what you call that knowing does not matter – whether you call it God, or you call it enlightenment, or you call it nirvana, does not matter! These words are just words. Any word will do: xyz will do. But first you have to get rid of belief and disbelief.
Getting rid of belief and disbelief, you get rid of the mind. And only a state of no-mind comes to know. The state of no-mind is blissful….
The second question:
Is not Shankaracharya enlightened? – then why did you drop the proposed series of talks on him?