So certainly a Christian can understand me, but he will have to unload himself of his Christianity.
As far as Jesus and his teachings are concerned, the first thing to be noted is he was never a Christian. He was born a Jew, he lived as a Jew, he died as a Jew. His whole life’s effort was to be accepted by the Jews as their long, long awaited messiah. He had never heard the words Christian or Christ.
It is a very strange phenomenon that Christians are worshipping a Jew who for his whole life was teaching only one thing – that he should be accepted as a Jewish messiah. It was only three hundred years after his death when the Hebrew statements of Jesus were translated into Greek, that messiah became Christ and the followers became Christians.
Jesus was never aware that he was creating a new religion. Certainly he has a few very beautiful sayings, but not many compared to people like Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, or the seers of the Upanishads. They are very small in number, but they only look beautiful. I will have to analyze a few sayings so that you can understand what I mean.
He says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit because they shall inherit the kingdom of God.” This is a kind of opium for the poor, because it promises them, “After death, you will be received with great rejoicings. Your only great spiritual quality is your poverty.” And against it he says, “A camel can pass through the eye of a needle, but a rich man cannot pass through the gates of heaven.” This is how the poor have been kept poor – hoping for something to happen after death. The rich have never bothered about all this nonsense – and I think they are right. If you can manage to be rich here – which is God’s world according to the Christians – then why can you not be rich in the other world which is also God’s world? There is no logic in it.
And the people who are beggars here, why should they be beggars here in God’s world? And why should they be called blessed? If they are blessed, then the whole earth should become poor, beggars. Perhaps that is happening today. The whole earth is becoming more and more poor. More and more population, hungry people, starving people dying in Ethiopia – almost one thousand people every day. The ordinary poor will be far back in the line; Ethiopians will be received first.
And this is a long history. How many poor people have lived here? So God’s paradise will be full of beggars and poor, uneducated, uncultured, uncivilized…And poverty is the root cause of all crime. It is not a blessing, it is a curse. But when Jesus says it to the poor people – and, in fact, he had no approach to the rich – he is giving them a great consolation. These consolations are dangerous.