And I say, Jesus has no religious experience at all, because to me the fundamental religious experience is that there is no God. The question of being the only begotten son of God is so stupid, but the whole of Christianity is based on it.
Religiousness is not dependent on any learning, on any knowledge. Religiousness is your flowering; it is the flowering of your own heart into a rose. It is your own authenticity. It is neither a cult nor a religion. If one wants to keep the word cult in language, then all religions are cults.
Gautam Buddha’s experience was religious, but the people who were impressed by his grace and beauty and compassion founded a religion. It is not founded by Gautam Buddha himself; it is a cult. If “cult” has to have any meaning, all religions are cults, dead things, dead memories of some living experience that you have come across but it is not your own.
You have seen in the eyes of a Gautam Buddha something which can only be called miraculous, something that is beyond all our experiences. You have seen in his face something that does not belong to this world. Impressed by him, you arranged a cult. You called it a religion.
So we can say, whenever there has been a religious experience, an explosion of religiousness in a being, around him, cults are born. Cults are not your experience, but somebody else’s experience. It is not your own story; it is somebody else’s expression, which has impressed you.
A really intelligent person never lives according to other people’s lives, howsoever great those lives may be – because everyone has to live a unique existence of his own. You have to be your own self. You cannot be Jesus, you cannot be Buddha, you cannot be Mansoor; you can only be whatever you are.
Religion is a crowd, gathered around the dead body of an experienced man. Because it is gathered around a dead body of an experienced man it does not become living. All churches are dead, graveyards of different individuals who had touched the very center of their being. These religions should not even be called religions, because that word creates a confusion. It is so close to “religiousness” that it is better to call all organized religions “cults.”
As far as religion is concerned there has never been any religion and there will never be any religion. There are only religious people. And a religious person has no adjective attached to himself. He is loving, he is truthful, he is honest, he is fearless; his life is a celebration, a constant festivity. He knows the very secret of existence, because he is also part of it. There have been religious people…and that’s what I want you to be.
Never become a religion. Remain individuals, searching and seeking your own truth, your own beauty, your own grace.