And that’s what has happened to humanity: humanity is living under the curse of borrowed knowledge. People go on reciting the Bible, the Koran, the Gita like parrots – blind old owls reciting the Koran, the Gita, the Bible. But this is not their own experience; their own experience is just the opposite. Their own experience simply denies the truth of the Gita and the Bible and the Vedas and the Dhammapada. Their own experience simply says that “Buddha is mad,” that “Jesus is deceiving us,” that “Socrates may be very clever, but beware of him, don’t listen to him. He will destroy our religion.”
Man has created a religion with his blind eyes – not one, many religions – because blind eyes cannot see the one, blind eyes can only believe in the many. Hence there are so many religions – nearabout three hundred religions on this small earth – and each religion proclaiming that, “My truth is the only truth,” that, “My God is the only God,” that, “All other Gods are false,” that, “All other truths are fabrications,” that, “All other paths only lead into wastelands – only my path is the path to paradise.”
These three hundred religions are continuously fighting with each other. None of them is aware, none of them has seen, none of them has looked into reality face to face – they have believed. These religions are not religions but traditions – they have heard. They have heard down the ages and they have believed, because to believe is cheap, to explore is risky; to repeat like a parrot is comfortable, to go into the adventure of discovery is to risk your life. It is dangerous. Exploration is dangerous; belief – convenient, consoling, you need not go anywhere. It is given to you ready-made, but it is secondhand.
And miserable is the man who lives with a secondhand God, because God can only be firsthand. The experience has to be authentically yours. Nobody else’s experience can become a foundation of a true life. Buddha may have seen, but to become a Buddhist is not going to help. Buddha was not a Buddhist – certainly not. Jesus may have looked, encountered, realized, but to become a Christian is utter stupidity. Unless you become a Christ you will never know God.
The really religious person avoids traditions, the really religious person avoids secondhand gods, avoids beliefs, keeps himself open, available for the truth to happen. Certainly he works – only he works. The believer never works upon himself; there is no need for the believer to work upon himself. The explorer, the inquirer, the seeker of truth works hard upon himself because there are many things which have to be dropped, many impurities which have to be dropped, many hindrances and blocks which have to be dissolved. The eyes have to be opened and the ears have to be unplugged and the heart has to be made to feel.
One has to fall in rhythm with the existence. When you are utterly in rhythm with existence your eyes are open, and then for the first time, you see. And that seeing is transformation, that seeing changes you, root and all. That seeing becomes a new vision, a new life, a new gestalt. You are no more confined then by your body, no more confined by your mind, no more confined by anything whatsoever. You are unconfined, infinite, eternal. And to feel this eternity flowing in you is to know God, to see this infinity extending into the eternal past and into the eternal future is to see God. To feel godliness inside your own being is to know God. This can’t be secondhand.