If you follow somebody you are betraying existence because you are betraying your own innermost being. You are betraying your flowering. And why do people so easily become followers? Why is the whole world following somebody or other? And if sometimes one becomes fed up with Christianity, he becomes a Hindu; the Hindu becomes fed up with Hinduism, he becomes a Buddhist…but the following continues. The whole pattern remains the same. The book changes, the leader changes, but the following, the follower…and the whole process remains the same, the same destructive suicidal process.
I am against following because it is against the basic psychological principle of the uniqueness of the individual.
You should pay a little more attention to the word individual. It means indivisible – it cannot be divided. The moment you follow, you are dividing. You are something, you are trying to become something else; you are somewhere, you are trying to reach somewhere else. Now you are creating a tension in your being. Hence the anguish all over the world.
My religion is not the religion of following. I can only share with you whatever has happened to me. And I am not saying that the same will happen to you. I am simply saying that if I can see, you can also see. If I can feel, you can also feel. Certainly, you will feel in your own way and you will see in your own way. The poetry that will be born in you will be your poetry, it will not be mine.
So the people you see here around me are not my followers. I am nobody’s leader. That silly word leader is perfectly okay in politics, but not in religion. In politics, of course, you need idiots. The greater idiot leads the smaller idiots. But in religion, a flowering of intelligence is needed, not idiocy. So my work is basically of sharing. It is just….
I would like to tell you an old, beautiful parable:
A lioness gives birth to a cub in a crowd of sheep. The cub grows amongst the sheep and naturally believes that he is a sheep – what else can the lion do? One day an old lion, just passing by the crowd of sheep, looks at this miracle: a young, beautiful lion just walking in the middle of a crowd of sheep. Neither the sheep are afraid of him, nor is he in any way behaving differently.
The old lion becomes interested. He runs after the young lion. It is with great difficulty that he catches hold of him because the young lion escapes, just like every other sheep escapes. But finally he catches hold of him. The young lion starts crying and weeping, like a sheep. And the old lion says, “Stop all this nonsense!” He takes him to a nearby pond, drags him by his side to the pond, forces him to look into the water…and suddenly the young lion roars like a lion.
The old lion has not done anything. He has just shown him his face, his real face, and he has recognized that he is a lion – he is not a sheep. And just that recognition is enough. It is transforming. The old lion has not done anything at all. He has not told the young lion to “follow me,” to “imitate me,” and “These are the commandments for you, and this is the character you have to attain, and these are the principles, and these are the things you have not to do.” He has not done anything of that sort.