That’s why I say: go within; look closely – is there any I inside? I am not asking you to believe that you are not the I. If you do, it will turn into a false belief. If you take my word for it and think, “I am not; the ego is false. I am atman, I am brahman; the ego is false,” you will throw yourself into confusion. If this merely becomes a repetitive thing, then you will only be repeating the false. I am not asking you for this sort of repetition. I am saying: go within, look, recognize who you are. One who looks within and recognizes himself discovers that “I am not.” Then who is within? If I am not, then someone else must be there. Just because “I am not,” doesn’t mean no one is there, because even to recognize the illusion, someone has to be there.
If I am not, then who is there? The experience of what remains after the disappearance of I is the experience of godliness. The experience becomes at once expansive – dropping I, “you” also drops, “he” also drops, and only an ocean of consciousness remains. In that state you will see that only godliness is. Then it may seem erroneous to say that godliness is, because that is a repetition.
It is a repetition to say, “godliness is” because godliness is the other name of “that which is.” Is-ness is godliness – hence to say “godliness is” is a tautology; it isn’t correct. What does it mean to say, “godliness is”? We identify something as “is” which can also become “is not.” We say, “the table is,” because it is quite possible the table may not exist tomorrow, or that the table did not exist yesterday. Something that did not exist before may become nonexistent again; then what is the sense in saying “it is”? Godliness is not something that did not exist before, nor is it possible that it will never be again; therefore, to say “godliness is” is meaningless. It is. In fact, another name for godliness is “that which is.” Godliness means existence.
In my view, if we impose our God on “that which is,” we are pushing ourselves into falsehood and deception. And remember, the Gods we have created are made differently; each has his respective trademark. A Hindu has made his own God, a Mohammedan has his own. The Christian, the Jaina, the Buddhist – each has his own God. All have coined their own respective words; all have created their own respective Gods. A whole great God-manufacturing industry abounds! In their respective homes people manufacture their God; they produce their own God. It is a home industry. And then these God-manufacturers fight among themselves in the marketplace the same way the people who manufacture goods and commodities do. Everyone’s God is different from the other’s.
Actually, as long as “I am,” whatsoever I create will be different from yours. As long as “I am,” my religion, my God will be different from other people’s because they will be the creation of I, of the ego. Since we consider ourselves separate entities, whatever we create will have a separate character. If, to create religion, the appropriate freedom could be granted, there would be as many religions in the world as there are people – not less than that. It is because of the lack of the right kind of freedom that there are so few religions in the world.
A Hindu father takes certain care to make his son a Hindu before he becomes independent. A Mohammedan father makes his son a Mohammedan before he becomes intelligent, because once intelligence is attained, a person won’t want to become either a Hindu or a Mohammedan. And so there is the need to fill a child with all these stupidities before he achieves intelligence.