The religions which have been teaching the same prayer to everybody are doing an enormous harm, because that prayer in the first place is based on a belief in a God no one has seen, no one has heard of. Different religions define God in a different way.
In England there is now a growing movement of Satanism, devil worshippers. Thirty thousand people already openly declare that the devil is not God’s enemy, but God’s only begotten son. And they worship the devil because God, after creating the world, has either gone senile or has completely forgotten about the world. But one thing is certain, that he is no more interested, because after those six days, he has never been seen. There is not a single eyewitness. So why bother the old fellow? His young son, the devil…the word devil helps them, because it comes from the same Sanskrit root as divine. It means “godly.”
It depends on you what you make of God, and such things. Nobody interferes. God has never said anything about himself. He has never said to any religion “Don’t say these things, they are not true.” In fact God is only an image created by man, so is the devil.
You can change your images, and you can go on praying to your own handmade, homemade gods for millions of years. Nothing will happen to you, because these are not devices.
I have told you Leo Tolstoy’s story. Before the Russian revolution, Russia was one of the most orthodox Christian countries, more than anywhere else. The archbishop of the Russian church was getting more and more angry about three men who lived beyond a lake, under a tree – poor folks, villagers, uneducated, uncultured; but people had started worshipping them as saints.
And thousands of people were going there. And that was hurting him very much. These were the people who were supposed to come to his church; they are going to three persons who are not even recognized by the church as saints.
The English word saint is ugly. It comes from the original sanction – a man who has been sanctioned by the church in his holiness. He has a certificate of holiness from the church.
These people have never been sanctioned in any holiness, and thousands of people are going. Finally, outraged, he himself went in a boat.
Those three poor fellows were sitting under a tree, very happy, very peaceful, very silent. But the archbishop was very angry. He screamed at them, shouted at them. They all kneeled before him and said, “Forgive us if we have done anything wrong, but why are you shouting? What is the problem?”
The archbishop said, “Who told you you are saints?”
They said, “Nobody, and we don’t think we are saints, we are poor people. But what can we do if people have started coming to us, just as you have come. What can we do?”
“But why have people started coming to you? What is your religion?”
They looked at each other. They said, “We are uneducated people; don’t talk in such cultured, sophisticated language. Make it simple.”