The society hates the individual. The society wants you to mix with the crowd, to fit with the crowd. Stop being yourself; just be a carbon copy of the ideal that the society has determined is how a person should be. It has not asked you how you would like to be – the ideals are determined by others. You are simply victims. Every individual on the earth is a victim of the crowd.
So the first thing to understand is that it is not only me, my individuality, that the world finds difficult to understand. It is not in the very program of the minds of human beings to accept any individual. This is the fundamental approach of all cultures, all civilizations: to destroy the individual in favor of the collective mind.
We have created a world of slaves. There are Hindus, there are Mohammedans, there are Christians, there are communists. But you will not find somebody who is simply himself and not a communist, not a Catholic, not a Hindu – because these are the names of the crowds.
As far as I am concerned, things become more complicated – to accept me is difficult, very difficult. Now because what I am saying is difficult – my teaching is very simple, very obvious – the difficulty arises from the side of the crowd. To accept me means to reject their whole ages-long conditioning. To accept me means to reject their religions, their scriptures, their so-called leaders, their saints, their whole way of life. And they have cherished it up to now as the most significant thing, as the rightful path.
And to drop all that heritage just for one individual… Although it appeals to your reason, it appeals to your heart, to drop thousands of years in favor of one individual is certainly difficult.
I am reminded of one of the great philosophers of this age, Bertrand Russell. He lived long, almost a whole century. He passed through many phases, he saw the world moving through many phases…one hundred years is a long time.
He was brought up as an orthodox Christian. He belonged to the noble families of England; he was a lord. But as he started studying philosophy in the university it was impossible not to see that Christianity is a very third-rate religion, because he became acquainted with Gautam Buddha.
He remembers in one of his memoirs:
He rejected Christianity. He wrote a book, Why I Am Not A Christian, and in the book he gave all the reasons why he was dropping Christianity. The book must have been in existence now for sixty years, unanswered. No Christian theologian has been able to answer that book, because his arguments are so simple and clear-cut. Intellectually, he tried to deprogram himself from Christianity; that book was an exercise in deprogramming himself.
Just one night when the book was finished… He was happy that he had finished with something superstitious, ugly, which had been the cause of so much bloodshed for two thousand years, which instead of teaching love had only created more hate in the world.