Now, this life-negative approach is bound to affect you, it is bound to influence your very gestalt, your very style, your functioning. In the East if you see poverty, malnourishment, starvation, sickness, the reason is clear: all the three religions which have dominated the East are against life. Why should one bother too much about the body? The body is the enemy – you don’t feed the enemy, you don’t nourish the enemy, you don’t take care of the enemy. It is better that the enemy dies. You would like to torture the enemy, not to make him healthy. And all these three religions of the East have been teaching methods, how to torture yourself. They call it tapascharya – austerity, but deep down it is nothing but slow suicide; it is a crime against life and existence.
Then a vicious circle is created. You don’t take care of the body, you don’t take care of the environment of the body, you don’t give it right nourishment. You suffer – and that suffering proves that your religions are right, that life is suffering. Then you become even more and more disinterested with all that the body contains, life contains, implies. Naturally that creates more suffering, and your mahatmas are proved even more correct. This is a vicious circle, but the basic point is that from the very beginning you have accepted a belief, a prejudice, without ever inquiring.
The religions all over the world prevent people from inquiry. Before a child can inquire we give him beliefs, we force beliefs on him. And once a person has got beliefs, his inquiry can never be detached, his inquiry can never be pure. His inquiry is already contaminated – he has a priori conclusions.
A very famous Hindu psychologist, Dr. Bannerji, once came to see me. He is the head of the department for Psychical Research of Rajasthan University. He had come to see me because he was working on a project; the project was whether there is only one life or many lives.
Christianity, Mohammedanism, Judaism – all the three religions born outside of India – believe in only one life. And the three religions born in India believe in thousands of lives, in fact, the actual number is eight hundred and forty million lives. The difference is immense – one life and eight hundred and forty million lives; it is not a small difference.
So he was working on the project: who is right? He told me, “I am a man of science” – and he has many degrees; he has been educated in the West.
I asked him a simple question, “This is beautiful work that you are doing, but before you ask me anything I would like to ask you one thing only. Then I am ready, you can ask anything you want. My question is: Do you believe that there are many lives or there is only one life?”
He said, “Of course, I believe that there are many lives, man is born again and again.”
I said to him, “Then the inquiry is pointless. If there is already a belief, if you are already prejudiced, then your inquiry is not scientific, you are not open. You will collect only that data which supports your prejudice. In the same way a Christian working on the same project, or a Mohammedan working on the same project, will find that there is only one life. And you will find that there are many many millions of lives. It is not a question of inquiry at all. To inquire one needs an open mind.”