The whole humanity is sick for the simple reason that we have not allowed life’s insecurity to be our very religion. Our gods are our security, our virtues are our security, our knowledge is our security, our relationships are our securities. We are wasting our whole life in accumulating security bonds. Our virtues, austerities, are nothing but an effort to be secure even after death. It is creating a bank balance in the other world.
But meanwhile a tremendously beautiful life is slipping out of your hands. The trees are so beautiful because they don’t know the fear of insecurity. The wild animals have such grandeur because they don’t know that there is death, there is insecurity. The flowers can dance in the sun and in the rain because they are not concerned about what is going to happen in the evening. Their petals will fall, and just as they had appeared from an unknown source, they will disappear back into the same unknown source. But meanwhile, between these two points of appearance and disappearance, you have the opportunity either to dance or to despair.
Ta Hui is saying that people go to the churches and to the temples and to the mosques, not because they are religious, but because they are cowards. Because they cannot live, they are finding ways to protect themselves.
I used to stay with a friend in a house in Surat. This friend belongs to a strange Mohammedan sect, and Surat is their headquarters; their high priest lives in Surat. I could not believe what intelligent people can do…the community is very rich and very intelligent; all are educated people. Just talking to him I came to know that in their society, when somebody dies, his friends and his family give money to the high priest. Sometimes lakhs of rupees are given to the priest as a representative of God; because the man is going on a pilgrimage, his life after death should be taken care of.
The priest writes a letter to God, a letter of recommendation: “This man has to be taken care of. A good place” – according to the donations – “should be arranged for him in heaven.” That letter is put in the pocket of the dead man, the dead man is put in the grave, and the money – of course – goes in the pocket of the priest.
I asked the friend, “Do you think that money in some strange way reaches to God?”
He said, “That’s the belief.”
I took him to their graveyard one night, to a new, fresh grave. We opened it, and he said, “This is very sacrilegious.”
I said, “I don’t belong to your religion; don’t be worried, all the responsibility is mine.” And I pulled out the letter from the pocket of the dead man. I said, “The letter is here. The fellow has forgotten to take the letter. Now what will he do?” A character certificate…in the twentieth century! We are still primitives.