You can see the logic. Either the messiah, the savior, becomes the object of your love, and you become just shadows blindly following him; or if you are fully contented, overflowing with love and blossoming in thousands of roses, then who cares to be saved? – you are already saved. Who cares about paradise? – you are in it.
The priest will die if you learn how to love yourself, the politician will not have followers; all the vested interests in society will go bankrupt. They are all thriving on a very subtle psychological exploitation of you.
But learning to love oneself is not difficult, it is natural. If you have been able to do something which is unnatural, if you have learned how to love others without loving yourself, then the other thing is very simple. You have done the almost impossible. It is only a question of understanding, a simple understanding, that “I am to love myself; otherwise I will miss the meaning of life. I will never grow up, I will simply grow old. I will not have any individuality. I will not be truly human, dignified, integrated.”
And moreover, if you cannot love yourself, you cannot love anybody else in the world. So many psychological problems have arisen because you have been distracted from yourself. You are unworthy, you are not what you should be; your actions have to be corrected. You have to be molded into a certain personality.
In Japan they have four-hundred-year-old trees, but their height is only six inches. They think that it is a form of art. It is murder, sheer murder! The tree looks ancient, but is only six inches high. It would have been one hundred feet high, reaching towards the stars. What have they done? What strategy have they used?
The same strategy has been used against humanity, human beings. They put the tree in a pot which has no bottom. So whenever the tree grows its roots, they go on cutting them, because there is no bottom to the pot. The roots they go on cutting, and unless roots grow deeper, the tree cannot rise higher. It grows old, but it never grows up. Exactly the same has been done with human beings.
Your love for yourself is a basic necessity for your growth. Hence, I teach you to be selfish-which is natural.
All your religions have been teaching you to be altruistic. Sacrifice yourself for any idiotic idea: the flag – just a rotten piece of cloth. You sacrifice yourself to the nation – which is nothing but fantasy, because the earth is not divided anywhere into nations. It is the politicians’ cunningness, to divide the earth on the map. You are sacrificing for the lines drawn on the maps! Die for your religion: Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Mohammedanism. And they have managed it in such a way that the individual is caught.
If you die for your nation you will be called a martyr – you are simply committing suicide, and that too for a foolish reason. If you die for your religion you will reach paradise, you will enjoy eternal blessings. They have manipulated you. But one thing is basic in that manipulation, that is, don’t love yourself; hate yourself, because you are not worth anything.