No, they say, “Be cautious. Think twice before you leap. Remember your tradition, your religion is thousands of years old; it has wisdom. You are a newcomer, you cannot afford to disbelieve in it. There is no comparison. You have just come in, and your religion has been there for ten thousand years, accumulating more and more experience, knowledge. It is a Himalayan phenomenon.
“You are a small pebble. You cannot fight with tradition – it is fighting against yourself, it is self-destructive. You can only submit to tradition; that is wise, intelligent. To be with the crowd you are protected, you are secure, you are assured that you will not go astray.”
In so many ways you will be told a simple thing: Just be a coward; it pays to be cowardly. It is dangerous to be courageous, because it is going to bring you in conflict with all the vested interests – and you are a small human being. You cannot fight the whole world.
My grandfather used to say to me, “Whatever you say is right. I am old, but I can understand that you are saying something true. But I will suggest – don’t say it to anybody. You will be in trouble. You cannot be against the whole world. You may have the truth, but truth does not count; what counts is the crowd. Somebody may be simply lying” – and all religions have been doing that, lying about God, lying about heaven, lying about hell, lying about a thousand and one things – “but the crowd is with them. Their lies are supported by the immense humanity and its long tradition. You are nobody.”
I was very friendly with my grandfather. He used to take me to the saints who were visiting the town. He enjoyed very much my arguments with the so-called saints, creating a situation absolutely embarrassing for the saint because he was unable to answer me. But coming back he would tell me, “Remember, it is good as a game, but don’t make it your life, otherwise you will be alone against the whole world. And you cannot win against the whole world.”
The last thing he said was the same. Before he died, he called me close and told me, “Remember, don’t fight against the world. You cannot win.”
I said, “Now you are dying. You have been with the world – what have you gained? What is your victory? I cannot promise you what you are asking. I want it to be absolutely clear to you that whatever the cost…I may lose in the fight, but it will be my fight, and I will be immensely satisfied because I was in favor of truth. It does not matter whether I win or lose – that is irrelevant, the defeat or the victory. What is important is that whatever you feel is right, you stand for it.”
This courage is in everybody. It is not a quality to be practiced, it is something that is part of your life – your very breathing. It is just that the society has created so many barriers against your natural growth that you have started thinking from where to get courage? from where to get intelligence? from where to get truth?