But the pope was faced with great difficulties because the Hindus who have become converted cannot simply drop their habits of thousands of years. In the church they bring incense before Jesus Christ. And it was reported to him by the bishops and the cardinals: “What should be done? We try to prevent them but they don’t listen. They bring flowers, they bring incense…not only that, in the church they repeat the mantra omkar.” And the pope agreed that they should be allowed; otherwise, they will desert. And this is something so deep in them: they cannot think that om, the sound of om, can be anything other than the most spiritual thing. They are Christians, and om has nothing to do with Christianity – but basically they are Hindus. And the pope’s concession is a compromise, it is cunning.
Tomorrow these people will start painting Jesus Christ in the color red, and you will have to accept it because without the red color no stone can become God. It has never happened in India. When for the first time the British government made roads and milestones, they had no idea what they were doing. They painted the milestones red, because red shows from far away, it stands out against the greenery, is clearer. So they painted them red, and they were surprised that every milestone was being worshipped! The villagers came with flowers, incense…every milestone had become the monkey god Hanuman.
Their engineers tried to explain that “These are not gods, these are milestones.”
The people said, “You don’t know. We have been doing this for thousands of years. Any stone painted red becomes divine.” They were very happy – not happy because of the roads, they were happy because of the milestones.
Christianity has been compromising from the very beginning in every country. That has been its way of survival. You will be surprised to know that Indian Christianity is older than the Vatican. Indian Christianity is the oldest in the world, because one of Jesus’ closest disciples, Thomas, came to India. It was difficult to convert Indians to any other religion. They have seen so much, they have heard so much about religion, they have so many beliefs.
Thomas was at a loss in the beginning, but finally he managed to compromise. He started dressing like a Hindu. If you see pictures of Thomas, you will be surprised that he shaved his head just like a Hindu shankaracharya. And he started using the thread that Hindus use, and he also used the wooden sandals that Hindu monks were using to avoid leather. And he would wear just a small dhoti with no shirt on top, just like the old brahmins. He learned Sanskrit. And seeing him, that he was just like a Brahmin – so whatever he was saying must be right – many people started following. They were the first Christians.
But this is more businesslike; it is salesmanship. It is not real conversion; it is tricky, it is exploiting innocent people. In every country Christianity has compromised with the local population. Whatever its religion was, Christianity has compromised with it, taken its principles, its behavior. It is because of this compromising attitude that Christianity has become the biggest religion in the world – almost half of the world is Christian.
Truth cannot be so cheap. And truth cannot be so appealing to such a big mob. The crowd psychology is that whatever it believes should be accepted as true; then there is a possibility of fifty-fifty: “You believe something from us, we will take something from you.” But truth knows no fifty-fifty. It has to be a hundred percent pure; otherwise it is worse than a lie.
So when I said to you, “Don’t compromise” I was saying many things in that.