Organized religion is only a content-less, meaningless word; hidden inside is the politics of numbers. And you know perfectly well – as the election comes near, your politicians start going to see the shankaracharya. For five years, nobody goes to visit the shankaracharya, but when the election comes near, then the prime minister goes to visit the shankaracharya. He goes for a pilgrimage to the temples, high and deep in the mountains of the Himalayan range. For what? Suddenly, a great religious urge has arisen…which subsides as the election ends.
These people need votes; they have to pay respect to the leaders of religions. And a shankaracharya feels great that the prime minister is touching his feet. And the followers of the shankaracharya, the Hindus, feel that “our prime minister is a very religious person.”
When the pope comes to India, even the president and the prime minister with his whole cabinet, stand in line at the airport to receive him. For what? The third largest religion in India is now Christianity, and to pay respect to the pope means all the votes of the Christians will be yours.
Organized religions – whether it is Christianity or Hinduism or Mohammedanism – have not been seekers of truth. In two thousand years, what truth has organized Christianity added to the statements of Jesus? So what is the need of this organization? It is not increasing religiousness in the world, it is simply repeating what Jesus has said – which is available in books for anybody to read. In twenty-five centuries, how many Buddhists have searched for the truth, or have found the truth? – just a long line of parrots repeating what Gautam Buddha has found.
And you should be reminded that Gautam Buddha was not part of any organized religion; neither was Mahavira part of any organized religion, nor was Jesus part of any organized religion – they were individual seekers.
Truth has always been found by individuals. That is the privilege of the individual, and his dignity.
Organized religions have created wars – just like politicians have done. Their names may be different…politicians fight for socialism, for communism, for fascism, for nazism, and organized religions have been fighting for God, for love, for their concept of what truth is. And millions of people have been killed in the clashes between Christians and Mohammedans, between Christians and Jews, between Mohammedans and Hindus, between Hindus and Buddhists. Religion has nothing to do with war; it is a search for peace. But organized religions are not interested in peace, they are interested in becoming more and more powerful and dominant.
I condemn the organized religions in the same way I condemn the politicians – they are nothing but politics. So when I said to you that religious people should be respected, honored – the politicians should go to them for advice – I was not talking about organized religions; I was talking only about religious individuals. And a religious individual is neither Hindu nor Christian nor Mohammedan. How can he be? – God himself is not Hindu, not Mohammedan, not Christian. And the man who knows something of the divine becomes colored with his divinity, becomes fragrant with godliness.