Then who is a religious person? He is not a person at all, but only a presence. He drops his personality. He cannot say who he is. He cannot define himself. But in that indefinable state of consciousness, he knows who he is. This is a paradox: those who know who they are don’t know; and those who are ready to risk their whole identity and come to a point where they don’t know who they are, only they are the people who become capable of knowing. It is a gamble…. Very few people have that much courage.
Religion is not for the cowards. For the cowards is politics. Religion is not for the inferior. For the inferior is politics. The whole political world depends on the inferiority complex. When a man feels himself to be nothing, nobody, he starts projecting himself in the world of ambition – politically he wants to become somebody, a president, a prime minister. Or, money wise he becomes a millionaire, famous. Or he wants to become a Nobel Laureate, or something….
These are the ways of ambition. And why does ambition arise in the first place at all? It arises out of the inferiority complex. You feel inferior within yourself, you feel nobody. It hurts. It is like an open wound. You want to hide it. You become occupied in ambition. You rush away from yourself as far as you can. You want to forget yourself! You want to get occupied in the world of money, power, prestige.
Religion is for those who are ready to go into this nothingness of their being, who don’t think that they have to be somebody. all that they want is to know who they are. They don’t want to be somebody. They don’t project. They simply want to enter into the innermost shrine of their being and to see what is there. If it is nothingness, then it is nothingness. Then nothingness is beautiful. Then this is our nature. Then there is no problem, it is not a wound. One need not search for any medicine for it; it needs no healing.
The ambitious person runs out, afraid to encounter nothingness. The religious person rushes in to know “What is this nothingness that I am?”
Risk is there. Death is there. But out of this death is resurrection, is rebirth. But if you go to the temples and the churches and the mosques, you will find a totally different kind of person praying there – he is cowardly. His God is out of fear. He is as ambitious as anybody else. He is seeking support of the God so that he can succeed in his ambition. He is not interested in God himself. He wants to exploit God too, in some way or other. He has a motivation. He is cowardly, and out of his cowardliness he has created a great religion, ritual – the priest, the church.
Religion is in the hands of irreligious people. A Mahavira, a Buddha, a Mohammed, a Mansoor, a Rumi, a Kabir, a Nanak – -these are not people who are afraid. These are not people who are praying out of fear! They are praying out of love, not out of fear. They are praying out of sheer joy. They are praying out of thankfulness. They are not asking for anything from God – because God has already given all that is needed.
The real religious person needs to be immensely courageous to enter into his nothingness. and inside there is a great nothingness…as vast as the sky, as infinite as the sky.