And the experience of my entire life says that there is no “freedom of thought” anywhere. I have just returned from a trip around the world. There is not one single country on this earth where you are free to say exactly what has arisen in your heart. You are supposed to say what people want to hear. Many countries wanted me to become a resident of their country, since they felt that thousands upon thousands of sannyasins would come there because of me and their country would benefit financially. They had no interest in me. Their interest was that because of those thousands of visitors, the wealth of their country would grow. But they all had conditions for me, and the surprising thing is that the conditions of all of them were the same. Every country had the condition: “We would be very happy if you stayed here, but you should not say anything against the government and you should not say anything against the religion of our country. Just these two things. If you can fulfill these two conditions, you are welcome.”
The same is the situation in this country, India. My whole life I have been receiving summons from the government offices, from the courts; orders to be present in the court because someone has filed a case against me because I have said something that has hurt that man’s religious feelings. This is a very interesting matter. Your religious feeling is so weak, so spineless, that someone says something against it and it is hurt. Throw away such spineless and rubbishy feelings! Your inner religiousness should be of steel. What kind of rotten and worthless religiousness are you carrying?
Any person who goes to court saying that his religious feelings are hurt should be sued by the court: “Do you have such weak feelings? Can’t you find some vital and healthy philosophy of life? Can’t you find a system of thought which no one can hurt?”
To date I have never said to any court that my religious feelings are hurt. I am, in fact, waiting for the man who can hurt my religious feelings. I have wandered the whole world inviting such a person who can come and hurt my religious feelings. My religious feeling is my own experience. How can you hurt it?
But people have borrowed stale religious feelings that belong to others. They are not their own. Someone has whispered an initiation mantra in their ears – a guru-mantra, the mantra given by some so-called religious teacher – and on these borrowed and stale things, on this sand, they have built their palaces. Give a slight push and their palaces will begin to crumble, their palaces will begin to shake. But the mistake here is not of the one who gives the push. If you build your palace on sand, whose mistake is it? If you draw lines on water and they disappear, who is responsible?
And if it is true that to speak against someone’s religion, someone’s philosophy, is a crime, then Krishna has also committed this crime, Buddha has also committed this crime, Jesus has also committed this crime, Mohammed has also committed this crime – and Kabir, and Nanak. All the thinkers who have been in this world have committed a crime, a serious crime, because they have ruthlessly destroyed what was wrong. And those who have been attached to these wrongs must certainly have been hurt.