Once God is removed, man’s possibility to grow and blossom is absolutely free. A God is a despot, a fascist. Without God, the world becomes freedom. Existence gives a tremendous dignity to every individual. From the smallest blade of grass up to the greatest star in the universe it gives immense significance and love; it makes no difference. There is equality and equal opportunity. And there is no need unnecessarily to pray and waste your time, to read the holy scriptures, which are the most unholy books in the world. There is no need to be exploited by the priests. You are certainly and suddenly free from all these chains. Now you can be yourself.
While God is in existence you can never be yourself. You are just a puppet, your strings are in the hands of God. The ancient saying in India is that not even a small leaf of a tree moves unless God’s order is received for it to move. Whatever you are, according to religions you are made out of mud. The word human comes from humus, which means mud. And the word in Hebrew, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, is admi – it is used as the name of the first man, Adam. Admi means the earth. God made man out of the earth and then breathed life into the puppet.
Now, what kind of freedom do you have? Somebody has breathed life into you, and it is in his hands to stop breathing life into you any moment. Whatever you are doing, the religions believe it is your fate, it is written on your forehead. And there have been many con men who have even been trying to read what is written on your forehead. Astrologers, palmists, all kinds of cunning people have been exploiting the simplicity and innocence of humanity. There are people who are reading your hand, looking at the lines, telling you what those lines mean. The whole emphasis is that you are not living a life of your own, you are just a part in a drama, and the part that you are playing has been decided beforehand.
That was the argument that the Indian God’s incarnation, Krishna – in the great Indian war, Mahabharata – gave to his disciple Arjuna. Seeing the immense massacre that was going to happen, Arjuna simply lost his nerve. He was a man of immense courage and great intelligence.
He said, “I don’t see any point in this war. Even if I win…and I am certain I am going to win” – there was no other warrior of his quality – “But sitting on the golden throne of victory surrounded by the corpses of all my friends and all my enemies, all the beautiful people, does not appeal to me at all. The scene makes me feel insane. Rather than fighting, I will leave it to the other party – who is nobody, another cousin-brother. Let him rule over the country and I will go to the mountains, to the Himalayas to meditate, to become a sannyasin. I have lost all interest in fighting.”
Krishna tries in every way to persuade him, but Arjuna is a great intellectual; he goes on arguing against him. Finally seeing no other way, Krishna takes the last resort and says, “It is written in your destiny. Going away, you are going away from God. This war is predetermined by God to destroy those who are not virtuous and only let those survive who are virtuous.” Now there is no argument against it, because Arjuna himself believes in God and destiny.