The first question:
Why have all the religions used repression as a basic strategy?
Religion has passed through many phases. The first phase of religion was magical; it has not died yet. The Red Indians in America are still living in the first phase of religion; in South Africa, amongst the aborigines of India, religion is a magic ritual of sacrifice to God.
It is a kind of bribery so that he helps you, protects you. So whatsoever you think valuable in food, in clothes, ornaments, whatsoever you think valuable, you go on giving to the God.
Of course there is no God to receive it; the priest receives it – he is the mediator, he profits by it. And the strangest thing is that for at least ten thousand years this magical, ritualistic religion has kept man’s mind captured.
There are so many failures; ninety-nine percent are failures. For example, the rains are not coming at the right time. Then the magical religion will have a ritual sacrifice and will believe that God is happy now: the rains will come. Once in a while they do come – but they come also to those people who are not doing the ritual and praising God. They come even to the enemies of the people who have prayed to God. Those rains have nothing to do with their ritual, but it becomes proof that their ritual has succeeded.
Ninety-nine times the ritual fails; it is bound to fail because it has nothing to do with the weather. There is no scientific cause-and-effect relationship between the ritual, your fire ceremony, your mantras, and the clouds and the rain. The priest is certainly more cunning than the people he is exploiting; he knows perfectly well what is really happening.
Priests have never believed in God, remember. They cannot, but they pretend to believe more than anybody else. They have to, that is their profession. The stronger their faith, the more crowds they can attract, so they pretend. But I have never come across any priest who believes that there is a God. How can he believe? He goes on seeing every day that it is only rarely, by a coincidence, that sometimes the ritual succeeds. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred it fails. But he has explanations for the poor people: that your ritual was not done rightly, that while doing it you were not full of pure thoughts. Now, who is full of pure thoughts, and what is a pure thought?
It is very natural… For example, in a Jaina ritual people must be fasting. And while they are doing the ritual, they are thinking of food; that is an impure thought. Now, a hungry person thinking of food – I don’t see how it is impure. It is exactly the right thought. In fact, he is doing a wrong act at that moment doing the ritual; he should run to a restaurant!