A man in New York declared, advertised, that he had found the secret of making invisible hairpins for women. Naturally there was a great crowd continually pouring into his shop, and he was handing them beautiful packages. They would open the package and, of course, there was nothing inside. But how can you see the invisible pins?
Just one woman was a little suspicious. She asked the salesman, “Are you sure the invisible hairpins are inside the box?”
He said, “If you ask me, madam, we have been out of stock for three weeks. But business is going on, so we have dropped producing. What is the point? Just empty boxes are being sold. Why trouble to create invisible hairpins?”
Religion has been selling you invisible things: a God – which is just a lie, and one lie leads to another lie – a prayer, and a priest, and a temple, a synagogue, a church, a Holy Bible, a Gita, a Koran… The business goes on and on. Priests grab the child from the very cradle, they don’t miss a single moment. And they go on exploiting him even when he is dead. Then, on his behalf, they exploit his relatives – the rituals that have to be done after death…
Hinduism is perhaps far more clever than any other religion. Obviously, it is the oldest religion in the world. Not only does it go on exploiting you when somebody dies, it goes on exploiting you for all the people that have died – your father, your forefathers. Every year a certain ritual has to be done for them, and of course the priest has to be paid for it.
The priest has invented very special strategies. One of them is repentance; and today’s statements of Kahlil Gibran discuss this ugly idea of repentance.
And some of your elders remember pleasures with regret like wrongs committed in drunkenness.
The elders, when they were young, had enough courage to fight with all the anti-life forces. They lived their life as much as possible according to nature – they enjoyed, they laughed, they loved, they danced. But in old age, death starts to be the most important problem.
Now they are afraid of all those days of pleasure, now they remember that the priests have been telling them, “Don’t commit these sins; otherwise you will suffer.” Now death can happen any moment, and they have not gathered any virtue to be rewarded; in their hands are only so-called memories of the sins that they have committed. They regret, they repent, they confess to the priest, “Ask God to forgive us. We were not aware; we are sorry that we did not listen to you.”
Every religion has created its own strategy. Just a few days ago, the Catholic pope declared, “You cannot confess directly to God. It is one of the greatest sins to confess directly to God. You have to confess to the Catholic priest. He is the mediator, and he will convey the message to God.”