With God and religion both dead, one more thing dies automatically – and that is the priesthood, the leader, the different forms of religious leader. Now he has no function. There is no organized religion in which he can be a pope or a shankaracharya or Ayatollah Khomeini. He has no God whom he can represent; his function is finished.
Buddha, Mahavira, Lao Tzu dropped God in the same way as Friedrich Nietzsche – not knowing, not aware that if religion remained even without God, the priest would manage to keep man in slavery. And he has kept man in slavery.
So to complete the insight of Friedrich Nietzsche, religion has to die. There is no point of an organized religion if there is no God. For whom does the organized religion exist? The churches, the temples, the mosques, the synagogues have to disappear. And with that the rabbis and the bishops and all kinds of religious leaders become simply jobless, they become futile. But a tremendous revolution happens: man becomes utterly free.
Before I can tell you the implications of this freedom you have to understand: if Friedrich Nietzsche’s insight is complete, then what kind of freedom will be available to man? God is dead, man is free…free for what? His freedom will be just like any other animal’s.
It is not right to call it freedom – it is licentiousness. It is not freedom because it does not carry any responsibility, any consciousness. It will not help man to raise himself upwards, to become something higher than he is in his slavery. Unless freedom takes you higher than what you were in your slavery, it is meaningless.
It is possible your freedom may take you lower than your slavery, because the slavery had a certain discipline, it had a certain morality, it had certain principles. It had a certain organized religion to look after you, to keep you afraid of punishment and hell, to keep you greedy for rewards and heaven, and to keep you a little above the wild animal – who has freedom but that freedom has not made him a higher being. It has not given him any quality that you can appreciate.
And because Nietzsche has no idea that just to give freedom is not enough…is not only not enough, it is dangerous. It may reduce man to animality. In the name of freedom he may lose his path towards higher states of consciousness.
When I say that God is dead, religion as an organized body is dead – man is free to be himself. For the first time he is free to explore his innermost being with no hindrances. He is free to dive into the depths of his being, rise to the heights of his consciousness. There is nobody to hinder him, his freedom is total.
But this freedom is possible only if – with God going out of existence, religion going out of existence, priesthood, religious leadership going out of existence – we can save something that I call the quality of religiousness, so only religiousness is alive…and it is perfectly harmonious with human freedom; it enhances human growth.