But the priests are helping, by giving you tranquilizers, to keep you asleep as comfortably as possible. That has been their service and we have paid them enough for their service. They are as ignorant as you are, as unaware as you are. They are in the same situation as you are: they also need consolation. They look into scriptures for their consolation. They go on reading the scriptures, continuously repeating the same scripture again and again, because that’s how one gets autohypnotized. The Christian priest goes on reading the same Bible again and again, and the Hindu priest goes on reciting the Gita again and again. Every day, every morning he recites the same scripture. It becomes mechanical. It becomes like a gramophone record. He goes on repeating. It becomes part of his memory with no meaning, no significance. He is just like a parrot. But it gives consolation. Repeating again and again certain truths hypnotizes you.
Krishna says: When the body dies, the soul does not die. You can burn the body, but the fire cannot consume the soul. Na hanyate hanyamane shareere – you can kill the body, but you cannot kill the spirit, you cannot kill the soul, because no arrow can reach to it, no sword can cut it. Nainam chhindanti shastrani, nainam dahati pavakah – neither any weapon can cut me nor fire burn me. Go on repeating it again and again and again, year in, year out; you become autohypnotized. You start believing it, although you have not created any soul in you yet.
Krishna is right: the soul is eternal – but in the first place you have to have it. It is not there. Soul means consciousness, soul means integratedness. Soul means that you know through your own experience that you are not the body and not the mind. It arises only through witnessing the bodymind mechanism; it is not created by repetition. Repetition is hypnosis. It is experienced just the other way: you have to become dehypnotized, you have to become unconditioned. You have to forget all the scriptures and all the priests and you have to look into yourself. Howsoever fearful it is, you have to encounter your interiority.
The priests help you to remain on the circumference. They seem to be great friends, but in the final reckoning they are the greatest enemies. It is not Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong who are the real enemies of religion. The real enemies are the priests, the popes, the shankaracharyas, and so on, so forth. They don’t know what they are doing. How can they help you? They simply go on repeating tradition, handing over to you conventions – ancient conventions, but dead.
You ask me, Veeresh, “Cannot the priests help humanity in some way or other?”
Yes, they can help…if they disappear! We no more need them. Man has come of age. All these consolations are not needed. We need people, rebellious people, not conventional priests. We need buddhas, awakened people to wake you up. We need buddhas, not these priests who go on giving you new toys to play with. And they have created beautiful toys, no doubt about it. They are very clever, cunning. Centuries of experience is behind them, how to exploit humanity, how to exploit humanity’s weaknesses.
But remember: they don’t differ from you in any way as far as consciousness is concerned. Maybe they know more than you know, their information is more than yours. That is a quantitative difference; it is not a difference that makes a difference. Some qualitative difference is needed.