I am against so-called religion, but I am all for religion as such. In fact, I am against so-called religion because I am in favor of, because I am for, true religion.
The real religion is in danger not because of irreligion, remember. The real is never in danger from the unreal; it is always in danger from the pseudo-real because the pseudo gives the appearance of being the real. We have to change this whole pattern that has dominated humanity for centuries.
My approach is that of life-affirmation. I teach my sannyasins to be loving, to be joyous, to be creative, to be aesthetic. The old so-called religions have all been sad and serious. I teach my sannyasins to love and to laugh and to celebrate. Celebration is the only true prayer; it is the only way we can show our gratitude to God. Renouncing life is complaining against God. God gives you life as a gift and you renounce it! Life is a great gift; you have to be thankful for it. And that thankfulness brings spirituality.
People like Bertolt Brecht are beautiful people. They would have become of tremendous value if they had been able to see what is pseudo in religion and what is real, if they had been able to discriminate. They condemned without any discrimination.
That’s where the whole western mind is wrong. For one hundred years after Friedrich Nietzsche, all Western intellectuals have been condemning religion. Nietzsche declared; “God is dead and man is free,” and since that moment this has been the constant slogan of all the intellectuals. And I can understand why. But Nietzsche should have said, “The God of the priests…” Even if he had put it in brackets “[of the priests]” things would have been absolutely clear – because the God of the priests is not the God of the mystics. And the God of the priests need not be dead – he has always been dead! The God of the priests has never been alive. The alive God is that of the mystics.
I teach you the God of the mystics.
The God of the mystics can be found not by belief but by a deep going inward. It has nothing to do with theology; it has something to do with an inner search an insight into your own being. The moment you know who you are you have found God, and in that very finding you find freedom. It is good that the God of the priests should be dead, should be thrown away so that you can discover your own God. Your own God is your freedom, your truth.
Without your truth you are bound to remain angry and your life is bound to remain empty, meaningless. And whatsoever you create will not be beautiful creation; it will not be like roses and the song of the birds and the sunset and the stars, it will be something out of a mad mind. It may help you in a certain way because your own madness will be thrown onto the canvas or on the stone and you will be relieved of it – it will be something like catharsis – but it will not be good for others. Those who will see your work of art will get infected; it will be contagious.