The first question:
Cannot the priests help humanity in some way or other?
They have been helping humanity for centuries; hence this miserable state of things. They have helped a lot to create as many lies as possible – lies which appear comfortable. But in the end, lies are lies. Maybe for the time being they give you a feeling of warmth, coziness, security, but only for the moment. Sooner or later you are in a far darker state, far colder than ever.
Priests have been inventing down the ages strategies for you to remain as you are. You don’t want to change; you simply want comfortable lies to be handed over to you so that you can go on living the way you are. To change oneself needs courage. Priests help you to remain cowards. You are afraid of death. Priests go on consoling you, “Don’t be worried. Your soul is eternal.” And you don’t have any idea of the soul at all.
George Gurdjieff used to say that it is very rare to come across a person who has a soul. Others are only empty; there is nothing inside. Yes, there is a potential to create the soul in everyone, but it is not an actuality. You can be a soul, you can become part of eternity, you can be immortal, but that is only a possibility. Much work – hard work, arduous work – will be needed to make it a reality, to realize it.
But priests have been telling you for centuries that you already have a soul. Only the body dies and the soul continues on its eternal pilgrimage. It consoles you. It keeps you, in a certain sense, together. You don’t become too scared of death. In fact, it would be better if you were too scared of death. That very fear might start an inquiry in you. That very shock might trigger a process of transformation in you.
Buddha used to send his disciples to see the dead bodies being burned, to meditate there, to go on watching the flames consuming a body. And then in the end nothing is left, only a few bones and ashes. This was his usual procedure – for the new sannyasins to be sent to watch the burning bodies, for three months at least, so that they can feel the reality of death, so that the reality of death sinks deep into their hearts. Only that can wake you up.