There are people who are in need of a father figure; they themselves feel afraid in life, helpless. Life seems to be too big, unmanageable, that’s why they have created a father in God in heaven. But it is so far…and still no phone connection is available, except to a few very cunning people like the pope, Ayatollah Khomeini, the Shankaracharya of India – these people have direct lines, invisible. But for the common person, there is no way to communicate; he needs a more visible, more tangible person who can take the place of the father.
Only a very few people in the world grow and mature; most remain children, and they need a father to protect them. It is not coincidental that Catholic priests are called fathers. But they don’t have wives, they don’t have children – I always wonder how they have become fathers.
These Catholics are strange people: they believe in the Virgin Mary, who gives birth to Jesus Christ without any contact with any human being, and becomes a mother without a father. There are these millions of Catholic fathers, and they don’t have wives, they don’t have children. Catholicism is really mysterious.
But to call them “father” indicates that inside you is a need for a protective figure. You have been brought up by your father: he was always a protection, a reservoir of knowledge and wisdom. In your eyes he was the greatest man in the world, and you could relax and depend on him. Now the father may be dead.
Physically you have grown older, but psychologically the average man is less than thirteen years of age, and that child is hankering for protection. Without protection in this vast universe – unknown, unpredictable, full of all kinds of diseases, sicknesses, and finally death – a man is bound to be deeply afraid.
I used to stay in a house, and the woman of the house said to me, “We have a problem with our child.” They did not have a bathroom attached to their bedroom; they were old-fashioned people, and they had outhouses far away from the house, at the back. The child was absolutely insistent that when he went in the night to the toilet, the mother or father had to follow him, the doors had to be kept open, and they had to stand there, otherwise he would feel very much afraid.
I said to him, “Why don’t you do one thing: you are harassing your mother and father, and a simple solution is possible.”
He said, “I am willing. Just tell me, what is the solution?”
I said, “You can carry a lamp with you, or a torch.” He laughed. I said, “Why are you laughing?”
He said, “In the darkness somehow I can manage to escape from all the ghosts, but with a lamp they will immediately see where I am. You are suggesting a great idea, but I will be caught immediately. I cannot follow this idea. Even if I have to go in darkness, I am willing, because in the darkness I can dodge them. But with a lamp they all will be able to see where I am, and they all will jump on me.”
A father is needed. A missionary fulfills some psychologically sick needs of humanity. He is not interested in giving you the truth; he does not have it in the first place.