In this state of anguish, in the burning hot desert, on the mountain – even hotter, because a desert mountain has no trees, no greenery – Moses hallucinates. In such a state of mind anybody can hallucinate. He starts talking to God. His human mind finds no answer. This is a state of hallucination: with open eyes he is seeing a dream. And he believes that God has given him advice, ten commandments: “These are the ten rules. Go to your people and give these ten commandments. If they follow these ten commandments everything will be alright.” His hallucination is not a religious experience. There is no God in the first place. Even if there is, he does not speak Hebrew. How did you start thinking that God is a Jew? If there is a God and he comes to know that you call him a Jew, do you think he will be happy? There is no God at all, so there is no problem.
It is not Moses alone who is hallucinating; other religious leaders – of course, so-called religious leaders – have done the same. He comes with great authority and tells his people, “God has given these ten commandments. If you live accordingly, fulfilling God’s desire, then only are you going to find the promised land. But first you have to be capable of it, worthy of it.”
Now, this is a good strategy. Neither can those poor people be worthy of fulfilling all those ten commandments, nor can they ask again, “Where is the promised land?” I don’t think that he was being a politician, but who knows? It is good political strategy to give people a certain idea: “You fulfill it; if you don’t fulfill it, then you are responsible, then you cannot blame me. I had told you before that these ten commandments have to be fulfilled.”
And those ten commandments cannot be fulfilled by any natural human being. The very structure is such that you will find it going against your natural instincts, your biology, your physiology, your psychology. So rather than blaming the leader, you will start feeling guilty, that it is because of you the promised land is not being reached.
I do not think that Moses was at all a religious man. He was a great revolutionary, and certainly a charismatic leader – not of an ordinary caliber, superb. It is not easy to keep people wandering in the desert for forty years and still keep their hope alive. This was a great strategy, knowingly or unknowingly. My feeling is that it was unknowingly. He certainly had the feeling that God had spoken to him, that he had seen God, that these ten commandments were from him. And by giving these commandments to the Jews, God had proved again that Jews are the chosen people of God.
You ask me, have I any commandments for you?
First: The very word commandment, to me, is ugly. It is okay for a commander in the army to give commandments. The very word means that you have to follow it. There is no question to be raised, a commandment cannot be doubted. And a commandment from God – you have to fulfill it. And a commandment from God gives Moses the authority to keep these people quiet, disciplined, under his rule.
I am not a commander, and I don’t want anybody to be under my authority. I do not represent any God whatsoever – Jew, Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian. I am nobody’s representative. I simply represent myself. And any authority that I have is my own.