Religiousness happens only when a Buddha or a Krishna or a Mahavira or a Christ is alive. When Christ dies there is religion. Religion is the corpse of religiousness; it only looks like a real person. When a person dies he looks exactly like he was when he was alive. Just something very small is missing – he is no longer breathing; otherwise everything is perfectly good! You can paint his face, you can put his hair in a beautiful style, you can give him beautiful garments, and he will look very young and very alive, with red cheeks – everything can be done. In the West it has become an art: how to paint the dead man, how to make him look alive. But it is only an appearance; the real is no longer there. It is only a cage – maybe a golden cage, but the bird has flown away.
When religiousness dies, religion is born. Religiousness breathes; religion is a corpse. But many people feel good with religion; in fact, the majority. Ninety-nine point nine percent of people feel good with religion, because it is not dangerous at all. What can the corpse do to you? You can do anything to the corpse, but the corpse cannot do anything to you; the corpse is in your hands.
But when religion is alive and breathing – that’s what I mean by religiousness – then you are possessed by it, but you cannot possess it. You cannot possess a Buddha or a Lao Tzu or a Zarathustra. You cannot possess Bahauddin, Jalaluddin, al-Hillaj Mansoor…no, that is not possible. These are people who have known the ultimate freedom – how can you possess them? They cannot fulfill your expectations, they cannot move according to you; they will have their own way. If it suits you, you have to be with them. You will not be able to force them to be with you; there is no way possible.
The truth cannot be with you – you have to be with the truth. But the lie is in your hands. You can manipulate it, you can make it look the way you want it to look, you can give it colors, you can cut it; you can give it form and shape, you can make it fit with your unconscious life. You can be a Hindu; it does not disturb your unconsciousness.
You can be a Mohammedan; it makes no transformation in you. You can be a Buddhist with no trouble at all, with no danger, with no insecurity. But to be with a buddha is to walk on fire! All that is nonessential in you will be burned and only the essential will survive – and the essential is very small in you. So much of you is false, and it is going to die.
To be with a buddha means a death.
Life comes afterwards, but death comes first.
Resurrection first is not possible; it can follow only if crucifixion has happened. It comes after the crucifixion. To be with a master is to be ready to die and ready to be born anew.
Religion is consolation, conformation.
Religiousness is revolution, rebellion.
Ajai Krishna Lakanpal has asked a long question about the Sufis who have died in the past – Muhinuddin Chisti, Nijamuddin Auliya, Baba Jan and others. He has asked about their majars, their graves – have they any power? He is a worshipper of these majars – a worshipper of graves! And he is asking me, “Are they not still vibrating with the energy of those great mystics?”