This is not repentance. When John the Baptist and Jesus say, “Repent!” they mean totally, absolutely, a different thing. What do they mean? They mean: try to see, try to understand what you have been doing. Look through and through. Go to the very roots of your existence, being, behavior, and see what you have been doing, what you have been being. It is not a question of any particular act that you have to repent for, it is your whole quality of being – not any anger, not any greed, not any hatred – no. Not any enmity – nothing. It is nothing about any particular act. It is something about your very being: the way, the style, of your existence. It has no concern with any particular fragmentary act.
When you repent, you repent about a certain act. Your repentance is always in reference to certain acts, but Jesus’ repentance is not about certain acts – it is about your being. The way you have been has been absolutely wrong. You may not have been angry – still you have been wrong.
You may not have been full of hatred – still you have been wrong. You may not have possessed much wealth – still you have been wrong. It is not a question of what you have done, it is a question of how you have been. You have been asleep, you have been unconscious; you have not lived with an inner light, you have lived in darkness.
When they say, “Repent!” they mean repent for the whole way you have lived up to now, the way you are. It is not a question of asking forgiveness from somebody – no, not at all. It is just a returning. The word repent originally meant return. In Aramaic, which Jesus and John used as their language, repent means return – return to your source, come back to your original being.
What Zen masters say: “Search for your original face,” is the meaning of “Repent ye.” – drop all the masks. It is not a question between you and others, it is a question between you and your God. “Repent ye” means drop all the masks and stand before God in your original face – the way he has made you. Let that be your only face – the way he wanted you to be. Let that be your only being. Return to the original source, come back to your deepest core of being. Repentance is returning back; it is one of the greatest spiritual turnings.
This is what Jesus means by conversion. A Hindu can become a Mohammedan, a Mohammedan can become a Christian, a Christian can become a Hindu – that is not conversion. That is again changing masks. When a Christian becomes religious, a Hindu becomes religious, when a Mohammedan becomes religious, then it is conversion. It is not moving between one religion and another, because there are not two religions in the world. There cannot be two: religion is one.
Religiousness is a quality; it has nothing to do with sects and doctrines and dogmas, churches and temples and mosques. If you are in a mosque and you become religious, you will no longer be a Mohammedan…you will simply become a pure being who has no adjective attached to him. If you are praying in a temple and the temple disappears, you are no longer a Hindu…you have become religious. This is conversion.