Spirituality belongs to the eternal, and religion belongs to the temporal. Religion belongs to people’s behavior. It is really what Pavlov, Skinner, Delgado and others call a conditioning of the behavior. The child is brought up by Christians – then he is conditioned in one way, he becomes a Christian. Or he is brought up by Hindus – he is conditioned in another way, he becomes a Hindu. His conditioning is an imprisonment; he will remain a Hindu. He will think like a Hindu or a Christian his whole life. And those thoughts are not his own, they have been put into his head by others – by the vested interests, by the establishment, by the state, by the church. They have their own interests: they want to dominate you. And the best way to dominate you is to condition you from the very beginning so deeply that you start thinking that this conditioning is what you are.
You are not a Christian, or a Hindu, or a Mohammedan. You are born as a spiritual being and then you become a victim of your parents, teachers and priests. And of course these parents, these teachers and these priests go on telling you, “Respect your parents, respect your teachers, respect your priests.” If you don’t respect them you will fall into hell; if you respect them, then all the pleasures of heaven are yours. This is a simple psychological strategy to make you afraid and to make you greedy. These are the two things people are ruled by: fear and greed. And the spiritual person is one who is free of both.
Just a few days ago I talked about one friend, Ajai Krishna Lakanpal. He wanted to take sannyas one month ago, but he wrote to me saying, “I am ready to take sannyas today if you say so; otherwise, I will feel happier taking sannyas on the twenty-fifth of October, on my birthday. I want to ask my mother. I know she will allow it, she will not prevent me.”
So I said, “Okay, ask your mother.” And his mother has not prevented him, she has permitted him to take sannyas. Of course she said, “I will not feel very happy, but if you are feeling good about it you can take sannyas.”
Now he has written to me: “My mother will not feel happy, that’s why I cannot take sannyas.” First it was the permission of the mother; now the permission is there but the mother will not feel happy.
Just a few days ago I discussed it, and he became very angry. He wrote an angry letter to me. A few points which he has written are worth considering – it shows how people are being conditioned. The first thing he was angry about was that I told you he is forty-five years old. He was angry because he is only thirty-six. It does not matter – forty-five or thirty-six, how does it matter? But the anger is caused by something else; this is just an excuse to find some fault.
I was informed wrongly, so now I am putting it right. Ajai Krishna, you are not forty-five, you are twenty-seven…forty-five plus twenty-seven divided by two, and you will be thirty-six – exactly thirty-six!
And again he goes on rationalizing. He says, “My old master, Kamu Baba, has said, ‘Never hurt the feelings of your parents. If you hurt the feelings of your parents, then no master can ever help you.’”
True. But are you sure, Ajai Krishna, that you are not hurting the feelings of your parents?
He himself writes in his letter: “My father died and I feel guilty because I am an alcoholic and I did not listen to him. I continued to drink too much, and he died. And now I feel guilty that I was not up to his standards.”