Looking from the other side, Christians cannot accept Gautam Buddha as a religious person because he never served the poor, he never opened institutions for the orphans like Mother Teresa does. He never opened hospitals for the sick. He was not concerned at all with human misery, poverty, sickness, disease. He was not in the service of God’s creation. He was a selfish man, just meditating, just enjoying his own being, just reaching to the higher peaks of consciousness. But his ecstasy is selfish – it is not in the service of those who are suffering.
Mahavira cannot be accepted as a religious man according to Christianity for the same reasons. These are all very selfish people. All meditators are selfish because they are more concerned about their own growth than they are concerned about the blind and the deaf and the dumb.
What is virtue? Who is going to decide? According to Mohammedanism, animals are created by God for man to eat. There is no question of violence; their very purpose is to be nourishment for humanity – so says the holy Koran. Now, no Eastern religion can accept Mohammedanism as a religion. Mohammed married nine wives. He was continuously fighting. His whole life was a life of war, although the word that he has for his religion is Islam and Islam means peace. But a strange man – his religion is peace and his whole life is nothing but violence. Even on his sword it was written, “Peace is my religion.” He could not find any other place to write it.
What is the path of virtue? No religion has been able to provide it – not even the criterion by which it can be judged.
As far as I am concerned, I say to live joyously, contented, fulfilled, sharing your love, your silence, your peace, letting your life become such a beautiful dance that not only you feel blessed but you can bless the whole world – that is the only authentic path. Life is itself the criterion; everything else is non-essential.
And each individual is so unique that you cannot make a superhighway on which everybody has to travel to find the aim of life. On the contrary, everybody has to find his life without following the crowd, but following his own inner voice; without moving in a mob, but following a small footpath. That too is not created by anybody else. You create it as you walk.
The world of life and consciousness is almost like the sky – birds fly but they don’t leave any footprints. As you live deeply, sincerely, honestly, you don’t leave any footprints and nobody has to follow you. Everybody has to follow his own, still, small voice.
My emphasis on meditation is so that you can hear your still, small voice – which will give you the guidance, the sense of direction. No scripture can give it to you. No religion, no religious founder can give it to you because they have been giving it to humanity for thousands of years and all their efforts have failed. They have only created retarded people, unintelligent people, because they insisted on believing. The moment you believe in someone, you lose intelligence. Belief is almost like poison to your intelligence.