Not only that, you will be surprised…Shahjehan, one of India’s great emperors, made the Taj Mahal in the memory of his dead wife, Mumtaz Mahal. He brought craftsmen, artists, sculptors, from all over the known world. He paid them immensely. He wanted his wife’s memorial to be unique and to be the best in the whole world.
He had many wives. Mumtaz was fortunate to die first. She was not the one and only one he loved; he had a whole harem, women like cattle. It was not really in memory of Mumtaz; it was his ego being projected through Mumtaz.
It took almost twenty years to make the Taj Mahal. Ten thousand workers worked for twenty years continuously. Those who had come had died; their sons were working. There were even a few who were the third generation because the old man who had come to work died, his son died, and his son’s son was working.
By the time the Taj Mahal was completed, what was the reward of all those poor people who had put all their energy, all their art into it? And certainly they had created the most unique memorial that exists on the earth. Their reward was: their hands were cut off. Ten thousand people get the reward, for creating a unique memorial, that their hands are cut off.
Shahjehan’s reason was clear. He said, “These people can create another Taj Mahal better than this, and that I am not going to allow. The only way to prevent these people is to cut off their hands.”
This is the world that you experience, where the good are suffering, where the bad are on the top. Religion had to find a device; otherwise religion cannot hold the idea that goodness is rewarded and evil is punished. This was the device: every reward and punishment is after death.
All the religions agree on that point. They had to!…because anybody who has eyes can see that good is not rewarded. We have not yet been able to create a society where good is rewarded. We have not created a civilization yet where evil is necessarily punished.
Nikos was a very troubled soul – whether to follow his materialist tendencies, which were natural to him, or to follow the ideology that Christianity preaches, which was just a superficial mind thing. He could not follow it; but he could not follow his natural instincts either. He was stuck. And death was approaching closer and closer. Naturally he became obsessed with religion. Religion became the shelter.
Religion has been the shelter of the sick, it has been the shelter of the schizophrenic, it has been the shelter of the perverted – it has been the shelter for all those who are suffering because of it! This is a very strange thing.
First religion makes you feel guilty. That is the basic ground. Once you feel guilty…and how will you feel guilty? If you are split you will feel guilty. Whatever you do does not matter; you will feel guilty. If you follow the mind your whole nature will condemn you. If you follow nature your mind will condemn you. Whatever you do, one thing is certain – you will feel guilty. If you don’t do anything then you will feel doubly guilty.