“It is good to see you here in the temple again, Stanley,” said the rabbi, shaking the youth’s hand. “Frankly, your parents and I were afraid you might be Catholicized there at South Bend.”
Stanley’s eyebrows lifted in surprise. “Impossible!” he declared. “No one will ever convert me, Father.”
There are subtle ways to convert. The person who is being converted does not become aware at all what is happening. You go on conditioning him, slowly, slowly. You go on repeating the gospels and slowly, slowly without his awareness, his mind becomes full of all that has been repeated. He is being conditioned. It is a process of hypnosis.
My effort here is just the opposite: it is a process of dehypnosis, deconditioning. I decondition you, whosoever you are, Christian, Hindu, Mohammedan. I simply decondition you and then I leave it to you so that you can be yourself. I don’t recondition you again. I stop with deconditioning so that you are free from the old pattern, from the old gestalt that has been imposed upon you. Once you are free then my work is finished. Then you can grow on your own according to your own light, according to your own inner needs. Each individual has a birthright to be himself.
The world does not need Christians, Hindus and Mohammedans; it needs certainly religious people. And what do I mean when I use the words religious people? I mean people who are aware that the world is not only matter, that the world is something more, something plus. It is not finished with matter; matter is only the circumference: consciousness is at the center. And this is possible only when you experience consciousness at your own center; then you can experience consciousness everywhere. When you start feeling consciousness everywhere you have come across godliness. This experience is religion.
I am certainly interested in introducing you into this vast experience, but you have to come to it on your own. You have to come to it without any beliefs, prejudices – open, vulnerable, ready to see that which is, rather than to project what should be. I don’t give you any shoulds and should-nots, I don’t give you any commandments. I simply help you like a gardener helps a seed. It is not an effort to make a lotus out of a rosebush or vice versa. The gardener helps the rose to be a rose and the lotus to be a lotus. Whatsoever is your potential, you have to be that.
I am not here to decide what you have to be; I can only give you hints how to grow into your own being. And that’s how a person becomes a Jesus, a Buddha, a Zarathustra.
The second question: