The first question:
What is more important in your religion – to be thyself or to know thyself.
Do you think they are different? How can you know yourself if you are not yourself? And vice versa: how can you be yourself if you don’t know who you are? To be thyself and to know thyself are not two separate things, hence the question of choice does not arise. They are two aspects of a single process.
You have to work on both together, simultaneously; neither can be neglected. But it is easier to start from being thyself, easier because you have been distracted from yourself by others. The masks that you are carrying are not your own imposition. Unwillingly, reluctantly, you have been forced to be someone other than you are; hence it is easier to throw it off.
Slavery of any kind is easier to get rid of, because intrinsically who wants to be a slave? That is not in the nature of any being, human or not human. Slavery is against existence, hence it is easier to throw it off. It always remains a burden, and deep down you continue to fight with it. Even though on the surface you follow it, deep down nobody can make you accept it. At the innermost core of your being it remains rejected forever, hence it is easier to throw off.
The process is simple. Whatever you are doing, whatever you are thinking, whatever you are deciding, remember one thing: is it coming from you or is somebody else speaking? And you will be surprised to find out the real voice; perhaps it is your mother – you will hear her speak again. Perhaps it is your father; it is not at all difficult to detect. It remains there, recorded in you exactly as it was given to you for the first time: the advice, the order, the discipline, the commandment.
You may find many people: the priest, the teachers, the friends, the neighbors, the relatives. There is no need to fight. Just knowing that it is not your voice but somebody else’s – whosoever that somebody else is – you know that you are not going to follow it. Whatsoever the consequences, good or bad, now you are deciding to move on your own, you are deciding to be mature. You have remained a child long enough. You have remained dependent long enough. You have listened to all these voices and followed them enough. And where have they got you? – in a mess!
So once you figure out whose voice it is, say good-bye to it, because the person who had given that voice to you was not your enemy, his intention was not bad. But it is not a question of his intention; the question is that he imposed something on you, which is not coming from your own inner source – and anything that comes from outside makes you a psychological slave.