And an old priest said, Speak to us of Religion.
And he said:
Have I spoken this day of aught else?
Is not religion all deeds and all reflection,
And that which is neither deed nor reflection, but a wonder and a surprise ever springing in the soul, even while the hands hew the stone or tend the loom?
Who can separate his faith from his actions, or his belief from his occupations?
Who can spread his hours before him, saying, “This for God and this for myself; this for my soul and this other for my body”?
All your hours are wings that beat through space from self to self.
He who wears his morality but as his best garment were better naked.
The wind and the sun will tear no holes in his skin.
And he who defines his conduct by ethics imprisons his song-bird in a cage.
The freest song comes not through bars and wires.
And he to whom worshipping is a window, to open but also to shut, has not yet visited the house of his soul whose windows are from dawn to dawn.
The priests are perhaps the only people in the world who do not know anything about religion, because to make God a profession is simply unbelievable.
Love can never be a profession. Priests belong to the same category as prostitutes. Perhaps prostitutes are better than the priests because they sell only their body, their lust – but not their love. But the priests are selling the highest form of love, known as God. Naturally they know nothing about God, although they are full of knowledge about God. But to know about God and to know God are totally different things. To know about is borrowed. There are things which cannot be borrowed. My thirst I cannot give to you, neither can I give my well-being to you.
I cannot invite you to my innermost soul. There one goes in absolute aloneness.
But the priests have converted the idea of God into a great profession; they are perhaps worse than the prostitutes. Without priests there would have been no prostitutes. It is because of them that prostitutes exist.
You will be surprised to know that in India, particularly in the South, every temple had prostitutes – not one, but dozens of them. They just have changed the name – they were called devadasis, servants of God – but their function was to attract people to the temple. The temple that had the most beautiful prostitutes prospered, accumulated much money.
They made it a rule that any beautiful girl born in their city had to be offered to the god of the temple. Now, this god is a dead statue of stone; the beautiful girl was really offered to the priests. They used the women for their own sexual lust, and afterwards the women became an advertisement to call the customers to come to their temple. Richer customers would remain there not for worshipping God, but for enjoying the prostitutes. And these priests never thought that they were functioning like pimps. But this has been so, in different ways, all around the world.
Prostitution is a by-product of a forced marriage, and priests created the forced marriage. They don’t call it forced marriage, they call it arranged marriage, but who has the right to arrange marriage? Love knows its own ways. It needs no astronomers, no priests, no palmists; it finds its own way.
It is stupid to say that love is blind. This idea, that love is blind, has been created by those who want to be guides for the blind. Lust is blind, love is just the opposite – clear perceptivity. The more loving you are, the more your perception is clear and profound.