If Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and all these religions can be exposed clearly to you – that perhaps Buddha was right, perhaps Patanjali was right…. But the people who have followed them have corrupted their whole tradition to the point that it has almost gone against them.
Gautam Buddha said before he died, “Don’t make statues of me; don’t worship me. Just follow the path that I have shown to you.” But nobody follows the path. There are more statues of Buddha than of anybody else. This is a strange world – the man who said, “Don’t make my statues,” has more statues in the world than anybody else.
In China, there is one temple which has ten thousand statues of Buddha. Just one temple…and there are thousands of temples all over Asia. Nobody is bothering to follow the path; everybody is worshipping, and worshipping a man who has prohibited it – that was his last message.
If we can bring to the people’s intelligence the truth…all these traditions that have developed and have become parasites exploiting man in every possible way. They cannot be stopped. The only way to stop them is to take the very earth below their feet. This way truth will not suffer, and this way we may come closer. Hindu and Mohammedan, Christian and Buddhist may find that their basic truth is one, and they were unnecessarily quarreling because the priesthood wanted them to quarrel, to fight, to kill each other. It was in their favor to keep people apart and divided.
Religion can become a tremendously beautiful phenomenon if priests disappear. In fact, the priest is such an ugly phenomenon. In one of the existentialist novels set in the twenty-first century, a super-rich man sends his servant to make love to his wife. A friend is present who is shocked by it. He says, “What are you doing?”
He said, “I am so rich I can afford a servant to do such things.”
When I read this I remembered the priests: that’s what they are doing; they are making prayers for you because you can afford it. What is prayer except love, love towards the ultimate – and you have accepted an agent between you and the ultimate reality. It seems cheaper. You can go on doing your work, and somebody else comes and worships on your behalf. And you have never thought what an ugly thing it is…?
I used to stay in a very rich man’s house in Jaipur. He had a small temple in his house. I never saw him going into the temple. I asked him, “Why have you made this beautiful temple?”
He said, “I have made it to worship God.”
“But,” I said, “you never go there.”
He said, “I don’t have to, I have a priest. I give him one hundred rupees per month just to worship for one hour. He is doing my job, I cannot waste one hour in worshipping; one hour is too much for me. In one hour I can make millions here and there.”