This is why so many religious sects exist in the world. The enlightened preach religion, pure religion, but it branches off into sects. What the enlightened men have said has not been understood correctly. As it travels from them to you, truth becomes untruth and is misconstrued. No sooner do you hear something than you become involved in it and your mind gives it its own interpretation. You implant your own interpretation, your own meaning; you twist it to suit yourself. This is the distinction between real religion and sects.
The enlightened man tries to see that religion reaches you, but what actually happens is that it becomes distorted into a sect. He wants to make you free, but what happens is that you become even more tightly bound. And then a new difficulty arises. He wants love to manifest in your lives, but when he looks at you he sees you ready to fight in the name of love. Take the example of the Christians. Jesus used to say, “Love is God,” and yet no other people have waged as many wars as the Christians. He said to turn the other cheek to the one who strikes you, and the Christians have killed hundreds of thousands of people. And do you know why they have massacred these people? With a sword in one hand and a Bible in the other they did this to bring them religion!
The rishis of the Vedas and the Upanishads say, “There is the same Brahman in all. He alone resides in all. He is spread throughout; He exists in the smallest particle.” And what the Hindus have done is quite the opposite. The scholar who quotes the sutras of the Upanishads so often is not prepared to touch the lowborn, the untouchables. This proves he considers Brahman as untouchable. If Brahman is in all, then who can be looked upon as untouchable? Then who can be deemed unholy? But this has happened in this land of the enlightened. Not only was the untouchable not to be touched, he was punished if ever his shadow fell on a Brahmin! His shadow! Can a shadow be unholy? The shadow is a shadow; it is non-existent, completely insubstantial! Suppose a Brahmin were sitting somewhere and an untouchable passed by. If his shadow fell on the Brahmin he would have been thrashed, beaten, perhaps even killed – the crime was considered punishable by death. What an inconceivable thing! This so-called knower-of-Brahman, afraid of a shadow!
Why were the minds of those who said Brahman was all-pervading so diseased? How did this happen?
Those who said that Brahman is all-pervading were perfectly correct, but those who heard it interpreted it in their own ways, in quite different senses. Words travel a very short distance between the master and his disciples, but even in that short distance everything is perverted. This perversion is not because of anything related to the body, memory or mind – if it were it could be corrected – but it is nonetheless quite natural. The nature of this sort of discourse, of this sort of transmission, is such that we can only say exactly what it is we wish to say to those who have had similar experiences, to those who exist at the same level of experience. That is why Kabir says:
The signs of the dumb
only the dumb understand.
Likewise, the joy of a sage
only a sage knows.