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Religion

Part 1:

Religion is a very complex phenomenon. oshoIts complexity has to be understood. There are seven types of religions in the world.

The first type is ignorance oriented

Because people cannot tolerate their ignorance, they hide it. Because it is difficult to know that one does not know, it is against the ego, people believe. Their belief systems function to protect their egos. They are helpful, but in the long range they are very harmful. In the beginning they seem to be protecting, but finally they are very destructive. The very orientation is in ignorance.
Religion is light, religion is understanding, religion is awareness, religion is authenticity. But a major part of humanity remains in the first type of religion. It is simply to avoid the reality, to avoid the gap that one feels in one's own being, to avoid the black hole of ignorance.
The people of the first type are the fanatics. They cannot even tolerate that there can be other sorts of religions in the world. Their religion is THE religion. Because they are so afraid of their ignorance, if there is some other religion also then they will become suspicious, then doubt will arise. Then they will not be so certain. To gain certainty they become very stubborn, madly stubborn. They cannot read others' scriptures, they cannot listen to other nuances of truth, they cannot be tolerant to other revelations of God. Their revelation is the only revelation, and their prophet is the only prophet. Everything else is absolutely false. These people talk in terms of absolute, while a man of understanding is always relative.
These people have done great harm to religion. Because of these people, religion itself looks a little stupid. Remember not to be a victim of this first sort. Almost ninety percent of humanity lives in this first sort of religion, and that is in no way better than irreligion. Maybe it is worse - because an irreligious person is not fanatic. An irreligious person is more open, at least ready to listen, ready to talk things out, ready to argue, ready to seek and inquire. But the first type of religious person is not even ready to listen.

...

I was reading just the other night.... The two old codgers had equal reputations for being stubborn. When they encountered each other in situations where one had to give in, a third party usually had to settle the issue. One day the old fellows, each driving a large load of hay, met on a narrow lane. Both determined not to give an inch.
Finally one said to the other, "I am prepared to stay here as long as you want to wait." He took out his newspaper and began to read. The other filled his pipe and smoked contentedly. After half an hour of silence he leaned forward and called out to his neighbor, "Would you mind letting me read the paper when you are through?"

This stubborn man exists in everybody, and this is the lowest type of man. It exists in Hindus, it exists in Mohammedans, it exists in Christians, Buddhists, Jains - it exists in everybody. And everybody has to be aware not to get caught. Only then can you rise to higher sorts of religion.
The problem with this first type of religion is that we are almost always brought up in it. We are conditioned in it, so it becomes almost normal. It looks normal. A Hindu is brought up with the idea that others are wrong. Even if he is taught to be tolerant, that tolerance is of one who knows towards others who don't know. A Jain is absolutely brought up with the belief that only he is right; others are all ignorant, stumbling, groping in darkness.
This conditioning can become so deep that you may forget that this is a conditioning, and that you have to go above it.

Mulla Nasrudin was telling a friend his future through palmistry. He said, "You will be poor and unhappy and miserable until you are sixty."
"Then what?" asked the man hopefully.
"By that time," said Nasrudin, "you will be used to it."

That's the problem: one can become used to a certain conditioning, and one can start thinking as if it is one's nature, or as if it is the truth. So one has to be very alert and watchful to find this lowest possibility in oneself and not get caught in it.
Sometimes we go on working hard in transforming our lives, and we go on believing in the first type of religion. The revolution is not possible - because you are trying something which is so low that it cannot be really religious. The first type of religion is just religion in name; it should not be called religion.

One man was saying to another, "My son-in-law, the doctor, has been treating a patient for yellow jaundice for twenty years. He just found out the man was Chinese."
"Ain't that something?" said the other man.
"What is terrible is, he cured him."

Twenty years treating a man for yellow jaundice - he may be a Chinese, but how long can he protect himself? If continuously you work on yourself with a wrong attitude, your nature starts yielding. You start functioning the way you want to function. Yes, the habit can become second nature. Unfortunately, sometimes it becomes first nature, and nature is completely forgotten.
The characteristic of the first sort of religion is imitation. It insists on imitation: imitate Buddha, imitate Christ, imitate Mahavir, but imitate. Imitate somebody. Don't be yourself, be somebody else. And if you are very stubborn you can force yourself to be somebody else.
You will never be somebody else. Deep down you cannot be. You will remain yourself, but you can force so much that you almost start looking like somebody else.
Each man is born with a unique individuality, and each man has a destiny of his own. Imitation is crime, it is criminal. If you try to become a Buddha, you may become an imitation Buddha. You may look like Buddha, you may walk like Buddha, you may talk like Buddha, but you will miss. You will miss all that life was ready to deliver to you. Because Buddha happens only once. It is not in the nature of things to repeat. God is so creative that He never repeats anything. You cannot find another human being in the present, in the past, or in the future, who is going to resemble you exactly. It has never happened. Man is not a mechanism. He is not like Ford cars on an assembly line; you can produce millions alike, exactly alike. Man is a soul, is individual. Imitation is poisonous. Never imitate anybody, otherwise you will be a victim of the first sort of religion, which is not religion at all.
Then there is the second type.

The second type is fear-oriented.

Man is afraid, the world is a strange world, and man wants to be secure, safe. In childhood the father protects, the mother protects. But there are many people, millions of them, who never grow beyond their childhoods. They remain stuck somewhere, and they still need a father and a mother. Hence God is called the Father or the Mother. They need a divine Father to protect them; they are not mature enough to be on their own. They need some security.
One psychologist, Winnicott, has been working with a particular problem with small children for many years, and he has discovered many beautiful things. They are pertinent.
You may have watched small children with their teddy bear, or their toy, their special toy, or their blanket, or something that has a special personality to the child. The teddy bear...you cannot replace the teddy bear. You may say that you can find a better one, but that doesn't matter. There is a love relationship between the child and his teddy bear. His teddy bear is unique; you cannot replace it. It becomes dirty, it becomes smelly, rotten, but the child goes on carrying it. You cannot find a new one, a fresh one. Even parents have to tolerate it. Even they have to respect, because a child feels offended. If the parents are going to travel, they have to tolerate the teddy bear also; they have to treat it almost as a member of the family. They know this is foolish, but for the child it has significance.
What significance does the teddy bear have for the child? It is objective in a way. It is there, outside the child; it is part of reality. Certainly it is not just imagination, it is not just subjective; it is not a dream, it is there. But it is not totally there; many of the child's dreams are involved in it. It is object, objective, but much subjectivity is involved in it. For the child it is almost alive. The child has projected many things onto the teddy bear. He talks to the teddy bear, sometimes he becomes angry and throws it away, then says 'I am sorry' and takes it back. It has a personality, almost human. Without the teddy bear he cannot go to sleep. Holding, hugging, he goes to sleep; he feels secure. With the teddy bear the world is okay, everything is okay. Without the teddy bear he is suddenly alone.
So the teddy bear exists in a totally new dimension which is neither subjective nor objective. Winnicott calls it 'the transitory realm': a little objective and a little subjective. Many children grow physically, but they never grow spiritually, and they need teddy bears all their lives. Your images of God in the temple are nothing but teddy bears.
So when a Hindu goes into the Hindu temple, he sees something which a Mohammedan cannot see. The Mohammedan can only see a stone statue. The Hindu sees something which nobody else can see; it is his teddy bear. It is objectively there, but not totally objective. Much subjectivity of the worshipper is projected on it; it functions as a screen.
You go to a Jain temple. You may be a Hindu, but in a Jain temple you will not feel any reverence arising in you. Sometimes you may even feel a little offended, because Mahavir, his statue, is nude, naked. You may feel a little offended. You may like to go out as soon as possible; you may not feel any respect. But then there comes a Jain with tremendous respect; it is his teddy bear, and he feels very protected.
So whenever you are in fear, you start remembering God. Your God is a by-product of your fear. When you are feeling good, unafraid, you don't bother. There is no need.
The second type of religion is fear-oriented. It is very ill. It is almost neurotic - because maturity only comes to you when you realize that you are alone, and you have to be alone, and you have to face the reality as it is. These transitory teddy bears are just of your imagination; they are not going to help. If something is going to happen, it is going to happen; the teddy bear cannot protect you. If death is going to happen, it is going to happen. You go on calling to God, but protection cannot come to you. You are calling nobody, you are simply calling out of fear. Maybe calling loudly gives you a certain courage.

...

The fear-oriented religion is the religion of 'don't': don't do this, don't do that - because fear is negative. The Ten Commandments are all fear-oriented - don't do this, don't do that - as if religion is nothing but avoiding - don't do this, don't do that - closing oneself in safety and security, never taking any risk, never moving on the dangerous path, in fact not allowing yourself to be alive. Just as the first type of religion is stupid, fanatic, the second type of religion is negative. It gives a certain stiffness, up-tightness. It is childish. It is a search for security which is nowhere possible, because life exists as insecurity. God exists as insecurity, danger, and risk.
The key word for the fear-oriented religion is "hell', and of course, repression, continuous repression: don't do this. The second type of person is always afraid - what to eat, what not to eat, whether to love a woman or not to love a woman, whether to make a house or not to make a house. And whatsoever you repress, you are never free of it; in fact, the more and more you are in its power. Because when you repress a thing it goes deeper into your unconscious. It reaches to your very roots and poisons your whole being.

...

Deep inside you will always carry whatsoever is repressed. You may follow the religion as ritual, but it will never become your heart.

I have heard an anecdote...

For centuries European Jews were the victims of organized persecution, called pogroms. These pogroms took place so often that Jews developed a sense of humor about them. In a small town in Poland, soldiers broke into the house of Ostrovoski and his family. Living with him were his wife, three daughters, two sons, and his very aged and religious mother. She was known around almost as a saint.
"Line up!" shouted the sergeant in charge. "We are gonna beat up all the men and rape all the women!"
"Wait," pleaded Ostrovoski. "You can wallop me and my sons, abuse my wife and daughters, but please sir, I beg you, don't rape my mother. She is seventy-five years old and very religious."
"Shut up!" yelled the old woman. "A pogrom is a pogrom!"

Remember, repression is not a way towards freedom. Repression is worse than expression, because through expression a person is bound to become free one day or other. But through repression, one always remains obsessed. Only life gives you freedom. A lived life gives you freedom, an unlived life remains very attractive, and the mind goes on roaming around whatsoever you have repressed.

...

People who live through rituals out of fear may avoid one thing, but they will fall into another - because the understanding is not their own. It is just fear-oriented. It is hell they are afraid of.
A real religion gives you fearlessness: let that be the criterion. If religion gives you fear, then it is not really religion.

The third type of religion is out of greed.

It is a 'do' religion. Just as the fear-oriented is a 'don't' religion, the greed-oriented is a 'do' religion: do this. And just as the fear-oriented religion has the key word 'hell', the religion of greed has the key word 'heaven'. Everything is to be done in such a way that the world - the other world - is completely secure and your happiness beyond death is guaranteed.

Part 2:

'Do' religion or greed religion is formal, ritualistic, ambitious, desire-oriented. It is full of desires. See the Mohammedan concept of paradise, or the Christian concept of paradise, or the Hindu concept of paradise. Degrees may be different, but this is a very strange thing: all that these people say one has to deny oneself in this life, they go on providing in heaven in great quantities. You are to be celibate here just to achieve heaven where beautiful Apsaras, always young, stuck at the age of sixteen, are available. Mohammedans say, "Don't take any alcoholic beverage. But in heaven, rivers of wine! No need to be worried."
But this seems to be absurd. If something is wrong, it is wrong. How can it become good and right in heaven? Then Omar Khayam is right. He says, "If in heaven rivers of wine are available then let us practice here, because if we go unpracticed, it will be difficult to live in paradise. So let this life be a little rehearsal, so that we have the taste and we have the capacity." Then Omar Khayam seems to be more logical. In fact, he is joking against the Mohammedan concept of paradise. It is foolish; the whole concept is foolish. But people become religious out of greed.
One thing is certain: that whatsoever you accumulate here will be taken away; death will take it away. So the greedy person wants to accumulate something which cannot be taken by death. But the accumulating idea, the desire to accumulate, remains there. Now he accumulates virtue. Virtue is the coin of the other world. He goes on accumulating virtue so he can live in the other world forever and forever, in lust.
This type of man is basically worldly. His other world is nothing but a projection of this world. He will do because he has desires, and he has ambition, and he has a power-lust, but his doing will not be of the heart. It will be a sort of manipulation.

Mulla Nasrudin and his young son were driving in the country one winter. It was snowing; their bullock-cart broke down. They finally reached a farm-house and were welcomed for the night. The house was cold and the attic in which they were invited to spend the night was like an icebox. Stripping to his underwear, the Mulla jumped into a featherbed and pulled the blankets over his head. The young man was slightly embarrassed.
"Excuse me, Dad," he said. "Don't you think we ought to say our prayers before going to bed?"
The Mulla stuck one eye out from under the covers. "Son," he said, "I keep prayed up ahead for situations just like this one."

Then things are just on the surface. Greed and fear and ignorance are just on the periphery.
These are three sorts of religions - and they are all mixed together. You cannot find a person who is absolutely, purely of the first type or the second type or the third type. Wherever greed is, there is fear; wherever fear is, there is greed; and wherever greed and fear exist, there is ignorance - because they cannot exist without them. So I am not talking about pure types. I am classifying simply so that you can understand well. Otherwise they are all mixed.
These three are the lowest types of religion. They should not be called religions.

Then there is the fourth type: the religion of logic, calculation, cleverness.

It is 'do' plus 'don't' religion: worldly, materialistic, opportunistic, intellectual, theoretical, scriptural, traditional. This is the religion of the Pundits, the learned scholar who tries to prove God through logic, who thinks that the mysteries of life can be understood through the head.
This type of religion creates theology. It is not really religion but just a very faint carbon copy of it. But all the churches are based on it. When a Buddha exists in the world, or a Mohammed, or a Krishna, or a Christ, then pundits and scholars and learned people, intellectually clever and cunning people, gather together around them. They start working hard: "What does Jesus mean?" They start creating a theology, a creed, a dogma, a church. They are very successful people because they are very logical people. They cannot give you God, they cannot give you truth, but they give you great organizations. They give you the Catholic Church, the Protestant Church. They give you great theologies, just clevernesses, nothing of the real experience; just intellectual, head-oriented. Their whole edifice is as if one is making a house of cards: a small breeze and the house is gone. Their whole edifice is such, as if one is trying to sail in a boat of paper. It looks like a real boat, the form is of a boat, but it is a paper boat. It is doomed, it is already doomed. Logic is a paper boat. And life cannot be understood through logic.

...

Through logic a philosophy is born, but not real religion.
These four are ordinarily known as religion.
The fifth, sixth and seventh are the real religions.

The fifth is the religion based on intelligence; not on logic, not on intellect, but on intelligence.

And there is a lot of difference between intellect and intelligence.
Intellect is logical; intelligence is paradoxical. Intellect is analytical; intelligence is synthetical. Intellect divides, cuts into pieces to understand a thing. Science is based on intellect, dissection, division, analysis. Intelligence joins things together, makes a whole out of parts - because this is one of the greatest understandings: that the part exists through the whole, not vice versa. And the whole is not just the sum of the parts, it is more than the sum.
For example, you can have a rose flower, and you can go to a scientist, to a logician. You can ask him, "I want to understand this rose flower"; what will he do? He will dissect it, he will separate all the elements that are making it a flower. When you go next you will find the flower gone. Instead of the flower there will be a few labelled bottles. The elements have been separated, but one thing is certain - there will not be any bottle on which will be the label 'beauty'.
Beauty is not matter and beauty does not belong to parts. Once you dissect a flower, once the wholeness of the flower is gone, beauty is also gone. Beauty belongs to the whole, it is the grace that comes to the whole. It is more than the sum. Then only parts are there. You can dissect a man; the moment you dissect, life disappears. Then you know only a dead body, a corpse. You can find out how much aluminium is there and how much iron and how much water (eighty percent or something); you can find the whole mechanism the lungs, the kidneys, everything - but one thing is not there: life. One thing is not there that was the most valuable. One thing is not there that we wanted to understand really, and everything else is there.
Now even scientists are becoming alert that when you take blood out of a man's bloodstream and you examine it, it is no longer the same blood. Inside the bloodstream of the man it was alive, throbbing with life. Now it is just a corpse. It cannot be the same because the gestalt has changed. You can take the color of the rose flower from it, but is it the same color? It looks the same but it cannot be the same. Where is that fragileness? Where is that aliveness, that throb of life? When it was in the rose flower it was in a totally different arrangement and life was present. It was full of presence; God was there beating in its heart. Taken out, the part is there but you cannot say the part is the same. It cannot be because the part exists in the whole.
Intellect dissects, analyzes. It is the instrument of science. Intelligence is the instrument of religion; it joins together. Hence, the greatest science of spirituality we have called Yoga. Yoga means the methodology to join. Yoga means to put things together. God is the greatest totality, all things together. God is not a person, God is a presence, the presence when the total is functioning in a great harmony - the trees and the birds and the earth and the stars and the moon and the sun and the rivers and the ocean - all together. That togetherness is God. If you dissect, you will never find God. Dissect a man; you cannot find the presence that was making him alive. Dissect the world; you cannot find the presence that is God.
Intelligence is the method to join things together. An intelligent person is very synthetical. He always looks for a higher whole, because the meaning is always in the higher whole. He always looks for something higher in which the lower is dissolved and functions as a part, functions as a note in the harmony of the whole, gives its own contribution to the orchestra of the whole but is not separate from it. Intelligence moves upwards, intellect moves downwards. Intellect goes to the cause.
Please follow it; the point is delicate.
Intellect goes to the cause; intelligence goes to the goal. Intelligence moves into the future, intellect moves in the past. Intellect reduces everything to the lowest denominator. If you ask what love is, intellect will say it is nothing but sex - the lowest denominator. If you ask what prayer is, the intellect will say it is nothing but repressed sex.
Ask intelligence what sex is, and intelligence will say it is nothing but the seed of prayer. It is the potential love. Intellect reduces to the lowest; it reduces everything to the lowest. Ask intellect what a lotus is, and it will say it is nothing, just an illusion; the reality is the mud - because the lotus comes out of the mud and again falls back into the mud. The mud is the real, the lotus is just an illusion. Mud remains, the lotus comes and goes.
Ask intelligence what mud is, and intelligence will say, "It is the potentiality of being a lotus." Then mud disappears and millions of lotuses flower.
Intelligence goes to the higher and higher and the higher, and the whole effort is to reach to the ultimate, to the pinnacle of existence. Because things can be explained only through the higher, not through the lower. You don't explain through the lower, you explain away. And when the lower becomes too important, all beauty is lost, all truth, all good. Everything that has any significance is lost. Then you start crying, "Where is meaning in life?"
In the West, science destroyed every value and reduced everything to matter. Now everybody is worried about what is the meaning of life, because meaning exists in the higher whole. See, you are alone; you feel, "What is the meaning of life?" Then you fall in love with a woman; a certain meaning arises. Now two have become one - a little higher. A single man is a little lower than a couple. A couple is a little higher. Two things have joined together. Two opposite forces have mingled, the feminine and the male energies. Now it is more of a circle.
That's why in India we have the concept of Ardhanarishwar. Shiva is painted as half woman and half man. The concept of Ardhanarishwar says that man is half, and woman is half. When a man and woman meet in deep love, a higher reality arises: certainly greater, more complex, because two energies are meeting.
Then a child is born; now there is a family - more meaning. Now the father feels a meaning in his life: the child has to be brought up. He loves the child, he works hard, but work is now no longer work. He is working for his child, for his beloved, for his home. He works, but the hardness of the work has disappeared. He is not dragging it. Tired of the whole day, he comes home dancing. Seeing the smile on his child's face, he is tremendously happy. A family is a higher unit than the couple, and so on and so forth. And God is nothing but the communion of all, the greatest family of all.

...

I would like you to disappear in the whole. I would like you to be so absorbed in the whole that you remain individual, but you become part of a greater unity, bigger than you. Meaning arises immediately whenever you become part of a greater unity.
When a poet writes a poem, meaning arises - because the poet is not alone; he has created something. When a dancer dances, meaning arises. When a mother gives birth to a child, meaning arises. Left alone, cut from everything else, isolated like an island, you are meaningless. Joined together you are meaningful. The bigger the whole, the bigger is the meaning. That's why I say God is the biggest conceivable whole, and without God you cannot attain to the highest meaning. God is not a person; God is not sitting somewhere. Those ideas are just stupid. God is the total presence of existence, the being, the very ground of being.
God exists wherever there is union; wherever there is Yoga, God comes into existence. You are walking alone; God is fast asleep. Then suddenly you see somebody and you smile; God is awakened, the other has come in. Your smile is not isolated, it is a bridge. You have thrown a bridge towards the other. The other has also smiled, there has been a response. Between you both arises that space I call God - a little throb. When you come to the tree and you sit by the side of the tree, completely oblivious to the existence of the tree, God is fast asleep. Then suddenly you look at the tree, and an upsurge of feeling for the tree and God has arisen.
Wherever there is love, God is; wherever there is response, God is. God is the space; it exists wherever union exists. That's why I say love is the purest possibility of God, because it is the subtlest union of energies.

...

Forget God, love will do. But never forget love, because God alone won't do.
Intelligence is discrimination, understanding. Truth is the key word, Sat. The man who moves through intelligence moves towards Sat, truth.

Higher than intelligence is the sixth type of religion. I call it the religion of meditation.

Meditation is awareness, spontaneity, what the Bauls call Sahaja Manush, the spontaneous man. Freedom - it is non-traditional, it is radical, revolutionary, individual. The key word is Chit, consciousness. Intelligence is still the highest form of intellect, intelligence is the purest form of intellect. The ladder is the same. Intellect is going downwards on the same ladder, intelligence is going upwards, but the ladder is the same. In meditation the ladder is thrown. Now, no more movement on the same ladder, neither upwards nor downwards. Now, no more movement, but a state of no-movement inside, a drowning into oneself, a sinking in.
Intellect is other-oriented; intelligence is also other-oriented. Intellect cuts the other, intelligence joins the other, but both are other-oriented. So if you understand rightly, the first four types of religion I don't call religion. They are pseudo-religions. Real religion starts with the fifth type, and that is the lowest, but real. The sixth type of religion is that of meditation, consciousness, Chit. One simply moves into oneself. All directions are dropped, all dimensions dropped. One simply tries to be oneself, one simply tries just to be. That is where Zen exists, in the sixth type of religion. The very word 'Zen' means Dhyana, meditation.

Then comes the highest type of religion, the seventh: the religion of ecstasy, Samadhi.

Just as the fifth type has the key word Sat, truth, and the sixth type, the religion of meditation, has the key word Chit, consciousness, the seventh, the highest, has Anand, bliss, ecstasy. That is the key word: Sat-Chit-Ananda, truth, consciousness, ecstasy.

...

A person can be meditative and can become very silent and may miss bliss. Because meditation can make you silent, absolutely still, but unless dance happens in it, something is missing. Peace is good, peace is very beautiful, but something is lacking in it; bliss is lacking. When peace starts dancing it is bliss. When peace becomes active, overflowing, it is bliss. When bliss is enclosed in a seed it is peace. And when the seed has sprouted, not only that, but the tree has bloomed and the flowers have come and the seed has become a bloom, then it is Samadhi. That is the highest type of religion.
Peace has to dance and silence has to sing. And unless your innermost realization becomes a laughter, something is still lacking. Something still has to be done.

(Osho - The Beloved, volume 2 #5)