Religion is an individual experience. Only an individual can be religious….
Religion is an individual experience. Only an individual can be religious.
The cult is an establishment, it is an organization, it has nothing to do with religion at all. It exploits in the name of religion. It pretends to be religious and lives on the past.
For example: Christians will say that they have a two thousand year history. But the past is dead, it is a corpse. This is a very strange world in which we live. When Jesus was there, Jews could not accept him as religious: he and his followers were a "cult".
Jesus is a religious man so there was the fragrance of religion around him, and those who were sensitive, available, receptive, came close to Jesus. This coming to Jesus was not a question of any intellectual conviction; it was more like a love affair. They simply fell in love with the man.
The religious man never converts anybody, but his presence inspires many people to be with him.
A religious person has no followers, only fellow travelers — it is impossible for a religious person to insult somebody by calling him a follower.
When Jesus was crucified, a strange thing happened, something that has happened to almost all the religions. The same type of people who had crucified Jesus — the rabbis, the priesthood… the same type of people gathered around the dead religious phenomenon, which had gone, which was not there anymore.
It is just like the fragrance of a flower.
The flower is gone, the fragrance lingers on a little — and then it is lost.
Religion cannot have a continuity.
It will always be individual, here and there.
One individual becomes enlightened and suddenly people start becoming attracted towards him as if by a magnetic force.
Jesus is not an intellectual; he is not even educated. He is not a theologian; he cannot argue for God or for religion. In all his teachings there is no argument, they are statements.
A philosopher argues, a religious person states.
The philosopher argues because he does not know; it is through argument that he wants to come to a conclusion. But the religious person knows it. He states it, it is a declaration — and he also knows that there is no way to prove it. No argument is going to be supportive of it.
But once that magnet disappears….
The priest is the most cunning part of humanity — and clever. He is a businessman, he sees the opportunity of a great business. While jesus is alive, it is dangerous to be with him. No businessman will come close to him — only gamblers may risk it and be with him. It is dangerous to be with him: he can be crucified, you can be crucified.
But once he is dead it is a great opportunity for business. Then a new kind of people start gathering around: those are the priests, the popes, the imams, the rabbis — learned, scholarly, argumentative, dogmatic. They create the dogma, the creed. They create the cult.
On the dead body of a religious person, a cult is created.
Christianity is a cult.
Friedrich Nietzsche used to say… and I feel that he has the tremendous quality of seeing certain things which others go on missing. The man was mad, but sometimes mad people have a very sharp intelligence. Perhaps that is the reason that they go mad. Friedrich Nietzsche says, "The first and the last Christian died on the cross two thousand years ago. Since then there has been no Christian at all." And he is absolutely right.
Jesus was the only Christain, although he never knew the word Christian. He knew only Aramaic, the language which he spoke, and a little bit oof Hebrew, the language which the rabbis spoke. But he had no idea of Greek. The word "christ" is a Greek word, and the word christain comes out of Christ. Jesus never in his life heard the words christ or christain. The Hebrew word for Christ is "messiah", so Jesus knew "messiah".
But once he died…. And it was very strange that when he was alive, overflowingly alive, and was ready to give, to share, to pour his being into their being, the people were avoiding him. But once he was dead, the priests were not going to miss the opportunity.
The priests immediately gather around the dead body of a Buddha, of a Jesus, of a Lao Tzu, and they immediately make the catechism.
They start making a church on the dead body.
If Jesus comes back, the pope will be the first person to ask for his crucifixion again, because Jesus will disturb the whole business. That's what he was doing the last time he was here.