“ YESTERDAY I WAS STANDING at the door of a temple. Incense was burning and the whole atmosphere was fragrant. Then the bells of worship started ringing and the lamp of propitiation was being waved in front of the idol. Some devotees were there. The entire arrangement was beautiful and was producing a pleasant trance, but all these rituals have nothing to do with religion.

No temple, no mosque, no church, no form of worship, no form of prayer has anything to do with religion. All the idols are stones and all the prayers are nothing but empty words addressed to the walls.

But some happiness seems to be coming from all this – and that is the danger, because it is due to this that a great deception begins and crystalizes. It is in this illusion of happiness that the appearance of truth is born. This happiness is derived through unconsciousness – forgetfulness of oneself and escape from the reality of oneself. The happiness of intoxicants also comes from such an escape. All acts of unconsciousness in the name of religion bring only a false happiness, like that of intoxicants. Happiness is not religion, because it is only the forgetfulness of sorrow, not its end.

What, then, is religion ?

Religion is not an escape from oneself, it is an awakening towards oneself. This awakening has no connection with any external arrangements. It is related to moving inwards and attaining consciousness.

To wake up and become a witness, to become conscious of that which is – religion is related only with this. Religion is non-unconsciousness, and non- unconsciousness is bliss.”

April – June 2005