Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Religious Man

Society is not changed by example. Society may reform itself, it may bring about certain changes through political or economic revolution, but only the religious man can create a fundamental transformation in society; and the religious man is not he who practices starvation as an example to impress society. The religious man is not concerned with society at all, because society is based on acquisitiveness, envy, greed, ambition, fear. That is, mere reformation of the pattern of society only alters the surface, it brings about a more respectable form of ambition. Whereas, the truly religious man is totally outside of society, because he is not ambitious, he has no envy, he is not following any ritual, dogma or belief; and it is only such a man who can fundamentally transform society, not the reformer. The man who sets out to be an example merely breeds conflict, strengthens fear, and brings about various forms of tyranny. It is very strange how we worship examples, idols. We don't want that which is pure, true in itself; we want interpreters, examples, masters, gurus, as a medium through which to attain something - which is all sheer nonsense, and is used to exploit people. If each one of us could think clearly from the very beginning, or re-educate ourselves to think clearly, then all these examples, masters, gurus, systems, would be absolutely unnecessary, which they are anyhow. - Madras 2nd Public Talk 15th January 1956

... psychologically, inwardly, are we aware of our responses? Are we aware when we are not telling the truth, when we are indulging in double talk, when we are saying one thing and doing something else, when we are quoting others? You follow, this whole phenomenon of being secondhand, which is to be traditional, which is to conform - conform to an example. That gentleman yesterday said, "There is a perfect example". And why do we need an example? Is that not conformity, in that is there not imitation, fear, and authority and following? All that is traditional. We have had thousands of examples - right? And we want to be that. And in that there is the acceptance, non-verbally, essentially, of authority. Tradition implies authority, conformity, imitation, following. - Saanen 4th Public Dialogue 3rd August 1974

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