Friends, today I am going to talk first about religion and the crime that it has committed against humanity, nature, environment, ecology.
“Religion’s crimes are many, innumerable, but the worst crime is that it has placed man at the center of existence. It has given the idea to the whole of humanity that the whole existence is for your use: you are God’s greatest creation.
“A man-oriented vision of existence is bound to create catastrophes in nature, it is bound to destroy the ecological balance, it is bound to give man the strange idea of an ego.
“The Bible says God created man in his own image, and man has believed it. Just look at your face in the mirror: is it God’s face in the mirror?
“The truth is that Christianity has been befooling humanity. It is not that God made man in his own image, it is man who has made God in his own image. And all the scriptures of all the religions have given man a strange licentiousness over nature, over animals and birds. That has culminated in destroying many species of animals, birds. It has destroyed millions of trees for no reason. Every second that passes, one football ground is cleaned of all greenery, all trees.
“When India became independent, it had thirty-three million hectares of trees. Today it has only eleven million hectares.
This man-centered view begins with Genesis, in the Bible. In Genesis it says: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.’
“This is the ultimate crime that has made man violent against nature, given him the freedom to conquer innocent animals, to destroy them. It has made man barbarous.
“Now we are suffering because all those trees have been destroyed and more are being destroyed continuously. There is a certain balance in existence. These trees are your brothers and your sisters, there is no question of dominion. You exhale carbon dioxide, they inhale it. They exhale oxygen, you inhale it. Such a deep relationship…You cannot exist without trees, nor can trees exist without you; your existence is so deeply rooted in each other….
“Man has killed so many beautiful species of animals just for his food, has killed so many birds – whole species have disappeared.
“In India, the lion was the national animal, but stupid hunters – particularly the British hunters, who have been in power in this country for almost three hundred years – destroyed all the lions, the most beautiful animal in existence. Such a dignity, such power, such grandeur! And what were they doing? – just decorating their sitting-rooms with the stuffed heads of the lions.
“Today the whole species is on the verge of disappearing. There are not more than two dozen lions in the whole of India. The Indian government had to change its national animal from the lion to the tiger, because lions are going to disappear. When a lion dies, it is never replaced.
“And it is not only the British Christians who destroyed them; even Hindu monks sit on a lion’s skin. You will not believe how stupid people can be.
Religion seems to give a certain stupidity to people who were born intelligent.
“The Hindu monks sit on the skin of a lion – and of course, one lion has to be killed for one monk – and the ideology that they preach is that by sitting on the lion’s skin you can remain celibate. My foot! Stupidity has no limit.
“What does the lion’s skin have to do with your celibacy? Lions are not celibate; one has never heard about a lion who was celibate. What scientific proof is there? I don’t know a single monk who is a celibate, and I have known thousands of monks – Hindus, Jainas….
“And because Genesis says, “Be fruitful” – that means populate the earth more and more – “and multiply” – not even double, but multiply – that’s why the Christian pope and the bishops and the cardinals and the priests are all against birth control: because it goes against Genesis, the very foundation of their religion.
“So this whole population explosion, which is going to kill half of humanity through utter starvation, who is responsible for it? Genesis – and these stupid bishops and popes, and cardinals and priests.
You will be surprised to know that when Ronald Reagan came to power, he immediately cut the budget for controlling the poor countries’ population, because he was a fundamentalist, fascist Christian. Since he has been in power, he has fulfilled the statement of Genesis: ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’
“When India became independent, it had only four hundred million people. Now it has nine hundred million people, and by the end of this century it will be one billion human beings. After forty years it will double: there will be two billion people in India. From where are you going to get food?
“Right now, half the country is starving, and more than half the country is undernourished. Even a politician, the chief minister of Haryana, has come with the statement – because his state is starving – that if this situation continues, India will become a subhuman species. It will lose all intelligence, it will lose all strength and power, it will lose all the dignity of human beings.
“It is very rare to hear the truth from a politician, very rare to hear the truth from a religious man….
“The criminal attitude of the Christians – they go on being against abortion, against birth control pills, against any kind of method that can prevent the population explosion.
“This is not a unique case….
“Why was Jesus crucified?
“Religion cannot tolerate any man with new visions, with new dreams, with new hopes for mankind, with new promises to be fulfilled. No religion can tolerate the emergence of anybody who has a new image of man. They feel hurt. That means their scriptures have been wrong, that up to now what they have been worshipping has been stupid. For this single man they cannot leave their whole heritage.
“They have no argument against Jesus, or against Socrates, or against al-Hillaj Mansoor; their only argument is crucifixion. Religion has committed so many crimes for centuries. Every religion thinks others are wrong, and to put them right, the simple way is to cut off their heads. Christians have been killing Jews, Mohammedans; Mohammedans have been killing Christians, Hindus; Hindus have been killing Mohammedans, Buddhists – in the name of God! What kind of God have you got?…
All these religions say there is only one God – and one God creates three hundred religions just to fight with each other? This God must be mad, if he exists at all. I feel it is better that we should trust Friedrich Nietzsche’s declaration that he is dead, because to be dead is better than to be mad. At least you died in full sanity.
“My feeling is he committed suicide, seeing the situation and what a mess he had created.
“In ancient India, up to the beginning of this century, out of ten boys, nine would die. And if you are marrying children – the wife has not even seen her husband, but if he dies she has to jump in the funeral pyre.
“I have been asking the shankaracharyas, the Hindu religious leaders, “If you think that it is a great spiritual phenomenon that the wife should die, should jump alive in the funeral pyre, why has no man done such a spiritual act?” Only women are to be spiritual, and men have to be bulls?
“I have seen with my own eyes live women burning. It is such a horrible experience to see, because a living woman tries to run out of the funeral pyre – she is alive – and brahmins are standing all around with big torches to force her back into it. So that it is not seen, much purified butter, ghee, is poured on the funeral pyre. It becomes almost a cloud of smoke, and you cannot see what is happening inside the cloud. Inside the cloud of smoke are standing the priests with burning torches to push the woman back into the funeral pyre, and outside there is so much music, bands, noise, that nobody can hear the woman praying, screaming, shouting “Help me! Save me!” Nobody can hear. All around a ceremony is going on, because one woman has become spiritual.
“I have been asking; nobody has answered me. I am perhaps the only man in the world who has not been answered on a single point.
“I have been to so many shankaracharyas – there are eight, one for each direction. “If spirituality is so easy, just jumping into a funeral pyre, why has not man attained such spirituality?” And they are dumb – they don’t have any answer. They have only one answer: to condemn me.
“But the fact is clear, it is a male chauvinist country. All religions are male chauvinist, against women. This you call spirituality, forcibly killing a woman? But the reason is, man’s possessiveness.
“All religions are male chauvinistic, they are in favor of the man. The man wants to possess the wife while he is alive and he wants to possess her even when he is dead. He will not leave her alone to have some love affair with anybody else….
“The crimes against humanity are immense.
“The crimes against nature…. All the people who have been eating meat don’t think for a single moment it is coming from a living being. Just for your taste you are ready to kill anybody….
“Just because it is delicious, you have been eating all kinds of animals – that’s what the Bible allows you – birds in the sky, fish in the waters, animals in the forests. You are the only king of this whole nature: conquer, eat, enjoy. Just destroying the animals…! Finally, man had to start eating fruits as well because there were not enough animals.
“There was a stage when man was a hunter. There were no settlements, people were continuously moving wherever the animals were moving. The animals were escaping from human beings. But when they found a scarcity of animals they started eating fruits, they started cultivating. For cultivation they had to cut trees – trees which grow in two hundred years or three hundred years. There are trees which take four thousand years to grow. They destroyed those beautiful species forever. And they continued to produce more and more population, and the need for more land forced them to cut more trees….
“There are strange catastrophes which will be called “natural,” but they are not natural. For example, in Nepal – it is one of the poorest countries in the world – they have sold their trees to the Soviet Union. Millions of trees have been cut, and the contract still remains intact for the coming thirty years. The Soviet Union does not use axes to cut the trees, it has very refined technology. In a day it can cut thousands of trees. Within seconds, trees which have grown in three hundred years will fall down. The whole of the Himalayas surrounding Nepal have become naked of foliage, and because of that…The Ganges used to flow slowly because there were so many trees; they were a kind of hindrance. The Ganges was coming slowly, slowly, slowly, to meet the ocean in Bangladesh. Now there are no trees, the floods come with such tremendous speed that this year three fourths of Bangladesh was flooded. It is also a poor country. Millions of people died. Millions of houses were simply washed into the ocean.
If the Himalayas melt, all the oceans around the world will rise by up to forty feet. Bombay will be drowned, New York will be drowned; they will all become ocean. Cars will not be of any help – boats. You cannot survive if all the oceans rise forty feet higher – and you will call it a “natural” catastrophe…?
“I don’t call it a natural catastrophe. I call it a man-manufactured catastrophe.
The religious leaders have not been doing anything to prevent all these catastrophes. The population goes on growing; lands become poorer and poorer because they have been cultivated for thousands of years and they have not been nourished…. We have disturbed the whole ecology of the earth.
“Who is responsible?
“Certainly religious people, who should have warned humanity not to increase the population…but they all are in favor of more population. Even Indian religious heads are against population control, because they need more and more members in their organizations, in their churches. They are not concerned at all about the whole planet earth getting destroyed by our own hands. And these so-called religious people are such a lying gang of criminals….
“Religion has been lying in every possible way, exploiting people in every possible way. Unless religion dies, the true authentic religiousness cannot be born.
Abridged from: Osho, One Seed Makes the Whole Earth Green, Talk #3 – Zen: A Tremendous Rebellion
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