Question – Why can’t there be only one religion in the world?
Osho – Because people are mad. Because people are fast asleep. There can be one religion one day, maybe, we can hope for it — but that one religion will not be like Christianity where all have become Christians, no; that one religion will not be like Hinduism, where all have become converted Hindus; that one religion will not be
like Judaism, no.
When I say one religion I mean there will be no religion like Christianity, Hinduism, Mohammedanism, Jainism, Buddhism. There will be a kind of diffused religiousness. That can be and that should be. But remember it, mind it — by one religion I don’t mean one religion, one organization, I mean a diffused religiousness… a religiousness without any label to it, without any particular church and particular dogma and particular Bible to it, just a kind of religiousness, a kind of meditativeness, a kind of prayerfulness. Only that is possible.
In the past, people have tried to create one religion. Christians have tried hard enough and killed millions of people. Mohammedans have tried very hard to create one religion. But that one religion was a kind of politics. It was that everybody should come under one fold. When I say one religion I mean there should be no fold at all. Everybody should be free to have his own religion, to do his own thing. People are different. So I will have my own prayer in my own way. How can there be only one prayer? People are so different, their needs are so different — people are so unique.
Somebody will be worshipping a tree and somebody will laugh at it. Somebody will think it is foolish, nonsense — worshipping a trees. Somebody will be a pagan — worshipping through a tree and entering God through it, through that green, through those flowers, through that foliage. To a man who is very aesthetic a tree can be a great symbol of God; to a non-aesthetic man, to a mathematical man, it will be a sort of joke. What are you doing? To a mathematical mind it may not look very religious. There are mathematical minds and for them mathematics is prayer.
Albert Einstein is reported to have said, ‘Mathematics is prayer to me and I have come to God through mathematics.’ Yes, there is a possibility and he did by and by become more religious. As death approached he became more and more religious; in fact, just before dying he was almost a mystic. And he had never gone to any church, he had never believed in the Bible or the Koran or the Upanishads. His Koran, his Bible, his Upanishads, were the universe, space, time and the stars and something that is beyond the stars.
Entering into that mystery, going continuously into that mystery, he became a mystic. He started feeling the invisible, the intangible; the affable was no longer meaningful, the ineffable became more and more significant. The visible disappeared and the invisible started appearing. He became a mystic. Somebody’s mind can turn science into a religion but to somebody else science will be just hard work, mathematics will be trouble — for him poetry may be his religion. People are different.
So when I say one religion I don’t mean that there will be one prayer and everybody will be doing that prayer in the same way and will be repeating the same words, no. When I say there is a possibility of one religion I mean religiousness — somebody will be praying before a statue and somebody will be praying without a statue and somebody will be praying before a tree and somebody will be bowing down before a river and somebody will be praying through service and somebody will go to the mountains and disappear forever into the wilderness of it, but they will all be praying. And the quality of the prayer is the same; it does not matter whether you pray before a statue or you pray before a tree or you pray in an empty room. It does not matter because prayer has nothing to do with the object. The object is just an excuse.
Somebody will pray in Chinese, somebody with pray in German and somebody will pray in English — language does not matter. And somebody may like Jesus’ words to use for his prayer and somebody may like Mohammed’s words. Everybody to his own liking… but there can be one religiousness. Right now there are three hundred religions on the earth and these three hundred religions, all these three hundred religions, are against the religion I am talking about. These are the real enemies.
Obliged to remain in a certain town over Sunday he started out to attend a service in one of the churches of his own faith. But losing his way, and seeing an open church door just across the street, he entered not knowing to what creed the congregation belonged. As the service progressed his religious emotions waxed warmer until finally he gave vent to them by shouting out, ‘Praise God!’ Immediately one of the ushers tapped him on the shoulder and said, ‘You can’t do that in this church, sir.’
He is simply saying, ‘Praise God!’ But that may not be the way of that church. And the usher says, ‘You can’t do that in this church, sir.’ You see the ridiculousness of it? Praising God cannot be done in church?
People are different. Somebody will have his prayer through dancing and somebody may just like to sit silently doing nothing. All should be respected. In a one-religion world, with one religiousness permeating the whole of humanity, all will be respected. There is no problem. If you are reading the Koran and you enjoy it, the real thing is to enjoy it, the real thing is to get in tune. Somebody else may get the same high through the Bible, through ‘The Sermon on the Mount’. So what is Wrong? And somebody else may get high just by dancing and singing a song of Meera. So what is wrong? But these three hundred so-called religions are basically political organizations which are against each other.
A very Catholic woman returned from downtown New York, disheveled and distraught.
‘What happened to you?’ asked a fellow Catholic woman.
‘I was in the Garment District at the same time as the Protestants were holding a rally.
The mobs were thick and disorderly.
Suddenly two thugs grabbed me and pulled me into an alley. They tore off my clothes and raped me. It was horrible.’
‘Didn’t you scream?’ asked the other.
‘What, and have the Protestants think I was cheering them?’
This is how things are. People are so against coach other’s religiousness. But that shows that they have not understood what religiousness is, otherwise how can they be against anybody’s religiousness? These are again ego patterns. People are different. About everything they are different. They are different about their love, they will be different about their prayer. They are different in their behavior, they are different in their communications, they are simply different. And this is good. The world is rich because people are different.
The hood broke into a private party and, with gun drawn, lined the guests along the wall.
‘Okay,’ he snarled, ‘now I’m going to rob all the women and rape all the men.
One of the women giggled. ‘You mean you’re going to rape the women and rob the men,’
she said. ‘Listen,’ a man in a lavender suit said, ‘just let him do things his own way.’
People are different. This much has to be allowed. The world can have one religion, not as an organization, not as a pattern, but only as a diffused climate of religiousness.
Source – Osho Book “Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1″