The first question:
People of almost all the religions try to convince other people to follow their respective religions. But I have met many of your followers and they always discourage me from adopting the way you are preaching. Why so?
The first thing: what I am teaching is not a religion but a religiousness. A religion is a creed, a dogma, an ideology; it is intellectual. You can be convinced about it – arguments can be given, proofs can be supplied, you can be silenced. Argumentation is a kind of violence, a very subtle violence. It is an attempt to manipulate you, control you, enslave you. All the religions have been doing that for thousands of years; it is a subtle strategy to create mental slavery.
What I am doing here has nothing to do with religion at all. It is a kind of religiousness – no belief, no dogma, no church. It is a love affair; you cannot be convinced of it. Do you think Majnu can convince others about the beauty of Laila? It is impossible. Nobody can convince anybody else about his love affair. It is far deeper than the intellect, it is of the heart, and the heart knows no arguments, no proofs; it is simply so. One can dance, one can sing, but one cannot prove it. One can shout with joy, one can say “Alleluia!” but those are not arguments, they are not convincing.
The story about Majnu is very significant. It is a Sufi story. It is not an ordinary love story as people have been thinking, it is an allegory.
Majnu fell in love with a woman called Laila who was not beautiful according to others. According to the public opinion she was very ordinary, homely – not only that but ugly too. And Majnu was mad, so mad that the very name of Majnu has become synonymous with madness. He was continuously praying to God, continuously moving around the city asking people for help, because he was a poor man and the woman he had fallen in love with belonged to an aristocratic family. Even to see Laila from far away was not easy. It was a Mohammedan country, and in a Mohammedan country it is very difficult to see even the face of a woman.
Seeing his agony, his anguish, even the king became a little concerned. He called Majnu; he felt great compassion for him. He told him, “I know that woman; that family is well known to me, and if Laila had been a beautiful woman she would have been part of my harem. I have not chosen her – she is not worth choosing. I have got all the beautiful women from all over the country, and I feel so much for you that I will give you a chance. You can choose any woman from my harem and she will be yours!” – and he called the most beautiful women.