What do you think of Moses’ ten commandments? Do you have any commandments for us?
Moses is one of the most charismatic leaders that the world has known, but he is not a religious man. He is a lawgiver. But to be a lawgiver is one thing, and to be religious is totally different. He decides what is right, what is wrong for his people. But right and wrong are not eternal things. Something is right this moment, and the next moment it is not right. Something is right in one context, in another context it becomes just its opposite. Laws are dead. Once you have decided them, then they are fixed. They don’t change with the context, with the situation, with the time. They cannot change, they are not living beings.
Moses guided his people out of slavery, gave them great hope for the future, inspired them, but he could not make them religious. Because he could not make them religious, he had to substitute religion with laws. Laws are a poor substitute for consciousness. But when consciousness is missing, there is nothing else to do except to give laws, and follow the laws.
Why could Moses not make his people religious? He himself was not a religious person. His encounter with God is nothing but a hallucination. God exists not, so those who have encountered God have encountered their own imagination. Wandering in the hot, burning, fiery desert for years, hungry, thirsty, his people dying, their hope dying – there seems to be no end to this search for the promised land.
He goes to the mountains to think, to contemplate, to pray to God. He must have been in a hopeless situation. Now the people were asking – and there was no answer – they were asking, “Where is the promised land? It seems you don’t have any idea where it is. You uprooted us. Of course we were slaves, but at least we were surviving. Now we are dying.”
People choose slavery for the simple reason that if the alternative is death, then it is better to be a slave. At least you are alive and there is a possibility someday you may get out of the slavery. But when you are dead, the possibility disappears. So it is not wrong to choose slavery when it is an alternative to death.
Moses brought these people out of slavery, giving them all kinds of dreams, and slowly those dreams started turning into desert dust. Days went by, months went by, years went by, and people were dying as they had never seen people dying. Forty years he was wandering in the desert of the Middle East. In forty years, two out of every three people had died. Two thirds of the original people were no longer there; and those who remained, you could not call them alive either. These forty years had been such a suffering that it would have been a lot better if they had died. They were skeletons.