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Virtually everyone in this world lives like a sheep. The whole population of this world consists of flocks of sheep who are herded by different shepherds. I am not joking when I say this. The founder of Christianity is called ‘the good shepherd’ by the sheep he is controlling.

What is the function of a shepherd? It is to make sure that the sheep in his charge do not stray away from the flock. There are five or six big shepherds in the world [Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc.], and each one has a flock that numbers in the millions. These shepherds are the founders of the world’s main religions. All the sheep are branded or painted with identification marks so that the shepherds know which flock each one belongs to. What are these marks? They are the ideas and beliefs that the shepherds impose on all the members of their own flock. Sheep are very docile animals. They have a group mentality and don’t think for themselves. Instead, they just follow the sheep in front and do whatever they are doing.

Looking after millions of sheep is a big job, so the shepherds need lots of dogs to keep their flocks under control. And who are these dogs? They are the priests who run around barking, making all the sheep of their own group move in the approved direction.

Once in a while a sheep will rebel. He will look at the dogs and the other sheep and think to himself, ‘I don’t want to live like this. I want to be free. I want to walk my own way.’

These rare sheep sneak off when the shepherd is not looking [sometimes they must do this secretly in order to escape persecution] and follow their own path. They have an inner sense that enables them to follow the scent of true freedom. Some perish, some get afraid and return to their flock, but a very few walk on undaunted and reach the goal.

I don’t think the sheep who stay in the flocks ever attain true liberation. They live and die following the instructions and promptings of the shepherds and the dogs. The church masses, the rituals, the prayers and so on are specially designed to make you think how wonderful the founder of the flock is and how lucky you are to be in his group.

These big shepherds tell their sheep: ‘You may be miserable now, but if you move in the way that the dogs make you go, we promise you that you will be happy after you die.’

What a gigantic fraud all this is! Why should you wait till you die to be happy? Unending happiness is available here and now to anyone who rejects all the ideas that priests, parents and society impose. When you drop every idea you have ever had, you find yourself sitting on the throne of the kingdom of heaven. The ideas and practices that the shepherds impose on you don’t help you to get nearer to heaven, they keep you permanently away from it. Don’t listen to the shepherds and don’t be afraid of the dogs. Be a lion and walk on your own path. Don’t let anyone impose a belief or a practice on you by saying it will produce results later. If you want the kingdom of heaven, you can have it here and now by dropping every idea and concept in your mind.

Papaji: Nothing Ever Happened, vol 2, p. 165-166 (via awakentosilence)

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