Our world is full of religious people — and most of them are believers, following the traditional rituals taught to them from their childhood. They make no effort to explore the meaning or significance of the rituals; they simply carry on participating in the rituals in their family or society. And then there is a certain percentage of educated people who will not do anything without going to the root of such rituals. It is not so easy to convince them to continue following the traditional ways. But there are some grave occasions in life when they also toe the line. For example, there’s a death in the family, some rituals have to be performed — and willingly or unwillingly, with some sense of duty, they do participate because they don’t want to feel guilty later on.
This is not a very happy or healthy situation, where people are forced to participate in religious ceremonies either out of ignorance or out of fear. It is the ignorant people or people suffering from fear and greed, who are mostly exploited by the crafty priests. In such a situation, religion does not appeal to the young generation. It will be a great danger to the traditional religions if a majority of people in the world become educated. And pretending to be religious does not mean anything.
The religions all over the world need to go through a deeper transformation if they want to survive and grow. They need an intelligent and creative approach towards it — based on sincerity. And sincerity does not mean seriousness. Most of the religions have already created so much seriousness and grimness in the world, which is sickening and needs to be balanced by humour.
Osho shares his insight on this subject: Knowing brings sincerity, but all seriousness disappears. Knowing brings a playfulness; knowing brings a sense of humour. This sense of humour is a must. If you find a saint who has no sense of humour, then he is not a saint at all. Impossible. His very seriousness says that he has not achieved. Once you have some inner experiences of your own you become very playful, you become very innocent, childlike.
A religious person can joke; he can laugh — not only at others but laugh at himself too. Osho remembers Bodhidharma when he became enlightened, he started laughing — and he never stopped till he died. Many people asked him, “Why do you go on laughing?” He said, “I go on laughing because what I have been searching for was always within me. I was such an idiot; I cannot believe that for so many lives I have been searching for something which was already within me. In fact, the searcher was the sought, the seeker was the goal. There was no other goal except myself to be found. And when I see others are doing the same, I cannot stop laughing at the ridiculousness of the whole search, of the whole spirituality.