What do you mean by a priest? The man in a yellow robe, the sannyasi, or the man who wears a clerical collar, and so on? The priest is supposed to be a mediator between you and reality, between you and God, between you and the immeasurable, is he not? But can there be a mediator between you and the real? How can there be? Haven’t you to be a light unto yourself? Then what need is there for a priest? To love, to be compassionate, to be kind, to be generous, do you need a priest? And if the priest is an interpreter, a mediator between you and reality, does he know reality? Or is he merely conditioned in a particular ideology which he calls reality? Can there be a mediator between you and that which is beyond all measure? If you need a mediator, an interpreter, then you are not seeking truth; what you want is comfort, gratification, and you might just as well take a pill. Please, sirs, I am talking very seriously. Religions with their priests are unnecessary to a man who is seeking truth. A man who is seeking to understand what is compassion, what is love, does not want a priest, he does not want an organized belief; to him, love is more important than belief.
Surely, sirs, to love, to be compassionate, is the only door to reality; there is no other door. But how can you be compassionate, kind, generous, friendly, as long as you are ambitious? You want to be somebody in the world, do you not? You want to be famous, you want to succeed, and your whole social structure is based on acquisitiveness, competition. When your only concern is to get on in the world, to have more property, to achieve success, how can you love, how can there be compassion? So most of us are not concerned with compassion, with love; we are only concerned with getting ahead, making a success of it, with having labels such as `Buddhist’, `Hindu’, `Christian’ – and then we quarrel over the labels. Each one is trying to convert the other, and in converting others you have more votes, more property, more power. You can see this game going on throughout the world, and this game is called religion.
Surely, religion is something extraordinary; it has nothing to do with any organization, with any belief or dogma. Religion is not to be found in any temple, in any church or mosque. It is to be found only when the mind understands itself and is free from fear, free from the demand to be inwardly secure. Then there is a possibility of being compassionate, kindly, and such a mind-heart will know that which is immeasurable; for then the immeasurable is. It is not a thing to be speculated about, it has to be experienced directly. There is something beyond the measure of the mind, but it is not to be found in the Upanishads, in the Gita, in the Bible, nor in the Buddhist literature. It comes through the understanding of yourself in your relationship with people, with nature, and with ides. When you understand yourself completely you will discover without any aid from another, without any organized religion, without any priest, that beyond the mind there is something which is timeless. It is a state that can be experienced only when the mind is completely still.
– J Krishnamurthi