“The body is the temple, it is the shrine; god lives in it. It has to be respected... it is sacred. But the religions in the past have condemned it very much. Because of their condemnation man has become split; they have created a conflict in man's being. They have conditioned humanity to think that the body is the enemy -- one has to fight with it, one has to crush it -- that the body is the barrier between you and god. This is utter nonsense. The body is the bridge, not the barrier. It is god's creation. How can it be against god? God has chosen it to live in as consciousness. It's god's play.
Because of these teachings -- utterly false -- man has become almost identified with the mind, and the body has become, slowly slowly, insensitive. Man has become afraid of the body too. Because of the fear, the body has lost its joy, its celebration; it has become thick. And because of the fear, the body lives only at the minimum. The mind does not allow it to dance at the maximum, and only at the maximum dance of the body does the meeting with god happen.
I am all for the body, I am all for the earth. The earth is divine, the body is divine. And we have to search for god, not against the earth but through the earth. The earth has to be used as a passage and the body has to be used as a ladder. Once this is understood, life is no more a struggle. Then it is a dance. The consciousness and the body can dance together, hand in hand, and slowly slowly that great synthesis arises where consciousness and body are not two things but two aspects of one energy. That is the state of realisation, of enlightenment.
And the priests of all the religions have taught it; it is one of their trade secrets. Once a man is in conflict with his body he can never be happy, and when he is not happy he is in the hands of the priests. Only unhappy people go to the temples, to the mosque, to the church, and only unhappy people think of after-life. Only unhappy people think of, create, paradises in their imagination. Only unhappy people can be persuaded to sacrifice their lives for foolish goals. So the basic secret of the priests' power over man is to make man unhappy. And this is the only way to make man unhappy -- to create a division between the body and the man; then he will never be happy. You have broken him into two, you have broken the unity. And joy arises only in unity; out of disunity there will be only misery. A miserable man is bound to seek the priests, somebody who can help. First create the disease and then advertise the medicine; that has been the way of the religions up to now.
When I say 'priests' I don't include Jesus or Buddha or Krishna. They are not priests -- they are prophets. And that is the distinction between a priest and a prophet: a prophet is here to help you to become more blissful and the priest is here to exploit your misery.
So let this be my message: love your body, respect your body. In that very respect you will love others' bodies and you will respect others' bodies. In that respect you will respect the very earth you walk upon. If one is in deep harmony with one's body, one automatically becomes harmonious with nature. The body is the closest point to nature. Then ripples go on spreading and dance arises. That dance is prayer.”