“We begin with one of the most profound sutras of Gautama the Buddha: ‘Love yourself…’
“Just the opposite has been taught to you by all the traditions of the world, all the civilizations, all the cultures, all the churches. They say: “Love others, don’t love yourself.” And there is a certain cunning strategy behind their teaching.
“Love is the nourishment for the soul. Just as food is to the body, so love is to the soul. Without food the body is weak, without love the soul is weak. And no state, no church, no vested interest, has ever wanted people to have strong souls, because a person with spiritual energy is bound to be rebellious.
“Love makes you rebellious, revolutionary. Love gives you wings to soar high. Love gives you insight into things, so that nobody can deceive you, exploit you, oppress you. And the priests and the politicians survive only on your blood – they survive only on exploitation. All the priests and all the politicians are parasites.
“To make you spiritually weak they have found a sure method, one hundred percent guaranteed, and that is to teach you not to love yourself. If a man cannot love himself he cannot love anybody else either. The teaching is very tricky. They say “Love others,” because they know if you cannot love yourself you cannot love at all. But they go on saying, “Love others, love humanity, love God, love nature, love your wife, your husband, your children, your parents, but don’t love yourself” – because to love oneself is selfish according to them.
They condemn self-love as they condemn nothing else – and they have made their teaching look very logical. They say: “If you love yourself you will become an egoist, if you love yourself you will become narcissistic.” It is not true. A man who loves himself finds that there is no ego in him. It is by loving others without loving yourself, trying to love others, that the ego arises.
“The missionaries, the social reformers, the social servants, have the greatest egos in the world – naturally, because they think themselves to be superior human beings. They are not ordinary: ordinary people love themselves; they love others, they love great ideals, they love God. And all their love is false, because all their love is without any roots. A man who loves himself takes the first step towards real love.”