Let's not face it - you're absolutely alone
IS THE HYPOTHESIS OF GOD NOT USEFUL IN ANY WAY? - BECAUSE THE VERY IDEA OF DROPPING THE IDEA OF GOD MAKES ME IMMENSELY AFRAID.
IT is already too late. The moment one starts calling the idea of God a hypothesis, the idea of God is already dropped.
The so-called religious people will never use the word hypothesis for God. For them God is not our hypothesis, but on the contrary we are His creation, He is the very source of existence, He is the most existential being.
But when you call God a hypothesis that means you are putting Him in the same category as Euclidian hypotheses in geometry, or other hypotheses which are only assumptions; they may prove right, they may not prove right. Only experiment, experience is going to decide it, and that too will not be an ultimate decision because future experiments may cancel it.
A hypothesis is an assumed fact - for the time being accepted as true, but only for the time being.
Nobody can say it will be true tomorrow too. In three hundred years of scientific growth you can see it: something was true for Newton, it is not true for Rutherford; it was true for Rutherford, it is not true for Albert Einstein. Better experiments, better instruments can always change the hypothesis.
So no theologian is going to call God a hypothesis - He is the very truth, and He is not dependent on your experiments. If you cannot find Him it is your failure, not a proof that God does not exist. If you succeed, of course, He exists. If you fail, you fail; God still exists.
Hypothesis is a scientific term, not a theological concept; and science is very honest. Theology is just the opposite, very dishonest.
The very word theology shows its dishonesty, insincerity. Theo means God, logy means logic. But nobody has ever offered any logic about God. Every argument goes against God; no argument has been yet produced which proves God. Still they go on calling it theology - logic of God. It would have been more honest for them to call God a hypothesis, but you cannot worship a hypothesis, can you?
Knowing that this is only a hypothesis, perhaps right, perhaps wrong... but worship is not possible with a perhaps, with a maybe; worship needs a blind faith that it is so. Even if all the evidences go against it, then too it is so. That's the meaning of faith. Faith is not logic, it is absolutely illogical.
And to call the idea of God a hypothesis means destroying all the churches, all the temples, all the synagogues.
The very word hypothesis is very significant: it means you are allowed to doubt because you are allowed to experiment and find. It is only a temporary assumption to begin with. One has to begin with something, so for the time being, just to begin with, we accept a hypothesis. But how can you worship it? And how can the priest exploit you? It is absolutely against the religious people to use the word hypothesis. They will not even agree to call God an idea, because an idea is your mind thing, your projection. To them God is not an idea, God is the only truth.
In India, where religion has taken very subtle forms, they say you are an idea in the mind of God, not vice versa. God is not an idea in your mind - because in your mind there is all kinds of rubbish:
you have nightmares, you have dreams, you have all kinds of desires. God is also put in the same category? And your ideas change every moment; they are just like clouds, changing their form continuously.
Certainly when you were a child your ideas were different. When you were adolescent your ideas were different, when you became a young man your ideas were different, and when you become old you cannot have the same ideas that you had in your youth. Experience changes everything. It will be simply impossible to retain the same idea your whole life; only a superb idiot can do it. If you have a little bit of intelligence then your idea is going to change with life.
Even to call God an idea will not be acceptable to the religious people - hypothesis is far away.
That's why I say it is too late.
You are calling God an idea, and the definition of meditation is: to be in a state of mind where no ideas exist, not even the idea of God.
Gautam the Buddha says, "If you meet me on the path cut my head off immediately, because what am I doing there? - disturbing you. The idea of me is a disturbance." It is just like throwing a pebble in a silent lake, and so many ripples, millions of ripples arise. A simple idea thrown in the silent lake of your mind creates millions of waves; it may take you far away from yourself Every idea takes you away from yourself; hence the definition of meditation: a state of consciousness without any ideas.
So in meditation there is no way to go away from yourself, you are simply centered in your own being. There is no object that you can see. You are left totally alone. Your consciousness starts turning upon itself Consciousness is just like light. The light is here, we are all here; the light is falling on us, on the walls, on the curtains, on everything that is here. These are all objects. Just think for a moment: if all the objects are removed, then there is only light, not falling on anything. But light is unconscious - you are conscious. So when all objects are removed, your consciousness falls upon itself, turns upon itself; it is a turning in, because there is nothing to prevent it.
That is the meaning of object: object means that which prevents, raises an objection, obstructs, is a hindrance. When there is no object, where can you go? You have to turn upon yourself, consciousness being conscious of itself - there is no idea of God.
In ordinary states of mind, ideas are just rubbish. In that extraordinary space of no-mind, ideas don't exist. So either you have to put God in the category of rubbish, or you have to put Him where no objects are allowed.
The word idea cannot be used by religious people for God. "Idea" is used by the philosophers, just as "hypothesis" is used by the scientist. For the religious person God is the only reality, but in using the word idea you have already gone too far - too far from the so-called reality of God.
But your question is significant from many points. First: you ask, isn't the hypothesis useful in any way? It is useful - not for you but for those who want to exploit you: the priest, the rabbi, the pope, the whole army of all these people around the world. Without the hypothesis of God, what is a pope? What is a shankaracharya? - just nobodies. Then who is Jesus? You cannot be a son of a hypothesis! It will look very odd. You cannot be a messiah of a hypothesis. It would be a very strange world if hypotheses start sending messiahs.
God has to be real for all these people to exploit you, and for thousands of years they have been exploiting.
And they will continue to exploit you for the simple reason that you are afraid to drop this idea. That shows a tremendously significant point within your being. Why do you feel afraid of dropping the idea of God? Certainly the idea of God is somehow preventing you from being afraid. So the moment you drop it, you start feeling afraid. It is a kind of psychological protection, that's what it is.
The child is bound to be afraid. In the mother's womb he is not afraid. I have not heard that any child in the mother's womb ever thinks of going to the synagogue or to the church or reading the Bible or the Koran or the Gita; or even bothers about whether there is a God or not. I cannot conceive that a child in the mother's womb will in any way be interested in God, in the devil, in heaven, in hell. For what? He is already in paradise. Things cannot be better than they are.
He is completely protected in a warm, cozy home, floating in chemicals which are nourishing. And you will be surprised - in that nine months the child grows more than he will ever grow in ninety years, proportionately. In nine months he travels such a long journey; from being almost nothing he becomes a being. In nine months he passes through millions of years of evolution, from the very first being up to now. He passes through all the phases.
And life is absolutely secure: no need for any employment, no fear of starvation, hunger; everything is being done by the mother's body. Living nine months in the mother's womb in such absolute security creates a problem which has produced your so-called religions.
As the child comes out of the mother's womb, the first thing that happens to him is fear.
It is obvious. His home is lost, his security is lost. His warmth, his surroundings, all that he knew as his world is completely lost, and he is thrown into a strange world, of which he knows nothing. He has to start breathing on his own.
It takes a few seconds for the child to recognize the fact that he has to breathe now on his own - your mother's breathing is not going to help. Just to bring him to his senses the doctor hangs him upside down, and hits him on his bottom, hard. What a beginning! And what a welcome!
And just out of that hit he starts breathing. Have you ever observed that whenever you are afraid your breathing changes? If you have not watched it before, you can watch it now. Whenever you are afraid, your breathing will change, immediately. And when you are at ease, at home, unafraid of anything, you will find your breathing falling into a harmony, in a deep accord, becoming more and more silent. In deep meditation it happens sometimes that you feel as if your breathing has stopped.
It does not stop, but it almost stops.
The beginning for the child is fear of everything. For nine months he was in darkness, and in a modern hospital, where he is going to be born, there will be just glaring tube lights all around. And on his eyes, his retina, which has never seen light before, not even a candle light, this is too much.
This light is a shock to his eyes.
And the doctor does not take even a few seconds - he cuts the connection that is still joining him with the mother, the last hope of security... and such a tiny being. And you know it perfectly well, that nobody is more helpless than a human child, no other child in the whole existence.
That's why horses have not invented the hypothesis of God. Elephants have not thought about the idea of God; there is no need. The child of the elephant immediately starts walking and looking around and exploring the world. He is not as helpless as a human child. In fact, on the helplessness of a human child depends so much that you may be surprised: your family, your society, your culture, your religion, your philosophy - everything depends on the helplessness of the human child.
In animals, families don't exist for the simple reason that the child does not need the parents. Man had to decide for a certain system. The father and the mother have to be together to look after the child. It is the outcome of their love affair; this is their doing. Now if the human child is left alone, just like so many animals are, you cannot imagine that he is going to survive: impossible! Where is he going to find food? Whom is he going to ask? What is he going to ask?
Perhaps he has come too early? And there are a few biologists who think that the human child is born premature - nine months are not enough - because he comes so helpless. But the human body is such that the mother cannot carry the child for more than nine months, otherwise she will die, and her death will mean the death of the child.
It has been calculated that if the child can live in the mother's womb for at least three years, then perhaps there will be no need for a father and mother and the family, and the society and the culture, and God and the priest. But the child cannot live in the mother's womb for three years.
This strange biological situation has affected the whole of human behavior, thinking, the structure of family, society; and this has caused the fear.
The first experience of the child is the fear, and the last experience of the man is also fear.
Birth is also a kind of death; you should remember just look at it from the child's point of view. He was living in a certain world, which was absolutely satisfactory. He was not in any need at all, he was not greedy for anything more. He was simply enjoying being, enjoying growing - and then suddenly he is thrown out.
To the child, this experience is an experience of death: death of his whole world, of his security, of his cozy home. Scientists say that we have not been able yet to create a home as cozy as the womb. We have been trying - all our homes are just efforts to create that cozy home.
We have even tried to make water beds, to give you the same feeling. We have hot bathtubs; Lying down in them you can have a little feeling of the child. Those who know how to take a really hot bath will also put salt into it, because in the mother's womb it is very salty - the exact amount of salt that is in sea water. But how long can you lie down in a bathtub? We have isolation tanks which are nothing but a search for the same womb that you have lost.
Sigmund Freud is not an enlightened man - in fact he is a little bit cuckoo, but sometimes cuckoos also sing beautiful songs. Sometimes he has significant ideas. For example, he thinks this idea of man making love to the woman is nothing but an effort to enter the womb again. There may be something in it. This man is crazy, the idea seems to be far fetched; but even if a man like Sigmund Freud is crazy he has to be listened to very carefully.
I feel that there is something of truth in it: the search for the womb, for the same passage as he had come out from.... He cannot reach that womb, that is true. Then he created all kinds of things; he started making caves, houses, airplanes. You see the interior of the airplane - it will not be a wonder if one day you find that in the airplane people are floating in tubs of hot water, salted. The airplane can give you exactly the same situation, but it is not going to be satisfactory.
The child has not known anything else. We try to make it as cozy: just push a button and the air hostess is there. We make it as comfortable as possible, but we cannot make it as comfortable as it was in the womb. You were not needed even to push a button. Even before you were hungry you were fed. Even before you needed air, it reached you. You had no responsibility at all.
So the child coming out of the mother's womb, if he feels it at all, must feel it as death. He cannot feel it as birth, that is impossible. That is our idea - who are standing outside - we say that this is birth.
And the second time, again one day, after his whole life's effort.... He has been able to make something - a little house, a family, a small circle of friends, a little warmth, a little corner somewhere in the world where he can relax and be himself, where he is accepted. Difficult - a whole life's struggle, and suddenly, one day, he finds again he is being thrown out.
The doctor has come again - and this is the man who had hit him! But that time it was to start the breathing; this time, as far as we know.... Now we are on this side, we don't know the other side.
The other side is left to the imagination; that's why heaven and hell... and every kind of imagination has gone wild.
We are on this side and this man is dying. To us he is dying; perhaps he is again being reborn.
But that only he knows, and he cannot turn back and tell us, "Don't be worried; I am not dead, I am alive." He could not turn in his mother's womb to have a last glimpse and say goodbye to everybody, neither can he turn back now, open his eyes and say goodbye to you all, and say, "Don't be worried.
I am not dying, I am being reborn.
The Hindu idea of rebirth is nothing but a projection of the ordinary birth. For the womb - if the womb thinks - the child is dead. For the child - if it thinks - it is dying. But he is born; it was not death, it is birth. The Hindus have projected the same idea on death. From this side it looks as if he is dying, but from the other side.... But the other side is our imagination; we can make it as we want it.
Every religion makes the other side in a different way because every society and every culture depends on a different geography, a different history. For example: the Tibetan cannot think of the other side as cool - even cool is fearful, cold is impossible. The Tibetan thinks that the dead person is warm, in a new world which always remains warm.
The Indian cannot think that it always remains warm. Even four months' heat in India is too much, but for eternity to remain warm - you will be cooked! The Hindu religion thinks.... They had no idea of air conditioning, but the way they describe their paradise, it is almost air conditioned - always cool air, neither hot nor cold, but cool. It is always spring, Indian spring - because around the earth there are different kinds of spring - this is the Indian spring. All the flowers are in blossom, the winds are full of fragrance, the birds are singing, everything is alive; but not warm, cool air. That they remind us again and again: cool air continues to flow.
This is your mind that is projecting the idea; otherwise, for the Tibetan or for the Indian or for the Mohammedan, it cannot be different. The Mohammedan cannot think that the other world is going to be a desert - he has suffered so much in the Arabian desert. The other world is an oasis - an oasis all over. It is not that after a hundred miles you find a small oasis with a little water and a few trees, no - just oases all over, and desert nowhere.
We project, but to the person who is dying it is again the same process that he has experienced once. It is a well - known fact that at the time of death, if the person has not become unconscious, has not fallen into a coma, he starts remembering his whole life cycle. He goes on back to the first moment of his life when he was born. It seems to be significant that when he is leaving this world he may have a look at all that has happened. Just in a few seconds the whole calendar moves, just as it moves in your movies.
That calendar goes on moving, because in a two hour movie they have to cover many years... if the calendar moves at the usual pace, you will be sitting in the movie hall for two years; who is going to be able to afford that? No, the calendar just goes on moving, the dates go on changing, fast. It goes even faster at the time of death. In a single moment the whole life flashes by, and stops at the first moment. It is the same process that is happening again - life has come around full circle.
Why did I want you to remember this? - because your God is nothing but your first day's fear which goes on and on until the last moment, becoming bigger and bigger. That's why when a person is young he may be an atheist, he can afford to be, but as he grows older, to be an atheist becomes a little difficult. If, when he is just coming close to his grave, one foot in the grave, you ask him, "Are you still an atheist?" he will say, "I am having second thoughts" - because of fear... what is going to happen? His whole world is disappearing.
My grandfather was not a religious man, not at all. He was closer to Zorba the Greek: eat, drink and be merry; there is no other world, it is all nonsense. My father was a very religious man; perhaps it was because of my grandfather - the reaction, the generation gap. But it was just upside down in my family: my grandfather was an atheist and perhaps because of his atheism my father turned out to be a theist. And whenever my father would go to the temple, my grandfather would laugh and he would say, "Again! Go on, waste your life in front of those stupid statues!"
I love Zorba for many reasons; one of the reasons was that in Zorba I found my grandfather again.
He loved food so much that he used to not trust anybody; he would prepare it himself. In my life I have been a guest in thousands of families in India, but I have never tasted anything so delicious as my grandfather's cooking. And he loved it so much that every week it was a feast for all his friends - and he would prepare the whole day.
My mother and my aunts and the servants and cooks - everybody was thrown out of the kitchen.
When my grandfather was cooking, nobody was to disturb him. But he was very friendly to me; he allowed me to watch and he said, "Learn, don't depend on other people. Only you know your taste.
Who else can know it?"
I said, "That is beyond me; I am too lazy, but I can watch. The whole day cooking? - I cannot do it." So I have not learned anything, but just watching was a joy - the way he worked, almost like a sculptor or a musician or a painter. Cooking was not just cooking, it was art to him. And if anything went just a little below his standard, he would throw it away immediately. He would cook it again, and I would say, "It is perfectly okay."
He would say, "You know it is not perfectly okay, it is just okay; but I am a perfectionist. Until it comes up to my standard, I am not going to offer it to anybody. I love my food."
He used to make many kinds of drinks... and whatsoever he did the whole family was against him:
they said that he was just a nuisance. He wouldn't allow anybody in the kitchen, and in the evening he gathered all the atheists of the town. And just to defy Jainism, he would wait till the sun set. He would not eat before because Jainism says: eat before sunset; after sunset eating is not allowed.
He used to send me again and again to see whether the sun had set or not.
He annoyed the whole family. And they could not be angry with him - he was the head of the family, the oldest man - but they were angry at me. That was easier. They said, "Why do you go on coming again and again to see whether the sun has set or not? That old man is getting you also lost, utterly lost."
I was very sad because I only came across the book ZORBA THE GREEK, when my grandfather was dying. The only thing that I felt at his funeral pyre was that he would have loved it if I had translated it for him and read it for him. I had read many books to him. He was uneducated. He could only write his signature, that was all. He could neither read nor write - but he was very proud of it.
He used to say, "It is good that my father did not force me to go to school, otherwise he would have spoiled me. These books spoil people so much." He would say to me, "Remember, your father is spoiled, your uncles are spoiled; they are continually reading religious books, scriptures, and it is all rubbish. While they are reading, I am living; and it is good to know through living."
He used to tell me, "They will send you to the university - they won't listen to me. And I cannot be much help, because if your father and your mother insist, they will send you to the university. But beware: don't get lost in books."
He enjoyed small things. I asked him, "Everybody believes in God, why don't you believe, baba?" I called him baba; that is the word for grandfather in India.
He said, "Because I am not afraid."
A very simple answer: "Why should I be afraid? There is no need to be afraid; I have not done any wrong, I have not harmed anybody. I have just lived my life joyously. If there is any God, and I meet Him sometime, He cannot be angry at me. I will be angry at Him:'Why have You created this world?
- this kind of world?' I am not afraid."
When he was dying I asked him again, because the doctors were saying that it was a question of only a few minutes. His pulse was getting lost, his heart was sinking, but he was fully conscious. I asked him, "Baba, one question...."
He opened his eyes and said, "I know your question: why don't you believe in God? I knew that you were going to ask this question when I was dying. Do you think death will make me afraid? I have lived so joyously and so completely, there is no regret that I am dying.
"What else am I going to do tomorrow? I have done it all, there is nothing left. And if my pulse is slowing down and my heartbeat is slowing down, I think everything is going to be perfectly okay, because I am feeling very peaceful, very calm, very silent. Whether I die completely or live, I cannot say right now. But one thing you should remember: I am not afraid."
You tell me, The moment I think of dropping the idea of God, fear comes up. It is a simple indication that with the rock of the idea of God, you are repressing fear; so the moment you remove the rock, the fear springs up.
I had a teacher in my high school days who was a very learned brahmin of the place. Almost the whole city respected him. He used to live behind my house, and a small path by the side of my house went to his house. Just at the end of my house was a very big neem tree. He taught Sanskrit and was continually teaching about God and prayer and worship. In fact he was indoctrinating everybody's minds.
I asked him, "My grandfather does not believe in God, and whenever I ask him why, he says,'Because I am not afraid.' Are you very afraid? You seem to be continually hammering this word'god' into our heads, and I see you every morning in your house chanting so loudly for three hours that the whole neighborhood is disturbed. But nobody can say anything because it is religious chanting." If you do something like modern dancing, jazz music, then everybody will be on your neck, that you are disturbing them. He was disturbing everybody, every morning from five to eight - and he had a really loud voice - but it was religious....
I said, "Are you very afraid? Three hours every day you have to pray. It must be a great fear if for three hours every day you have to persuade God to protect you."
He said, "I am not afraid. Your grandfather is a rascal." They were almost the same age.... "He is a rascal, don't listen to him. He will spoil you."
I said, "It is strange: he thinks you will spoil me, and you think he will spoil me; and as far as I am concerned nobody is going to spoil me. I believe my grandfather when he says that he is not afraid - but about you, I am not certain."
He asked, "Why?"
I said, "Because when you pass the neem tree in the night you start chanting" - because it was known that the neem tree had ghosts in it, so people ordinarily never went near that tree in the night.
But he had to go that way because his house was there; otherwise he had to go almost half a mile round by the main road and then reach his house. Going that way round each time was too difficult, so he had found a religious strategy: he would start chanting. As he entered the path, he started chanting. I said, "I have heard you; although you don't chant as loudly as you chant in the morning, you do chant, I have heard you. And I know there are ghosts so I cannot say you are doing anything wrong."
He said, "How did you come to know?"
I said, "Many times I am there by the side of the neem tree in the darkness; your chanting becomes louder and you start walking faster - that much I know. Why do you chant there if you are not afraid?
And if you are afraid of ghosts, then that three-hour morning chanting with God is useless. Can't he save you against ghosts?"
He said, "From today I am not going to chant." Certainly he kept his word. He was not chanting.
Although he was walking faster than usual. And all that I had to do was to sit in the tree with a kerosene can - empty, so I could beat it like a drum. I simply drummed the can and threw it on top of him. You should have seen the situation! He ran away screaming and shouting, "BHOOT! BHOOT!
BHOOT! BHOOT!" BHOOT is the Hindi word for ghost.
In India the ancient traditional dress is not like western dress. Now it is changing because western dress is more utilitarian; Indian dress is more luxurious but is not utilitarian. If you are working in the field or in the factory, Indian dress is dangerous because the robe is long and loose, it can get caught in any mechanism. Then the dhoti, the lower dress, that too is very loose. It reminds us that once the country must have been in a very comfortable time.
You cannot give the Indian dress to soldiers; otherwise they will not be able to fight, their dress will be enough to finish them. Even if they had to run away they would not be able to. Can I run in my robe? Impossible. It would be easier to die rather than to run.
He became so afraid.... When the tin can fell on him with a loud noise, his dhoti opened up and he was so afraid that he entered his house without it, naked! His dhoti was left there. I came down the tree, took the dhoti, and with my can I escaped from there.
His whole house was in a mess. Everybody, all the neighborhood people around were asking what had happened. He said, "That boy disturbed everything. He told me this morning,'Don't do the mantra. If you are not afraid, don't do the mantra.' He gave me a challenge. Tomorrow I am going to see him about what happened to me: that in my old age I have become a laughingstock. The whole neighborhood has seen me naked!" And in India to be naked, and that too for one of the very respected priests and scholars of the town....
He came the next day and was very serious. I knew that he was coming, so I took the tin with his dhoti inside. When he saw me coming with that tin, he said, "What is that?"
I said, "First, you start. You have threatened... you have told the neighbors that you will see me. I have also come to see you - now it is a question of who sees whom. You can impose any punishment you want on me, but remember, I will open this can before the whole school."
He said, "What is in it?"
I said, "Bhoot! Ghost! I have caught in it the ghost that made you afraid."
He said, "Ghost? Is this the tin can that fell from the tree?"
I said, "Of course."
He said, "You take it back, it is dangerous."
But I said, "Please look inside and see what is there." I opened the tin can and took out his dhoti and said, "At least take your dhoti back."
He said, "But how did you manage it?"
I said, "Whom do you think was managing it all? You should thank me for taking all the trouble of climbing the tree, drumming the tin can, and then throwing it on top of you; then collecting your dhoti in darkness, and escaping before I was caught. It was just to show you... not to lie to me." And since that day, although he knew that I was the person who did the whole thing, he stopped coming by that path, he would go around. I asked him why - "You know perfectly well I was the person."
He said, "I don't want to take any chance. I don't believe you. You may have collected the dhoti and the tin can in the morning, and it may have been really a ghost."
I said, "I am telling you, I was in that tree."
He never came again in the night on that path. My whole family knew that I was the person because they had seen me going up the tree, but even my family became afraid. They started saying, "Perhaps the ghost took possession of you."
I said, "Strange people! I have said I did it, but now you are projecting new ideas: that the ghost took possession of me, that's why I did the whole thing. You can't take simple facts as simple."
If the fear comes up, that means you have to face it; it is in no way going to help you to cover it by the idea of God. You cannot have faith again, that is destroyed.
Once you have met me you cannot have faith in God, because doubt is a reality, and faith is fiction.
And no fiction can stand before a fact.
Now God is going to remain a hypothesis to you; your prayer will be useless. You will know it is a hypothesis, you cannot forget that it is a hypothesis.
Once you have heard a truth it is impossible to forget it.
That is one of the qualities of truth, that you don't need to remember it.
The lie has to be remembered continually; you may forget. The person habituated to lies needs a better memory than the person who is habituated to truth, because a true person has no need of memory; if you only say the truth there is no need to remember. But if you are saying a lie, then you have to continually remember, because you have said one lie to one person, another lie to another person; something else to somebody else. To whom you have said what you have to categorize in your mind and keep. And whenever a question arises about a lie you have to lie again, so it is a series. The lie does not believe in birth control.
Truth is celibate, it has no children at all; it is unmarried in fact.
Once you have understood, only once, that God is nothing but a hypothesis created by the priests, the politicians, the power elite, the pedagogues - all those who want to keep you in psychological slavery, who have some vested interest in your slavery.... They all want to keep you afraid, always afraid, trembling deep inside, because if you are not afraid, you are dangerous.
You can either be a person who is a coward, afraid, ready to submit, surrender, a person who has himself no dignity, no respect for his own being - or you can be fearless. But then you are going to be a rebel, you cannot avoid that.
Either you can be a man of faith or you are going to be a rebellious spirit.
So those people who don't want you to be rebels - because your being rebellious goes against their interests - go on enforcing, conditioning your mind with Christianity, with Judaism, with Mohammedanism, with Hinduism, and they keep you trembling deep inside.
That is their power, so anybody who is interested in power, whose whole life is nothing but a will-to- power, has tremendous use for the hypothesis of God.
If you are afraid of God - and if you believe in God you have to be afraid - you have to follow His orders and commandments, His holy book, His messiah, His incarnation; you have to follow Him and His agents. In fact He does not exist, only the agent exists. This is a very strange business.
Religion is the most strange business of all. There is no boss, but there are mediators: the priest, the bishop, the cardinal, the pope, the messiah, the whole hierarchy - and on top there is nobody.
But Jesus derives his authority and power from God - His only begotten son. The pope derives his authority from Jesus - His only true representative, infallible. And it goes on and on to the lowest priest... but there is no God; it is your fear You asked for God to be invented because you could not live alone.
You were incapable of facing life, its beauties, its joys, its sufferings, its anguishes. You were not ready to experience them on your own without anybody protecting you, without somebody being an umbrella to you. You asked for God out of fear. And certainly there are con men everywhere. You ask and they will do it for you. You asked and they said, "We know God is, and you have just to do this prayer...."
Tolstoy has a beautiful story. It became a great trouble for the highest priest in the Russian orthodox church, because three men who lived beyond a lake under a tree became very famous; so famous that instead of people coming to the high priest they started going to those three saints.
Now, in Christianity "saint" is a very strange word. In any other language saint and the equivalent of saint are very respectful words, but not in Christianity, because saint means only: sanctified by the pope, certified by the pope.
Joan of Arc was made a saint after three hundred years. One infallible pope burned her alive.
After three hundred years they changed their mind, because people were becoming more and more favorable to loan of Arc; then the pope thought it was a good time to declare her a saint. She had been declared a witch and was burned alive - and this was done by one infallible pope. Then another infallible pope, after three hundred years, declared Joan of Arc to be a saint. Her grave was dug up again and whatsoever was there - a few bones may have remained - was brought out, worshipped, sanctified. She has become a saint.
"Saint" in the Christian reference is ugly. The Sanskrit word is sant, equivalent to saint. If you derive it from sant, if you write sant, you can read it saint; but sant means one who has arrived, one who has known satya. Sat means the ultimate truth, and one who has realized it is called a saint - not somebody certified! It is not a degree or a title that somebody can give to you.
The high priest was very angry because people were talking about those three saints. He said, "But how did they become saints? I have not certified anybody. This is simply outrageous." But people are people.... People were still going, so finally he decided, "I have to visit these people. Who are these people? They have declared themselves saints! I don't even know who they are. I have not even been informed, and it is in my power only to sanctify a person to be a saint." So he was very angry.
He went in his boat - and he had a beautiful boat because he was the high priest and he was higher than the czar as far as religion was concerned. Even the czar and czarina used to come to touch his feet. And he thought, "Who are these fools, unknown, anonymous? - declaring themselves saints?"
He went there and found those three very simple people, three old people, sitting under the tree.
They immediately stood up, touched the feet of the high priest and they said, "Why did you take all this trouble? You could have sent a message and we would have come."
The high priest cooled down a little bit, but he said, "Who declared you saints?"
They said, "We don't know. We didn't know that we are saints. Who told you?"
And the high priest could see that all three were absolutely uneducated and knew nothing about Christianity or religion. And he said, "What is your prayer? Do you know the orthodox prayer, without which you cannot be even a Christian? - what to think about a saint!"
They said, "We are uneducated and nobody ever taught us any prayer. But if you forgive us, we will tell you - we have composed a prayer of our own."
He said, "What! You have composed a prayer of your own! Okay, let me listen to what your prayer is."
One said to the other, "You tell him."
The other said, "You can tell him." They were all feeling very shy and very ashamed.
The high priest said, "You tell it! Anybody tell it."
They said, "We all three will tell it together." Their prayer was simple: "'You are three - God the father, the Holy Ghost and God the son. You are three, we are also three - have mercy on us.' This is our prayer. More than that we don't know. We have heard that He is three, and we know that we are three, and what more is needed?'Have mercy on us - you are three, we are three, have mercy on us!""
The priest said, "This is unforgivable. You are making a mockery of religion."
They said, "Then you can tell us what the prayer is so we can repeat it."
The high priest told them the prayer, a long prayer of the Russian orthodox church. They listened and they said, "Wait, you repeat it again because this is so long and we may forget it. Our prayer is so short, and we never forget it because it is so simple and we always remember that He is three, we are three, have mercy on us. There is no problem about it. Your prayer - if we forget or if we commit some mistake...."
So he repeated it twice. They said, "One time more." He repeated it thrice, and they said, "We will try." He was very happy that he had put those fools on the right path... this is prayer? - and they have become saints? And he went back very happy that he had done a good deed. These are the do-gooders.
Just in the middle of the lake he saw all those three old men running, coming, on the lake! He could not believe his eyes. They said, "Wait! We have forgotten the prayer! Just one more time, and we will never bother you again." And they were standing on the water!
The high priest touched their feet and said, "Forgive me. You repeat your prayer, that's perfectly right. And you need not come to ask me; if I have something to ask I will come. I know now whose prayer is right."
Those three persons indicate one simple truth: if you have faith that does not prove that there is a God. But your faith can give you a certain integrity, a certain strength. But the faith has to be very innocent. They were not hiding any fear behind it. They had not gone to any church to learn the prayer, they had not asked anybody, "What is God? Where is God?" - nothing. They were simply innocent people, and out of innocence was their faith.
That faith does not prove that God is; that faith simply proves that innocence is a power.
It is only a story, but innocence is a power. Yes, you can walk on water, but out of innocence; and out of innocence if there is faith.... But that very rarely happens, because every parent and every society destroys your innocence before you are even aware that you had it. They go on forcing some belief on you, and that belief you accept because of fear. In darkness the mother says, "Don't be afraid; God is there looking after you. He is everywhere present."
I have heard about a Catholic nun who used to take a shower with her clothes on inside the bathroom. Other nuns became a little worried: "Has she gone Oregonian or something?"
But the poor nun said, "It is because I have heard God is everywhere, so He must be in the bathroom too. And to be naked before God does not look right." This woman may look foolish but she has a certain innocence. And out of this innocence, if faith arises, then it doesn't matter in what the faith is.
Innocence gives power, but innocence is destroyed, and this is what I am trying to bring back to you, so that you become innocent again. And to become innocent again you will have to pass through these stages.
You will have to drop this idea of God which helps you to remain unafraid.
You will have to pass through fear and accept it as a human reality.
There is no need to escape from it. What is needed is to go deep into it, and the deeper you go into your fear, the less you will find it is.
When you have touched the rock bottom of fear you will simply laugh, there is nothing to fear.
And when fear disappears there is innocence, and that innocence is the summum bonum, the very essence of a religious man.
And that innocence is power.
That innocence is the only miracle there is.
Out of innocence anything can happen, but you will not be a Christian out of that, and you will not be a Mohammedan out of that. Out of innocence you will become simply an ordinary human being, totally accepting your ordinariness, and living it joyously, thankful to the whole existence - not to God, because that is an idea given by others to you.
But existence is not an idea.
It is there all around you, within and without.
When you are utterly innocent, a deep thankfulness - I will not call it prayer because in prayer you are asking for something, I will call it a deep thankfulness - a gratitude arises. Not that you are asking for something, but thanking for something that has already been given to you.
So much has been given to you.
Do you deserve it? Have you earned it?
Existence goes on pouring so much over you that to ask for more is just ugly. That which you have received, you should be grateful for it.
And the most beautiful thing is that when you are grateful, more and more existence starts pouring over you. It becomes a circle: the more you get, the more you become grateful; the more you become grateful, the more you get... and there is no end to it, it is an infinite process.
But remember - the hypothesis of God is gone; the moment you called it a hypothesis the idea of God has been already dropped. Whether you are afraid or not, you cannot take it back; it is finished.
Now the only way left is to go into your fear.
Silently enter into it, so you can find its depth.
And sometimes it happens that it is not very deep.
A Zen story is: a man walking in the night slipped from a rock. Afraid that he would fall down thousands of feet, because he knew that place was a very deep valley, he took hold of a branch that was hanging over the rock. In the night all he could see was a bottomless abyss. He shouted; his own shout was reflected back - there was nobody to hear.
You can think of that man and his whole night of torture. Every moment there was death, his hands were becoming cold, he was losing his grip... and as the sun came out he looked down and he laughed: there was no abyss. Just six inches down there was a rock. He could have rested the whole night, slept well - the rock was big enough - but the whole night was a nightmare.
From my own experience I can say to you: the fear is not more than six inches deep. Now it is up to you whether you want to go on clinging to the branch and turn your life into a nightmare, or whether you would love to leave the branch and stand on your feet.
There is nothing to fear.