God - the phantom fuehrer
ALAN WATTS ONCE DESCRIBED THE UNIVERSE BY SAYING, "IT IS AS IF GOD IS PLAYING A GAME." IF THERE IS NO GOD, WHO IS PLAYING AND WHAT IS THE GAME?
ALAN Watts was a nice guy but that statement he made was stolen from Hindu mythology. That's what he was doing his whole life, although to the West it appeared as if he was giving original insights.
Basically he was trained as a Christian priest and, like every Christian priest, acquired a certain knowledge about all the religions so that he could prove Christianity to be the best, the highest, the truest religion.
But Alan Watts - that's why I say he was a nice guy - seeing the Hindu religion could not say that the Christian religion was the highest religion that had happened on earth. He was an honest man.
He renounced his priesthood and remained almost a beggar his whole life. But he was tremendously impressed by Eastern religions - emphatically with the Hindu idea of God playing a game. In Hinduism it is called leela. That is one of the contributions of Hinduism to world thought.
All other religions believe that God is creating the world; it is a serious affair. Only Hinduism makes it non-serious. Hinduism says it is just a play, a game of hide-and-seek. It is God who is hiding, it is God who is seeking; it is God in men, it is God in women. To Hinduism, existence is made of the stuff called God, and it is not a creation. The concept of creation has implications which Christianity, Judaism, and Mohammedanism are incapable of answering.
First: Why in the first place should God create? What is His need? One creates something because of a certain need. You create a house because you need a shelter. You create because there is a certain desire to be fulfilled. Is God full of desires? Then what is the difference between man and God? Is God in need? If even God is in need then there is no possibility of a state where you will be free of need: need is going to follow you like a shadow wherever you go, and you can never be free from it - and unless you are free from need, desire, wanting, you are a slave, and you will remain a slave.
A God who has a certain need to create is a slave.
The implications are very significant. Was it compulsory for Him to create, or was it optional? If it was compulsory, then God is not all-powerful. Somebody above Him orders Him to create, and there is no option, He has to do it. Or if you say it was optional, then the question arises, Why does He choose to create rather than not to create? There must be some reason for choosing to.
What reason can God have to choose creation? Then that reason becomes more important than God Himself If even God has to follow rationality, then why should you have to bother about God?
You should think about being reasonable, following reason, which even God cannot throw away.
Why did God create at a certain moment, at a certain time?
What was He doing before that?
For eternity He was unemployed. What was that fellow doing all that time?
Sleeping? In a coma? Drunk, or what?
And suddenly one day He starts creating. There is no reason that Christian theology, Mohammedan religion, or Judaism can supply as to why, at a certain moment, there was this urge to create.
In fact the urge to create is something biological, sexual.
Sexual energy is your creative energy.
Women have not been great painters and poets and sculptors for the simple reason that their desire to create is immensely fulfilled by bringing up children. To give birth to a child, alive, radiant - what else can be compared to it? You create a painting; howsoever beautiful, it is a dead thing after all.
You can create music, you can create song.
But what are they compared to a beautiful child?
Just look into the eyes of a child and all your paintings are nothing.
The child smiles, and all your songs fall flat on the ground.
The child tries to walk, and the joy when the child feels "I can walk."
All your science, all your art, are nothing compared to that joy.
And when the child speaks for the first time, have you seen the ecstasy?
The mother watches from the first moments in her womb when the child starts moving. An experienced mother, one who has given birth to one or two children, can tell whether the child is a boy or a girl, because the girl remains quiet and the boy starts kicking very early: he is in a hurry to get out. The girl remains silent. And that difference continues in childhood, in youth, in old age.
A woman has a certain stability, a centeredness, a grounding, which a man has not. He is always on the move. Even on holidays he can't sit silently. He will start fixing the clock which is working perfectly well. He will take it apart.
There is nothing wrong with the clock - something is wrong with the man! He can't sit still. He will open the bonnet of his car, start doing something, and create a mess. And he will be more tired after the holiday than he ever is after he comes from the office, because for the whole day he cannot just sit still.
I have heard: a woman hired a nurse to look after her children - she had almost a dozen children.
She said to the nurse, "Today I will be coming home a little late. These children will create trouble for you but there is no other way, I have to go. Somebody has died, and they are close relatives. I may be back late, so forgive me and be patient. And somehow make all of them go to sleep."
When the woman returned in the middle of the night, she asked, "Have an the children gone to sleep?." The nurse said, "All of them have gone to sleep; just one was creating so much trouble I had to beat him."
The wife said, "Which one?" - and the nurse showed her.
She said, "My God! It is my husband!"
"But," the nurse said, "he was the most troublesome. The whole day he was doing this and doing that. I somehow kept hold of the others, but this one was too big in the first place. But then I thought that if he won't understand any other language... so I started slapping him. I threw him forcibly onto the bed, but he would sit back up again and try to escape."
Man is restless.
And in the mother's womb, very early on the mother can feel whether it is a boy or a girl. She feels so contented in giving birth to a child, in helping the child to grow; and that's why she does not need any other kind of creativity. Her creative urge is fulfilled.
But man is in trouble: he cannot give birth to a child, he cannot have the child in his womb. He has to find a substitute, otherwise he will always feel inferior to the woman. And deep down he does feel that he is inferior.
Because of that feeling of inferiority man tries to create paintings, statues, dramas, he writes poetry, novels, explores the whole scientific world of creativity.
This is all nothing but an effort of man to say to woman, "I am a creator. You are just an instrument in the hands of biology - the child is not your creation. Any woman can do that, but any man cannot become Picasso, or Nijinsky, or Nietzsche, or Dostoevsky. This is creativity."
This is how man compensates and covers up his inferiority. And this is the way he has followed for thousands of years; and by and by has convinced himself, and the woman too, that he is superior to her. And he has not allowed the woman the same freedom to create these things because he knows perfectly well that woman can be as creative as him.
A woman can create like Picasso and Dostoevsky and Bernard Shaw and Russell; there is no problem in it. All that she will have to do is drop the idea of being a mother, because it is difficult to be a mother and to be a Bertrand Russell. There is a conflict of interest. It is difficult to be a woman, a mother, and at the same time be a Picasso, because Picasso's paintings demand - just like a woman - his whole being. His paintings monopolize him. Now, the woman cannot allow that monopoly.
In fact when the first child is born, a rift starts happening between the husband and wife for the simple reason that the woman is now monopolized by the child; the father is secondary. From now onwards he cannot be primary, he cannot have priority. Obviously nature is in support of the child because he has a future, and the father is going to die sooner rather than later.
Nature is always with the new, with the growing.
Nature is always with the sunrise, never with the sunset. And this is perfectly logical. What is the point of being with the sunset?
Why does God have to create? Either God is not He but She.... Then God is a woman, and this whole universe is Her womb. But then you are bringing God down to the same level of biology as man, as animals, as anybody else....
Or, God is a man but feels somehow inferior to some woman about whom we don't know anything.
With which woman is He feeling competitive? There must be a woman in His life, and He feels incompetent, inferior. By creating this whole universe He wants to prove to the woman, "Look, this is creation." But then God is no longer God: He is just as human, as animal as we are.
"Creation" is indefensible.
And what kind of creation has He made? If He is serious - and creation has to be serious - then this life with so much misery, so much suffering, which finally ends in death and darkness, has no meaning at all. If He wanted to create, there was no need to create such a miserable existence, full of anguish, suffering, agony: an existence which is more a curse than a blessing.
One of Dostoevsky's characters in his greatest work, BROTHERS KARAMAZOV.... It is perhaps the greatest novel in the whole world, in any language. One of the Karamazovs - there are three brothers, and one of them says, "If I meet God, all that I want is to return my ticket and for Him to tell me where the exit is. Everywhere I see the entrance, but where is the exit? And who is He, that without asking me, produced me, created me? On what authority? - I was not even asked whether I want to be created; I was not given any alternative."
This is totalitarian, absolutely dictatorial. God seems to be some magnified Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin. You were not asked, and yet you have to suffer. You were not asked, and you have been given instincts for which you will suffer here and perhaps hereafter.
The same theologians, the same priests, go on telling you to destroy your instinctive life completely.
God gives instincts to you: he is responsible. If anybody has to suffer in hell it is only He alone; nobody else is responsible for anything.
A murderer comes with the instinct to murder. A rapist comes with the instinct to rape. Who is responsible for all this? Yet these religions go on telling you that you are responsible. God is the creator and you are responsible? - and you were not even asked, What instincts do you want?
If you had chosen to be a rapist, a murderer, then of course it would be your responsibility and you would have to suffer the consequences. But you simply come with an inbuilt program, so whoever programs you, only He and nobody else is responsible.
Alan Watts understood very clearly that he could not answer this question which has been raised in the East again and again. Hinduism has found an answer; at least it appears to be an answer.
Certainly it is better than the idea of creation, but it has its own problems - which Alan Watts was not aware of because he was not well trained in the Eastern roots of religion. It appealed to him - the idea of leela, play, seemed to be far better. Life is nothing serious; it is just a game, a play, a drama.
In a drama you may become a thief; that does not mean that you have become a thief - you just play the role. In a drama you may become an incarnation of God, Rama, Krishna; that does not mean that you have become an incarnation of God, but on the stage before the audience it is accepted without any question. Questioning it would be absolutely foolish: everybody knows that everybody is playing a role.
Hinduism says that this whole existence is just a drama and God is just playing a game. The word leela, playfulness, takes away seriousness and its implications. But it brings in new implications:
Why can't God sit silently? - because the people who teach that God is playing a game also teach, "Sit silently in meditation." Why can't He sit silently in meditation and stop all this nonsense?
But Alan Watts could not ask that question; it may not have occurred to him, but it can occur to me:
What is the point of all this nonsense? All Hindu sages are teaching: Sit silently, unmoving, without any thought, utterly silent, then only will you taste what religion is. It seems God has never tasted religion - he is continuously playing.
At least in creation there was one thing; that is, in six days He was finished. On the seventh day, Sunday, He rested, and we don't know what happened after that. But the Hindu God has to be constantly playing. Now, there is a time to play and there is a time to study - or so each child is being told - and there is a time to sleep.
But this mad Hindu God... no time to sleep, no time to study, no time for anything else: just playing and playing and playing. He seems to be obsessed. And what a big play! - infinite, eternal. And why should He go on playing? Is He not tired? And the same game....
In my village I had a friend whose father used to go to the "movie-talkie" every day. The same film used to continue at least for six or seven days; it didn't matter, he had to go every day. I asked him, "It seems a little strange that you go to see the same film for seven days."
He said, "Who bothers to watch the film? I really sleep! Once in a while in the seven days I see the complete film. Sometimes I see the beginning part, sometimes the middle, sometimes the end. And if someday I am feeling good, then I connect all the parts and see the whole film."
"But," I said, "You can do it in one day."
He said, "I don't want to do it one day. What will I do the remaining six days?" - because in that small place the movie house was the only entertainment. Where else to go? I could understand the difficulty of the old man.
But what is God's difficulty? Why does the same game go on and on? And is He still entertained?
- He must be an idiot. If this is entertainment, even an idiot will start feeling bored: the same type of people continue being born, the same love affairs, the same children, again and again - and the wheel goes on moving. The same spokes come up and go down; again they come up and again they go down. It is the same wheel, the same spokes.
I am not worried about the wheel, I am worried about the man who goes on moving it - for what purpose? Of course you cannot ask Hindus about the purpose as you can the Christians - not with the same emphasis, because it is a play. But I still ask: play is okay, if once in a while He plays, it is understandable, but this continuous play, this repetitive play...? It seems that we are in the hands of a mad God.
And then these same Hindu sages go on saying that you will suffer the consequences of your acts.
Strange: God is playful and yet we are going to suffer for our acts - which are God's play! If He wants me to play the role of a thief, okay, but why should I suffer the consequences? The same people on the other hand say, "It is God's playfulness." Great! Accepted - but what about the players?
They should be completely freed from any consequences - it is God's play. You play cards: you get defeated, or you become victorious - you win, or you lose - but do you think something happens to the king and the queen and the joker of the cards? Whoever wins or whoever loses does not matter to them at all; they are just playing cards.
We are just kings, queens, and jokers - mostly jokers.
Why should we suffer?
In Hinduism there cannot be these two things together. That was my constant conflict with Hindu sages, shankaracharyas, Hindu pandits: if existence is out of playfulness then it is too much to say that we should be thrown into hellfire. If it is somebody else's play and He is never thrown into hellfire, why should we be? Both these concepts put together are absolutely opposed to each other. There is no way to make them complementary. I have tried my best - they cannot be made complementary.
If it is God's play, all the consequences are His:
We are just puppets in His hand.
Then the law of karma is simply crap.
With a playful God, what is the meaning of worship?
You can't be serious....
If God Himself is playful, you have to be playful.
Ramakrishna was right.... There was a low caste woman of Calcutta who was an untouchable, but who was a queen - Rani Rasmani. She made this beautiful temple of Dakshineshwar, in Calcutta, on the banks of the Ganges; it is one of the most beautiful shrines.
She had enough money and enough of everything, but no brahmin was ready to worship in her temple because that temple was made by an untouchable. So that temple had also become untouchable, and the god in the temple, he had also become untouchable - and these brahmins are the people who say that it is all playfulness. Even God becomes untouchable because the temple statue has been purchased by the money of an untouchable.
Rani Rasmani never entered the temple, knowing perfectly well that if she entered the temple then there would be no possibility of finding a brahmin priest. She never touched anything of the temple.
She used to come just to the boundary of the temple and bow down from there. And it was her temple - she had poured millions of rupees into it. But no brahmin was ready to enter.
Ramakrishna was a poor brahmin, uneducated. His name at that time was Gadawar. "Ramakrishna"
was later on, when disciples gathered and started feeling that he had some kind of synthesis of Ram and Krishna in his being. Hence they started calling him Ramakrishna. But his name then was Gadawar. He was uneducated: only up to second grade of Bengali was he educated. Where was he going to find a job? His father died and he had to take care of his mother and his family. He was in such difficulty that he accepted the offer to become the priest in the temple of Dakshineshwar.
All the brahmins said, "Once you become the priest of Rani Rasmani, you are boycotted; you are no longer a brahmin."
He said, "I don't care, it does not matter - I will be worshipping God. Who has purchased the statue, who has made the temple, is not my concern."
He became the priest, but soon complaints started coming about him. Rani Rasmani was very puzzled. What could she do? If she threw him out it would be difficult to find another brahmin.
And after her waiting for a few years, this one courageous young man had come; but now so many complaints from people....
And they were strange complaints about things which could not be accepted, in no way allowed:
that when Ramakrishna brought food to God, first he would eat some himself in front of God. He would taste the sweet and then offer it to God. Now that was absolutely unheard of.
In the West it would not make much difference. I see people every day placing their roses on the bonnet of the car as only Westerners can - first they smell it; in the East it is impossible. And it is out of love; what they are doing is absolutely out of love and respect, there is no question about it.
They smell the rose, they kiss it, and then they put it on the car.
That's what Ramakrishna was doing in India. But in India, once you have smelled a flower you cannot offer it to God. Kissing a flower and offering it to God! But he was doing worse still: he was eating the food. Half of the sweet he would eat and half he would offer to God.
Rasmani had to call Ramakrishna and ask him, "Don't you know a simple thing? - that first you have to offer the food to God? You spoil all the food and then you offer it to God. We would not even offer it to a guest, and you are offering it to God?"
Ramakrishna said, "My mother used to do it. She never gave me anything without tasting it first,'Because,' she said,'if it is not the right taste I will not give it to you.' If my mother did it for me, I think it is perfectly right for me to first taste whether it is worth offering to God or not. Sometimes it is not worth offering - sometimes too much sugar, sometimes too little sugar; sometimes the taste is just weird.
"Do you want me to give all these things to God? I cannot do that. I can resign from the post, but I cannot do such an inhuman act as offering things which I have not tasted. Perhaps something may be poisonous - the food comes from the market - who knows? I have to be absolutely certain that nothing wrong goes to God."
Rasmani was a woman of great understanding. She said, "I understand. I am a woman and I can feel your mother's mind and I can feel you. You continue. It is my temple; and anyway, no other brahmin is ready to be a priest. And your argument is valid. It is my temple, you are my priest. Your salary is doubled from today."
But then there was another problem. Some days he would not open the doors of the temple but keep it locked. The whole day there was no worship; nobody else could enter - it was locked. Other times the worship would continue the whole day. He would dance - people would come and go, but from morning to evening he would be dancing and singing, dancing and singing. And for some days he would simply lock the temple.
Rasmani asked Ramakrishna, "This is now new trouble. What are you doing? Worship has to be done every day; but you need not do it the whole day. Are you trying to do it wholesale? So far you have done it the whole day for three or four days. There is no need."
He said, "No, that is not the point. Sometimes I get angry at God. Then I say, 'Okay, I will see you tomorrow. Remain locked up!' So I keep Him locked up. Within three to four days He comes to His senses; then of course I go and I say, 'How are you? Understood the point? Now behave.'"
Rasmani said, "You punish God?"
He said, "Of course, if He does not behave rightly. For example, if I pray for hours and no answer comes from His side, I will not tolerate such a thing. If I have been praying there for hours, the whole day, and He just remains standing there dead, I will teach Him a lesson: for three or four days, no food, no worship, and He remains locked up. And then He comes to His senses. When on the fifth day I open the doors, He is immediately smiling and welcoming, and within just a few minutes He is ready to answer me."
Rasmani said, "Now, it is very difficult to argue with you, but you are exactly the right person, because if God is playing with the whole world, you have every right to play with Him. Go back to the temple:
your salary is doubled again."
Slowly, slowly, Ramakrishna's fame started spreading, that he was a strange priest, and nobody could stop him because the temple belonged to Rasmani; it was private property and brahmins could not even enter to see what was happening there. They were dying of curiosity! And that man's salary went on increasing; it was now four times what it had been. He had started with twenty rupees per month; now it was eighty rupees per month.
In those days one rupee was seven hundred times more valuable than the rupee is today. Eighty rupees was enough for the whole year: clothes, good food, good house - everything comfortable.
Eighty rupees for the whole year... and he was getting eighty rupees per month! There was great jealousy among brahmins, because even in the best temples they were getting two rupees; five rupees at the most. And Ramakrishna was doing such strange things.
Finally they sent a non-brahmin representative to Rasmani to say, "This man should be thrown out - he is not serious enough."
But Rasmani said, "But that is the whole Hindu philosophy - that the existence is playfulness. Why should he be serious? I am also not serious. That's why the more complaints come to me, the more I go on increasing his salary. That has stopped the complaints and now nobody comes to complain because they know complaints mean his salary will be doubled again.
"I had to stop the complaints somehow, and I have; now nobody is complaining. I enquire myself; I go round the temple and I enquire of people,'Do you have any complaints against Ramakrishna?' They say,'No, he is the right person' - and they know you can't find a wronger person than Ramakrishna as a priest!
"He knows nothing of Sanskrit; he talks in Bengali - and who has heard that God knows Bengali?
And to God he insists, 'You have to reply in Bengali because I don't understand any other language.'"
Now, this was absolutely playful. But Hindus on the one hand go on saying it is God's play, and on the other hand they are very serious people. For each small thing everything will be counted, either for or against you. On the one hand God is playful, but Hindus don't allow man to be playful. With whom is He playing? If He is playing He will need another party also to be playful; or is He playing football alone, taking both sides? Then He must have scored millions of goals... and there is no problem because He is alone on the field. But then it seems stupid.
No, to me there is no God.
I cut the problem from the very root so there is no question of creation and no question of playfulness.
Alan Watts has simply borrowed the idea from Hinduism. He shocked Christians, but to me it is nothing: it is just another kind of theology. To him it was new and very revealing, but to me nothing is very revealing: I know all the theologies. They may give different explanations but basically the same questions are relevant to all explanations. If you ask why God created the world, you can ask why does He need to play? Can't He relax? Just take a hot bath and relax? And just for His play, so many people are suffering. Is this God's playfulness? - Adolf Hitler's gas chambers.... Must be, because Hindus say, "Without His will not even a leaf can move." So how can Adolf Hitler put millions of Jews in gas chambers? Not without His support... perhaps His playfulness.
But now playfulness becomes more serious than creation.
Millions of Russians simply disappeared in these past sixty years. You cannot even enquire where they have gone because Stalin never believed in bothering about wasting time with people who were suspected of being against communism. Just suspicion was enough, and the man disappears. In the middle of the night the cops come; the man disappears and is never heard of again.
Stalin never believed in putting people in prison, because if you put people in prison, sooner or later you will have to release them. And how many people can you put in prison? And how many prisons will you have to create? Economically it is meaningless because you have to feed those people, you have to clothe those people, you have to take care of their medical needs. For what? And if any day you release them they are now more confirmed enemies than ever. It would have been better not to catch them.
Perhaps at that time it was only a suspicion - the man was not really against communism, but now he certainly would be. So Stalin simply believed in cutting off their heads, in finishing the person immediately, disposing of him. It was a shortcut, economical, and no trouble for the future.
This is God's play? The Hindus themselves have been dying of starvation, famine, floods, earthquakes - all these things happen in India; I think no other country can compete. Every year something or other... and the country goes down and down. This is God's play - an earthquake?
Just now in Bhopal a gas plant exploded. Is this God's play? Three thousand people immediately died; and it was not an easy death. I have just seen a film on it - it was terrible. Those people were just like fish thrown onto hot sand. They could not rest: the gas was making them writhe about, churning something inside them. They died the most terrible death you can conceive; and one hundred thousand people are still waiting to die in the hospitals.
Is this God's play? No.
If this is play then what can crime be?
What can sin be?
I reject God completely because God is simply a problem which idiots have invented thinking that He will solve all your problems.
God has become the only problem which cannot be solved. Whatsoever you do with Him, He remains a question mark - unnecessarily.
I simply want to cut the very root:
There is no God.
There is no creation.
There is no play going on.
Existence is enough unto itself; it does not need any outside agency. It has its own energy, it has its own intelligence, it has its own life.
Existence needs no hypothetical God.
And God doesn't help anything.
Remember one fundamental principle of all sane thinking: Don't bring in a hypothesis which doesn't help to solve anything. On the contrary, because of the hypothesis a thousand other problems start arising. A hypothesis is brought in to solve problems, not to increase them.
God is the most useless hypothesis ever propounded by man. Because of Him there has been so much trouble, so many crusades, so many butcherings, so many people slaughtered, so many women raped - in the name of God. Please just flush Him down the toilet.
Forget about God.
Existence is enough unto itself That's what I teach.
And then we cannot throw the responsibility on anybody's head: there is no God, then the whole responsibility falls on us. That is my hidden desire.
Why am I throwing God down the toilet?
Because I want man to understand that he is responsible. Because man has the highest consciousness in the whole of existence, you should accept the greatest responsibility. Stars, trees, animals, birds are far below you; you cannot throw the responsibility on them.
To be conscious means you are mature enough now to accept all responsibility for yourself and for the existence that surrounds you.
Then the explosion in the gas factory in Bhopal is our responsibility. It was some stupid people there who were not careful enough; it was carelessness. And I would not like these people to be punished in hell - no, there is no hell - they should be punished herenow so such an accident does not happen again. There are thousands of similar factories around the world: if it can happen in one factory it can happen in any factory. And this was only a poisonous gas. Now there are nuclear plants: just one man's carelessness and the world can be finished You have created things which are so dangerous, but you have not created a comparable consciousness which can be careful about these things.
If you create nuclear weapons... I am not against them because those nuclear weapons can prove creative, immensely creative. Anything that can be destructive can always be creative - it all depends on you. The sword in your hand can kill somebody and can also save somebody. The sword is neutral; it is up to you how you use it.
I am not against atomic, nuclear, and other weapons. Though they are tremendously dangerous in the hands of man as he is today, but still I say we cannot go back: we cannot dispose of nuclear weapons. That is impossible, because movement backwards is impossible; we can only go forwards.
Then what has to be done?
All over the world great concern is being shown by politicians, the intelligentsia, and other humanitarian people that there should be some stop put to it: no more piling up of weapons. Nobody can stop it, it is impossible, and what they are saying is not the right solution. I don't agree with it.
I say: Increase man's awareness in the same proportion as he has increased his dangerous powers, and there is no problem.
Don't put a sword in a child's hand - that's true - but let the child learn with a wooden sword. Let him mature, let him become more aware. I am not in favor of disposing of the sword. It cannot be done in the very nature of things.
In the whole history of man is there any precedent where we have gone back a single step on anything? It is against the law of existence to go backwards.
So don't just hit your head against a wall, do something else: Increase man's consciousness, his awareness.
A prince was sent to a Zen Master to learn swordsmanship. It is a strange phenomenon, but in Japan it has become a reality that a Master of consciousness, a Master who teaches meditation, also teaches swordsmanship. To me it is very significant. That is what is needed.
The prince went to the Master and he said, "My father has sent me. He is old and he is not going to live long - maybe one year, two years at the most. He has sent me to you with the urgent message to prepare me before he dies. He would like to see me with your recommendation saying that I am ready, because if I am not ready then he cannot die peacefully.
"In every other way I am ready: I have learned archery, swordsmanship and all kinds of things that are needed in war; I am a master in every dimension. And I went back from the university to my father to say that I had all these medals and trophies and certificates; I was ready.
"He said, 'No, you are not ready yet, because the basic thing is missing. All that you have brought is good, maybe it will be of use some day, but first go to this Master to learn meditation, and to combine all your warrior's training with meditation. Unless meditation is supporting the warrior in you, you are just an ordinary warrior, and dangerous: I cannot put the kingdom in your hands. I will have to find somebody else. Go fast, and learn fast.'"
So the prince said, "I am ready. Whatsoever you say I will do, but be quick."
The Master said, "That is the first requirement, that time is not binding. I cannot say how much time it will take - one year, two years, ten years, fifty years - nothing can be said about it. It all depends on you, on how quick you learn. I will try my best because I am old, I am also in a hurry. I was not going to accept another disciple, but if the king sends you - he is my old friend, we both were under the same Master learning meditation - I cannot refuse you. Your training starts from now."
The prince asked, "What do I have to do?"
The old Master said, "You have not to do anything except just ordinary things: cleaning, cooking, drawing the water from the well, cutting wood. But remember one thing, I can hit you any time from behind, so remain alert. Do anything, but remain alert."
The prince said, "What kind of training is this? - but my father has sent me to you so it must be right." And he was continually being hit. The old man was really a great, skillful man. He would walk without any noise; you could not hear the sound of his feet, and suddenly from nowhere he would jump out and hit you hard!
Within fifteen days the prince's whole body was aching. It was difficult to sleep on one side because there it was hurting, and it was difficult to sleep on the other side because it was hurting, but he was happy too because now he had started hearing his Master's footsteps. Awareness had grown.
Before he was not so conscious, so those footsteps were making a certain noise but it was so small, so subtle, that it was not in his grasp. Now his awareness, in such conditions, was bound to grow.
He had to be alert, continuously alert: while doing everything he knew that the Master would be coming. He would be chopping wood, but no other thought would be there other than about the old man: from where would he appear and how would the prince defend himself?
The old man would try to hit him and the prince would just catch his bamboo staff. Within three months the old man could not hit the prince a single time in the whole day. The prince was very happy; he thought, "This is a great day!" And his body was no longer hurting: in three months of continual beating his body had become like steel. Now he understood that he had gained a certain strength that was never in him before.
Now when his hand held a sword, it was not a human hand but one made of steel. He was happy about his body, the way it had become stronger under his Master's hits. He was happy that he had become so alert that even when the old man was far away in the other room, he would be able to detect it. He would shout from his room, "Don't try anything - I am alert"
The Master used to come in from his room. One day the prince listened out for noises from the other room for twenty-four hours; and the Master could not beat him a single time. The Master called the prince to him. The prince was very happy, the old man was also very happy; he said, "Now the second part starts. Up to now I have been hitting you with a bamboo - from tomorrow it will be a real sword."
The prince thought, "A real sword! The bamboo was one thing - I managed somehow and remained patient - but now a real sword! If I miss even one time I am finished. And this old fellow, if he can hit me with the bamboo so hard that he has made my whole body like steel, what will he do with a real sword?"
The old man took out his sword and he said, "This is my sword, so look at it. Watch it! This is now going to be after you continually."
The prince's awareness arose like a pillar of light. He could feel it, because danger was there and now it was not a joke: it was a question of life and death.
So the old man started trying to hit him but could not succeed for three months; not even a single time did he hit him. And the prince's awareness was going higher every day: he could save himself immediately. From the back the Master would try to hit.... And all kinds of work the prince was doing.
With closed eyes he would be sitting in meditation: the Master would go to hit him and he would jump aside and save himself The Master called him, and he said, "I am happy. The second part of training is over." The prince said, "I am tremendously grateful and happy. I never thought that there was such a possibility inside me to be so alert. Not even a small breeze can pass by me without me knowing it. Not even a single thought can move within me without me knowing it. And I am happy that there is still something to learn.
"At first I was very hesitant, reluctant, unwilling: I was here just because my father had sent me. But now I am here because I want to be, and I don't think of my father and the kingdom or anything else.
All I think of is to bring my consciousness to its highest peak, because the joys that I have known I was not even aware of, I could not have even dreamed about them. So start the third step."
The Master said, "The third step is: while you are sleeping I will be hitting you with the real sword."
The young man said, "That is perfectly right - I am ready. I was afraid even of the bamboo; now I am not afraid of your real sword, not even in my sleep. Lately I have been watching myself sleeping.
Turning, I know I am turning. When sleep comes to my body I know that sleep is descending...
descending... descending, that it has taken over my whole body. But I am just like a flame inside, not asleep."
The Master started trying to hit the prince, but the moment he entered the prince's room, the prince would wake up. For three months he tried, but he could not strike the prince even once. Then the Master gave the prince his sword and said, "Your father will understand, because he knows this is the sword my Master had given to me. Now you are capable of having a sword because you also have a higher quality of consciousness. Now the need for the sword is left far behind."
Increasing man's consciousness has to be done.
The responsibility is man's.
God has been a very dangerous hypothesis:
It took all responsibility from you.
God was responsible for everything, and you were not responsible for anything at all. He created everything, He will dissolve everything. He sends His son to save you. You are just a puppet: you can be saved, you can be created. And what a humiliating way He created you - with mud!
I think it must have happened here, in the Big Muddy Ranch; otherwise from where could He find so much mud? And why is it called the Big Muddy Ranch? - He must have created man just here.
He created you from mud. Couldn't He be a little more respectful? He could have created you from gold, from platinum - something precious. And if He could create from mud He could create from gold, but He is an old Jew, miserly: from mud!
That is the meaning of humus - humidity mixed with mud: humus. From humus come the words human, humanity. Adam also means mud, earth - that is Hebrew. You are just playthings in Go*s hands. Whether He creates you seriously or non-seriously it doesn't matter: one thing is certain, that He is the sole proprietor of the whole drama. Where is your responsibility? There is no possibility of your responsibility if there is a God.
If humanity has become irresponsible it is because of God, not in spite of Him. It is because of Him and because of all the religions that have been teaching you that God created the world, and God is compassionate and kind. All rubbish. He is not there at all. And what kindness? What compassion?
He is a creation of the cunning priesthood because without Him they cannot exploit. That is an absolutely necessary hypothesis for exploiting man.
Drop the idea of God and suddenly you will feel a freedom, a spaciousness, an expansion and a great responsibility.
There is just nobody above you.
You are the highest peak of creation, of existence, of life.
There is nobody above you.
A sense of great responsibility arises in you.
To me that is what makes you religious.
You start feeling responsible for all the animals, the birds. How can you be violent to them? How can you go on eating meat? Impossible. You are the highest in consciousness, and this is what you are doing to poor animals? You cannot afford to do it. With responsibility, your humanity becomes awake. For the first time you can raise your head and you can stand straight.
Freedom and responsibility come together And when the joy of freedom and the joy of responsibility meet, it is so great that I have called that moment, the moment of ecstasy.
Then you are so blessed that you can bless the whole existence.
Your very being is a blessing, a continual blessing to everyone far and near, man or animal You cannot misbehave even with a rock. You will be respectful without any regard to whom it concerns.
Your respectfulness will be simply there, unaddressed. You will be grateful just because so much freedom, so much responsibility, so much joy, and so much ecstasy, are born to you. How can you avoid feeling gratitude?
People ask me what, in my religion, will be the place of worship, of devotion, because they think worship and devotion are impossible without a God.I want to say to you that they are impossible with a God. The whole idea of God is so ugly that I cannot be devoted to such an idiotic hypothesis. I cannot worship God, I don't see any reason to worship Him.
To me devotion is the refined quality of love It has nothing to do with to whom. It is not a question of to whom it is addressed: Jehovah, God, Jesus, Buddha. It is not a question of it being addressed.
Devotion is a quality in your heart You feel full of reverence for everything that is.
You feel a great love for all that is.
It is not a question of whether the person is worthy of it or not... because love is not a business. It is not a question of whether the other is worthy or not, the question is whether your heart is overflowing with love or not. If it is overflowing it will reach to those who are worthy, it will reach to those who are un-worthy.It will not discriminate at all.
The cloud is full, and it showers. Do you think it showers on good people's forms only, and avoids bad people's forms? - that it showers only on good Christians, good Hindus, good Jews, and it simply does not shower on the form of an atheist? It simply showers because it is so full.
Devotion is overflowing love.
Ordinary love is addressed to somebody. That is the raw quality of love, not yet refined. It needs some object, and it is in a very small quantity - that's why lovers are so jealous. There is a reason behind it which they may not know. They may think jealousy is not good, and of course it is not good; but why it is not good they don't know. They think jealousy is not good, but that is not the point. To have such a small quantity of love energy, that is not good - -and out of that, as a by-product, comes jealousy.
The woman is afraid her lover may be loving some other woman too. And he has such a small quantity of love, how can she afford for him to go to some other woman? If he goes to some other woman then she remains starved, because she knows him and how much love he has. It is not even enough for herself, so how is she able to have a project of share-a-home? - no.
The man is so afraid that if his wife is just laughing with the neighbor, that is enough to make him boil within, because he knows how little laughter she has. If she is wasting it with the neighbor then what about him? So if she is happy with the neighbors - laughing, smiling, gossiping - and when the husband comes home, she is Lying down; she has a headache.... Strangely enough, as the husband enters the compound, immediately the wife starts having a headache. Just a moment before she was laughing with the neighbor, but her husband - the very word gives her a headache.
"So he is back again - the same rotten old fellow."
But the real problem is because both have such a small quantity of love - and both are aware of it.
And you know that if love is given to somebody else then your share is lost. It is like share-a-home, but you don't have any home anymore - somebody else is sharing it.
Devotion is love overflowing. Even when there is nobody, it is overflowing - to things, to tables, to chairs, to walls. It is just overflowing, it is not a question of to whom. And this you have to understand.
It is a fundamental law of my religion:
As awareness grows, simultaneously love grows.
They cannot remain separate, they move together.
If you can grow in love, you will grow in awareness.
If you grow in awareness, you will grow in love.
It is easier to grow in awareness because there are very definite, scientific ways to grow in awareness. With love it is difficult, because it is a very slippery thing, it slips out of your hand.
Awareness you can hold tight. But don't be worried: if you are growing in awareness, simultaneously your love will always keep on the same level as your awareness. This is my experience.
I never say a single thing which is not my experience. I have not ever seen in me a single inch of difference between awareness and love. Just let your awareness go higher, and love immediately moves to the same level. They always keep the same level. When awareness is at its peak, love overflows; and that overflowing love is devotion.
And when love and awareness are there, are you just going to sit and not do anything? Perhaps once in a while there will be a man like me who will simply sit and do nothing; but most probably everybody is going to do something. And that something will come out of awareness and love.
I call that act, worship.
Whatever you do - you cook food, you clean a floor, you chop wood - whatever you do, your awareness and your love is showering. It is worship. No mantra is needed, no prayer is needed, no God is needed.
In my religion there is a place for devotion.
There is a place for worship.
But there is no place for God at all.
I am keeping everything that is essential and discarding everything that is non-essential.
The priesthood was interested in the non-essential because that non-essential could be used for exploitation.
The essential cannot be used for exploitation.
The essential will destroy the priesthood immediately.
If your awareness grows and your love becomes devotion, one thing is certain: you will not be a Jew, you will not be a Hindu, you will not be a Mohammedan. Your awareness cannot allow such stupidities. Your love, your devotion, will not allow you to go to a temple, to a mosque, to a gurudwara, to a synagogue, to a church, because it is simply idiotic, just Oregonian.
There is no point in going anywhere.
Wherever you are, your devotion is flowing.
Wherever a religious man sits:
There is the temple.
There is the church.
There is the synagogue.
A small, beautiful story.... The founder of Sikhism, Nanak, was one of those beautiful people for whom I have immense love. He was a simple man. He had just one disciple, and that too because he loved to sing. All his teachings were delivered in singing, spontaneous singing - not like a poet composing - and his disciple would play on a simple instrument just to give some music to what the Master was saying.
Nanak traveled - he is the only Indian teacher who traveled outside India too. Mahavira and Buddha never went outside their state, Bihar, not even all over India. Shankara went all over India but not beyond India's boundaries. Nanak is the only exception; he went to Arabia. He reached Mecca, where the sacred shrine of the Mohammedans is, the black stone, Kaaba.
The stone is rare. Scientifically, it is a very big stone, perhaps fallen from some star or planet; it is not of the earth.
Almost every day, twenty-four hours a day, thousands of stones fall. In the night when you see one and you say, "A star is falling," it is not a star; it is just a stone that was floating in the vacuum around the earth and suddenly comes into the gravitational field of the earth, and then the earth pulls it down. Thousands of stones fall every day, sometimes very big stones.
This stone, in Kaaba, is perhaps the biggest that has fallen. It is not of the earth - that much has been scientifically determined - that is, it is a meteorite. And how are meteorites created? They are created when a star dies or a planet dies and falls into fragments. For millions of years those fragments may go on and on moving in the vacuum till they come to some gravity field; then they are just pulled downwards. The pull is so tremendous that the falling stone and the air struggle against each other so the stone burns up. It is just the forced entry the stone makes in the air that makes it burn.
You see those "stars" falling; those are not stars, stars are very big. If a star falls onto the earth, the earth is finished! Our sun is a star. It is sixty thousand times bigger than this earth; and it is a very mediocre star - there are stars millions of times bigger than our sun. Our earth is a very small place.
Nanak reached Kaaba. Mohammedans could not believe it because they could see that he was a great teacher, but when night came he slept, keeping his feet towards the Kaaba. That is very disrespectful. The keepers came and said to him, "You being a great teacher, this behavior seems to be very unlikely. You come from India where people know how to be respectful, and yet you are keeping your feet towards our sacred stone? You are hurting our feelings. To us this stone represents God, to us this stone IS God; so please turn your feet in the opposite direction."
Nanak said, "I knew you would come, hence my feet are towards the Kaaba. Now you want me to turn them in the opposite direction?" They said yes. Nanak said, "You do that - but remember, YOUR God may be just confined to this stone, MY God is not so confined. Wherever you move my feet He is there."
The story - which must be just a story - is that they moved his feet, but wherever they moved his feet the Kaaba moved. This must be a story because stones, even if they have fallen from the sky, are after all stones. And man hasn't that much sensitivity: you can't expect from a stone that it will move.
But the story is beautiful. It simply says that wherever you are, if you are full of awareness and devotion the temple is there, the shrine is there. In fact your overflowing love creates a shrine around you. You move with it wherever you go.
Bodhidharma was asked, "If you are thrown into hell, will you resist?"
He laughed and said, "For what? - because wherever Bodhidharma is, there is the lotus paradise.
I will be immensely happy because my entry into heaven or into hell is exactly the same. I am Bodhidharma. If I enter into hell, hell will be immediately transformed into a heaven. I would prefer to go to hell, because otherwise who will transform it?"
My religion has devotion as part of awareness.
The meaning of devotion is of love, not towards a God, but towards all that is.
My religion has worship; but then worship is not a certain chanting of mantras, prayers, Ave Marias....
Worship is your creativeness with a heart full of love and a being overflowing with awareness. And then whatsoever you do is worship.
Or if you happen to be a man like me, lazy, then not - doing is your worship. I have never felt for a single moment that I am not a worshipper.
My worship is just not to do anything:
Just to sit silently, doing nothing.
And the grass grows by itself... and real grass!