Silence, the Pull of the Innermost Zero
WHY DO YOU CALL YOUR RELIGION THE FIRST AND THE LAST RELIGION?
It is a little difficult for me to speak again. It has been difficult always, because I have been trying to speak the unspeakable. Now it is even more so.
After one thousand, three hundred and fifteen days of silence, it feels as if I am coming to you from a totally different world. In fact it is so. The world of words, language, concepts, and the world of silence are so diametrically opposite to each other, they don't meet anywhere. They can't meet by their very nature. Silence means a state of wordlessness; and to speak now, it is as if to learn language again from ABC. But this is not a new experience for me; it has happened before too.
For thirty years I have been speaking continually. It was such a tension because my whole being was pulled towards silence, and I was pulling myself towards words, language, concepts, philosophies.
There was no other way to convey, and I had a tremendously important message to convey. There was no way to shirk the responsibility. I had tried it. The day I realized my own being, it was such a fulfillment that I became silent. There was nothing left to be asked.
One of my professors in the university, who was a world renowned man, Doctor S.K.Saxena - he had been a professor of philosophy in America for many years - again and again used to ask me to ask him some question. And those were the days when I was so fulfilled and so content, there was no question, no quest left.
So I used to say to him, "I have answers; I don't have any questions."
He used to laugh and say that I am crazy: "How can you have answers without questions?"
I insisted to him, "While you have questions you will never have answers. Unless your questioning drops away you will not find the answer. And it does not come in the form of an answer, but it answers all; not answering any particular question but simply answering all questions - possible, impossible, probable, improbable."
After my enlightenment, for exactly one thousand, three hundred and fifteen days I tried to remain silent - as much as it was possible in those conditions. For a few things I had to speak, but my speaking was telegraphic. My father was very angry with me. He loved me so much that he had every right to be angry. The day he had sent me to the university he had taken a promise from me that I would write one letter every week at least. When I became silent I wrote him the last letter and told him, "I am happy, immensely happy, ultimately happy, and I know from my very depth of being that I will remain so now forever, whether in the body or not in the body. This bliss is something of the eternal. So now every week, if you insist, I can write the same again and again. That will not look okay, but I have promised, so I will drop a card every week with the sign "ditto." Please forgive me, and when you receive my letter with the sign "ditto," you read this letter."
He thought I had gone completely mad. He immediately rushed from the village, came to the university and asked me, "What has happened to you? Seeing your letter and your idea of this 'ditto,'
I thought you were mad. But looking at you, it seems I am mad; the whole world is mad. I take back the promise and the word that you have given to me. There is no need now to write every week.
I will continue to read your last letter." And he kept it to the very last day he died; it was under his pillow.
The man who forced me to speak - for one thousand, three hundred and fifteen days I had remained silent - was also a very strange man. He himself had remained silent his whole life. Nobody heard about him; nobody knew about him. And he was the most precious man I have come across in this, or any of my lives in the past. His name was Magga Baba. It is not much of a name; magga simply means a jug. He used to carry a jug - that was his only possession, a plastic jug. From the same jug he would drink, he would ask for food with it. People would drop anything in the jug: money, food, water. And that was all he had. Anybody who wanted to take from his jug was also allowed. So people would take out money, or food - children particularly, beggars. He neither prevented anybody from dropping, nor did he prevent anybody from taking. And he was absolutely silent, so nobody had any idea even of his name, because he had never said what his name was. They simply started calling him Magga Baba because of the jug.
But deep in the night, once in a while when there was nobody, I used to visit him. It was very difficult to find a time when nobody was there, because he attracted strange types of people. He was not speaking, so of course intellectuals were not going to him - just simple people. And what can you do with him? In India, to go to a man who has realized is called seva. Literally it means service, but it will not be justified because that word seva has a sacredness about it which service has not.
When you go to a realized man what else can you do than serve him? So people would come and massage his feet and somebody would massage his head, and he would not say anything to anybody. He would neither say yes, nor would he say no. Sometimes they wouldn't allow him even to sleep, because four or five people were massaging him; they were doing seva. Many times I had to throw people out. He was just living on a porch of a bungalow, open from all sides. Once in a while, particularly on cold winter nights, I used to find him alone; then he would say something to me.
urses?He forced me to speak. He said, "Look, I have remained silent my whole life, but they do not hear, they do not listen. They cannot understand it; it is beyond them. I have failed. I have not been able to convey what I have been carrying within me, and now there is not much time left for me. You are so young, you have a long life before you: please don't stop speaking. START!" It is a difficult, almost impossible job to convey things in words, because they are experienced in a wordless state of consciousness. How to convert that silence into sound? There seems to be no way. And there is none.
But I understood Magga Baba's point. He was very old, and he was saying to me, "You will be in the same position. If you don't start soon, the inner silence, the vacuum, the innermost zero, will go on pulling you inwards. And then there comes a time when you cannot come out. You are drowned in it. You are utterly blissful, but the whole world is full of misery. You could have shown the way.
Perhaps somebody may have heard, perhaps somebody may have walked on the path. At least you would not feel that you have not done what was expected of you by existence itself. Yes, it is a responsibility."
I promised him, "I will do my best." And for thirty years continually I went on and on talking on every subject under the stars. But I came to a point which Magga Baba had not come to. He saved me from his disappointment; but I came to a new realization, a new point. I had thrown my net far and wide to catch as many people as have the potential to blossom. But then I felt that words are not enough.
Now I have found my people and I have to arrange a silent communion, which will help in two ways:
those who cannot understand silence will drop out. That will be good. That will be a good weeding; otherwise they will go on clinging around me because of the words, because their intellect feels satisfied. And I am not here to satisfy their intellect. My purpose is far, far deeper, of a different dimension.
So these days of silence have helped those who were just intellectually curious, rationally interested in me, to turn their back. And secondly, it has helped me to find my real, authentic people who are not in need of words to be with me. They can be with me without words. That's the difference between communication and communion.
Communication is through words, and communion is through silence.
So these days of silence have been immensely fruitful. Now only those are left for whom my presence is enough, my being is enough, for whom just the gesture of my hand is enough, for whom my eyes are enough - for whom language is no more a need.
But today I have suddenly decided to speak again - again after one thousand, three hundred and fifteen days - for the simple reason that the picture that I have been painting all my life needs a few touches here and there to complete it, because that one day when I became silent everything was left incomplete. Before I depart from you as far as my physical body is concerned, I would like to complete it.
I have been speaking to Hindus, to Christians, to Jews, to Mohammedans, to Jainas, to Buddhists, to Sikhs, to people belonging to almost all the so-called religions. This is for the first time I am speaking to my own people: not to Hindus, not to Mohammedans, not to Christians, not to Jews.
It makes a lot of difference, and only because of that difference can I give the finishing touch to the picture that I have been painting. What difference does it make? To you I can speak directly, immediately. To the Hindus I had to speak through Krishna, and I was not happy about it. But there was no other way, it was a necessary evil. To Christians I could speak only through Jesus. I was not at ease about it, but there was no other way. So one has to choose the least evil. Let me explain to you.
I do not agree with Jesus on all points. In fact, there are many questions which I have left unanswered, because even to touch them would have been destructive to those Christians who had come to me. Now they are clean. People say that I am brainwashing people. No, I am not brainwashing people. I am certainly washing their brains - and I believe in dry cleaning. So I can say to you now exactly what I feel; otherwise, it was a burden on me.
To speak on Mahavira was necessary because without that it was impossible to get any Jainas to hear me. And with Mahavira I do not agree on all points. In fact my disagreement is on more points than my agreement. So I had to do a strange job: I had to choose those points on which I could agree, and not talk at all about those points on which I was absolutely against. And even on the points on which I have a certain agreement I had to manage another thing: that was to give new meanings to their words, give my meaning to their words. It was not their meaning. If Mahavira comes he will be angry; if Jesus comes he will be angry. If this whole crowd of Jesus, Mahavira, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu somewhere meets me they will all be mad at me because I have made them say things they would never have dreamed of. They could not. Sometimes I have even put meanings into their words which go basically against them. But there was no other way.
The whole world is divided. You can't find a single man who is clean. Either he is a Christian - he is carrying one kind of dirt - or he is a Hindu; he is carrying another kind of dirt. Now it is possible for me to say exactly and directly even things which may sound bitter.
Sheela has asked why I call my religion the first and perhaps the last religion.
Yes, I call it the first religion because religion is the highest flowering of consciousness. Up to now man was not capable of conceiving it. Even now, only one percent of humanity is barely able to conceive it. The masses are still living in the past, burdened with the past, conditioned with the past.
Barely one percent of mankind is in a state now to conceive religion. All the old religions are based in fear. Now, a real religion destroys fear. It is not based in fear.
The concept of God in all the old religions is nothing but out of fear, a consolation; otherwise there is no validity, no evidence, no proof for the existence of God. The people who believe in God are really people who cannot trust in themselves. They need a father figure, a big daddy. They are still childish. Their mental age is just nearabout twelve years, not more than that. They need somebody to give them courage, to guide them, to protect them. They are simply afraid to be left alone. They are afraid of death which is coming closer every day. They need somebody to protect them from death. It is a projection of your fear. The moment your fear disappears you will find there is no God.
The moment you are able to trust in yourself, to be yourself, there will be no God. You will laugh at the whole concept of God.
Now, Jesus is praying to God, continually raising his hands towards the sky, as if God is there above in the heaven. And not only is he praying, he is receiving answers too - he is hearing voices! Now, these are symptoms of neurosis. To tell you the truth, Jesus is a mental case. He is a nice fellow, he is a good person, but the way he behaves proves many things. He is a fanatic. He carries the same kind of mind as Adolf Hitler. He is a fascist. He thinks that only those who follow him will be saved; anybody else who does not follow him is going to fall into eternal hell. Now, only a simpleton can say such a thing. Who is he to save anybody? But he says he is the only begotten son of God.
And he truly believes it. It is not only that he says it, he truly believes it.
Until the crucifixion, he truly believes it. It is only the crucifixion which brings a little sense to this insane man. Only at the crucifixion he cries, "Why have you forsaken me?" He was certainly waiting for a miracle to happen. He is the only son of God, and God is not coming. And if he is not coming at the crucifixion, then when? And if even Jesus is not being saved, what is the guarantee that those who are going to follow Jesus will be saved? And the fools are still believing that they will be saved if they follow Jesus. Even Jesus is not saved, and he knew it. He waited for a time for the miracle to happen - but it didn't happen.
Miracles don't happen at all. They have never happened. They are only wish fulfillments of people who are dreaming and hallucinating. They are not realities. If you believe in them, they may appear to you almost real, perhaps more than real. It is your belief that creates the hallucination; otherwise there is nothing - no miracle. But Jesus himself believed that he was doing miracles; and he was waiting for the miracle. These are all very childish qualities.
He is a little bit schizophrenic, too. He goes on saying, "Blessed are the meek for theirs is the kingdom of God." But he is not a meek person. He is very arrogant. If you are burdened with Christian conditioning you may not be able to see that he is very arrogant. But once you are clean you can see it clearly. He enters the temple, the great temple of the Jews, and throws out the moneychangers, turns over their tables, hits them, beats them... and he is talking of meekness, humbleness!
He and his followers are hungry and they have been refused food in a village. He is very angry.
They come to a fig tree; it is not the season for figs, so of course there are no figs on the tree. And he becomes so mad at the fig tree and curses it: "You are also against us; you will not provide figs for us." Now, a person cursing a fig tree out of season - what do you call such a person? And it is not only me, his own master... Jesus was a disciple of John the Baptist. John the Baptist was imprisoned, and when he heard these things about Jesus, even he became doubtful about whether he was worthy to be accepted as a disciple or not. He sent a message from the jail to Jesus: "Do you think you are really the messiah for whom the Jews have been waiting?" Because he became suspicious - the things that Jesus is saying and doing are contradictory, and the way he is behaving is not the way of a religious man. He is behaving very irreligiously.
A religious man cannot take the standpoint that, "I am special, the only begotten son of God." A religious man comes to know that he is as ordinary as every ordinary thing. He is just like the blades of grass or the stars or the mountains. He is not special in any way. The idea of specialness, of being extra-ordinary, superior, is nothing but the game of the ego which creates all kinds of arrogance.
The same was the situation with other religions. I have spoken on Mahavira, but I cannot agree with the man's behavior, nor can I agree with the ideology and the guidelines that he gives to his disciples. They are absolutely against nature.
Mahavira lived naked. Now, it is not accidental that man has invented clothes. It is absolutely a natural need... because other animals grow hair all over the body and they are protected from winter and cold. Man has not that capacity. Even if he grows hair, it is not as thick as on an animal who lives in the snows. He will not survive, he will die. He has to protect his body. He is not cold blooded, like cold blooded fishes which live in the Arctic. Their blood is cold, ice cold, and it has a certain chemical that keeps it from freezing. The outside, to us, is freezing cold; for those fishes it is not. Man is a hot blooded animal. He needs protection. Now, to make him go naked is absolutely idiotic. And Mahavira prescribes that you should not use any kinds of instruments - even simple instruments like a razor blade, which is not a big machine or big technology. If you want to cut your hair you have to pull your hair out. So Jaina monks every year pull out their hair. This is so stupid, so ugly, so unnatural... and for what?
The whole reasoning is that if you do these things you earn virtue and you will be in heaven. On the one hand he says, "Don't be greedy, greed is sin." And on the other hand, he is teaching nothing but greed, greed in the other world. That seems to be far more greedy even than the ordinary greed of this world: having money or a good house seems to be nothing compared to eternal pleasures in heaven. And Jainas have seven heavens, so the more you torture yourself the higher you reach.
So it seems there is certainly an element of masochism in Mahavira. But I could not say this to the Jainas.
So I have been carrying a heavy weight on me, on my heart. My health has been destroyed for many reasons; the most important is this, that I have been speaking on people with whom I do not agree at all. I disagree - not only disagree, but I find them basically psychotic, neurotic, schizophrenic, anti-life. All these religions in the past are anti-life. Nobody is for life, nobody is for living, nobody is for laughter. No religion has accepted a sense of humor as a quality of religiousness.
Hence, I say my religion is the first religion which takes man in his totality, in his naturalness, accepts man's whole, as he is. And that's what holy means to me - not something sacred, but something accepted in its wholeness. Perhaps things are a little bit upside down and you have to put them in place; just like a jigsaw puzzle, you have to put them in place. And then out of that wholeness arises religious consciousness I have spoken more on Buddha than on anybody else. But he is as much anti-life as anyone else:
"This life has to be used just to reach the real life which is after death." Now, nobody has returned after death. Not a single proof exists of anybody returning after death and telling you that there is life there. And all these religions are based on this assumption, that there is a life after death; sacrifice this for that. And I am saying, "Sacrifice that for this!" - because this is all that you have got: herenow. And if there is any life after death, you will be there and then it will be "here and now."
Once you know how to live here and now, you will be able to live there too. So I teach you how to live here and now.
This is the first religion which does not reject anything from your life. It accepts you totally, as you are, and finds methods and ways of how to make a more harmonious whole. You have all the ingredients, everything that is needed is within you - perhaps not in the right place. It has to be put in its right place. And once everything is put in its right place, that I call virtue. Then the man of character, the man whom I can call a moral man, a religious man, arises out of you.
All the old religions are based on certain belief systems. Those beliefs are not to be questioned because they are all fictions - beautiful fictions, but fictions all the same.
You cannot ask, "How do you know God created the world?" There was not a single eyewitness, cannot be by the very nature itself, because if there was an eyewitness already there, then this was not the beginning of the world. You will have to go back before that eyewitness. The world was already there; the eyewitness was there. That eyewitness is enough to prove that the world has already been in existence. So there cannot be any eyewitness for God creating the world. But all the religions accept it, and you are not allowed to ask or question because to doubt is to be on the "black list."
Then there are seven hells waiting for you, with all the tortures that any Adolf Hitler or Josef Stalin or Mao Zedong can conceive. These religious people have conceived them a long time before... all kinds of tortures. And not for a few days - Christianity throws you in hell for eternity. Such an absurd assumption!
Christianity accepts only one life. In one life how many sins can you commit? If you continuously commit sins day and night for seventy years, from the first day to the last you go on like a chain- sinner, then too eternal punishment cannot be justified. Eternal punishment... forever? There will be no end to it! And I don't think you commit sins continuously every moment. A man may be committing a few sins... may go to a jail for four years, five years; it may be justified. But eternal hell? So they are exploiting your fear: fear of hell and greed for pleasure in heaven. That has been their total pattern of working on the human mind. I want to say to you that they are only so-called religions. They are not religions at all.
This is the first religion. I don't promise you any heaven, and I don't make you afraid of any hell; there is none. I don't say, "You have to follow me, then only can you be saved." That is absolutely egoistic. Jesus says, "Come, follow me." Even my book on Jesus is titled Come Follow Me. That is not my statement, it is Jesus' statement. If you ask me I will say, "Never! Don't follow me, because I am myself lost. Unless you choose to be lost forever like me... then it is okay." To me, anybody claiming any kind of superiority, and you have to follow him - it is a fascist attitude.
My sannyasins are not my followers but my fellow travelers, my friends, my lovers.
They have seen something in me the way you see something in a mirror. You are not a follower of your mirror - but in the mirror you can see your face. The master is a mirror. You are not to follow him. You have to see your face in his mirror - and that's all. And remember one thing: the mirror does not do anything at all. When you are facing the mirror, you are doing something; you are facing the mirror. The mirror is not bothered whether you are facing it or not. And the mirror does not do a single thing while you are facing the mirror; it simply mirrors you. That is its nature, that is why we call it a mirror. It simply mirrors, reflects. It is not a doing, it is its being.
The master does not do anything at all. It is his being, it is his presence that becomes a source of reflecting. Slowly slowly you start seeing yourself in a new light, in a new way, from a new aspect, in a new dimension.
The old religions are based on belief systems. My religion is absolutely scientific. It is not a belief, it is not a faith - it is pure science. The word science means knowing. Of course, it is a different science than the science that is being taught in the universities. That is objective science; this is subjective science.
Sometimes words are tremendously significant. Have you ever thought about the word object? It simply means that which obstructs you, objects to you, comes in your way, hinders you. Science is trying to observe the objects that surround you. They should not hinder you, they should not come in your way. On the contrary, they should become your way; they should become steppingstones, they should be used. They should not remain enemies surrounding you. So the whole effort of science is to transform the objects into friends, so they no more object to you but allow you, give a welcome sign.
And when I say religion, my religion, is a science, that means the way science observes objects, religion observes subjectivity. Subjectivity is just the opposite of objectivity: the very diametrically opposite. The object obstructs you; subjectivity is just an abysmal depth. There is nothing to object to you. Once you let go, you start falling into a fathomless abyss; you never come to the end. But you don't want to come to the end either. Just that eternal falling is so tremendously ecstatic that to think that it will end is not possible; it is unending.
Objects begin and end; subjectivity begins but never ends. Science uses observation as its method; religion also uses observation as its method, but it calls it meditation. It is observation, pure observation, of your own subjectivity. Science calls its work experiment; religion calls its work experience. They both start from the same point but they move in the opposite directions. Science goes outwards; religion goes inwards. Hence I have not given you any belief; I have only given you methods. I have only explained to you my experience, and I have told you the way I experienced it.
Once I experienced it I tried all the ways, whether they all reach to it or not. And I found there are one hundred and twelve ways which can reach to the same point. And once you reach by one method, the one hundred and eleven are very simple because you know the point, you have reached it already. Now you can reach from anywhere. So I have been teaching one hundred and twelve methods of meditation - but no belief system. Hence I call it science.
And I have said perhaps it may be the last religion too, for the simple reason that I have not given you anything which can be argued against. I can argue against Jesus. I can argue against Mahavira.
I can argue against Lao Tzu. I can argue against Buddha. Nobody can argue against me, because in the first place I have not given you any dogma which can be argued against. I have given you only methods. Methods you can try or you may not try, but you cannot argue against a method. If you try, I know it is going to succeed. I know by my own experience that it is going to succeed - there is no question. If you don't try it, you have no right to say anything about it.
And because I have taken the whole personality of man into it, nothing has been left out. All the religions have been leaving things out, so there was the possibility of another religion taking something in. For example, Buddhism will not allow alcohol; Christianity allows it.
I have not given you anything that is not rooted in reason, in logic, in experiment, in experience, so a person can be against me only if he does not know me. If he knows me, there is no way to be against me. I don't give you any point to be against me.
And I can say it is the last religion because I have not claimed infallibility like the foolish popes of the Vatican go on doing. Only an idiot can say that he is infallible - and for two thousand years these popes have been claiming they are infallible.
And it is such a beautiful and strange story: that one pope has to correct another pope, who was also infallible! One infallible pope burned Joan of Arc alive because she was rebellious and she was a heretic, and she was not following orders from the pope. After three hundred years, as people became more and more aware of Joan of Arc, her life, her story... the pope who had butchered her became more and more condemned in people's eyes. After three hundred years it became necessary for another pope to declare Joan of Arc a saint. Now she is Saint Joan of Arc! And her bones were dragged out from the grave and worshipped. Someday some other pope may find that it is not right, she was a witch - they drag her bones out from the grave again and curse them, and spit on them, and drag them into the filth - and do whatsoever he can do. What kind of stupidity is this? These infallible people! And strange that even in this century....
That's why I say only one percent at the most has barely touched the point that an authentic religion can become possible. The ninety-nine percent are still under 'infallible' popes. They may be Hindus, then the shankaracharya is infallible.
You may be surprised. I used to know one shankaracharya - I used to know many, but one I was very much interested in because he belonged to the same place to which I belonged, and I knew him and he knew me from childhood. And I was interested in the man because before the public he would not accept anything from me, but in private he was absolutely in agreement with me. And he said, "You can call me a hypocrite - I am. But I am holding such a position that in public I cannot say you are right. You are right; as far as I am concerned I follow you and I try your methods and I read your books." This was an infallible shankaracharya. Before the public he has not even the guts to say that what he is doing is wrong. And what he is doing in private is totally different and against what he is doing in public.
The man died. He wrote two wills. Perhaps one he wrote at one time, for somebody he thought was very much capable of being a shankaracharya... and forgot about the will. And when he was dying he wrote another will, for another man. Now those two are fighting in the courts about who is the real shankaracharya. These are infallible people! Now the court has locked the temple and it will not be opened till the court decides who is the real shankaracharya. And it is very difficult to decide because both the wills are written by the same man, signed by the same man, so for almost twenty years the case has been pending. Many judges have changed, but nobody can decide. How to decide it? They are simply waiting for one of the two to die so that a decision will happen; otherwise, legally there is no possibility. Both have equally valid grounds.
These infallible shankaracharyas, infallible popes, imams, caliphs... they can be proved very easily wrong in a thousand and one ways. I am not infallible. So what I am giving to you is an open religion.
They have given you a closed system. A closed system is always afraid of any new truth, because the new truth will disturb the whole system. You will have to arrange it again.
You know the story.... When Galileo found that it is not the sun that goes around the earth, but the earth that goes around the sun, the infallible pope immediately called him to his court and said, "You have to change it, because The Bible says that the sun goes around the earth, and The Bible cannot be wrong because it is written by God." And if one statement is wrong, then all other statements become doubtful.
Galileo was a very intelligent man; I love that man. Very few people have praised that man - even a man like Bertrand Russell has condemned him as a coward. I don't think Russell understood Galileo's point, because Galileo went to the court and kneeled down before the pope - he was old, seventy-five, dying; from his death bed he had been forced and dragged to the court - and he asked, "What do you want from me?"
The pope said, "You simply state in your book that the sun goes around the earth, and the previous statement you cancel."
He said, "Perfectly right. I will write in my book that the sun goes round the earth. But, dear sir, one thing you should remember: neither the sun nor the earth listen to me. Still the earth will continue to go around the sun. I cannot do anything about it. I will change it in my book - the book is mine and I have every right to change it - but the universe... I cannot do anything about it."
I think he was a man of immense humor and not a coward at all. And he did the right thing - why unnecessarily quarrel with these idiots? He said, "Okay. But remember, don't think that this is going to change the fact. The fact remains in its place."
Now, The Bible is a closed system. What I have given to you is not a closed system, it is an open experiment. Any truth that may come later on can be absorbed by this system without any conflict, because I have told you again and again that there are no contradictions in life; all contradictions are complementaries. So even something contradicting any statement of mine can be absorbed in the religion without any fear, because this is my position: every contradiction is a complementary.
Just as day and night are complementary, life and death are complementary, all contradictions are complementary, so you can absorb even the most contradictory truth that ever comes in the future and it will be part of my system.
Hence I say this is the first and the last religion. There will be no need for any other religion.