Prayer is the Highest Form of Play
Anand means bliss, vandano means prayer - bliss is prayer. Whether one believes in god or not does not matter. A blissful man is a religious man. A blissful man is in prayer, because out of bliss, gratitude naturally arises, and gratitude is prayer... and out of gratitude, the vision of god.
But the so-called religions start upside-down. They say 'First believe in god, then you can pray, and out of prayer you will find bliss.' This is just a falsification of the whole process.
To start with belief is to start with dishonesty. This is what psychologists call 'the double-bind'.
Religions teach people 'Be sincere and believe in god.' Now this is a double-bind; if you are sincere and honest you cannot believe. How can you believe?you have not known yet. If you believe, you are not sincere and honest. And remember: honesty and sincerity are far more valuable than all the beliefs.
My approach is just the opposite: start by being blissful. Enjoy life, enjoy the small things of life, enjoy each moment of it, let it become an hallelujah, a celebration, and forget all about theology - Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism. Forget all that has been taught. Life is enough. Learn to live, and out of that learning, out of that getting deeper into life, you will become more and more blissful.
Life is made of bliss. It is available everywhere... it is hidden in every atom. We are living in the ocean of bliss. We just have to be here and now, open, available, and bliss rushes into our being from every side; one is flooded with it. And then gratitude is natural. How can you avoid gratitude when there is so much bliss in life? It is a natural consequence. And out of gratitude, the vision of god.
The eyes of gratitude can see god everywhere. Gratitude gives a penetration to the eyes. The eyes become like arrows. They simply go to the very core of existence. All becomes transparently clear and loud.
Prem means love, sangito means music. Love is pure music between two beings. It is creating a harmony. It is not only togetherness on the outside but a togetherness within. It is a miracle, because the two become one. It defies all science and all mathematics and all logic. Still the two remain two; hence I call it a miracle, a mystery. It is really a Zen koan - no other koan is so puzzling as love. It is the oneness of two persons; it is twoness in one music, in one harmony. And those who are very logical go on missing it, because it does not follow the rules of logic; it is very illogical, it is absurd.
So only those who are ready to go into the absurd are capable of knowing what love is. It needs tremendous courage, it needs a readiness to risk, but life belongs only to those who can risk. It does not belong to those who are always longing for security, safety. Love is not for them, and the music that comes out of love remains unheard. And unless that music is heard, one's life remains meaningless. Only that music of love gives meaning to life. It illuminates small things, and they attain to such splendour and grandeur that it is unbelievable, that it looks almost impossible... but the impossible happens!
Anand means bliss, unmani means no-mind. Bliss is a state of no-mind. It exists only if the mind disappears. By 'mind' I mean the whole thought process - imagination, memory, desire. All these ripples keep the lake of consciousness disturbed, and because the lake is so disturbed, it cannot reflect truth. Truth is always there like the full moon in the sky, but the lake is so disturbed that it is impossible for the moon to be reflected in it.
Our consciousness is a small lake, a mirror. All that is needed is not a search for truth - because truth is everywhere, confronting you from all sides; all that is needed is to drop this constant disturbance inside, this constant inner talk, these waves upon waves of thought, this continuous traffic in the mind. When the traffic disappears and the road is empty6, suddenly one knows what truth is. It has always been there, it was just that we were not able to reflect it. In the beginning only moments of no- mind happen, just small intervals. For a second all stops and you can have a glimpse of the truth.
But even those glimpses are so enriching, even those glimpses are so transforming; even those glimpses give you a mutation. You start living differently, you start living on a different plane. All that was important before becomes unimportant, and all that was never important before becomes important; all values are transvalued, revalued. Everything goes through a new adjustment, a new tuning, and as you become more and more tuned, those gaps become bigger and bigger and bigger.
Those gaps are called 'satories'. When you have become capable of remaining without mind whenever you want, then it is a state of samadhi. That samadhi is called 'unmani' - that is the ultimate state. The mind has become a slave: when you need it, you use it;; when you don't need you turn it off, you put it in the garage, and you live without mind. That life without mind is utter bliss.
And that's what sannyas is all about: an effort to create this state of no-mind, an effort to dissolve the mind and to bring that interval, slowly slowly, in greater and greater quantities, so that one day you can find yourself so empty that not even a ripple is there, no even a small vibration of thought.
Immediately truth explodes, and that truth is our search, our longing; that is our home. Without it we are in a strange world. Without being rooted in it we remain strangers and life remains a very neurotic affair.
Veet means beyond, samvado means saying - beyond saying. Truth cannot be said; there is no way to express it. Language fails, grammar goes bankrupt. the mind feels utterly at a loss, because grammar has limitations... language too. and the mind is a very small thing - it cannot contain the vastness of truth. So there is no way to say it. It can be shown but cannot be said. It can be indicated... fingers pointing to the moon. That's what all scriptures are: fingers pointing to the moon.
But the finger is not the moon and the word 'god' is not god;; the word 'love' is not love either - just fingers pointing to the moon.
The fingers have forgotten - one has to look beyond the fingers; one should not become to much attached to the fingers. One should not start sucking the finger. That's what people have been doing down the ages. Reading the Bible again and again, or the Geeta again and again, is just sucking the finger. Just like a small child sucking his won thumb - utterly stupid; it is not going to help. See where the finger is pointing and don't be caught in the finger itself.
All words are impotent when trying to say the truth, for a very basic reason: language is schizophrenic. It divides reality, and god is indivisible, whole. If you say 'God is light,' then of necessity you have denied darkness its divinity, then darkness is excluded and nothing can be excluded; god contains all. He is light and he is darkness too, because only he is. If you say 'God is love,' then what will happen to hate?
Just the other day I was reading a very strange but very beautiful Hassidic saying:'God is not nice; god is not an uncle. God is an earthquake.' But again, even though the saying is beautiful, something is excluded:'God is not an uncle.' I say he is and he is not; he is both. God is a rose flower too, as much as he is an earthquake. And yes, god is sweet and bitter both. But this is the problem: if you say one thing, you exclude the other, and nothing can be excluded. Language cannot say anything without excluding something. Language cannot be all-inclusive, otherwise it will be meaningless. Its meaning depends on creating a split in existence.
Only music comes very close to saying it, but music is not language. No word is used - you can only feel. Music makes no statements. It simply shows. You can be engulfed in it, you can be lost in it, you can have a taste on the tip of your tongue, or you can have a great pain in your heart - sweet, ecstatic. You can fall into oblivion, you can become drunk with it, but it says nothing: it shows. Music comes closest. Music is the best finger pointing to the moon. Even a song is not so good. A song is a compromise between language and music; a song has to use words. It becomes contaminated that much, but music is pure.
[Veet samvado] means: it cannot be said but it can be experienced. Just as one experiences music, just as one experiences love, god is an experience, an existential experience. God is not philosophy but music, not theology but a dance.
Veet means beyond, vivado means argument. It cannot be argued; there is no way to prove or disprove god. One cannot say anything for and one cannot say anything against. Theists are as wrong as atheists, because both have accepted one thing - that god can be argued about, that we can come to a conclusion through argumentation. There is no way to come to any conclusion through argumentation. Logic never comes to any conclusions; all its conclusions are only tentative, arbitrary, and all its conclusions can be again argued against. There is no finality. Only experience gives finality.
Unless you experience, everything remains in doubt. Even the so-called religious people are full of doubt; they repress their doubt by their belief. If there is no doubt inside there is no need for any belief either. The belief is just like a medicine and doubt is the disease: through the belief one goes on repressing the doubt, but the doubt remains; in fact it goes deeper into your unconscious. Hence all the religious people are always afraid of argument; they are afraid that their own doubt will be provoked again. Who knows? somebody may convince them that there is no god. They don't read others' books: Christians have been prohibited from reading others' scriptures, Hindus have been prohibited from reading Buddhist scriptures, Buddhists have been prohibited from reading scriptures of the Jainas. Don't read anybody else's scriptures, because who knows? - something may strike in your heart and your doubt will surface. This is very impotent religion, worthless, just rubbish. One has to be completely empty of it.
God cannot be argued about, but god can be experienced. And that is a totally different dimension to be approached. Argument is of the head and experience is of the heart. Argument is superficial; you are not involved in it. Experience is total - you are involved in it; it is a question of life and death.
So I don't say to my people: believe in god - because belief will need argumentation. I say: enquire into god. And you can call it god or nirvana or enlightenment or truth or what you will - X,Y,Z; I am not interested in any particular name. But enquire into it; enquire into the mystery of life, and not only with intellect but with your total being. Take a plunge into it. Experience it in all possible ways.
Eat god... drink god... smell god... touch god. Reach him through all the senses. and you will be surprised - he comes through all the senses. Just floating in the river, he is there... or just standing naked under the sun on the beach, he is showering his rays on you. Or just after a long walk , resting under a tree, a cool breeze comes, and his is there. He is that coolness... the beauty of existence, the harmony of the stars, the possibility of love and poetry.
Experience all these things. Forget the word 'god'; that has been used too much by the priests and they have destroyed the beauty of it. then one day one comes to know, and only that knowing is conclusive. Only that knowing transforms a person.
And when a religious person is born, he is neither Christian nor Hindu nor Mohammedan - just religious. i believe in that pure religiousness....
Prem means love, raquibo means god; it is a name of god - god of love. and there is not other god; all other gods are inventions of man, inventions of the cunning mind. Only love is not an invention; it is inborn. The natural has to be discovered and the natural has to be helped to grow and bloom.
The god of the Christian and the god of the Hindu are just invented gods, arbitrary, man-made. But there is a god that is hidden in every heart; its taste is that of love. So whenever you are in love you are close to your god, and whenever you are anti-love you are far away from your god. That should be the criterion in life: become more and more love, and you are coming home. Love creates that which is called god; love creates the creator in you. A loving person becomes creative. He starts participating in creation; and then only can he understand how god has created the world.
What exactly is creation? Creation is bringing something from the invisible into the visible, bringing from the intangible into the tangible, bringing something from the beyond and helping it to materialize.
When a poet feels an urge to create poems it is all invisible, vague, a chaos, all smoke. Slowly slowly he brings it down, helps it to descend onto the earth, to get roots in a soil, and there is a tree called poetry; it blooms and it brings much fruit. That's how the whole world has been created: it is poetry of god... or a painting. But one can understand the creator only by becoming a creator oneself in some way or other. So the people who understand god the most are not the priests but the poets, not the ministers of religion but the painters, the musicians, the dancers, not the philosophers but the lovers.
Remember: if one is lost in the world of philosophy, theology and priesthood, one is moving in a desertland, a wasteland. One will come across many ruins but never across a living temple of god.
God has deserted those temples long ago. God is always in a living tree, in a living person, in a living river. God's time is now and god's space is here. And it is love that brings you herenow. It is only in love that the past disappears and the future becomes meaningless, and only the present has its unfolding.
So I say that love is the only true god. It has no church, no popes, no shankaracharyas... it is everybody's birthright.
[To someone who is crying] Good! Come here... come here. Yes, something is already there! The energy is ready to take a great jump - don't be afraid of it. It frightens one in the beginning because it seems uncontrollable and one feels as if one is going mad. But it is a blessing. Only on this energy can you ride and attain to new planes of being. And you have come in the right moment....
Prem means love, aziza means friend, friendship - a loving friend or a loving friendship. Befriend life. Befriend as many people as possible... befriend trees and rocks and stars. Start having a dialogue with the whole of existence. Create an 'I-thou' relationship in as many ways as possible.
Lying on the grass, talk to it - just a simple 'hello' from the deepest core of your heart - and it becomes prayer. And soon you will find responses coming to you from the grass and the trees and the birds. They do respond. It is not just a story that they were responding to Saint Francis. They can respond to everybody; Saint Francis is just an example. They responded to him because he was so innocent, and out of his innocence he called to them. He would talk to a tree and would say 'Sister, how are you?' Or he would talk to his donkey and would say 'Brother, you look very happy today.' And it was not just from the head - it was coming from his whole being. It was not false, it was not an act, a performance. And whenever something is not an act, existence replies to it. It is obliged to reply. We belong to it, it belongs to us; we have some claim over it. It is our mother... but we have forgotten how to have a dialogue with nature.
Become loving and very friendly to everything - even to so-called dead things, because even they are not dead. Even a stone is as much alive as anybody else; just the life is fast asleep, snoring in it, that's all. And if somebody calls it forth with great love, even a rock can be awakened.
And your energy is really good. Become more vulnerable, relaxed, and don't try to control it. Now leave everything to me. I will see to it that everything moves in the right direction.
You can be close to me only when you are blissful, because you are close to everything when you are blissful. You are close to existence, close to god, close to yourself when you are blissful. Bliss is a bridge, misery is a wall.
[To a sannyasin who often feels miserable] That we can destroy. That is not a problem. That is not a problem because misery is an unnatural phenomenon; bliss is a natural phenomenon. You must be creating it, so it can be stopped. You just have to become more alert about how you create it, and you have to learn how not to create it. You have to learn to put the same energy into blissful ways. This will happen. Just do a few groups.
[To a sannyasin who is here for nine days] Sometimes even nine seconds are enough! It depends on the intensity. If you can be intensely here for nine days that is better than being here lukewarm for nine years.
[To a sannyasin who plays piano] That's very good. Make it a meditation... go deeper into it. If one can find some bridge between oneself and any kind of music, that is the best thing in life. Then everything else is unnecessary.
Music is the short-cut to god; all other paths are long and arduous. Just go deeper and deeper into it.