The Last Before The First
[NOTE: The first interview is a tape transcript which has not been edited or published. It is for reference only. The second interview is published in the book:
SWAMI PREM PRASAD, MA YOGA PRATIMA, RAJNEESHPURAM, OREGON INTERVIEW WITH SWAMI PREM PRASAD
Q: BHAGWAN, COULD YOU SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF RELIGION?
AND COULD YOU SPEAK TO THE SCIENTISTS WHO ARE MEETING TO DISCUSS CONFLICT AND UNITY IN THE CHURCHES AT THE UPCOMING CONFERENCE IN GEORGIA?
A: It is one of the most ridiculous questions that I have come across! (laughter) It is more absurd than somebody asking about a poetic study about mathematics, or a medical study about paintings! This is more absurd for the simple reason because scientific approach is basically objective. It needs some object to study, something outside, something there, so it can be dissected, so that it can be analyzed, put into test-tubes.
And religious experience is not an objective phenomenon at all. Religious experience is subjective. The scientist can study everything as an object but he cannot study himself as an object. It is just not in the nature of things to reduce your subjectivity into an object.
And the whole religious experience is purely subjective experience. You go more and more inwards. A point comes when there is nothing left, nothing which you can say (is) an object, but pure consciousness, pure subjectivity.
This experience of pure subjectivity is religious experience. There is no way for science to study it. It can study about it. But to study it, and to study about it, are totally different things. You can study about swimming without knowing swimming. But to know swimming is a totally different thing. You can study about love, without ever being in love. There are hundreds of books on love. You can become a great scholar on love. But that will not make you a lover!
So the first thing I would like, emphatically clear, is that science has no business as far as religious experience is concerned. Yes, if scientists want to experience religion, that is possible. But that is not through study; that is through meditation.
And then, again brings to another difficulty: in science this is one of the basic rules that you should not be identified with the object of your study. You should remain indifferent, aloof. If you become identified, then your study will not be objective.
If that is a fundamental rule in science, then the scientist has to drop that fundamental rule outside, because in meditation, he has to become one with his being. All separation has to be dropped. And everything that separates thoughts, feelings, emotions; they all have to be dropped. So only an organic unity of consciousness remains.
The scientist cannot stand outside it and watch it. He will be inside it. He will be experiencing it. But he cannot stand outside it and watch it, the way he is accustomed to do in his labs: standing outside things, watching. That is not possible.
Just as science has its own fundamentals, religious experience has its own fundamentals.
The first fundamental is: it can never be an objective thing. You can experience it but you cannot study it. You can be it but you cannot be a watcher. Being it will transform you. It will bring new qualities to you. But that will not be study. That will be transformation. That will be mutation.
So these people who are thinking to study religions have to understand first thing that religious experience is not within the world of objective study. You are it! How can you put yourself on the table? And at the same time standing by the side of the table dissecting yourself? And if it is possible in some way, then the person you have put on the table is not you. The person who is dissecting, standing by the table, is you.
So let me say it in another words: Consciousness is irreducible to an object.
Whatever you do, it always remains the subject.
I am reminded of a Japanese toy children play. In Japan they call it Daruma doll.
Daruma is Japanese name for Bodhidharma. The doll has a special quality. You can throw it any way, but it will always fall down sitting in a lotus posture. That you cannot change. You can topple it; you can hit it; you can throw it. But whenever it will come to settle, it will settle in the lotus posture. Because its bottom is made heavy, and the whole body is light. So there is no way; in any other way it cannot settle. It has to settle in the lotus posture. The posture in which Bodhidharma used to sit.
This Daruma doll signifies the quality of consciousness: Whatever you do it always settles as a subject; never as an object. And to study, it has to be an object.
The very nature of consciousness debars any study. It is available for experience, but not available for experiment.
This is the most fundamental thing you have to emphasize before the Conference.
Second thing: They can study religions. About that, there is not problem. They can study Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Mohammedanism. Because these are all corpses. The living religious experience is not there. That mystical quality perhaps may have been in the beginning. And because of that mystical quality, people gathered around a master; organized a religion and destroyed the whole thing.
Truth cannot be organized. That is the sure and certain way to murder it! And all these religions are murdered corpses. They don't have any soul. You can study them. But remember: studying them, don't start thinking that you are studying religious experience. Religious experience always exists within the individual. It cannot be organized.
Just as it cannot be objectified; in the same way, it cannot be organized. The difficulty is: you cannot bring it to language. The experience happens in absolute silence. How to bring that silence into words. Whatever you do, it escapes your small words. It is too big; it is too vast! Even the sky is not the limit for it. For thousands of years we have been trying to bring religious experience into words.
But it goes on defying.
All these religions are organized around words: the Holy Bible, the Koran, the Gita. And words are absolutely impotent.
You can study these religions. There is no problem about it. They are objective.
And being objective is a solid proof that they are no more religious experience.
There is only one book which can be said to have STILL "having the religious experience". It is a Sufi book called the Book of Books. It is all empty; not a single word written in it. It has been handed over from one master to another disciple, who had arrived and become a master. From master to master, for generations the book has been passed on. It contains the truth. But it has no words: empty pages.
Those empty pages say something, and say very loudly that all words are lies.
That only if you can empty yourself from all words, thoughts, perhaps you may have the taste of religious experience.
You can study these religions, their rituals, their prayers, their architecture, their different codes of conduct, manners. But these have nothing to do with religious experience. In fact these religions are the greatest hindrances for individuals to achieve the experience. Studying these religions in the name of religious experience is not only befooling yourself, it is befooling the whole world.
It is simply hilarious! All these religious scriptures, rituals, prayers, should be part of museums, not part of human life. Corpses...! You loved your wife, you loved your mother, you loved your father, but one day your father dies. You have to take him to the crematorium. That does not mean that you did not love him. Burning his body in the crematorium is not a proof that you never loved him. What do you want? To go on carrying his dead body whole of your life as a proof that you loved your father? But how many bodies you will carry? Your mother will die; your wife may die; your child may die; your friend may die.
Soon your house will be full of corpses. And living among those corpses, do you think you will remain alive? You yourself will become a corpse.
These religions have been the most poisonous thing that has happened to humanity. Yes, once in a while a man like Gautam Buddha or Lao Tzu experienced. And the fragrance of his experience, without saying a single word, started drawing people towards him as if some invisible magnetic force was working.
People loved to be near Gautam Buddha for no other motive: just to be in his presence; just to hear whatever he says. His each word has a poetry, has a song in it. But remember it does not express his experience. His experience has changed even his gestures. They have a grace now.
You will be surprised to see the statues in India of Buddha, Mahavira, Krishna, and twenty-three Jaina masters. None of them has beards or moustache. Strange!
It is not possible that they were not having moustache and beard. Once in a while there is somebody who does not grow, is missing in some hormones. But so many people, and particularly the enlightened one, missing in some hormones!
And all without exception.
The truth is something else. They all had moustaches. They all had beard. But after their enlightenment, their whole being became so graceful and so feminine.
To give expression to that gracefulness, the sculptor has found a symbol. That is just symbolic. He has removed the moustache and the beard. They are all young.
They all became old. Buddha died when he was eighty-two but all the statues show him nearabout, at the most, thirty-five.
And the same is the case with Mahavira. He has died at eighty. But the statues are all young, again it is symbolic. The body became old but the spirit remained young. Now how to express it in marble? The youthfulness became almost their very being. The body became sick, the body became old, the body died. But what they had experienced is still alive, is still young, is still part of existence.
But around these people, and it was natural, the way the Buddha walked, the way he talked, the language he used, the food he ate, the clothes he wore, everything became to the lovers something to be followed. As if by following it, you can become a buddha!
That's how traditions are created, religions are created. Then for thousands of years people are doing the same. Still the Buddhist monks learn the language Pali that Buddha used. Now it is a dead language. Nobody uses it. But Buddhist scriptures are in Pali, and Buddhist scholars like it to read it in the original. It has some flavor of Buddha himself. But no language can carry the flavor. Because he used only a certain kind of clothes, the Buddhist monk has been using the same clothes. He used to have a beggar's bowl. Every Buddhist monk has a beggar's bowl.
You are just imitating the outward signs and thinking that, if you can perfectly imitate all outward signs and symbols, perhaps the inward experience will automatically happen. This is not so. It has no relationship. You can eat the same food. That does not mean you will become a Buddha.
You can study religions. They are all dead. Science can study corpses. That's what science does. In every medical college you can find corpses being studied.
Science cannot study anything living, for the simple reason: the moment you dissect it, it dies. I suspect, and perhaps one day my suspicion will be found to be true, that when you study the blood of a man, you take the blood out and you study it. That is dead blood. You are not really studying the blood that is alive in the man.
It is like you cut my finger and you study it. Do you think the finger that you have cut and studying is my finger? It is dead!
So all the studies of blood, all the studies about human body are not really about the real living organism. You take something out of it. The moment you take it out of it, you have taken out of its living context. It is something dead. And this is about small parts.
And science has not been able yet to find anything that it can pin-point as life, for the simple reason: If you dissect a man you have killed him already.
It is like you are studying dance. But to study the dance, you have to stop the dancer because his dance disturbs your study: "You keep still and let me study the dance". But while he is still there is no dance. You can have either the dancer, or you can have the dance. You can't have both together to study.
Religions can be studied because they are corpses. But what is the point of studying corpses? They should be taken to the crematorium. You will not find, by studying them, what religion is.
The basic approaches are diametrically opposite. Science goes outwards. Religion goes inwards. The whole effort of science is to demystify existence. That's the whole purpose of science.
Science divides existence into two categories: the known and the unknown. What was unknown yesterday, is known today. What is unknown today, may be known tomorrow or day after tomorrow. But some day the unknown is bound to be reduced to the known. The whole project is that these two categories of unknown and known disappear and there is only one category: the known. I call it demystification, destroying the mystery from existence. Everything becomes known.
Religion is not an effort to demystify. It is an effort to rejoice in the mystery, to deepen the mystery, to become one with the mystery, to be so utterly drowned in the mystery, that only the mystery remains and the explorer has evaporated.
These are totally opposite goals. Science tries to demystify. This is an effort to conquer nature. Man, the knower, remains in the end, and the whole existence becomes just his known territory - conquered!
In religion, as you enter deeper, you start melting. At the final point, you are no more: only the mystery is.
Do you see the totally different states? In one the man becomes the conqueror.
Nature with all its mystery is destroyed. It has become a known thing. In religion, man disappears, and only the mystery remains.
Science can never study religion. The scientist can become religious, but the way is not the way of study. The way is of the meditation.
So make it clear to the Conference that it is absolutely absurd to study religions.
For thousands of years scholars have been doing that. It is just meaningless - wastage of time.
And then there is another ideal of the Conference: How to bring religions, creeds, cults, closer to each other so they can drop their conflicts. They cannot drop their conflicts. Because their conflicts are the only reason for their existence. If they drop their conflicts, their very reason to exist disappears. You are asking too much!
And what is the point of bringing two corpses together? It will stink more. They all have to be destroyed! - so that religious experience can become available to individuals, free of organized religions.
Now, I don't see how you can manage to bring conflicting religions, sects, together. I will give you few examples, and you can understand it is impossible.
For example, Jesus Christ drinks wine. Hence in Christianity, alcohol is not sin.
Do you think you can convince a Jaina, a Buddhist, a Hindu, that alcohol is not sin? - that you can convince that Jesus Christ is enlightened?
Christianity worships Jesus Christ because he was crucified. He suffered crucifixion on behalf of the whole humanity. He took over the suffering of all humanity on himself. But that doesn't correspond to reality because humanity remains miserable - in fact, more miserable than ever. Suffering goes on growing. So did Jesus Christ cheat the poor people? It seems to be simply a fraud. But this is one of the biggest points of Christian theologians against Buddhists, Jainism, Hinduism, because none of their masters suffered for humanity.
Jesus died for humanity. But if you ask the Hindu, the Jaina, the Buddhist, they will laugh at the whole thing. Their idea is totally different. A crucifixion simply proves this man must have committed, in his past lives, tremendously evil acts.
Otherwise crucifixion cannot happen.
In Mahavira's life it is said that even a thorn on the path, seeing that Mahavira is coming, will move from the way! Because Mahavira has completely finished with all evil acts of his past lives. Now nothing can harm him. And Mahavira on the cross - that is sheer stupid. To the Jaina, it is impossible.
To the Buddhist, it is impossible. Even a rock was rolled to kill him.... He was meditating under a tree; and a rock, a big rock, from the hill-top was rolled. They have measured every step, because he was using that place for meditation every day, morning. And it was no one but his own cousin-brother who was jealous of Buddha's glory and fame and following. He managed this rock. The rock was rolled. The rock came just close, two or three feet away, and then changed its way. How the rock can kill a man who has no bad karmas left?
How can you manage these people come close? To them Jesus is a criminal. In his past life he has committed crimes for which he is suffering. And their masters are finished with every sin and every evil act. Now there is no question for their being crucified. It is impossible.
Many efforts have been made before to bring these religions together. Their differences keep them alive. Make them feel special. So on small details they are fighting. That's all they have been doing for thousands of years: quarreling, fighting, arguing. This is all their religion.
In the first place it is impossible to bring them together. Because each of them thinks he is right. And everybody else, at the most, he can tolerate. At the most, co-existence can be accepted. But deep down, he knows they are wrong.
Secondly, my emphasis is: Why bother to bring these corpses together? Let them fight with each other. Perhaps that is the only way of their getting finished:
fighting with each other. Why make them more stronger, bringing together?
Protestants and Catholics, let them fight! Let them have good fight! Let them kill each other! The population will be less. Retarded people will be less!
And if we can be finished with all these religions, man can start thinking anew, searching for himself.
The people who are really interested in the growth of human religiousness are interested in making religiousness a science unto itself.
Mind my words: It will not be a science like chemistry, physics, biology. It will be a science unto itself. Because its dimension is different. It will be the science of the interior subjectivity, interiority. The scientist discovers about everything except himself. This will be the science which discovers the scientist. But nobody else can do it because it is an interior science. Only the scientist can go in.
Everybody has to go in. He cannot have a companion there. The inner privacy is absolute. Nobody can enter. Except you! And you are already there - just not aware.
So the scientist can help by becoming meditators, by becoming explorers of the interior of their own being. They can also help by condemning the organized religions: that these are all frauds; that there is no way to organize truth. And let the intelligentsia of the world get rid of all these primitive organizations which are holding you by the neck and crushing you.
The world needs religious people, but it does not need religions. It needs a very liquid, fluid, consciousness.
Now scientists have discovered that there is a biosphere around the earth.
Because of this biosphere, life is possible. If man becomes conscious, religious, we will grow a new layer to the biosphere: a sphere of consciousness, and which will be the glory of the earth. No planet in the whole universe has reached to that point - which is within our reach. But religions have to die.
So tell the Conference my message: Death to all religions! - so that we can save religiousness. My work is very strange: fighting against religions; fighting for religiousness.
INTERVIEW WITH MA YOGA PRATIMA, RAJNEESHPURAM, OREGON
QUESTION: BHAGWAN, WHY HAVE YOU CALLED THIS SERIES OF TALKS TO THE WORLD MEDIA THE LAST TESTAMENT?
ANSWER: The word testament is immensely significant. It is my testimony. I am speaking on my own authority. It is my experience.
There have been two other testaments. The Old Testament is mostly rubbish, but here and there there are a few sentences which indicate that whoever said them must have known. For example, The Song of Solomon is one of the best songs that has ever been written in any language. It contains tremendous beauty. It is a symbology. But you will be surprised that both Jews and Christians are ashamed of the song. They don't want to discuss The Song of Solomon. They would have liked it to be edited out, but now it is too late.
And that is the only thing in the whole testament which is still living. Something in it is still vibrant. It is the testimony of Solomon, who has known love and its highest peak, truth and its deepest meaning, and has sung it as a song in a very allegorical way. So only a few, only those who have experienced those heights and those depths, can understand it. Others will think there is nothing in it.
Then there is the New Testament. Jesus was not satisfied with the Old Testament.
It was good but not good enough, and Jesus has really much improved on it. His testimony is very small, just four gospels. They are four versions of the same story, too - four disciples writing about Jesus, his statements, his works - so it is a very small statement. But it is significant... a quantum leap from the Old Testament.
The Old Testament says that God is very jealous, very angry. Be afraid of God.
He never forgives. He never forgets, either. Jesus says God is love. It is great change, a great evolution, and certainly his words should be called the New Testament.
But two thousand years have passed. On the words of Jesus much dust has gathered. Moreover, he himself was not an enlightened man. He was a man of great intelligence - uneducated, illiterate, but of sharp intelligence. But that does not make much difference to me.
You can be very intelligent. You can make good statements, beautiful sounding words. And his words are pure honey in many places - sweet, nourishing, simple, but great - but still they are of the mind. They are not of the heart.
The Song of Solomon is of the heart. That's why it is allegorical, dreamlike. It is not conceptual. It gives no argument, no explanation. It simply unfolds a tremendously beautiful panorama. Jesus is more inclined towards the head. His words are not of the same beauty as Solomon's, but they are more logical. They are more rational. It is not surprising that Christianity has become the world's greatest religion. The words of Jesus are the reason. They have a tremendous appeal even though they may not be right. And on most occasions they are not right.
This is my testimony, and I am speaking from my being - neither from the heart nor from the head. And because it is my testimony, I would like it to be called THE LAST TESTAMENT.
But remember, the last existed even before the first, because being is first, then comes the heart, then comes the head; without being, they are nothing. So although I am speaking thousands of years after the first testament, what I am saying is existentially far deeper, far greater. It transcends both the New Testament and the Old Testament.
I could have called it the Third Testament, but I am calling it THE LAST TESTAMENT for the simple reason that a fourth is not possible. There is nothing beyond being. So I am saying the last word. And it is time that the last word should be said.
The Old Testament God is jealous. That shows the mind of the people who were writing about him. Man always creates God in his own image. Jesus said God is love. Again, he is changing jealousy into love. On the surface it looks a great change, but if you look just a little deeper, jealousy and love are together. They are not that far away. In fact, with love comes jealousy. And you cannot be jealous without being in love.
I am saying that there is no God. I am simply removing the whole question. God with jealousy, God as love, but God remains. Both remain dependent on a father figure. I am declaring the maturity of man, that there is no need of any father figure. There is no God; and with him go heaven and hell, with him go all kinds of esoteric nonsense.
Once God is not there, reality, existence, feels so clean and so pure. And you suddenly feel so free that all bondages have disappeared. You need not be a theist, you need not be even an atheist. You are simply free from the very idea. It was just a projection of a helpless child. Man has come of age.
And whatever I am saying, there is no way to improve upon it. I have removed God, now what are you going to improve upon? Jesus improved. He changed jealousy into love. I have removed God himself. Now there is no question of any improvement.
Hence, I call it THE LAST TESTAMENT. I am going to cover slowly everything that is essential for the explosion of religious consciousness. I am going to destroy everything that is non-essential and a hindrance to religious consciousness.
I am taking the greatest risk anyone has ever taken. I am creating as many enemies as anyone has ever created, for the simple reason that I know what I am saying is not a quotation from a scripture. I am saying it on my own authority. It is my own truth, and truth knows no defeat.
The final victory is always going to be of the truth.