Osho’s commentary on a poem by the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke
Meditate over these words of Rainer Maria Rilke:
“Pray: to whom? I cannot tell you. Prayer is a radiation of our beings suddenly set afire; it is an infinite and purposeless direction, a brutal accompaniment of our hopes, which travel the universe without reaching any destination. Oh, but I knew this morning how far I am from those greedy ones who, before praying, ask whether God exists. If he no longer or does not yet exist, what difference does it make? My prayer, that will bring him into being, for it is entirely a creative thing as it lifts towards the heavens. And if the God that it projects out of itself does not persist at all, so much the better: we will do it over and it will be less shabby in eternity.”
Prayer creates God. Prayer creates the Perfect Master. Prayer is creative. Prayer reveals – it is revelatory. It prepares you for the revelation.
One should not go in search of a Master: one should learn how to pray…and the Master comes. And the Master comes of his own accord. Or he calls you forth wherever you are, but then the journey is totally different – when you are called forth. The quality is different, the intensity is different. You don’t feel you are going: you feel you are being called. You know that there is no possibility to resist it. It is irresistible. You are pulled! – as if a great magnet is pulling you. You are helpless, but you are thrilled because you have been chosen. You come dancing. You are fortunate you have been chosen.
Just prepare wherever you are. Don’t ask: If there is no Perfect Master, what is the point of preparing for disciplehood? Don’t be worried. The Masters always exist. That is the meaning of these beautiful words of Rilke:
“Prayer is a radiation of our bangs suddenly set afire; it is an infinite and purposeless direction…”
In the beginning you don’t know where your prayer is going; it cannot have any address, it cannot have any direction.
How can you pray to God? You don’t know God – that’s why you are praying. You would like to know what God is, but you don’t know. That’s why you are pouring your heart out. It is waiting for the unknown to take possession of you. This is faith, this is trust.
The skeptical mind wants first to be certain whether there is a God: “Then I will pray.” Rilke is right:
“Oh, but I knew this morning how far I am from those greedy ones who, before praying, ask whether God exists.”
“We will pray only if God exists” – then you will never pray, because you will never know without praying that God exists. You have made an impossible condition for praying. It is not to be fulfilled. You have to pray. Don’t ask the question whether God exists or not. God is irrelevant at this point. At this point, make prayer possible.
Prayer is a song of the heart addressed to the unknown. Maybe he is, maybe he is not, but that is not the point. One is joyous in pouring one’s heart out. It is a joy unto itself. Whether God exists or not is secondary. Prayer is primary. And when prayer is primary, it reveals God, it opens your eyes. It creates God. Suddenly the world becomes afire when you are afire. When your heart is aflame, suddenly you see the whole world aflame with the divine, with the unknown, with the mysterious.
“If he no longer or does not yet exist, what difference does it make?”
This is beautiful. This is how a really religious person thinks.
“My prayer, that will bring him into being…”
Prayer will become the womb. I will give birth to God through my prayer. This is the Sufi approach. Rilke is almost reflecting the very heart of Sufism. But this is how lovers have always felt, and the poets and the mystics.
“If he no longer or does not yet exist, what difference does it make? My prayer, that will bring him into being, for it is entirely a creative thing as it lifts towards the heavens. And if the God that it projects out of itself does not persist at all, so much the better: we will do it over and it will be less shabby in eternity.”
We will go on doing it, we will go on creating God. In fact, it is not creation: it is revelation. But for the person who prays, and for whom God is revealed for the first time, it looks like creation – as if the prayer has created it. It reveals. It takes a thick layer of darkness from your eyes. Your heart starts pulsating as it should. You fall in rhythm with the whole. Suddenly God is there.
But before God appears, appears the Master. The Master is a link between you and the God. First the prayer reveals the Master. That is one step, and half the journey. And the second step and the journey is complete.
Prayer is naive: it is waiting for someone who never comes…asking for something or someone who is not there, not at least now. “If there be a God who loves man, let him speak. Now.”
Osho, The Perfect Master Vol. 1, Ch 1