Continuation from A Tremendous Poona Fiction Story
The questioner has asked: “What do you mean by ‘the way of religion’? I have always been so strongly against religion that I cannot imagine what it means.”
True. If you are against religion, how can you understand it? If you are FOR religion, then too you cannot understand it. The people who are for and against can never understand because they have decided a priori – without experiencing they have decided. They are prejudiced.
If you have decided God exists, you will never be able to know him. If you have decided God does not exist, how can you know him?
Be more vulnerable. Don’t be so prejudiced, don’t decide. Experience, and let experience be decisive. Never decide before the experience – never, never. Otherwise you will always be surrounded by your prejudice and your prejudice will become a screen. And that won’t allow you to see that which is.
“The way of religion” is the way of truth, the way of nature. The word “religion” comes from a root which means “to tie you together” – religare. Ordinarily you have fallen apart from existence. You have forgotten that you are not in rhythm with existence. You have started moving on your own. You have lost contact with the real. Yon have started living in your imagination. That is what I call the lie. You have started living a private life; you are no longer living an existential life. You have become “idiots.” The word “idiot” is beautiful; it comes from a root which means “one who lives a private life.” One who has his own idiom of life, that is the idiot. The world is going one way and you are going another: then you are an idiot. The whole existence moving in one way and you have your own private goal!
A man who is after money is an idiot, because the sun is not after money, the moon is not after money, trees are not after money, animals are not after money – rivers, mountains, they are not so idiotic. The whole existence lives without money and a man is mad after money. He suffers from idiocy, the greatest disease there is: he has a private goal. If someday he comes to face God and God asks him, “What were you seeking?” and he says, “Money,” God will not be able to understand what he means by “money.” He may not ever have heard the word “money.” It will be very difficult to explain to him. Some great economist maybe – Adam Smith or Ricardo or Galbraith or somebody – may be able to explain, but I’m suspicious. God will not be able to understand what money is. The whole existence lives without money. Man has created an idiocy.
Or you say, “I was after political power.” God will not be able to understand. It will be very difficult to explain it to him, that you wanted to become a minister or a prime minister or a president. He will ask, “For what? Why in the first place should one ever be mad after power? And I have given you all the power that you need. And I have given you all the possibilities to be blissful that you need. For what were you wasting these opportunities, life?… and sacrificing everything for some foolish, stupid thing – that you would like to sit on a throne?” Just think of your great emperors. How stupid and foolish. But man has created his idiocies.
“The way of religion” means not to be idiotic – don’t have any private goal. The universal goal is enough. Be in tune with it, be together with it. Don’t fight it; flow with it. Wherever the whole is going, move with it, and you will not have any worry and you will not have any anguish and you will not be split and will not be torn apart. Religion means that which puts you together. You are not torn apart, you are not falling in fragments; you become integrated.
Religion is the science of how to find the forgotten language of ecstasy. Whenever you are in tune with existence, there is ecstasy, there is bliss, there is benediction.
It happens to you too. You may not be aware. Sometimes, looking at the trees, and the greenery fills you: suddenly you are in tune with the trees. You are no longer the observer and the trees are no longer the observed; you are not separate. Something bridges you; suddenly there is a contact, a connectedness, a link. Your mind stops chattering, you are as silent as the tree. You start feeling. Your heart throbs with a new vitality and a new vibe… and there is bliss. And you are so fulfilled and so contented.
The tree has not given you anything. The tree is very poor in that way. What can a tree give to a human being? It cannot give you money, it cannot give you power. It cannot give anything that you would like to have, but suddenly, just sitting by the side of the tree, leaning against it, feeling it, feeling its shape arising in it, the fragrance that subtly surrounds it; and you were lost, you were ecstatic. You were in tune. By being in tune with the tree, you became in tune with the universe.
Sometime sitting by the side of the river and watching it… and everything becomes quiet and calm. Not that you do something to become quiet and calm. Not that you do something to become quiet and calm. Nobody can do anything. And if you do, it is absurd. You can sit still like a Buddha statue; that is not going to help.
A disciple came to Bokuju, and to impress him, he sat like Buddha. Bokuju came and the disciple was absolutely still, with closed eyes. Bokuju laughed loudly and hit him hard on the head, and he said, “Get up, you fool! We already have too many Buddhas in this temple! Get out from here! Can’t you see?” Bokuju used to live in a temple which had one thousand Buddha statues; he said, “Can’t you see? One thousand Buddhas are here, and you also want to become a Buddha?”
The disciple was very much worried. He wanted to impress the Master; that “I am a great meditator.” And Bokuju said, “Drop all this rubbish. Be alive. Don’t pretend, and don’t enforce.”
Yes, one day one sits like Buddha, but that is nothing of your doing. It comes, it happens; it is not a doing at all. Listening to the sound of water or looking at the floating clouds in the sky, suddenly it is there. It envelops you. You have fallen in tune with existence.
These rare moments by and by make you aware of why you are miserable. You are miserable because you are not with the existence. Somehow you are struggling against it. You are miserable because you are not surrendered to the whole. The part is trying to conquer the whole. See the foolishness of it.
Even a man like Bertrand Russell has written a book, “Conquest of Nature.” “Conquest”? You are trying to conquer nature? Who are you? It is as if one of my fingers tries to conquer me. We are part of nature. We are nature, expressions of the same nature, of the same vastness. How can we conquer it? How can the part conquer the whole? The part will only be unhappy if it tries to conquer the whole, because defeat is certain – absolutely certain. Frustration is certain – absolutely certain. The part will be miserable. You are miserable, in anguish, in anxiety, in tension, getting almost neurotic because you are trying to conquer nature.
The East has a totally different message. Religion is the Eastern message. All the great religions were born in the East. The West has not given birth to a single religion; it has given birth to great science, great scientific endeavour, but not to religion. Science is a human, idiotic effort to conquer nature. Religion is to fall in tune with nature. Call it religion, call it Tao, call it dharma; it means the same: to fall in tune with nature.
But it will be difficult if you have certain ideas implanted in you for or against. A Christian cannot be a religious man, neither can a Hindu be, nor a communist. A theist cannot be religious, an atheist cannot be religious; they are already full of ideas. They have already decided, without experiencing anything.
Here I am not trying to convince you about any ideology. I am trying to help you to drop all ideology so you become empty, pure, virgin, your eyes become unclouded and you attain to a clarity. In that clarity you will understand what religion is. Not through books, not through Bibles and the Koran and the Vedas, no, but through clarity. When the part looks at the whole and understands “I am part of this whole” and feels happy – “This vastness is my vastness; I am not separate from it; I am one with it” – and starts dancing in that oneness, religion is born. Religion is not an ideology; it is an experience.
“But, anyhow, I suppose it is the way of total aloneness.” Please, don’t start supposing. Religion is not a supposition. It is not “if,” “but,” no. Either you know it or you don’t know it. Please, don’t suppose. How can you suppose? “But, anyhow I suppose…. ” Why? How can you suppose? If you don’t know, you don’t know. Supposition gives you a notion of false knowledge – as if you know.
Stop supposing. Just know that you don’t know, and remain in that pure ignorance. If you can stay in your ignorance – which needs great courage…. Knowledge is cheap. To remain in ignorance is a very courageous act. There are very rare people who can remain ignorant, without supposing anything, because the mind hankers to cling to something, suppose something. It supposes “There is God” – okay. If it supposes “There is not God,” then it insists that there is no God – then you cling to the “no God.” Even a negative concept will do, but no concept? Then you feel empty, so you fill up, you stuff yourself with suppositions.
No, then you will never know what truth is. Truth is not a supposition. When you don’t suppose anything, truth arises.
Whatsoever you suppose will be your supposition. It will reflect your mind – and you don’t know. Can’t you see the simple fact of it that your supposition will become a China wall? How can you suppose? Just see the fact that “I don’t know.”
Be an agnostic, and that is the sure step towards religion. Agnosticism is the base of all religion. A religious person is always agnostic. He says, “I don’t know, this way or that, and I am not so stupid as to suppose anything. I will remain in my ignorance and I will look around. If I come across an experience, I should like to remain open, vulnerable, so nothing is distorted.”
“But, anyhow, I suppose it is the way of total aloneness.” Whatsoever you suppose will be wrong. Even the word “aloneness” will be wrong because in fact you mean loneliness. You don’t mean aloneness, you cannot. Aloneness is a totally different thing from loneliness. Loneliness is when you miss the other; aloneness is when you enjoy yourself. These are totally different things.
Loneliness is a misery; aloneness is ecstatic. When you are so happy with yourself, when you are in love with yourself, when your own aloneness fills you tremendously like a presence, then… then it is aloneness. When you are empty, blank, dark, and you are missing the other and you want somehow to stuff yourself with something…. When people are left alone, they will go to the fridge and start eating something, or they will put on the TV or the radio, or they will start reading the same newspaper that they have read three times since the morning – again they will start looking at it. Or they will start thinking where to go – to go to see a movie, a concert, or just go shopping; but do something.
Loneliness is intolerable – it is a suffering, it is a hell. Aloneness is a beauty. It is such a pristine moment of tremendous happiness that nothing is comparable to it. In this whole life, there is nothing comparable to the beauty and blessedness of aloneness.
When you are alone you are a god. When you are lonely you are just nothing, just empty, hollow, a black hole.
That’s why you say, “But, anyhow, I suppose it is the way of total aloneness.” You don’t know what aloneness is, and you don’t know what totality is. Because if you know totality, you have known God. Totality is what God is all about. The sum total of existence is what God is. We can drop the word “God.” Call it “totality,” that will do – and will do even better than the word “God” because “God” has been used so much by wrong people. Politicians, priests, they all talk about “God.”
“God” has passed through so many wrong lips, it is almost a dirty word. “Totality” is better – the total. But you don’t know what “total” is. You know only yourself – the ego. The ego is against the total, afraid of the total. Surrender brings you to totality, to an experience.
And remember – “And this makes me a little uneasy” – that’s why I say you cannot suppose aloneness, because aloneness never makes anybody uneasy. It makes one so ecstatically happy that you cannot imagine, you have not even dreamed about it. A Buddha is alone, a Mahavir is alone, a Kabir is alone – and they are alone even when they are in the crowd. You cannot destroy their aloneness. Their aloneness is a crystallized phenomenon.
Try to understand this. You are born alone; you die alone. These two are the greatest moments in life: birth and death. You are born alone; you die alone. The greatest moments of life – the beginning and the end – are in aloneness. When you meditate you again become alone. That’s why meditation is both – a death and a birth. You die to the past and you are born to the new, to the unknown.
Even in love, when you think you are together, you are not together. There are two alonenesses. In real love nothing is lost. When two lovers are sitting – if they are really lovers and they don’t try to possess each other and they don’t try to dominate each other, because that is not love; that is the way of hatred, the way of violence – if they love and if the love is coming out of their aloneness, you will see two beautiful alonenesses together. They are like two Himalayan peaks, high in the sky, but separate. They don’t interfere. In fact deep love only reveals your pure aloneness to you.
All that is true and all that is real will always bring you to aloneness. But you are afraid and you say it makes you a little uneasy.
There are a few things which can only be done alone. Love, prayer, life, death, aesthetic experiences, blissful moments – they all come when you are alone. When you are in love you think you are with somebody. Maybe the somebody is just reflecting your aloneness, the somebody is just a mirror in which your aloneness is reflected But the deeper you move in love, the deeper you know that even your lover cannot penetrate there. Your aloneness is absolute – and it is good that it is so; otherwise you will be a public thing. Then you will not have any innermost core where you can be alone. Then you can be violated. But your aloneness is absolute; nobody can violate it.
You can kill me, but you cannot destroy my aloneness. That is my freedom. You can put me in a bondage, but you cannot put my aloneness in a bondage. Even in your jail I will be alone. Aloneness is my intrinsic nature. It cannot be destroyed; nobody can take it away.
Let me tell you one anecdote so that it doesn’t become too serious.
Sue met her friend Alice on the street one afternoon and noticed that Alice was well along the road of pregnancy.
“You know,” Sue said, “I would have given anything to have a baby, but I guess it is hopeless.”
“I know just how you feel,” Alice said. “My husband was that way too. But everything is fine now; in fact I am eight months pregnant.”
“What did you do?”
“I went to a faith healer.”
“Oh, we tried that,” Sue said. “My husband and I went there for six months.”
“Don’t be silly,” Alice told her. “Go alone.”
There are a few things for which one should go alone. Meditation is one of those things, God is one of those things, death is one of those things; one should go alone.
But the questioner is uneasy because it is only a supposition. A supposition is a supposition; it doesn’t help to understand. It hinders.
“Since you gave me sannyas, I feel like I am in an abyss.” Exactly right. That’s what sannyas is. Sannyas is nothing but throwing you into your inner abyss, taking away everything that you cling to, taking away all that you possess, taking away your very possessiveness. Sannyas is a via negativa. I go on taking things away from you – your thinking, your ideology, your religion, your church, your Bible, your Koran. I go on taking away. By and by I will leave you alone; everything is taken away from you. Now you will feel as if you are in an abyss, but this abyss is just a transitory period.
You feel like you are in an abyss because now you cannot cling to anything. Relax, rest in this abyss… and suddenly the whole gestalt changes. Then you know that this abyss is your nature and there is no need to cling to anything. This is how you are. This inner silence is your nature. This inner thoughtlessness is your nature. This aloneness is nothing to be afraid of; this aloneness has to be tasted, chewed well, digested. And you will see, out of this aloneness bliss arises, bliss flowers.
But there will be a transitory period when you will not be able to cling and you will not be able to know what is going to happen and you will be just in between. Christian mystics have named those days rightly; they call them “the dark night of the soul.” The old light has disappeared and the new has not arisen yet. It is almost like you come from the outside – it is hot, burning sun and your eyes are dazzled – you come into your room and you cannot see anything; it seems almost dark. You sit and you rest for a while; and by and by it is no longer dark. Your eyes become settled. Your focus changes and you can see now; you are no longer dazzled by the hot sun.
For lives together you have been outside in the hot sun. You have lived a miserable life – again and again the same miserable life. You have become attuned to it. When you come to your inner being, you see only darkness, abyss, emptiness. You don’t see anything. You become afraid.
Rest a little while, let your eyes be settled, and you will be able to see a light arising – a light with no heat, a flame without heat, a light which is cool. When you have started feeling it, then you know that sannyas throws you into an abyss just to bring you to an enlightened state of being. That abyss is the price we pay.
Osho, Ecstasy: The Forgotten Language, Ch 4, Q 2