An article by Swami Chaitanya Keerti published on February 28, 2013.
Recently millions of people went to Allahabad for a holy dip in the Ganges. It was a gathering of the largest scale in India — really spectacular, though there was a tragic incident where 36 people died at the railway station. It is a reality that at major religious events organised in Hardwar or Mecca, people get crushed and killed due to indiscipline in crowds. Still people are drawn to these religious events.
The question is: Why do people go on pilgrimages where crowds are often unmanageable? To find peace, to sit and meditate and to feel the energy of those who have meditated there earlier. The power of collective prayer cannot be denied, even though the prayers are done in greed for the heaven and out of fear of hell after death. Today, most of the traditional temples have become centres of trade and politics. Regular prayers may be offered there, but these prayers are formal and out of fear of God. There’s no innocence in these prayers. In an atmosphere polluted with materialism and politics, meditation or true prayer is not possible.
If we are really interested in meditation and prayer, we need to look for a different kind of temple, one that is not man-made. And the good news is that such unpolluted temples of love still exist. You will find them in nature. Go and sit under a tree, breathe and meditate and you will be filled with love and prayer. The tree always gives life-energy. It will never ask you about your religion or caste. You can hug a tree and you will feel its heartbeat. At the same time, you will also feel your own heartbeat. But when you hug fellow human beings, you will not get the same feelings because nobody nowadays hugs anyone unconditionally. The tree is a temple of love, as it always gives.
Go to the mountains or the sea and sit in the open spaces. While you listen to the sound of mountains, streams, you’ll automatically start meditating. Meditation needs a certain kind of atmosphere, a space for the soul, where it can fly high in the sky. That’s possible only in nature.
Talking about the songs of the mystic saint Kabir, Osho says,
To live with nature is to live with God in an indirect way, because nature reflects God in a thousand and one ways. The trees and the call of the cuckoo and the winds in the pine trees and the rivers moving towards the ocean and the proud mountains standing in the sun and the starry night… it is impossible not to be reminded of some invisible hands. The ocean heaves, breathes; the whole existence is a growing phenomenon. It is not dead, it cannot be dead.
Everything is growing. Because of this growing experience man has remained constantly aware of some invisible, mysterious force behind it all. That force is called God. God is not a person, but just a presence. Still when you go deep into the Himalayas, you again start feeling a kind of reverence, awe, wonder.”
Swami Chaitanya Keerti, editor of Osho World, is the author of Osho Fragrance