“Remember this story when you pray. Let your prayer be a spontaneous phenomenon,” says Osho.
… And then there is the third stage of love – prayer. Churches, religions, organized sects – they teach you to pray. But in fact they hinder you from praying because prayer is a spontaneous phenomenon, it cannot be taught. If you have been taught a prayer in your childhood you have been debarred from a beautiful experience that may have happened. Prayer is a spontaneous phenomenon.
I must tell you one story I love. Leo Tolstoy has written a small story:
In a certain part of old Russia there was a lake, and it became famous because of three saints. The whole country became interested. Thousands of people were going and journeying to the lake to see those three saints.
The archpriest of the country became afraid: What is happening? He had not heard these ‘saints’ and they had not been certified by the church; who has made them saints?
This Christianity has been doing one of the most foolish things; they give certificates: This man is a saint. As if you can make a man a saint by certifying him!
But the people were mad, and much news was coming that miracles were happening, so the priest had to go and see what the matter was.
He went in a boat to the island where those three poor people lived; they were simply poor people, but very happy – because there is only one poverty, and that poverty is a heart which cannot love. They were poor, but they were rich: the richest you could ever find; they were happy sitting under a tree laughing, enjoying, delighting.
Seeing the priest they bowed down, and the priest said: What are you doing here? There are rumours that you are great saints. Do you know how to pray? – because seeing these three persons the priest could immediately sense that they were completly uneducated; a little idiotic, Lao Tzuan. Happy but foolish.
So they looked at each other and they said: Sorry sir, we don’t know the right prayer authorized by the church because we are ignorant. But we have created one prayer of our own – it is homemade. If you won’t feel offended we can show it to you.
So the priest said: Yes, show it to me, what prayer you are doing. So they said: We tried and thought and thought – but we are not great thinkers, we are foolish people, ignorant villagers; then we decided upon a simple prayer. In Christianity God is thought of as a trinity, three: God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. And we are also three. So we decided on a prayer: You are three, we are three, have mercy upon us. This is our prayer. We are three, you are also three, have mercy on us.
The priest was very very angry, almost enraged. He said: What nonsense! We have never heard any prayer like this. Stop it! This way you cannot be saints. You are simply stupid. They fell at his feet and they said: You teach us the real, the authentic prayer.
So he told them the authorized version of the prayer of the Russian Church. It was long, complicated; big words, bombastic; those three persons looked at each other – it seemed impossible, the door of heaven was closed for them.
They said: You please tell us once more, because it is long, and we are uneducated. He said it again. They said: Once more sir, because we will forget, and something will go wrong. So again he told it. They thanked him heartily and he felt very good that he had done a good deed: brought three foolish people back to the church.
He sailed off in his boat – just in the middle of the lake he could not believe his eyes: those three persons, those foolish people, were coming running on the water. They said: Wait! Once more! We have forgotten! Now this was impossible to believe!
The priest fell at their feet and he said: Forgive me. You continue your Prayer.
The third love energy is prayer. Religions, organized churches, have destroyed it. They have given you readymade prayers. Prayer is a spontaneous feeling.
Remember this story when you pray. Let your prayer be a spontaneous phenomenon. If even your prayer cannot be spontaneous, then what will be? If even with God you have to be readymade then where will you be authentic and true and natural?
Osho, Tao: The Three Treasures – Talks on fragments from Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Vol 4, Ch 2, Q 3