SUFIS PEOPLE OF THE PATH
'THEN THE UNION... THEN THE FUSION'
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MUHAMMED BAQIR IS SAID TO HAVE RELATED THIS ILLUSTRATIVE FABLE:
'FINDING I COULD SPEAK THE LANGUAGE OF ANTS, I APPROACHED ONE AND ENQUIRED, "WHAT IS GOD LIKE? DOES HE RESEMBLE THE ANT?"
'HE ANSWERED, "GOD! NO, INDEED -- WE HAVE ONLY A SINGLE STING, BUT GOD, HE HAS TWO!"'
What is God?
Al-Hillaj Mansoor says:
it is the gathering together then the silence
then the loss of words and the awareness
then the discovering and the nakedness.
and it is the fire clay then the fire
then the clarity and the cold
then the darkness then the sun.
and it is the orgy then the casting away of cares
then the wish and the approach
then the conjunction then the joy.
and it is the strain then the relaxation
then the disappearance and the separation
then the union...
then the fusion.
What is God?
It depends on you. Your God will be your God, my God will be my God. There are as many Gods as there are possibilities of looking at God. It is natural. We cannot go beyond our plane; we can only be aware of God through our eyes, through our minds. God will be just a reflection in our small mirror. That's why there are so many concepts about God.
It is like the moon in the sky on a full moon night. There are millions of rivers and reservoirs and oceans and small streams and small puddles on the road -- they will all reflect God, they will all reflect the moon. A small puddle will reflect the moon in its own way and the big ocean will reflect it in its own way.
Then there is great controversy. Hindus say something, Mohammedans say something else, Christians say something else again -- and so on, so forth. The controversy is foolish. The conflict is meaningless. God is reflected in millions of ways, in millions of mirrors. Each mirror reflects in its own way. This is one of the fundamentals to be understood. Not understanding this fundamental there is naturally antagonism between religions, because they all think, 'If our standpoint is right then the other has to be wrong.' Their rightness depends on the other's wrongness. This is stupid. God is infinite, and you can look at him through many ways, through many windows. And naturally you can look at him only through yourself -- you will be the window. Your God will reflect God as much as it will reflect you; you will both be there.
When Mansoor says something, he is saying something about himself. This tremendously beautiful statement -- 'THEN THE UNION... THEN THE FUSION' -- is much more about al-Hillaj Mansoor than about God. This is Mansoor's God. This is Mansoor's unique experience.
Mansoor was murdered, crucified, like Jesus. Mohammedans could not understand him. This happens always. You cannot understand any point higher than your own. It becomes a danger to you. If you accept it, then you accept that there is some possibility which is higher than you. That hurts the ego, that humiliates. You would like to destroy a Mansoor or a Christ or a Socrates just for a single reason: that you cannot conceive, you cannot concede, that there is a possibility of some higher standpoint than yours. You seem to believe that you are the last thing in existence; that you are the paradigm, that you are the climax, that there is no beyond. This is the attitude of the stupid and the irreligious mind. The religious mind is always open. The religious mind is never confined by its own limitations. It keeps remembering that there is no end to growth; one can go on growing.
It is said in the Bible that God created man in his own image. This is a human statement; it says nothing about God. It simply says something about man. It is man writing about himself. Naturally man thinks in terms which are anthropomorphic. Man thinks in terms of man being the centre of existence. God created man in his own image. He has to... at least in human scriptures he has to follow the human mind and the human ego.
Just the contrary is the case. Man has created God in his own image. Man's God is a human God. You can see. You can go into the temples and you can see the images of God. They are made in the form of human beings -- a little better, more beautiful. but still a modification, a decoration of the human body. They have human eyes with a little more compassion. Just a little more is added. The ideal human being, that's what our Gods are.
When Nietzsche declared that God was dead. he was, in fact. not saying anything against God himself. He was simply saying that the God that we have followed up to now is no Longer applicable because man has grown up. The God that we have been following up to now was a childish, juvenile God. Humanity was juvenile. Somebody worshipping a stone as God is saying a very, very primitive thing. His statement is very primitive, pagan. Somebody worshipping an idol is a little better, but still limited. All forms are limited. Somebody worshipping a tree... a little more alive because the tree has a kind of vitality. God is vital; the tree participates in god so it is vital. God is green and fresh and so is the tree; and God blooms and the tree blooms. There is an at-oneness.
But a tree is a tree. It may be a faraway reflection of the divine, but to worship the tree as God is ignorant. Somebody worshipping a river may be right in his own way -- because the river also expresses the divine, everything expresses him -- but everything expresses him in a limited way. He is all. So no single thing can express him in his totality. How can a single thing express him in his totality? If you worship the tree, what about the river? If you worship the river, what about the sun? If you worship the sun, what about the moon? You are worshipping only one thing -- and because it is limited and one, it cannot represent all.
When Nietzsche said 'God is dead', he was saying that all formulations of God up to now have become irrelevant. Man has gone beyond them; man has become more mature. Man needs new Gods every time. As man becomes more mature he needs a more mature God. Look in the Old Testament. God is ferocious, very jealous. God declares, 'I am a very jealous God. If you worship somebody else I will be your enemy. I will torture you in hell. I will throw you into fire.' This seems to be a very primitive God; seems to be conceived of by a Genghis Khan -- not very cultured, not very sophisticated yet.
The Hindu God is far more sophisticated. Krishna with his flute is far more cultured. But Buddha reaches to the very peak because he drops the idea of God. He talks about godliness. The very word 'God' makes God like a thing: defined, clear-cut, solid, concrete, like a rock. Buddha drops the very idea. He says, 'There is godliness but there is no God. There is divineness. Existence is full of divineness, BHAGWATA, but there is no God like a person sitting there on a golden throne controlling, managing, creating. No, there is no God as a person. The whole existence is full of divinity, that is true. It is overflowing with godliness.'
Now this is a far higher concept. we drop the limitations of a person. We make god more like a process. The ancient concept says that God created the world, he was the creator. Buddha does not agree. He says, 'God is creativity, not a creator.' God is one with his creativity. So whenever you are creating something you participate in God.
When a painter is lost in his painting, when he is completely absorbed in his painting, he is no longer an ordinary painter. He is divine in that moment of absorption. THEN THE UNION... THEN THE FUSION.
A dancer lost utterly in his dance is a human no more; hence the beauty, hence the utter beauty. Even those who are just spectators, even they start feeling something strange, incredible, fantastic, happening.
It happened that for nine years before al-Hillaj Mansoor was crucified he was confined in a jail. And he was tremendously happy because he used those nine years for constant meditation. Outside there were always disturbances, distractions -- friends, followers, the society, the world, the worries. He was very happy. The day he was put into jail he thanked God from his very heart. He said, 'You love me so much. Now you have given me complete protection from the world and there is nothing left except you and me.' THEN THE UNION... THEN THE FUSION.
Those nine years were of tremendous absorption. And after those nine years it was decided that he had to be crucified, because he had not changed a bit. On the contrary, he had gone farther in the same direction. His direction was that he started declaring, 'I am God -- AN-EL-HAQ! I am the truth, I am the reality.'
His Master, al-Junaid, tried to persuade him in many ways -- 'Don't say these things! Keep them inside you, because the people won't understand it and you will be getting into trouble unnecessarily!'
But it was beyond Mansoor. Whenever he was in that state -- what Sufis call HAL -- whenever he was in that state, he would start singing and dancing. And those utterances would simply overflow; it was not possible for him to control them. There was nobody to control; all control was lost. Junaid understood his state, but he knew the state of the people too -- that sooner or later Mansoor would be thought to be anti-religious. His declaration, 'I am God,' was a fact, his experience was there behind it, but people didn't understand it. They would take it as arrogance, as ego, and there would be trouble. And the trouble came.
After nine years they decided that he had not changed a bit; in fact he had grown deeper into it. Now he was continuously declaring, 'AN-EL-HAQ! I am the truth! I am God!' So finally they decided that he had to be crucified.
When they went to take him out from his prison cell, it was very difficult -- because he was in a HAL, in that mystic state. He was no longer a person, he was just pure energy. How to drag pure energy out? The people who went there were just struck dumb! What was happening in that dark cell was so fantastic! It was so luminous. Mansoor was surrounded by an aura not of this world. Mansoor was not there as a person. Sufis have TWO words for it: one is BAKA, another is FANA. BAKA means you are defined by a personality, you have a definition around you, you have a demarcation line that this is you. FANA means that you are dissolved into God and you don't have any definition. BAKA IS like an ice cube and FANA is like the ice cube which has melted and become one with the river.
This constantly happens to the mystics: they move from baka to FANA, from FANA to BAKA. It is almost like day and night. By and by there comes a kind of rhythm. Sometimes you will find the mystic in the state of BAKA -- and when you find him in the state of BAKA you will see the most unique individuality that has ever been seen. In the state of BAKA he will be a unique individual -- very original, very pure, clear-cut. he will be like a peak standing against the sky, or like a star in the dark night -- so clear, so separate, so individual. That is the meaning of BAKA -- individual.
You will not find these kinds of individuals in the ordinary world. There are people but not individuals, persons but not individuals A person is one who has no individuality; he is just an anonymous part of a mass. He lives like they live, he talks like they talk, he eats like they eat, he goes to the movie that they go to, he purchases the car that they purchase, he makes a house like they make -- he is continuously following 'they', the mass, the collectivity, the crowd. He is not himself; he is very confused. His boundary lines are very messy. They are there but they are in a mess; they are not clear-cut. If you look into him you will not find him there. You will find layers upon layers of conditioning. He will be a Mohammedan because he was born in a Mohammedan house. He will be a Hindu because he was born into a Hindu family. He will be reciting the Gita because his father used to recite it -- and his father's father. For ages they have been reciting it, so he is reciting it. It all seems accidental. He has no uniqueness in him. He is just a part. He lives like they live, he dies like they die. He lives their life, he dies their death. He never asserts himself, he is never rebellious. This is the state of the ordinary personality. This is not individuality.
Individuality arises only when you become very clear-cut, when you attain an original shape of your being, when you do your thing, when you don't care what others say, when you are ready to sacrifice your whole life for your freedom, when freedom becomes your ultimate value and nothing else matters -- then you become BAKA, individual. And this is the paradox: only individuals can go into FANA, into that utter dissolution, desolation, into that utter disappearance.
First you have to be, only then can you disappear. If you are not, then what is going to disappear? First you have to detach yourself from the crowd, only then can you take the jump. So this is the paradox: the man in the state of BAKA can go into the state of FANA, and only he can go.
The mass man cannot go into FANA because he does not know who he is. He has no address yet, he has no name yet, he has no identity yet. He is just a number. He can be replaced very easily, he's replaceable. He is just a part doing a certain kind of work. He is a function. For example, he may be an engineer. If he dies, you can put another engineer there and nobody will miss him. Or he may be a doctor. If he dies, you place another doctor there and nobody will miss him. He is a replaceable part, he is a function.
But the man of BAKA is not a function; he has a totally different kind of quality in his being. He will be missed forever and ever. Once he is gone you cannot replace him. You cannot replace Jesus. You can replace the pope of the Vatican; many times you have replaced him. Each time one pope dies he is replaced. You can replace the Shankaracharya of Puri very easily, there is no problem -- one dies and you put another there. But you cannot replace the original Shankaracharya. You cannot replace Jesus, you cannot replace Mohammed. Once gone they are gone forever. They exist as unique individuals -- that is the state of BAKA. And they are the only people capable of going into FANA. It looks contradictory, because FANA means losing all your definition, losing all your being.
But first you have to have the being to lose it. How can you lose it if you don't have it? How can you renounce it if you don't have it? So the paradox is only apparent. It has a very, very universal law behind it. First you have to have something in order to drop it. First gather together. IT IS THE GATHERING TOGETHER THEN THE SILENCE. First gather together, integrate, become BAKA, and then you can go into FANA.
This man, Mansoor, became a man of unique individuality. Wherever he went he was immediately recognised; it was impossible to miss him. He came to India too. In fact, because his Master, al-Junaid, told him, 'It is better if you start travelling into other countries, otherwise you will be caught,' he travelled to faraway countries. Everywhere he was recognised imme-diately. He was a king of kings. You could not miss him. If he was standing in a crowd of ten thousand people, you would be able to see him. He had BAKA; he was crystal clear. His presence was immense, huge, enormous. Once you had seen him, all other persons would look pale, faint, flat. So sooner or later he would be recognised and he would have to leave the country because trouble would arise.
He went to many countries in the Middle East, but wherever he went it was okay for a few days -- he could live without being recognised -- but not for long. So finally he went back and said to Junaid, his Master, 'It is futile. I get caught everywhere. So why not here?'
When this man was being carried from the cell, the officers who had come to take him out could not find exactly where he was. He was there, utterly there. The whole cell was full of a radiance, a presence -- very solid yet indefinable. They could not enter the cell. They stood there in awe, in wonder -- 'What to do?' Finally they gathered courage. They tried to pull him out but they could not. Then there was only one way: his Master al-Junaid was asked to come and help because the time was passing and Mansoor had to be crucified and they could not get him out.
Al-Junaid came and he said, 'Mansoor, now listen. A thousand and one times I have told you to surrender to God. If he wants you to be crucified, then be ordinary and be crucified. Let him do his work. Enough is enough?' And when al-Junaid shouted, Mansoor came back out of the FANA into the BAKA. Again there was a demarcation line; he was no longer a cloud, he became concrete and solid. The boundaries appeared. The Master had come and he had to listen to his Master.
Then he was taken to the gallows. It was very difficult to kill him. One thousand wounds were made on his body -- still he was alive. Then they started cutting off his limbs, but still he was alive -- because on the cross he again lost the state of BAKA and went into the state of FANA. He got lost again into ecstasy, into that energy that is God.
God is energy for a man of the state of Mansoor. God is consciousness for the man of the state of Buddha. God is love for Christ. He is not a person. These three L's have to be learned: God is love, life, light. You have heard about the three R's. The three R's make you civilised. These three L's make you religious.
Be more alive -- so much so that you become one with life. Then let love arise so much that you start overflowing with love. Then you know no boundaries. Then out of you a new kind of light starts arising, a luminousness. These three 'L's' have to be learned, and those three 'R's' have to be forgotten.
The whole philosophy of Sufism is to approach God as cosmic energy, with no concept. But we all have concepts and all concepts are juvenile, childish. God cannot be conceptualised.
We have been given concepts by others; we have learned them. They are just suggestions from the mass, ideas put into your head. Christians have an idea of an old man with a white beard, very ancient-looking, sitting there on a golden throne surrounded by angels, controlling the world. There is nothing wrong about it, but there is nothing right either. It is good enough to satisfy the curiosity of small children, children also need some idea about God, but one has to grow out of this childishness.
We go on hammering certain ideas into the heads of small children.
I have heard....
The clergyman said to Mrs. Mott whose baby was just christened, 'Oh, Mrs. Mott, I have never seen a child that was so well behaved at a christening.'
Mrs. Mott said, 'Well, it's because my husband and I have been practising on him with a watering can for a week.'
If you practise on a child for one week with a watering can, of course.... It becomes habitual. And that's what has been done to humanity down the ages -- ideas have been practised on you. Those who practise them don't know what they are doing; they are in the same trap. Their parents practised those ideas on them. They don't know what they are, what they are talking about. If you insist too much on asking what exactly the word 'God' means,. you will make anybody and everybody uncomfortable. So asking questions is not supported; one has to accept these things, one has to believe these things. Nobody likes answering if you ask too much. If you go on asking, you make the other person very uncomfortable because you start seeing and touching his buttons. It is also a belief for him; he does not know what God is.
It is just out of fear that children have been trained, and out of fear they go on clinging. That's why whenever you are afraid you start thinking more of God. In a dark night, passing through a cemetery, you are bound to remember God. When you are alone, ill, in difficulties, in frustration, in anxieties, in misery, you remember God. God is more associated with misery. If you are happy, you tend to forget God. God has no association with happiness. In reality, it should be just the other way -- when you are happy you can approach God more easily because a happy mind is a flowing mind, a happy mind is an open mind, a happy mind is more vulnerable, more delicate.
An unhappy mind is closed. How can a mind that lives in fear be open? It is not possible.
I have heard....
A young man wanted to pass an old man in a wagon on a country road, but the old man would not pull over.
Finally when he had passed the old man, he took his pistol out and walked back to the wagon. 'Old man, do you know how to dance?' he asked, shooting at the ground near the old man's feet and laughing uproariously as he began to jump up and down.
When the young man started back, the old man grabbed his concealed shotgun and said, 'Young man, did you ever kiss a mule?'
The young man said, looking into the barrel of the shotgun, 'No, but I always wanted to.'
Out of fear you can create anything. And your God is created out of fear. Your God is nothing but your fear instinct. It is not your experience.
A little boy in Aberdeen, Scotland, was disciplined by his mother, who used to say to him when he was naughty, 'Now, God won't like that.' And when he was particularly unruly or disobedient, she would say, 'God will be angry.'
Usually these admonitions were sufficient, but one night when she had prunes for his dessert at supper, he rebelled. He refused to finish the prunes on his plate. She pleaded, she coaxed. Finally she said, 'Now, God won't like this. God doesn't like little boys who refuse to finish all their prunes.'
But the little fellow was quite unmoved. She went on further to say, 'God will be angry.' But for some reason or other the little boy stubbornly refused to take the last two prunes which lay on his plate... dark blue, wrinkled tokens of his rebellion.
'Well,' said the mother, 'you must now go to bed. You have been a very naughty boy, and God is angry, really angry.'
So she packed him upstairs and put him to bed. No sooner had she come down than a violent thunderstorm broke out. The lightning was more vivid than usual. The thunder clumped up and down the sky with shattering reverberations. The suddenly angry wind threw handfuls of rain against the windows. It was a most violent storm, and she thought her little son would be terrified and that she should go up and comfort him. Quietly she opened his bedroom door, expecting to find him whimpering in fear, perhaps with the covers pulled over his head. But to her surprise he was not in bed at all; he had gone to the window. With his face pressed against the window pane, she heard him mutter, 'My, my, such a fuss to make over two prunes!'
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But that's how your God is.
You have been brought up in fear and you have been brought up in greed. Because of fear and greed you go on believing in a certain idea of God. That idea is as absurd as your greed and your fear. It has nothing to do with Gd, it has something to do with you and your psychology.
If you really want to know what God is, then you will have to drop all kinds of fear and all kinds of greed. You will have to drop, in reality, your whole psychology, your whole mind. God is an experience of the state of no-mind, FANA; when you are no more, dissolved, then you know what God is.
So, a few things.... God is not a concept, a theory, a hypothesis, an explanation, a philosophy -- not at all. How can you make a concept of something that you don't know? You don't know God, you have never encountered God, so what-soever you think about him is borrowed, is pseudo. The real has to be your experience. Otherwise, God is a kind of explanation -- because there are problems in life and there are puzzles in life and there are mysteries in life, and you always find it difficult to explain them. Birth is there and death is there, and this whole tremendously beautiful existence is there. From where does it come? Who creates it? Why is it created? Why is it at all? Why is it rather than not? A thousand and one questions arise in the mind and you need some comfortable, convenient explanation so you can rest and sleep well. God is a blanket explanation. It covers all your problems. In a single concept you explain everything.
Whenever you say 'God knows', you simply mean 'I don't know'. But it is a very tricky strategy. You don't say 'I don't know', you say 'God knows'. It gives you a kind of feeling that you may not know it but there is somebody who knows -- and that is your God and he takes care, you need not worry. Father knows, mother knows, God knows, somebody knows. So why bother? You can remain unburdened. But let me tell you, God is not an explanation. And those who cling to explanations will never know what God is.
God is the dropping away of all explanations and all theories and all philosophies. God is the dropping away of all kinds of thinking, because thinking is a barrier. How can you think about the unknown? You can think only about the known. Thinking is just chewing the same thing over and over again. You can think only that which you have known already. Thinking never gives you anything original; it cannot, it is not in its nature. And God is the most unknown phenomenon. God means the totality. It is not known. All explanations are kinds of deceptions -- deceiving yourself, deceiving others, that you know.
A sincere, honest seeker will drop all explanations. That is what is meant when al-Hillaj says,
IT IS THE GATHERING TOGETHER THEN THE SILENCE
-- the silence which comes when you drop all explanations, all theories, all philosophies.
THEN THE LOSS OF WORDS
-- then the words are not needed at all. When all theories and all explanations and philosophies have been dropped, what are you going to do with words?
THEN THE LOSS OF WORDS AND THE AWARENESS
-- when words are lost, in that silence awareness arises.
THEN THE DISCOVERING AND THE NAKEDNESS
-- you are utterly naked. Before God you have to be utterly naked, with no explanations, no philosophies surrounding you. You have to be as naked as possible, totally nude, empty, undressed. Then only is there a possibility of contacting God.
God is not a person -- that is the second thing to remember. It is human to think about God as a person. When we think about God as a person it looks warmer. Lao Tzu says 'Tao', but Tao doesn't seem so warm. You cannot hug Tao. Tao cannot hug you. Buddha says 'Dhamma' -- the law. But the law seems to be cold. You need some warm embrace, you need a God who can love you, who can caress you, who can kiss you, who can take you close, who can hold your hand. This is human desire, desire for warmth.
But existence has no obligation to fulfill your desires. Your desire is all right, but your desire simply shows that you are missing love, not God. Try to understand it. Your desire simply shows that you have missed your parents -- your mother, your father, or you have missed a beloved. Your desire simply shows that there is some hankering for love that you are projecting on to God. So God becomes a person. You transform God into a person because OF your need. But this is your need, and there is no necessity that your need has to be fulfilled. You have to understand your need and drop it. That's why my insistence is never to remain unfulfilled in your love, otherwise you will never find the real God.
Love as much as you can. Love human beings, love animals, love trees, love rocks, mountains, rivers -- love as much as you can. Let there be great experience of love so that your love-need is fulfilled, so that one day you can transcend love.
Just the other day there was a question from Ananda Prem. WHY, she asks, DO SPIRITUAL PERSONS WANT TO GO BEYOND LOVE? This is why. Because if you are not yet satisfied in your love, you will go on projecting love-needs onto God. And that will be a false God, that will be your projection. That will be your idea, not the reality of God. You cannot see the reality of God. You will see God in terms of what you would like him to be; you cannot see that which is. You will have a kind of wish fulfilment.
So Freud is not absolutely wrong when he says that God is a kind of wish fulfilment. He's right about ninety-nine per cent of people. He's right about Ananda Prem. Ananda Prem is suffering from a love-need. She tries to find a lover and she cannot, because she has a certain idea of a lover. The very idea becomes an obstruction. She searches for a perfect lover. Yes, it is very difficult in the first place to find a perfect lover, and if you can find one, the perfect lover will not be in any kind of need. A needy person cannot relate to a perfect lover. Only a perfect lover can relate to a perfect lover. Both will be without needs. Their love will be of a totally new kind; it will be a kind of sharing. It is not that they need each other; just because they have so much they want to give it.
A perfect lover is one who is as happy alone as when he is with the beloved; there is no difference. Then he is a perfect lover. But he is as happy alone.
Now Ananda Prem goes on searching for a perfect lover, and because she cannot find the perfect lover and ordinary human beings are just worthless for her, now she can start projecting upon God. She writes in her question: WHAT ABOUT MEERA? MEERA LOVED GOD IN THE FORM OF KRISHNA, STILL SHE ATTAINED. Yes, she loved God in the form of Krishna, but Meera's love is the love of a perfect human being. She has no need, she does not want anything from Krishna; she simply goes on giving. She has a song to sing, she sings. She has a dance to dance, she dances. She has nothing to get, she only gives. And she gets a thousandfold -- that is another thing, but she has nothing to get.
If you want to become Meera, Ananda Prem, first you will have to be fulfilled about human love-needs -- otherwise your Krishna will be false, it will not be Meera's Krishna. Your Krishna will be just your imagination, your Krishna will be just a projection of a repressed desire. Your Krishna will have much sexuality. First be finished with the human needs. And the only way to be finished is to go into them. I am not against them, remember, and I am not saying that something is wrong in them. There is a great lesson in them and it can be learned only by going through them. Go through them, don't demand the impossible -- otherwise love will not happen.
Remember the limitation of human beings, and remember your limitations. And whatsoever kind of love is possible, go into it. don't hanker for the impossible, otherwise you will miss even the possible. And the impossible cannot happen. The impossible happens only the other way round: go through the possible, let the possible be finished with, let your being come out of it fulfilled -- then the impossible can also happen. You have become capable of it.
If people's love-needs are not fulfilled, they go on projecting onto God -- and poor God suffers unnecessarily. When I was reading Ananda Prem's question I became very, very sad for God. If Ananda Prem starts loving God, then think about God too! -- because he cannot go to the court, he cannot say no; he just has to suffer your love.
First go through human turmoil, human anguish -- the joys of human love and the miseries of human love. Let yourself become ripe through it. Then only do you have the fragrance which can be offered to God, not before it. First become a lotus. Come out of the mud of desire. And remember, the lotus comes out of the mud. Out of desiring comes the state of desirelessness -- the lotus of desirelessness. Seeing the futility of desire again and again and again, one day one becomes so mature that one drops the very desire. In that very dropping is the meeting. When there is no desire there is nothing to hinder you from seeing God. Then God is all over the place, then only God is. But God is not a person.
Christians say that God is a father. God is not a father. That simply shows somehow that your father-need is still unfulfilled. There are people who say that God is a mother. That simply shows that their mother-need is unfulfilled. There are some who think that God is a lover. Then their love-need is not fulfilled. What you say about God shows something about you. If you think of God as a father, it simply shows that you are unsatisfied with your father, that you are not yet reconciled with your father, that you have become too dependent on your father. You need a father in the sky now. Maybe your father is dead and you cannot live without a father, or maybe your father is far away and you cannot live without your father. You are still immature and childish; you need somebody to cling to. Then you will create God the father.
God is neither father nor mother nor lover nor beloved. God is not a person at all.
God is energy, cosmic energy. God is continuous creativity. God is love, life, light. God is not an object of experience either. It is not that one day you will encounter God as an object of experience. God is not an object and God is not a subject either. When subject and object meet and disappear into each other, FANA, then there is a new kind of experience -- what Krishnamurti calls 'experiencing'. It is not even experience, because the very word experience seems to be finished, complete, rounded. God is never complete, never finished; it is always an ongoing affair, always open, always flowering, always moving. God is a dynamic energy.God is a process, not a thing.
So, an experiencing.... And what is an experiencing? What is the difference between experience and experiencing? The difference is that in experience you remain separate from the object. For example, you are listening to me. This can happen in two ways. For those who are here just as spectators, as listeners, as an audience, it is an experience. I am here separate from them; they are there separate from me. I am an object and they are the subject. They are there centred in their egos listening to me. And they are continuously judging whether this is right or wrong, whether this applies or not, whether this can be practised or not, whether this agrees with their scripture or not -- they are continuously judging inside. This will be an experience.
But those who are in deep love with me, who are not standing against me, who are not there as a subject listening to me, who get lost into it, who are en rapport with me, involved with me, involved with me as if they are listening to themselves, to their own heartbeat -- then there is not an experience but experiencing. Then I am not here separate from them, and they are not there separate from me. Then there is a union and a fusion.
God is an experiencing.
If you want to know what God is you will have to learn the art of experiencing. Then there is no need to go to a mosque or to a temple or to a church. Wherever experiencing happens there is the church, there is the temple, there is the mosque. Looking at a roseflower, if you disappear into the roseflower and the roseflower disappears into you -- the observer becomes the observed and there is no distinction left, there are not two things confronting each other but a meeting, merging, melting into each other -- then boundaries are no longer there. Somehow you have entered into the rose and the rose has entered into you. And this is possible, this transfiguration is possible. Because it is possible, religion is relevant, meaningful -- otherwise religion won't be meaningful. Being with the roseflower, you enter into God. Then all possibilities can be used as doors to the divine.
I have heard....
Bernard Synon writes: Think of a man driving up a country hill road, who upon reaching the top, stops his car and walks over to a nearby five-barred gate. Leaning on it he gazes with pleasure at the vista spread out before him. There is a sky of breathless blue, full of birds wheeling lazily in the warm sun. Fields of emerald green ripple in the soft breeze, while on the hillsides cattle and sheep graze peacefully. The whole scene is one of tranquil beauty and the man draws a deep breath saying, 'It is really lovely.'
At that moment another car draws up and the first man ;s joined by another. 'Beautiful, isn't it?' murmurs the first man.
The other man is silent for a moment, then says thought-fully, 'Have you ever considered what is really happening out there? These graceful birds who wheel in the sky are seeking food. How graceful do they look to the insects they gobble? or to the writhing worms they drag from the earth with cruel and rending beaks?'
The first man shifts uneasily, 'Ah, come now!'
The other man speaks again. 'Those sheep so peacefully grazing -- they are being fattened and will soon be dragged to the slaughterhouse trembling with fear as they smell the blood-stained floor on which they will die. Their little lambs will be snatched away to dangle from butchers' hooks.'
The first man is silent as the voice continues.
'This emerald green grace rippling in the sun -- within it murder and mayhem are constantly taking place as spiders devour flies and large insects devour the smaller. If the sounds could be interpreted and magnified, screams of pain and fear would reverberate throughout this lush meadow.'
The first is a poet; he looks through the eyes of positivity. The second is a critic; he looks through the eyes of negativity. Bernard Synon ends this small parable here. I would like to bring another man, the mystic, in.
A third car comes and out gets a mystic who listens to the stories of both the men and laughs. And he says, 'Life is not either/or. Life is both/and. You are both right, but life is more than that. Yes, there is dark night and there is bright day, there is summer and there is winter, and there is life and there is death. You are both right, but you have chosen one standpoint against the other. You see only half the picture of life and you try to impose that half on the whole. Then you go wrong. I don't choose, I simply accept as it is.'
Yes, there is death and there is life and both are intertwined. Seeing both together one transcends; one transcends to a higher peak. Then one is no longer dominated by any standpoint. Then you see life and death as part of each other, and then you are so transcendental to- both that you see eternity. Then there is neither beauty nor ugliness, there is simply truth.
Beauty is choosing one standpoint, ugliness is choosing another standpoint. Truth is not choosing any standpoint at all. Truth is not choosing.
God is not any aspect of reality. God is all the aspects together without any choice. If you choose, you miss; if you don't choose, there is no way to miss. But there is a problem.... When you choose, you can remain yourself -- all choice feeds the ego. When you don't choose, you disappear. You disappear with your choice, likes, dislikes. You cannot exist without choosing. The ego cannot exist without choice. Choice is its very breath. Just as you cannot exist if the breath disappears, so ego cannot exist without choosing, without taking a standpoint, without being for or against. Once you don't take any standpoint, you disappear. In that disappearance is God.
You will never meet God, remember. Nobody has ever met God. When people say that they have met God, what they mean Is that they have disappeared, only God is. The ego disappears and then there is experiencing -- continuous, constant, eternal. That energy, that everflowing energy, is what God is.
So remember, God is not an object of experience, neither is he the subject of experience -- God is experiencing itself. God is not static but a process -- evolving, expanding, exploding, exploring. It goes on and on. It is an adventure; it is a pilgrimage from nowhere to nowhere. God is not there in the heavens or somewhere else -- God is not there, God is here. And God is not then, God is now. And God is not that, God is this.
If you can understand these few words: here, now, this.... These three words are the three pillars of Sufism, of Zen, of all that is essential religion. These three words -- let them vibrate in your being again and again: here, now, this.
Those who think of God as that -- far away, somewhere else -- are just imagining, and missing the obvious which is just close by. God is not far away. He is closer than you are to yourself. He's your innermost core, how he can be far away? And God is not then, there -- lin the past, in the future. It is not that God used to walk in the days of Moses and talk to people, it is not that God used to talk to Mohammed and will not talk to you. It is not that he used to sing songs to the seers of the Upanishads and he has forgotten you or abandoned you. God is now. God is always now. God is never past, never future. In relationship to God, past and future are meaningless words. You cannot say 'God was', you cannot say 'God will be'. You have always to say 'God is'. There is only one tense: is, present. And God is here this very moment.
If you can be in a state of experiencing, God is here, now, this. If you cannot be in the state of experiencing, God is never, nowhere. This state of experiencing is what Sufis call medi-tation. But this God here, now, this, is a dangerous God. You have to disappear for it to be. You have to dissolve into it. It is risky. We have created substitutes to avoid the risk.
It was announced in church that a substitute preacher would preach.
A little boy leaned over and asked his mother, 'What is a substitute?'
'Well, for example, son, if you threw your baseball through the window and broke it, and we didn't have another real pane, we could put a piece of cardboard in the window... that is what we call a substitute.'
When the substitute minister had finished preaching that morning, the little boy leaned over and said, 'Mother, this sure is not a substitute... he is a real pain!'
All your substitutes are real pains because no substitute can ever satisfy. No substitute can ever fulfil, no substitute can ever quench your thirst. But man is very cunning and goes on creating substitutes. Your temples are substitute temples, your teachers are substitute teachers, your prayers are substitute prayers. Your own prayer has not arisen yet, and you have not yet found the temple of experiencing. But remember, you choose these substitutes, and then you suffer. And when you suffer, you blame God.
I have heard....
Cohen, aged eighty-six, had lived through beatings in Polish pogroms, concentration camps in Germany, and dozens of other anti-Semitic calamities.
'Ah, Lord!' he prayed, sitting in the synagogue. 'Isn't it true that we are your chosen people?'
And from the heavens boomed a voice, 'Yes, Cohen, the Jews are my chosen people!'
'Well, then,' wailed the old man, 'isn't it time you chose somebody else?'
No people are God's chosen people. You have chosen to be God s chosen people -- and then you suffer. Jews have suffered for a really long time. And all their misery can be condensed into this single thing: they have chosen to be the chosen people of God. That very ego has created great antagonism. And they are stubbornly clinging to it. The more they have suffered, the more stubborn they have become.
But God has not chosen anybody. How can God choose? All is his. All is he. There is no question of choice. But we choose our ideas and then those ideas become prisons, calamities. Beware! If you are suffering, then look back -- you must have chosen something wrong, otherwise you cannot suffer. This is my basic observation after observing thousands of people and their miseries. Whenever I see somebody suffering and in misery, I have by and by become absolutely certain about one thing -- that he is responsible, that he has chosen some wrong ideas, that he has chosen some wrong notions. But those who suffer always throw the responsibility on others. And sometimes it seems very unjust. If a couple comes to me and the wife or the husband is miserable but the other partner is not miserable at all, the miserable partner tries to throw the responsibility on the other -- 'He is responsible for my misery.'
It seems very hard to tell the person who is in misery that he must be responsible for his misery -- because nobody else can be responsible for his misery. If the other is happy he must have chosen different values. He must have chosen values that give happiness, health, wholeness. If you have chosen wrong values, you suffer, but you can always manipulate and interpret in such a way that your suffering seems as if it has been done to you, Nobody can make you suffer. It is always basically you who decide whether to suffer or not. In every situation you can take a standpoint from which you can get out of suffering, and in every situation you can take a standpoint from which you can create as much suffering as you like. But people like to suffer. There is a reason for it: the more they suffer the more they are. In suffering the ego feels strengthened; in bliss it disappears.
So you go on saying that you need bliss, that you seek bliss, but when I look into you I find just the opposite. You seek misery, you live on misery, you look for misery. You go on saying that you seek bliss and you go on looking for misery. Unless this mechanism is understood perfectly well, you will never be able to know what God is. God is bliss. And bliss is possible only when you have understood the phenomenon of how you create your misery. Substitutes create misery.
For example, you wanted to love a woman but love is dangerous, unsocial, rebellious. And who knows what might happen? So you settled for marriage. Now marriage is a substitute for love. You will never be happy, you will be miserable. Of course you will be comfortably miserable, conveniently miserable -- but miserable all the same. You will have a certain security, a good bank balance, prestige, respect, but you will not be happy. Look at your respectable people. They have all that they always thought would help them, they have it. Money they have, power they have, prestige they have. But look into their eyes -- they are deserts. Not a single flower blooms, there is no joy. They are just dragging themselves somehow. They settled for a substitute.
Go and sit by the comer of a temple or a mosque and watch people coming and going. Do you see any celebration? Do you see any real joy? Do you see any dance? -- nothing! People just walk into the temple as part of their formal duty, and get out as soon as they can. They have to fulfil a certain duty; they have to show society that they are religious people -- it pays. But there is no joy. The temple is a substitute.
See people praying. Not a single tear comes to their eyes. See people praying. No radiance is on their faces. Not even a ripple of dance is around them. And they go on praying for their whole life. It is a sheer wastage of time and energy. They have chosen a substitute. Beware of substitutes. Only then can you find God. God has no substitute. God is the really real, the truth.
Now this small parable.
IMAM MUHAMMED BAQIR IS SAID TO HAVE RELATED THIS ILLUSTRATIVE FABLE:
'FINDING I COULD SPEAK THE LANGUAGE OF ANTS, I APPROACHED ONE AND ENQUIRED, "WHAT IS GOD LIKE? DOES HE RESEMBLE THE ANT?"
'HE ANSWERED, "GOD! NO, INDEED -- WE HAVE ONLY A SINGLE STING, BUT GOD, HE HAS TWO!"'
That's how all your religions and philosophies are -- God is just your magnified ROOP, form. You have one sting, he has two. You live seventy years, he lives eternally. You become old, he never becomes old. But the difference is of quantity, not of quality. Your God is your projected, reformed, modified, decorated form. Your God is you as you would like to be.
OSHO - Sufis, the People of
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