Qualities of love and grace have been attributed to the Divine. Do these qualities exist? Can this be explained?
To say that the divine exists will not be right, because all that exists is divine. Each and everything exists; only the divine cannot be said to exist. The divine is existence. To be divine and to exist is to say the same thing in two different ways. So the quality of existence cannot be attributed to the divine.
Everything else can be said to exist because it can go into non-existence. I can be said to exist because I will go into non-existence. You can be said to exist because there were times when you were not in existence. But the divine cannot be said to exist because the divine is always there. Its non-existence is inconceivable. So existence cannot be attributed to the divine. I will say existence is divine or divineness means existence.
Nothing exists which is not divine. You may know it or not; it makes no difference as far as your divinity is concerned. If you know it, then you become existence, bliss. If you do not know it, you go on and continue in agony, but you are divine. When asleep, when ignorant, then too you are divine. Even a stone is divine, unknown to itself. Existence is divine. All those who try to prove that God exists do not know. This is sheer nonsense, to prove that God exists. Those who try to prove that God does not exist are in the same boat. No one will prove that existence exists. If you say it this way, if you ask me whether existence exists, the question will be absurd.
To me, when someone says that God exists, it means the same thing: existence exists. God and existence are equivalent: synonyms. Once you have become aware of what existence is, you will not call it existence. Then you will call it God. The moment one becomes aware of the total being that is, then you cannot use the word existence. You become more intimate with it, so you have to use a personal name. You call it God. To call existence God only means this and nothing else — that you can be in an intimate relationship with it. To call existence God means you can be in personal contact with it.
It is not something dead. It is not something to which you cannot be related. It is not something which is indifferent to you. When we say existence is God, we mean to say existence is intimately related with us. We are related with it; existence is not related to us. And it is not indifferent to us. But as far as the human mind is concerned, we do not know a more accurate word to use than God.
If you ask some orthodox Jew, he will not use the full word “God”. He will only use “G-D”; the “O” is dropped. Orthodox Jews will not use the full term “God”. They will only use “G-D”. If you ask them why do you use “G-D”, why is the “O” dropped, they say: “Whatever we say is always less than what is. So ‘O’ is dropped just to symbolize that we are using a word which cannot convey the whole, which cannot be totally comprehensive. So the ‘O’ is dropped.” “O” is symbolic of the zero, symbolic of perfection, symbolic of the totality, the whole, so the “O” is dropped Only “G-D” remains.
Whenever we use any word, it is never meaningful or comprehensive of the whole. It just indicates, not something about the divine, but about the human mind. If you say “existence”, then you use a term which is neutral. You can be indifferent to it and “existence” can be indifferent to you. When you use “existence” there cannot be a dialogue between you and existence. Then there is no bridge. But those who have known existence, they know there is a dialogue with everything that exists. You can be in an intimate relationship, in love. This possibility of dialogue, this possibility of relationship, this possibility of being in love, makes the term “God” more meaningful than “existence” But they mean the same.
So I will not say that the divine exists. I will say that all that exists is divine. Existence is divine. To exist is to be divine. Nothing is which is not divine. Nothing can be which is not divine. We may know it, we may not know it. We may be aware, we may not be aware. It makes no difference.
Another thing you asked is whether the qualities of love and grace can be attributed to God. Again, no qualities can be attributed to him because qualities can be attributed only if the contrary is possible. Otherwise they cannot be attributed. You can say “Someone loves me” because someone is capable of not loving. If he is incapable of not loving, you will never say that “He loves me.” Then to say that someone loves you carries no meaning. If I cannot be in love, I can only be in hatred. Then I can say “I love you.” If I am incapable of being in hatred, then the quality of love cannot be attributed to me. Love then is not a quality, but nature. And what is the difference between quality and nature?
A quality is something which can be in manifestation and which can be in non-manifestation. A quality is something of which you can be deprived. You can exist with the quality; you can exist without the quality. It is not your intrinsic existence. It is something attributed to you; it is something added to you. It is not your nature.
Nature is something without which you can never exist. So when someone says “God is loving”, he is not saying exactly the right thing. Jesus is right when he says, “God is love”, not loving. Then love becomes his nature, not a quality. It cannot be replaced. God can be love, love can be God, because love is the intrinsic nature of the divine.
Love is not something added. It cannot be. It is not possible to conceive of God without love. If you conceive of God without love, you are conceiving of a God who is not a God. To conceive of God without love is to conceive of a God without godliness, because the moment love is erased there is no godliness left behind. So again, I will not say that love is an attribute. Neither will I say that grace is an attribute. They are nature.
Somewhere Aesop has told us in a fable that by a riverside a scorpion requested of a turtle, “Please carry me to the other shore on your back.” The turtle says, “Do not be foolish. Do not think me to be stupid. You may sting me in the middle of the stream, and I will drown and die.” The scorpion said, “I am not foolish; rather, you are foolish because you do not know simple logic. I belong to the Aristotelian school. I am a logician. So I will teach you a simple lesson in logic, a simple solution. If I sting you and if you are drowned and dead, I will also die with you. So be sensible, be logical. I will not sting you. I cannot sting you.”
The turtle thought for a moment and then said, “Okay! It seems sensible. Hop on me and off we go.” And exactly in midstream the sting comes. They both are sinking down. Before the turtle dies it asks, “Where has your logic gone? You have done a very illogical thing, and you yourself said that this is simple logic, you will never do it, and now you have done it. Tell me before I die. Let me learn another lesson of your logic.”
The scorpion says, “It is not a question of logic at all. This is just my character, just my nature. I cannot be without it. I can talk about it. I cannot be without it. I am incapable, really.”
Something which you are incapable of doing or not doing indicates your nature. We cannot conceive of the divine as being non-loving or without grace. The love is always there; the grace is always there. We use two words — “love” and “grace” — because of our linguistic limitations. Otherwise, one word will do. Either you call it love or you call it grace.
We use two words because with love we always expect something in return — not with grace. Whenever we love someone, something in return is expected. It is always a bargain, howsoever subtle. Told or not told, made known or not made known, it is an inner bargain. Something is expected in return. That is why we use two words, “love” and “grace”, because with grace nothing is expected in return, and God never expects anything in return from us.
But as far as divine existence is concerned, love and grace are both one and the same. He is loving and that is his grace. He is always with his grace. That means he is loving. But these are not qualities which can be attributed to him. This is his nature. He cannot be otherwise. But we make distinctions because someone is known to have received grace; someone has become beloved to the divine. That again is a fallacious statement. God is always grace and always love. But we are not always in the receptive mood.
Unless we become receptive we cannot receive it. So when you are not receiving divine grace, it is not anything lacking on the part of the divine, but something like a barrier you are carrying. You are not receptive to it, you are not open to it, you are not vulnerable to it. God’s nature is to be graceful, to be grace itself. But as far as we are concerned, we are not naturally receptive. We are naturally aggressive. We are aggressive, and these are two different things.
If the mind is aggressive, then it cannot be receptive. Only a non-aggressive mind can be receptive. So all the qualities which carry any type of aggressiveness with them ought to be dropped, and one has to be just a door to receive. Just like a womb, one has to be in total receptivity. Then grace is always flowing and love is always flowing.
From everywhere grace is flowing. Every moment, everywhere, grace is flowing. It is the nature of existence, but we are not receptive. That is the nature of mind. Mind is aggressive. That is why I always insist that meditation means “no-mind”. Meditation means non-aggressive receptivity — openness. But logic can never be receptive. Logic is aggressive. You are doing something. Then you cannot be receptive. You can be receptive only when you are not doing.
When you are in a non-doing state, absolutely non-doing, simply existing, then you are open from all sides, and from everywhere comes the flow of grace. It is always coming, but our doors are closed. We are always escaping the grace. Even if it knocks on our doors, we escape.
There is a reason why we go on escaping: the moment mind is born, it is always safeguarding itself. Our whole training, our whole education, the whole culture of mankind is always so. Our whole mind, our whole culture, is based on aggression, competition, conflict. We have not yet become so mature as to learn the secret of cooperation — that the world exists in cooperativeness, not in conflict; that the other one, the neighboring one, is not just a competitor, but a complementary existence which makes me richer. Without him I will be lesser.
Even if a single individual dies in the world I am a bit lesser. The richness that was created by him, the richness carried into the atmosphere, in the hemisphere, is no more. Somewhere, something has become vacant. So we exist in a coexistence, not in a conflict. But the training of the mind, the collective unconscious, is always thinking in terms of conflict. Whenever someone is there, the enemy is there. The “enemy” is the basic assumption. You can develop your friendship, but that will be developed. The basic assumption is the enemy. Friendship can be added to the enemy, but the base is inimical, and you can never relax.
That is why you can never rely on your friendships: because at the base there is “enemy”. You have only made a fake friendship. You have added something artificially. But somewhere at the base you know always that there is enemy — the other is the enemy. So even with a friend you are not at ease. Even with your lover you are not at ease. Whenever there is someone, you are tense. The enemy is there. Of course, the tension becomes less if you have created a facade of friendship. It is less, but it is there.
This attitude has reasons as to why it has developed so — evolutionary reasons. Man has come out of the jungle. The whole evolution has seen so many stages, so many animal stages. Physiologically also, the body knows because the body is not yours. When I say “my body”, I am claiming something which cannot be claimed. My body has come through centuries of development. The basic cell is inherited. In my basic cell I inherit all that existed behind me. All the animals, all the trees, all that has existed, have contributed to my basic cell.
In my basic cell there is accumulated the whole experience of conflict, struggle, violence, aggression. Each cell carries the whole evolutionary struggle that has preceded. Physiologically also, mentally also, your mind has not evolved just in this life. It has come to you in a long journey. It may be even longer than the body itself. Because the body evolved on this earth, it cannot be more than forty million years old. It cannot be older than the earth.
But the first mind came from another planet. Mind has still deeper evolutionary experiences. And all those experiences make you violent and aggressive. One has to be aware of this total phenomenon. Unless one is aware, one cannot be free from his own past. And the whole problem is that one has to be free from his own past, and this past is something very great — incomprehensibly great.
All that has lived is still living with you. All that has been is still in you in seed, in potentiality. You come from the past, you are the past. This past-oriented mind goes on creating aggression, goes on thinking in terms of aggression.
So when religion says “Be receptive”, the advice goes unheard. The mind cannot think of how it can be receptive. Mind has known only one thing in which it has been receptive, and that is death, in which the mind has not been able to do anything. It could not act. The only thing that the mind has known in which it has to be receptive is death. So whenever someone says, “Be receptive,” somewhere in the shadows you feel death. If I say “Be receptive,” the mind will then say, “Then you will die. Be aggressive if you want to exist and survive. The fittest survives. The most aggressive one survives. If you are just receptive, you will die.”
That is why receptivity is never even understood — not heard, not understood. This receptivity has been said in so many ways. Someone says, “Surrender.” It means “Be receptive”. Surrender means do not be aggressive. When someone says “Be faithful”, it means “Be receptive”.
Do not be aggressive through your logic. Receive existence as it is. Let it come in. The mind cannot love because love means “Be receptive to someone”. Even in love we are aggressive. If you ask a friend, he will say love is nothing but a sort of violence — a mutual violence in which two partners have agreed to become involved. And when a friend says this, he is not just saying nonsense. He means it, and he knows something.
Whenever you are in a sexual act, whenever you are in intimate love, the actions that follow are just like fighting: you are fighting. If you go deep in any act which we know as love, if you go deep in it, you will find animal roots. Kissing can anytime become biting. If you go on kissing, if it goes deep, it will be biting. It is just a mind form. Sometimes lovers will say, “I want to eat you” — a very loving expression. Really, they try. Sometimes it goes deep, becomes intensive: then sex is just a fight.
So two partners, two sexual partners, will always alternate between love and fight. This will go on alternating. In the evening they are fighting, in the night they are loving, in the morning they are fighting, in the evening they are loving, in the night they are fighting. This circle will go on – fighting and loving, fighting and loving. If you ask D. H. Lawrence, he will say, “If you cannot fight with your lover, you cannot love.” The fight makes it intense. It is just creating a situation.
The human mind as it is, as it has come out of the past, cannot love because it cannot be receptive. It can only be aggressive. So it is not that you are loving: you always demand love. And even if you act loving, it is only to force the demand. There is a cunning logic. It is always demanding, “Give me love.” And if I give you love, that is only to demand, to make the demand forceful. The human mind cannot love.
So if you ask those who know, those who have really known love, if you ask Buddha, he will say, “Unless the mind dies, love cannot be born.” And unless there is love, you cannot feel grace; because only in love do you become open.
And you cannot love a particular individual because it is impossible to be open to a particular individual and closed to all. This is very difficult. This is one of the most impossible things to do. It is not possible at all.
If I say, “I love you,” it is just like saying this: that whenever you are beside me I breathe; otherwise I will not breathe. If this were the case, then another time you will come to me and you will find me dead. But breathing is not something which I can do and not do. Love is not something like that. But whatever is known to us as love is like that. That is why sooner or later a lover will find that the other’s love has gone dead, and both will know this. Both will know that there is no love now.
The more lovers know each other, the more unfortunate is the situation. The more they become acquainted with each other, the lesser is the hope and the more the disillusionment. They know that the love has gone dead. You so narrowed it, demanded so narrow a passage, that it could not be alive.
One has to be loving, not a lover. One has to be loving. This “loving” must come as an intensive, natural manifestation, not as something added as an attribute, as a quality. It must come as an inner flowering, not as something perfumed from without. This love can happen. One has to be aware of one’s total past. And the moment you are aware of your total past, that very moment you have transcended, you are beyond it, because that which is aware is not the mind.
That which becomes aware of the mind is the consciousness which carries no past with it — which is eternal, which is always in the “now”, which is always new, which is always here and now. That consciousness is known only when you become aware of your mind. Then you are not identified with your mind. There is a gap between you and your mind. You know this is the mind: this aggressiveness, this hatred, this whole hell, is the mind.
And this mind goes on continuing. This mind will go on continuing, unless you become aware. And this is a miracle: that the moment you become aware the continuity is broken. Now you will be, but not of the past. Now you will be of the moment — fresh, young, new. Then each moment you will die, and you will be reborn.
Somewhere St. Augustine says, “I die every moment.” One who has become aware of one’s whole mind and its whole process, the continuity, the past continuing itself and carrying on and forcing itself into the future — one who has become aware of this — will die each moment. Each moment the past will be thrown out. One will be fresh, new and young, ready to jump into the new moment that is coming on. Only this fresh consciousness, this young consciousness — eternally young — is receptive, is open. There are no walls to it, no boundary walls to it. It is completely open, just like space.
The Upanishads call it “the inner space of the heart”. There is a space, simply a space. That is consciousness, sakshi — the expression of awareness. This transcendence of the mind, of the past, makes you open and vulnerable from all sides, to all the dimensions. Then grace is falling on you from everywhere — from the trees, from the sky, from human beings, from animals, from everywhere. Even a dead stone is graceful then. You feel grace falling toward you.
Then you cannot say this is simply an existence. Then you say, “This is God.” This metamorphosis, this transformation of your own mind, this transformation of the dead mind into an eternally living consciousness, from the junk of the mind to the open sky of the consciousness, this transformation changes your attitude toward existence. Then the whole existence is just a flow of love — friendly, compassionate, loving, graceful. Then you are loved through thousands of hands.
So Hindu religion has created deities with a thousand hands. It means from everywhere is the hand. Nowhere can you go where the divine hand will not be upon you. Everywhere is the embrace. You can go everywhere. Now there is nowhere where the divine is not.
Nanak went to Kaaba: he was tired. When he reached the mosque, and he just put down his small bundle, whatever it was, and went to sleep. The priest was furious because his legs were toward the holy stone, so he dragged him out and said, “What foolishness are you doing here? You do not know even this much respect — that the legs should not be towards the holy stone. Are you an atheist?”
Nanak’s sleep was broken. He is sitting. He says, “Put my legs in that direction where God is not, and do not disturb me.” There is no direction where God is not, because the direction itself is divine, existence is divine. But you must be open to it.
This whole tragedy, this dilemma of the human mind, is that the mind is closed, the mind is closing, and this mind goes on searching for that which will be freedom. This mind is an imprisonment, and this imprisonment goes on seeking freedom. This is the whole tragedy of human existence.
This mind is a prison. It cannot find any freedom anywhere. It must die before freedom comes to you. But we have taken the mind as us. We are identified with it. This death of mind never happens to us, it never occurs to us.
Mind is something other than me. But we go on being identified with the mind. How then can you come out of the past if you have become identified with the past? The one who has forgotten that he is a prisoner is the most imprisoned, because there is no possibility of freedom then. But even that prisoner may become aware. An even greater prisoner is the one who has become one with the imprisonment, one with the prison, who has become identified. The walls of the prison are his body. The whole arrangement of the imprisonment is his mind.
Be aware; be conscious of your mind. And you can be because you are something different. The dream can be broken because you are not the dream. The dream is occurring to you, but you are not the dream. You can shatter this imprisonment and come out because you are not the imprisonment. But there is such a long association with the body and the mind.
And understand this well: that the body is new; each birth is new; each beginning is new. But the mind is old. It is continuing from your previous, your past births. That is why if someone says your body is ill, you are never angry. You feel that he is sympathetic to you. But if someone says your mind is mad, your mind is ill, you are mentally deranged, then you become angry. Then you do not feel he is sympathetic to you. He does not seem friendly.
With the body this is a new association, only of this birth. Other bodies have died with which you have been in association. And this body association is broken with each death. It has been broken so many times, that one thinks himself a body, even he is not identified with his body. So if his body falls ill, something else has fallen ill.
I was reading about an alcoholic’s life. He was sentenced so many times, and for the tenth time the same judge is sending him to jail. So the judge says in his judgment, “It is only the alcohol, the alcohol, the alcohol, which is the root cause of your problems.” The man says, “Thank you, sir. You are the only person who has not made me responsible. Everyone else says I am at fault. Everyone says, ‘You are at fault.’ You are the only man who understands me. Alcohol is at fault. I am not responsible at all.”
With the body, if there is some fault, you do not feel you are responsible. But if the mind feels some fault, then you feel that you are responsible. The identity is keen and deeper. It has to be, because the body is the outer layer of your being. The mind is the inner layer. It is the inner you. You can be more identified with it. It has been with you for so many lives. The mind is the old, always the old, the continuity. But you are not the mind. And this can be known, and there is no difficulty in knowing about it.
Just be a witness. Whenever the mind is working, just sit aside and see it — how it works. Do not interfere: do not come in. The coming in will again create the strength which makes the identity. Do not come in, do not say anything, do not be a judge. Just sit aside as if the traffic is passing on the road, and you are sitting by the side just looking. Do not make any judgment. And if even for a single moment you can sit aside and look at the mind’s traffic, the continuous traffic, you will see the gap — the gap between you and the mind. Then this gap can be made greater, wider, unbridgeable.
When the gap is such, when the interval is such, then there is no bridge. You have seen from all possible points that the circle of the mind is somewhere where you are not. You are always inside — somewhere else. When this is not a theory, but has become a fact, a realized fact, then you are open. Then you have jumped into an inner space, into the inner sky, into the inner space of the heart: you have jumped in. Now you are there and you are open.
You will know then that you have always been open. You have been sleeping in an open sky but dreaming that you are in prison, and thoughts are not any other substance than what dreams are made of. They are of the same stuff. In the day you call them thoughts and at night you call them dreams. But because they are transparent, identifying becomes easier. With anything transparent you can forget.
If there is a totally transparent glass between you and me, I will forget the glass. I will think that I am seeing you directly. It means that I become so totally identified with the glass that it is not there. My eyes and the glass have become one.
Thoughts are transparent — more transparent than any glass you can look through. They are not at all a hindrance then. That is why the identity becomes deeper. The transparency of thoughts is so close to you, you forget totally that there exists a mind which is always around you, always between you and the world, always — wherever you are: between you and your lover, between you and your friend, between you and your God, it is always there.
Wherever you go, your mind is a step ahead of you. It is not only that it follows you like a shadow. It is always one step ahead of you; it has reached before you. But you are never aware of it because it is so transparent. Whenever you are entering a temple, your mind has entered before you. When you are going to a friend, when you are embracing him, your mind has embraced before, and this you can know. Your mind is always rehearsing. That stepping ahead is always rehearsing. Before you speak, it is always rehearsing what to speak. Before you act, it is always rehearsing what to act. Before you do anything or do not do anything, it is rehearsing. The rehearsal is constantly going on. The rehearsal means that the mind is preparing itself before you, one step ahead. And that is a constant, transparent barrier between you and everything else that you will come across, that you will encounter.
Thus an encounter can never be real, authentic, because something else is always in between. Neither can you love, nor can you pray. You cannot do anything which requires the removal of this barrier, and the grace is not felt because the barrier is there, always surrounding you like a transparent shell. Grace, love or existence are not God’s attributes. They are divine nature. But we are not open to them. When someone is open, he becomes the receiver. But then too we will not say that he has become a receiver. The ego is competitive. We will say he has received grace. We are denying him anything. Now we say, “God has become graceful to him.”
It is good that we should say God is graceful, because now nothing exists except God. Once the barrier is not, nothing exists except God. Once the barrier is not, there is nothing upon which to stand the ego. One cannot say “I”, so he cannot say, “I have become capable of receiving grace.” He can only say “I” have received because “I” was not there. “I” was the barrier. So once “I” is not, he can always say, “It is due to God’s grace. What can I do? ‘I’ is no more.” It is right when he says so, but it is not right when we say so. We are again deceiving ourselves.
We are deceiving ourselves because we are not recognizing a great transformation. The ego will not let us recognize it. The ego will say, “God is graceful to him and not to me.” We create this very misguiding notion, that God is graceful to someone.
He is grace. If someone is ready to receive he is always giving. He is not even ready to give: He is giving. When you are not receiving, then too he is giving. When you are closed, then too he is raining His blessings are raining. Be open and know it. Be conscious and be open, and only then you can know what love is, what grace is, what compassion is. And they are one and the same thing. They are not different things. Basically, they are one and the same.
Only then can you know what prayer is. When the barrier is not, then prayer is not to ask for something. It is not begging. Then it is thanksgiving. So wherever there is a prayer which begs for something, the barrier is there. The begging is the barrier; the mind is the barrier.
Whenever there is a prayer which thanks for something, not even for something but thanks for all that is, whenever grace is received, you feel gratitude. On your part it is gratitude. On God’s part it is grace. On the receiver’s end it is gratitude. We have not known gratitude at all. We cannot know unless we know grace. We cannot be grateful unless we know grace. And this can be known.
Do not begin the search, do not begin an inquiry for the divine, because that is metaphysical and useless, and that has been going on for centuries. The philosophers have been thinking about what are the attributes of God. So there have been metaphysicians who will say that “This is the attribute of God and that is not.”
Someone will say he is attributeless — nirguna. Someone will say he is with attributes — saguna. But how can we know what we have not known ourselves? And how can we decide whether God is with attributes or without attributes, whether he is loving or not? Just by thinking we are going to decide it! This is not possible.
So metaphysics will lead us into absurdity. When human imagination becomes logical, then we think that we have achieved something. We have not achieved anything. Imagination is ours, and logic is ours. We have not known anything.
Always begin with yourself if you are to escape from metaphysics. And if you cannot escape from metaphysics you cannot be religious. Metaphysics and religion are opposite pillars. Do not begin with God at all. Always begin with your mind — where you are: always begin from there. If you begin from your mind, then something can be done. Then you can know something, then something can be transformed. Then it is within your capacity to do something. And if your capacity to do something with yourself is used completely, you will grow, you will expand, your barrier will be gone, your consciousness will be naked. Only then can you begin with the divine.
When you have begun, when you are in contact with the divine, then you know what grace is, what gratitude is. Grace is that which you feel showering upon you from everywhere, and gratitude is that which you feel within your heart, at the center of that inner space upon which the whole is showering his love, his compassion, his grace. Only then is it meaningful to say:
“Oh God” or “Hare Ram”. Otherwise our words are just words — not known from existence but only learned from language, learned from the scriptures.
So I will not say what the attributes of God are. As far as I am concerned, as far as I know, God has no attributes, but it does not mean that when we come in contact with him we will not feel his love; we will not feel his grace. It only means that these are not his attributes. These are his nature. This is how he happens to be, and he cannot be otherwise. Even when you are close to him, even when you are standing just opposite to him, just giving your back to him, then too he is the same.
It is just like light: your eyes are closed; the light is there. It will not go into non-existence just for the sake that your eyes are closed. Open your eyes! The light is there; it has always been there. Begin with your eyes.
You can never think anything about light. How can you think? And any thinking, any contemplating, will be wrong. From the very beginning it will be wrong. You cannot think, you have not known. Thinking about that which is known can go on in circles. It can never touch the unknown. It can never conceive of the unknown. The unknown is not for thinking. That is why thinkers will go on denying God: because to them he is not known.
When someone says God is not, it is not that he is against God. It is only that he is the man who thinks. It is nothing else. He is not against God, because to be against God will have to be preceded by knowing him. He is not against God. One who knows cannot be against. One who has known, how can he be against? He cannot be. It only shows that he just goes on thinking. And thinking cannot conceive of the unknown, so he denies it.
Do not begin with God. That is a false beginning. It always leads to nonsense. So all metaphysics is nonsense. It goes on thinking about things about which nothing can be thought. It goes on giving statements about the existence about which no statements can be given. Only silence can be a statement about it. But if you begin with yourself, then much that is solid can be said. If you begin with yourself, then something scientific can be done. If you begin with yourself, then you begin with the right beginning.
Religion means to begin with oneself, and metaphysics means to begin with God. So metaphysics is madness — of course, with a method. All madmen are metaphysicians without method and all metaphysicians are mad but with methodology. Because of their methodology they seem to be talking sense, and they go on talking nonsense.
Begin with yourself. Do not ask whether God exists. Ask whether “I” exist. Do not ask whether love is an attribute of the divine. Ask whether love is an attribute of mine, whether I have ever loved. Do not ask about grace. Ask whether I have ever felt gratitude, because that is the pole which is just nearby, which is just a step from us. We can know it.
Always begin from the beginning. Never begin from the end because then it is no beginning at all. One who begins from the beginning always reaches the end and one who begins from the end does not even reach the beginning, because to begin from the end is impossible. You can just go on and on.
Make God not a metaphysical notion but a religious experience. Go inward. He is there always waiting for you. But then you have to do something with yourself. That doing is meditation; that doing is yoga. Do something with yourself. As you are, you are closed. As you are, you are dead. As you are, you are not in any dialogue. You cannot be in any dialogue with the divine, with the existence. So transform yourself. Open some doors, break open some spaces, make some windows, jump outside of your mind, your past. And then it is not only that you will know, but you will live. You will live with the grace of the divine, you will live with the love; you will be part of it, just a ripple of it. And once you have become a ripple of it, a wave of the divine, only then is there authentic divineness.
So I am not a metaphysician at all. You can call me an anti-metaphysician. Religion is existential. Begin from yourself; begin transforming your aggressive mind. Let it be just receptive.
I would like to tell you Buddha tried for six years continuously to know what the divine is. And it cannot be said that he left anything undone. He did everything that is humanly possible, even some things which seem humanly impossible. He did everything. Whatever was known up to his day he practiced. Whatever methods were taught to him, he became a master of them.
He went to all the gurus that existed in his time, to everyone. And whatever they could teach, he learned, he practiced, and then he said, “Anything more, sir?” And the guru said, “Now you can go, because all that I could give you I have given, and I cannot say, as I say in other cases, that you have not practiced. You have practiced. This is all that I can give.” Buddha said, “I have not known the divine yet.”
With each guru this happened. Then he left all the gurus. Then he invented his own methods. Continuously, for six years, he was in a struggle of life and death. He did everything that could be done. Then at last, he was so tired of doing, so deadly tired, that one day when he was taking his evening bath in the Niranjana River near Bodhgaya, he felt so weak and so tired that he could not come out of the river. He just clung to a root of a tree and a thought came to his mind: “I have become so weak; I cannot even cross this small river. How will I be alive to cross the whole ocean of the world? I have done everything and I have not found the divine. I have only tired my body.”
He felt that he was on the verge of death. At that very moment he felt that he had done everything, and now there was nothing to do. He relaxed, and new energy came upon him because of his relaxation. All that was suppressed through those six years flowered. He came out of the river. He felt just like a feather, a bird’s feather — weightless. He relaxed under the Bodhi tree.
It was a bright full-moon night. Someone came: a girl, a shudra-low-caste-girl named Sujata. The name shows that the girl must have been a shudra because to have the name “Sujata” means she has not come from a higher caste. Sujata means “well born”. She has promised the Bodhi tree to pay it some homage daily, so she had come with some sweets.
Buddha is there — tired, pale, bloodless, but relaxed, absolutely unburdened, and it is a full-moon night with nobody around. The girl, Sujata, felt that the deity of the tree has come to receive her homage. Had it been another day, Buddha could have refused. He would not rest in the night; he would not eat any food. But today he was totally relaxed. He took the food and he slept. This was the first night after six years that he really slept.
He was relaxed with nothing to do. Then there was no worry. There was no tomorrow even, because tomorrow exists only because one has to do something. If one has not to do anything, then there is no tomorrow. Then the moment is enough.
Buddha slept, and in the morning at five o’clock, when the last star was withering away, he is out of the sleep. He saw the last star disappearing, with no mind, because when you have nothing to do there is no mind. The mind is just a faculty for doing something. It is a technical faculty. No mind, nothing to do, no effort on his part, indifferent to whether he was alive or dead, he just opens his eyes and he begins to dance. He had come to that knowing to which he could not come through so many efforts.
Whenever someone would ask him how he achieved, he would say, “The more I tried to achieve, the more I was at a loss. I could not achieve. So how can I say I have achieved? The more I tried, the more I was involved. I could not achieve. The mind was trying to transcend itself, which was impossible. It is just like trying to be a father to yourself, just trying to give birth to yourself.”
So Buddha will say, “I cannot say I achieved. I can only say I tried so much that I was annihilated. I tried so much that any effort became absurd. And the moment came when I was not trying, when the mind was not, when I was not thinking. Then there was no future because there was no past. Both are always together. Past is behind; future is in front. They are always conjoined. If one drops, the other drops simultaneously. Then there was no future, no past, no mind. I was mindless, I was I-less. Then something happened, and I cannot say that this something happened in that moment. I can only say that this was always happening; only I was not aware. I cannot say that this happened in that moment. It was always happening, only I was closed. So I cannot say I have achieved something.”
Buddha said, “I can only say I have lost something — the ego, the mind. I have not achieved anything at all. Now I know that all that I have was always there. It was in every layer, it was in every stone, in every flower, but now I recognize it was always so. Only I was blind. So I have lost my blindness; I have not achieved anything, I have lost something.” If you begin with the divine, then you begin to achieve. If you begin with yourself, then you begin to lose. Things will begin to disappear, and ultimately you will disappear. And when you are not, the divine is with all its grace, with all its love, with all its compassion, but only when you are not.
Your non-existence is the categorical condition. For no one can it be relaxed. It is categorical; it is the absolute. You are the barrier. Fall down, and then you know. And only when you know, you know. You cannot understand it; I cannot explain it to you. I cannot make you understand it. So whatever I am saying, I am not saying anything metaphysical. I am only trying to show you that you must begin with yourself.
If you begin with yourself you will end with the divine, because that is your other part, the other pole. But begin from this bank. Do not begin from the other where you are not. You cannot begin from there. Begin from where you are, and the more you will go deep, the less you will be. The more you will know yourself, the less a self you will be. And once you have come to total understanding about yourself, you will be annihilated, you will go into non-existence, you will be totally negative — not. And in that not — in that total negation, you will know the grace which is always falling, which is always raining down from eternity. You will know the love which is always around you. It has always been, but you have not paid any attention to it. Be annihilated, and you will be aware of it.
From I Am the Gate, Chapter Four
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