I don’t understand – What does the word God mean? I really don’t understand. God, what is that? You say life is everything. Life is what is, what counts, here and now – no planning, no wishing, no wanting, no hoping, no searching. Live now, spontaneously. Just be. Yes. I understand that, but what is “God”? Is God the same word for life? For what is? But why do we use the word ‘God’ and not just life? They say “God” is the one who created the world. Is that what God is?
The question is of course from somebody who is very new here. Many things will have to be understood. First: there is no need to understand what “God” is, because whatsoever God is cannot be understood. Understanding is not the right direction towards God. Understanding means you are trying intellectually – through logic, reason, concepts – and that’s the sure way to miss God.
It is as if somebody is trying to see through the ears. He will not be able to see. Or somebody is trying to hear with the eyes. He will not be able to hear. The ears are to hear and the eyes are to see.
The intellect is utilitarian. It helps while you are moving outside of your being. It is helpful as a guide in the world of the without. The moment you turn inwards it becomes useless; it is no more a guide. Then it misguides. There is a limit to the intellect… and God can be felt only, not understood.
When you are moving inwards, you come closer to the source of your own being – and that is the source of all being. If I can come to my own self, I have come to the supreme self, because at the center I am no more I AM; I am the whole. But the movement has to be inwards, the movement has to be somewhere deep in the depth.
Intellect is superficial – so if you are trying to understand God, you will go on missing. The first thing to be understood is that understanding is not the right direction. Feeling….
Once a Christian missionary asked a very primitive man, an aboriginal, “Who told you what you know of God?”
The primitive laughed and replied, “Told? Whoever is so stupid that they have got to be told about God? Never did any man know God by ‘tolds.’ You get God by ‘feels.’ All the told there is to it is his name. You call him God, I call him Gallah. I English Gallah’s name so you can understand me, but whoever has got anything by ‘tolds’?”
Whatsoever you know about “God” is through ‘tolds’ – the parents, the society, the culture. It is your conditioning. And now you have got a concept about God and you are trying to understand that word. “God” is not a word. The word God is not god. The word is simply a word; in itself empty and meaningless.
If you really want to know what God is, you will have to drop the word and move into feeling. You will have to drop the mind and move into no-mind. Love will bring you closer to it than thinking.
And when I say “Life is God,” I am saying that if you want, you can experience God but you cannot understand. Life cannot be understood. You can live it – that is the only understanding there is. But you are worried. You say that you understand that – but what is “God”? If you understand that, if you understand what life is, you will never ask what God is. In that very understanding, the problem of “God” is solved.
A man who has lived life in its totality has understood all that is there to understand. He will be full of God. He has given enough of God to himself and there will be no problem of understanding.
You have not given anything of life to yourself. Empty you live. Hiding in a cocoon you live. Blind, deaf, you live. Dead you live. You have not given any life at all to your being – and there is the flavor, there is the taste of what “God” is. You have to eat out of life. You have to drink out of life. You have to live, merge into it.
But the mind is cunning; it goes on thinking about “God.” Thinking is a very secure situation. You never go out of yourself. You go on playing with words. If you are too interested in the word, if you want to know what the word “God” means… it doesn’t mean “God”. If you are only interested in the linguistic symbol God, then you can ask the linguists; don’t come to me. They say that God is derived from a word ghu-to. That ghu-to means “the called one,” nothing else.
If you call life, it becomes God – the called one. If you provoke life, it becomes god.
“God” is a certain situation in life when you provoke it, when you pray to it, when you are in a deep dialogue with it. When you look at the sky and you say, “Father, who art in heaven…” you have called life. Now life is no more just life – it has become the called one, the provoked one. The word God simply means that.
In deep love, someday one cries, one starts uttering words… a dialogue arises. Life is no more “it”; it becomes a “thou”. That is the meaning of the word God. If life becomes your beloved, if life becomes a thou and you are in deep relationship with it, suddenly life has become God.
“God” is a deep communion with life.
If you are just trying to understand the word…. Yes, there is a need to use a different word – God – rather than just calling it “life” — life provoked, called life in deep relationship.
An ordinary woman passes by. She is a woman – but if love calls in your heart she is no more a woman; she is a beloved. We can say all beloveds are women. To become a beloved is a certain function in the being of a woman – when she is called, when she is no more just a “she”, she becomes “thou,” becomes related.
Have you watched this transfiguration? The woman may have passed you many times, you may have seen her many times, yet she was just a woman, as there are millions of women. Then suddenly one day something changes. The woman is no more an ordinary woman; she has become divine. She is a beloved. Now suddenly she has come close to you; your heart has called.
Or a man. You know him, as one of so many men – just a statistic, just a number in millions of men; he has no particular face for you, is unrelated to you… if that man disappears and is replaced by another, you will not even notice the difference; he is only a number, is not yet a person to you; unprovoked, uncalled, he remains anonymous, he has no name…. Then suddenly one day love arises. He is no more an ordinary man; he has become a God.
Provoked, called, related, you have become… a communion has happened. And not only that the man has changed; you are also changed simultaneously. Something of the beyond has entered.
Yes, there is a function of the word God – life provoked, life becomes a thou, life becomes a person. You are no more indifferent to it. You feel for it – a communion has happened. Then life becomes God. Then life is no more with a lower case “l”; now it is with a capital “L” – Life.
But there is no way to understand “God” through intellect, because there is no way to understand love through intellect. “God” is love provoked. And in that light of love, everything is transformed. It is alchemical, magical.
Give a little of “God” to you—that’s my whole effort. When I say “Life is God,” I am meaning to say don’t see “God” in the temples and the mosques and the churches. There you will find the “God” of the philosophers, theologians – which is a bogus God, a false coin, a counterfeit. Look in the trees, in the flowers, in the stars, in humanity, in animals, in birds. Wherever there is life, look deep down there. Provoke God there. Pray there. Pray before a tree. Pray before an animal. Pray before the stars. Provoke God there. There is the real temple.
When I say “Life is God”, I mean this – don’t be confined in temples and don’t be confined in churches and don’t be confined by Bibles and Gitas and Korans. Don’t be confined at all. Life is infinite. Meet life as it is. Meet the infinite. Don’t be afraid of the infinite.
Where is the fear of the infinite? The fear is that with the infinite you will disappear. In a church you cannot disappear. You can manage. A church is your construction. It is arbitrary. It is artificial. It is a plastic flower. You can control it, manipulate it. Behind the curtain are your hands. The God in the church is your creation.
The real God is totally different. If you come to the real God – the life – then you are God’s creation. Then God is behind everything. In the church you are behind everything. The church is a deception.
So when I say “Life is God,” I simply mean don’t create substitute Gods, don’t create substitute temples. This vast space is the temple and this infinitely moving life is the god. Give a little of God to you and then you will understand. And that understanding will not be of the intellect; that will be more of your total being. It will be more of the blood and the guts.
I was-reading an anecdote:
A man was brooding over his beer at the bar-room, and said to his friend, “I tell you, Mulligan, I don’t know what I am going to do about my wife.”
“What is it now?”
“The same old thing – money. She is always asking for money. Only last Thursday she wanted ten dollars, yesterday she was around asking for twenty, and this morning, if you please, she demanded fifty dollars!”
“What does she do with all the money, for heaven’s sake?” asked the friend.
“There is no way of finding out. I never give her any.”
Give a little of God to you, then you will stop asking what “God” is. You don’t give yourself a little of God and then you go on asking. Nobody else can give you God, remember. You will have to come to terms with God on your own. I cannot give God to you. God is not a commodity, it is not a thing. It is such an experience that only you can have it.
You will have to move alone. You will have to go totally alone, naked of all thoughts, totally naked, naked of all philosophies, naked of all scriptures. And once you have tasted a little, you will understand. Love life, and by and by a light will arise in your being. Through deep love of life one comes to understand what God is.
The last part of the question is: They say “God” is the one who created the world.
“God” is the world. The mind goes on creating dualisms. It says: “God is the one who created the world”—then “the world” is separate and “God” is separate. God is not separate. He cannot be separate from his world. If he is separate, the world cannot exist for a single moment without him. He is the very life of life.
So don’t imagine God as a painter who paints on a canvas and then the canvas is separate and god is separate. The painter can die but the painting can continue.
Because of this duality, Nietzsche could say, “God is dead.” What is the need of him? He created the world – finished! Why go on carrying the load? What is the need of God? Once he created the world then what is the need? The world is there, you are there. This God can only be a hindrance. He will come between you and your life – be finished with him!
And Nietzsche was right in a way: that is the logical conclusion of duality. The world is perfectly right without him. Why bring him in? In fact, the more you bring him in, the more trouble arises. Look at the religions. How many wars, murders, violence? What has not happened in the name of religion? The world has suffered tremendously.
“…Be finished with God! He created the world; give him a last thank you and be finished. Now he is no more needed. Already too old, almost a ruin….” Nietzsche said, “God is dead, and man is free now.” This is the logical conclusion of dualistic thinking.
In the East we have never thought of God as a painter. We have thought of God as a dancer. The dance cannot be separated from the dancer; the painting can be separated. That’s why dance is alive and painting is dead. Howsoever beautiful a painting, it is dead. It is separate from the creator. The moment it is separate it is dead. It may have lived a life in the mind of the painter; it may have been alive when it was not painted. The moment it is painted it is finished; it is already a dead product. But a dance….
In India we call God Nataraj – the god of dancers. You must have seen Shiva dancing. That is the eastern concept about God – a non-dual concept. When the dancer stops, the dancing stops. You cannot separate the dancing from the dancer. And dancing comes to a culmination, to a crescendo, when the dancer is completely lost in it – when there is neither a dancer nor a dancing; both are one… one movement of sheer energy and delight.
That’s why nothing can be compared with dancing – poetry, painting, sculpture; nothing comes close to it. Dancing remains the supreme art. And that is the first art that was born and that will remain the last art also, because dancing has some quality in it of life itself.
God is a dancer. He is not a creator in the sense of a painter; he is a creator in the sense of a dancer.
Then let me say it in another way. God is not a creator but creativity… a dynamic energy. The moment you say creator, he is dead. The very word creator has a full-stop in it. Creativity with an open end, tremendously moving and moving and reaching to higher and higher peaks….
The animals are a dance of God. The trees are also a dance of God. Humanity is also a dance of God, reaching higher and higher. God is moving faster and faster – more mad, more fast, getting dissolved into his dance.
A Buddha or a Jesus is the ultimate of his dance… where the dancer is so completely drunk and mad that he has become the dance.
That’s why I say that if you live life in its dynamism you will come closer to God – because he is still dancing. Don’t say that he created the world – he is still creating. Otherwise how do the trees go on growing? How do the flowers go on blooming? Every moment the world is being renewed. Every morning fresh life is released.
No, the Christian God is false – the God who created the world in six days and then rested on the seventh. It doesn’t seem true – a holiday for a God will be a death. Just think of it. A holiday for a God will be a death to his creation. The dancer cannot go for a holiday otherwise the dance will disappear. And the very idea that God got tired is stupid. He is still creating. He is nothing but creativity.
Think in terms of energy; don’t think in terms of things. Think in terms of energy. The wild ocean…. God is a wild ocean of energy – goes on and on, waves upon waves, unending. There has never been a beginning. The very idea of a beginning is of the mind. How can the world begin?
Before Darwin, Christians used to believe that God created the world on a particular date. One foolish theologian even decided the date and the day – four thousand and four years before Jesus, exactly on a Monday he started… it must have been the first of January.
Then the question arises – what was he doing before that? Don’t ask Christians; they will get angry. Even a man like Saint Augustine became very, very angry. One man asked – the question seems to be relevant and innocent – he asked, “I can understand that God created the world four thousand and four years before Jesus Christ was born, but what was he doing before that?”
Of course there is no answer to it in Christian theology. Saint Augustine became very angry and he said, “He was brooding and thinking about punishments for people like you who ask such questions.”
This is not very saintly. The question was very innocent; this anger is irrelevant. But the man raised a question which topples down the whole Christian theology. No, there has never been a beginning. There cannot be, because then the question will always arise:
What was there before the beginning? And there is never going to be any end, because the question will arise: Then what will be after the end? If you can conceive anything before the beginning, then that was not the beginning. If you can conceive anything after the end, then that is not the end.
The world is an ongoing process. “God” is creativity – creating and creating and creating. In fact the moment I say creating, I don’t feel very happy. Language is not exactly capable of expressing it. The moment I say “creating”, again it seems that he is separate.
No, “God” is the creator and he is the created. “God” is the same energy which becomes a rock, becomes a tree, becomes a man… the same energy which becomes a sinner and becomes a saint… the same energy which weeps and cries and laughs… the same energy which becomes the day and the night, life and death, summer and winter – non-dual.
Existence is God called through love, provoked through love. The moment you become capable of prayer, existence becomes God. The moment you become capable of deep love, life becomes God. It is a transfiguration of the same energy.
So, “God” is not something which exists there like an object. If I have experienced him, I cannot show him to you. Unless you provoke him, unless you come to terms with him, unless you kneel down in prayer, unless you call him, you cannot know him.
And the dilemma is that first you want to be perfectly certain whether he is, then you can pray. And only through prayer he is; only through trust he is. And you want first to be certain about the very hypothesis that God is, then you can trust. Now this is the dilemma. If you choose that first you need certainty, then you will never be able to know what “God” is.
It is only for gamblers to know God — who are not worried about certainty, who are ready to move in danger, who are ready to move in insecurity, who are ready to move into the unknown, who are ready to leave the comfortable past, the convenient past, who are like small children – always wondering and always wandering. God is only for those who are courageous. It is the greatest courage there is.
Because it is the most difficult thing – almost impossible for the mind to do. First comes trust and then arises god. You create god through your trust. Here you open the eyes of trust and suddenly life takes a change, is transformed – it becomes godly, it becomes divine.
“God” is your subjectivity, your innermost rest, coming home. “God” has nothing to do with theology; it has something to do with the way you live your life – whether you live through the mind or you live through the heart.
If you live through the heart, forget all about “God” —he will take care himself. He will come; he will knock at your heart. Sooner or later you will hear the sound of his footsteps coming closer and closer. Your very heartbeats will become the footsteps… the sound of his footsteps. Your very breathing will be his coming in and his going out.
From Nirvana: The Last Nightmare, Chapter Four
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