Life is not a problem but a mystery. For science life is a problem, but for religion it is a mystery. A problem can be solved, a mystery cannot be solved – it can be lived but it cannot be solved. Religion offers no solutions, no answers. Science offers answers; religion has none.
This is the basic difference, and before you make any effort to understand what religion is, this basic difference in the very approach of a religious mind and a scientific mind is to be deeply understood.
When I say that science looks at life as a problem, as something which can be solved, the whole approach becomes intellectual. Then the mind is involved, not you. You are out of it. The mind manipulates, the mind tackles, the mind penetrates and analyses. The mind argues, doubts, experiments, but you as a totality are out of it. Hence this very puzzling phenomenon: a scientist may be a very keen intellectual as far as his own department of research is concerned, but in ordinary life he will be just as ordinary a human being as anyone else – nothing special, just ordinary. In his own branch of knowledge he may be a genius, but in life he is just ordinary.
Science includes only your intellect, not your totality. An intellect has a violence, it is aggressive. That is why very few women can be scientists – aggression is not natural to them. Intellect is male, aggressive, violent: that is why men are more scientific and women are more religious. Intellect tries to dissect, divide, analyze, and whenever you dissect an alive thing, the life disappears. Only dead parts are left in your hands.
That is why science never touches life. Really, whatsoever it touches becomes dead. When science says there is no soul or there is no God it is meaningful, not because there is no soul or no God, but because this shows that the very approach of the scientific mind is such that you cannot touch life anywhere. Wherever science touches, death happens. In the very method, in the very way, in the very approach of division, analysis, dissection, life is bracketed out.
One thing: intellect is violent and aggressive, so the ultimate outcome through intellect can only be death, not life. It is partial, not total, and parts are dead. Life is an organic unity. You can know life through synthesis, not through analysis. The greater the synthesis the higher the forms of life that evolve. God is the ultimate synthesis, the total unity, the wholeness of existence. God is not a puzzle but the ultimate synthesis of all that is – matter is the ultimate analysis of all that is.
So science comes to atomic materiality and religion comes to cosmic consciousness. Science moves downwards to the last, lowest denominator and religion moves upwards to the highest denominator. They move in opposite dimensions. So science transforms everything into a problem, because if you have to tackle it scientifically, you first have to decide whether it is a problem or not. Religion takes mystery as the base. There is no problem, life is not a problem. The emphasis is that it cannot be solved. A problem means something solvable, something which can be known, something knowable. It may not be known right now, but it is not unknowable. At the most it may be unknown, but that unknownness will disappear and it will be transformed into a known thing.
So really, religion cannot ask a question like, “What is life?” This is absurd. Religion cannot ask such a question as, “What is God?” This is nonsense. The very approach of religion is not to create problems. Religion can ask how to be more alive, how to be in the very current of life, how to live abundantly; religion can ask how to be a God – but it cannot ask what God is.
We can live mysteries, we can become one with them, we can lose ourselves in them, we can have a totally difference existence, the very quality changes – but nothing is solved, because nothing can be solved. And all that appears to be solvable, all that appears to be knowable, is only because we are taking it in fragments. If we look at the whole then nothing is knowable, we just go on pushing the mystery backwards. All our questions are temporary, they appear to be answers only to lazy minds. If you have a penetrating mind you will come again upon the same mystery, only it has been pushed back, a step back. Just behind the answers the question is hidden. You have simply created a facade of an answer, just a curtain over the mystery.
If you can feel the distinction, then from the very beginning religion takes on a different shape, a different color and a different view. The whole perspective changes. These techniques that we are discussing here are not to solve anything – they don’t take life as a problem. Life is there. It has been a mystery and will remain a mystery. Whatsoever we do we cannot demystify it, because to be mysterious is the very quality of it. That life is mysterious is not something accidental, it is not something which can be separated, it is the very life itself. So to me, the more you enter into the mysterium, into the mysterious, the more religious you become.
A really religious man will not say that he believes in God; he will not say that God exists. These things seem to be very superficial, they seem to be like answers given to certain questions. A religious man cannot utter such profanities – that God is. It is such a profound phenomenon, such a mysterious thing, that to say anything will be profane. So whenever someone asked Buddha whether God existed or not, he remained silent. You are asking a thing which cannot be answered. Not that there is no God, but to answer such a thing will make it answerable. Then life will become a problem which can be answered. Then the mystery disappears. So Buddha said, “Don’t ask me any metaphysical questions.”
Questions can only be physical. Physics can answer them. Metaphysical questions are not there, they cannot be, because metaphysics means the mystery.
These techniques are to help you to move more deeply into mystery, not into knowledge.
Or you can look at it in a different way: these techniques are to help you to be unburdened of your knowledge. They are not to help you to increase your ‘knowledgeability’, because ‘knowledgeability’ is the barrier. The door is then closed for the mystery. The more you know, the less you are capable of penetrating deep into life. The original wonder must be recaptured, because in a childlike sense of wonder nothing is known and everything becomes a mystery. And if you move into the mystery, the deeper you move, the deeper the mystery becomes. Then a moment comes when you can say that you don’t know anything. That is the right moment.
Now you have become meditative. When you can feel a deep ignorance, when you become aware that you don’t know anything, you have come to the right balancing point from where the door of the mystery can open. If you know, then the door is closed; if you are ignorant, fully alert that you don’t know anything, the door suddenly opens. The very feeling that you don’t know opens the door.
So take these techniques not as knowledge, but as a help to make you more innocent. Ignorance is innocent, knowledge is always a sort of cunningness, cleverness. If you can use your knowledge to be ignorant again, then you have used it rightly. This is the only use of all the scriptures, of all the knowledge, of all the Vedas – to make you childlike again.
From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #65
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