Friedrich Nietzsche declared that God is dead and hence man is free. That has been one of the most ancient arguments: if God is, man cannot be free. How can man be free if God is? Then God is the master and man is the slave. Then God decides, man has only to follow. Then God has will and man has no will; man is only a plaything in the hands of God. So either God is, or man is free. If man is free, there can be no God at all.
Charvakas in ancient India, Epicurus in Greece, and then Nietzsche, Marx, Diderot, Freud, Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre, they all have been repeating the same argument again and again in different words. The argument seems to be very appealing. The argument proposes freedom for man: man can be free only if God is removed. Then there is nobody above man. Then there is nobody to dominate man, nobody to decide for man. If there is nothing higher than man, then freedom is absolute. But howsoever appealing the argument, it is fundamentally wrong; it is based on wrong premises.
The declaration that God is dead is in a sense true: the false god, the man-made God, is certainly dead. The god of the temples and the churches and the synagogues and the mosques and the gurudwaras is certainly dead. The god that man has imagined in his own image, the god that man has made according to his own wishes, the god that is nothing but a projection of man’s mind and desires, that god certainly is dead.
But that god had really never existed; it is dead because it has never existed in the first place. And it is good that the man-made god is dead, because when the artificial is removed the natural can sprout. When the false ceases the true can explode. The untrue MUST cease for the truth to be.
I look at atheism with great respect, because it removes the false. It has a great work to do. Its work is not against God; its work really is for God, because it destroys all man-made idols of God. And then, in that emptiness, the time God can become manifest, can be revealed.
All the great saints have been against the false god. They will agree perfectly with Nietzsche, Freud, Jean-Paul Sartre. Of course, they will agree for a totally different reason: not that the true God is dead, not that the true God can ever be dead. To say that God is dead is a contradiction in terms if by God you mean the true God, the God ‘that which is’. It is a contradiction in terms because God is nothing but life, and how can life be dead? It goes on and on, it is an unending process. Life is a pilgrimage with no beginning and no end; God is another name for life.
Those who know, they know God as the fragrance of life, the perfume of existence, the very ground of being. For them, God is not a concept, not a theory, not a hypothesis. For them, God is an existential experience. For them God is not separate from man, for them God is man’s innermost core.
Hence how can man’s freedom and God be antagonistic? Without God there would be no freedom, because without God there would be no man. Without God there would be no inner core to your being. Without God you would be hollow; you wouldn’t have any meaning, any significance. Without God you would be just accidental, a plaything of circumstances. With God you have a certain significance, some meaning, some poetry.
With God you are free because God is your freedom. God gives you space to grow; God is the space to grow in. Because there is something higher, you can grow, you can reach for it, but the higher is not separate from you. The higher is nothing but your own depth trying to manifest itself. The higher is not something like a goal to be achieved. It is more like something which is already there and has only to be recognized. The height and the depth are one and the same. Your innermost core is also the innermost core of the whole existence.
To think of God and man is wrong. God is man fulfilled, man is God on the way. Man is the journey, God is the reaching, the arrival. Man is like a seed and God is like a flower… one chain of growth.
God is not to be worshiped but realized. There is no need to make temples for God. You have to learn how to look within you. The temple is already there: your body is the temple! That’s what Kabir goes on saying again and again: your body is the temple. God has already chosen it as its abode.
God is already in you, God exists as you. Hence there is no question of any conflict between you and God; there cannot be. Without God you would be just a flower without fragrance. Without God you would be a temple without any deity, empty. Without God you would be just pure accident, with no significance at all. It is only with God that you become part of the great symphony of existence, that you become something which is needed, utterly needed; that without you existence will miss something, that without you existence will be less.
God is not an ideal as we have been thinking down the ages. And it is good that that God is dead; now we can declare the birth of a new God. Now we can declare the true God. The true God is always your interiority, your subjectivity.
Jean-Paul Sartre, one of the most important atheists of this age, says that we cannot allow God to exist because His existence reduces us to objects. He becomes the subject – He is omniscient, He goes on looking at us, and because He looks at us and we cannot look at Him, we are reduced to objects, things, commodities. Whenever you look at a thing you cannot look at its interiority, you can look only at its outer core. By looking, you reduce everything to a thing.
That’s why in all the cultures, in all the societies down the ages, looking at somebody for a certain period is thought to be unmannerly. For almost two or three seconds you can look and there will be no objection, that is casual; you are passing by and you look at a person, just a casual look, a glance. But if you stare it is offensive. Why? Why is looking at a person for too long offensive? It reduces him into an object: you become the seer and he becomes the seen. And who are you to reduce him into an object? It is offensive!
Jean-Paul Sartre also says that that is one of the reasons why lovers always go on fighting, because they both go on looking at each other, reducing each other into things, and nobody likes it. The man does not like to be reduced into a thing, neither does the woman like it. And they are lovers so they stare at each other – it is offensive; even in love it is offensive. Deep down somewhere your being revolts against it.
Women are far more sensitive, naturally. They are more graceful. When they are making love they close their eyes; they don’t reduce the man who is making love to them into an object. Man is a little crude: he likes to see while he is making love. Even while he is making love he wants to see, he would like to keep the light on. And there are extremists also who would like it to be photographed, so they can make an album and later on they can look at it.
But the woman feels offended. Certainly she is more sensitive, and her sense of propriety is far more refined than the sense of man. You kiss a woman, she immediately closes her eyes – she gives you the freedom of being a subject.
Jean-Paul Sartre has some truth in his statement that lovers are always in conflict because they reduce each other into things, and nobody wants to be a thing. Then what to say about God? – He reduces the whole humanity, all beings, into things. He is the eternal subject and we are objects. Hence Sartre says we cannot allow God to exist. Even if He is, He has to be killed, He has to be destroyed.
There have been thinkers like Immanuel Kant, Schiller, Hegel, who say: If there is no God He has to be invented, because without God man will lose all significance. And they are also right: even if there is no God he has to be invented, for man’s sake. It is better to have an invented God than not to have any. At least He will give an appearance of significance to life, a certain rhythm. The noise will start looking at least like music. The accidental will not be accidental any more, some meaning will arise. Hence they say if there is no God, He has to be invented.
And on the other pole, Jean-Paul Sartre, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud say: Even if there is God, He has to be killed, because if He remains man is reduced into an object. Man loses all freedom, man loses all will. But both are wrong, because both are thinking in terms of God as if God is the other.
Kabir says – just as all the mystics of all the ages have been saying – God is not the other. He is you. He is your inside. He is your subjectivity, so how can He reduce you into an object? He is not separate, so how can He take your freedom away? He need not be invented because He is already there. And He need not be killed, because in killing Him you will be simply committing suicide – and that is impossible; nobody can commit suicide. You can drop one body, you will immediately enter into another womb. Suicide is impossible. You can pretend the game of committing suicide but you can never succeed in it, because nothing can be destroyed. Not even a grain of sand can be destroyed.
Physicists say there is no possibility of destroying anything. Neither can something new be created nor can something existent be destroyed. If this is so even about a grain of sand, what to say about the being of man?’ – that is the highest flowering – how can it be destroyed?
Life is eternal. Life is immortal. It changes forms, certainly, just like the waves in the ocean go on changing but the ocean remains. Bodies come and go, minds come and go, but your innermost witness remains always there. And that witness is God.
Hegel, Kant, Schiller, are wrong; so is Freud, so is Nietzsche, so is Jean-Paul Sartre. They both accept the same premise: that God is the other. And God is not the other. God is your very soul.
God is already in you… just a little alertness.
Wake up and see! You need not wait for the Guest. The Guest has already arrived in the very being of the host. The Guest is found in the host.
From The Guest, Discourse #13
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