Jesus says: God is love. But I say unto you: Love is God. ‘Love’ is a far more important word than the word ‘God’; ‘love’ has existential meaning. The word ‘God’ is utterly empty; it signifies nothing, it relates to nothing in you. It is a pure word, pure in the sense that it has no corresponding reality in your experience.
Although both words indicate the same truth: ‘love’ is the poet’s word, ‘God’ is the word of the theologian. But obviously the poetic insight is deeper, profounder, and the poet’s sensibility is also far more refined, far more subtle than that of the theologian. The poet’s vision is more aesthetic too, more beautiful, more exquisite; it has more grace, more meaning, more significance. And moreover, the theologian’s choice has been contaminated down the ages by so many people – Hindus, Christians, Mohammedans – by so many churches, so many religions, that have pretended to be religious and were not.
Love still remains uncontaminated; it is still virgin.
So let me repeat: rather than saying God is love, say love is God, and you will be closer to the truth. And not only closer – you will be immediately related to truth, because love is your experience. It may not be so profound that it becomes God, but still, even unrefined gold is gold. Even the uncut, unpolished diamond is diamond. The diamond may be lost in the mud, but it can be cleaned any moment; the mud cannot enter into its being.
Love is your being. And the moment we use the word ‘God’ great controversies arise. Use the word ‘love’, and theism, atheism, and all kinds of unnecessary arguments are discarded.
Love also represents the innermost core of existence itself. Existence is not indifferent to you, it is not detached. It is committed to you, it cares for you. It may not care the way you want to be cared for, but it still cares in its own way. And what you expect may not really be your need, it may be just the opposite.
Existence really fulfills your needs – not your likes and dislikes, not your wants, but your real, true, authentic needs are always taken care of. Existence cannot be indifferent to you: you are part of it. To be indifferent to you will mean it is indifferent to itself – that is impossible. Existence would have disappeared long ago if it was so.
We are its waves. We are flowers of this tree of life and existence. Your desire to be loved, and your desire to love, is your supreme most desire. It must show something of your basic fundamental nature, it must represent your innermost core – it does represent it.
Once you understand love as God, your whole vision of life will change. Then you will not go to worship in a temple or a church or a mosque: then love will be your worship. And then you will not be afraid of existence, because it cares for you. Fear will disappear. You will not be afraid even of death, because death can take away only that which is not needed any more, but it cannot destroy you.
Existence is your mother, it cannot allow destruction. Nothing is ever destroyed. Now even physicists agree with it: nothing is ever destroyed and nothing is ever created. Not even a small grain of sand can be destroyed or created. Existence contains the same quantity of matter, life, love and energy as it has contained always, as it will contain always.
Martin Luther has said a tremendously significant thing. He says “Pecca fortiter: sin boldly.” It is strange. The statement seems to be unbelievable – a man like Luther saying, “Sin boldly.” But the meaning is really worth pondering over. He is saying: Love permeates the whole of existence, so don’t be afraid. Even if you are in sin, be boldly in it, because existence is always ready to forgive, is forgiving. Love always is forgiving. He does not mean that you should go and sin. He is simply saying: Your greatest sin is nothing compared to the forgiveness that goes on flowing from existence towards you.
Just the other day, somebody asked me, “I am a great sinner. Can I also realize God?”
You cannot be that great a sinner. You cannot be so fallen that God’s hand cannot reach you, you cannot be so weighted and burdened by sin that God cannot uplift you. The gravitation of sin cannot be more than the grace of God.
This is one of the fundamentals of Sufism that God is unconditionally forgiving – he has to be, because his nature is love. Love is his reality. It is not that love forgives: love is forgiveness. There is no question of forgiving you. The question arises only if God has already becomes angry with you. Only then does the question of forgiving arise.
But God cannot be angry with you. You are the way he has made you, you are not your own creation. How can he be angry with you? That would amount to being angry with himself; that would be a self-condemnation.
But you start thinking about small things as if you are doing great sins. The ego always loves to do great things. Even if you are doing something wrong, you want to pretend that this is the greatest wrong that has ever been done or will ever be done. You want it to be unique, incomparable; you want it to be on the top. The ego always feels good if something great is being done. It may be a sin – that doesn’t matter.
What great sin can you commit? All our sins are nothing but small things: we are small, our sins cannot be great. Our hands are small: whatsoever we do is going to remain small, because it will have our signature on it.
Your life, virtuous or wicked, is not going to be a barrier or a bridge – because you are already bridged, and there is no way of disconnecting yourself from God. And it is not a question that when you sin, God forgives you. He is forgiveness: he is continuously flowing in tremendous love towards you.
His love is like a flood; your sins are like straw: the flood will take them away. And the flood does not come to take your sins away; it is already there. To understand this, to see the point of it, is a great relief, as if a mountain suddenly disappears off your chest. You become light, weightless. And only in that weightlessness can you worship.
The sinner cannot worship, he is continuously frightened. Fear cannot create prayer. Prayer created by fear remains political, a strategy of the mind to persuade God; it is a kind of bribery. Real prayer arises out of understanding, out of love.
Luther is really right when he says, “Pecca fortiter: sin boldly.” Whatsoever you are doing, do it boldly. You belong to God and God belongs to you. This is your home. Don’t live like a stranger; don’t be here like a guest: you are part of the host. Live without fear.
But our egos continuously go on magnifying things.
A man was in love with a woman for many years. And the woman was waiting and waiting, “Now he is going to propose. Now he is going to propose.” And one day he proposed. She could not believe her own ears; she could not believe her own eyes. She has waited so long that she had almost become settled into believing that it was not going to happen.
She hugged the man, she kissed the man, and she said, “I cannot believe my own ears. I have waited so long for this!”
The man said, “Will you marry me?” And she said, “Yes, yes! A thousand times, yes!”
The man took out a small black box from his pocket, opened it, and gave her a ring. She looked very minutely at it – the diamond was so small that it was almost impossible to see it with bare eyes.
The man said, “Don’t be worried” – because she looked worried, shocked too, that after waiting so many years this man brings a wedding ring with such a small diamond. And the man was very rich. The man said, “Don’t be worried, don’t look puzzled.” And from another pocket he pulled out a magnifying glass, and he said, “Look! Look through this glass.”
Our minds are continuously magnifying. That’s how the ego exists. We magnify our virtues, we magnify our sins, we magnify everything. We make much fuss about nothing, much ado about nothing.
This magnifying glass has to be dropped absolutely. And then suddenly you see things in their perspective. We are small: our virtues are small, our sins are small. Neither are our virtues of any worth, nor are our sins of any worth. All that we can do is so small that it is irrelevant.
Your sins are not going to take you to hell. All those priests who go on telling you that are simply magnifying. And your virtues are not going to take you to heaven either, because all those virtues are so tiny, so shallow.
Then is there any hope, or not? There is no need of any hope. You are already in paradise. All that is needed is an unburdened heart to look around. You are already in paradise: you need not go anywhere. You are in God. Drop the magnifying glass, and your sins and your virtues both will disappear, because they both are creations of the magnifying glass.
An elephant was having an awful time in the jungle because a horsefly kept biting her near her tail and there was nothing she could do about it. She kept swinging her trunk, but he was far out of reach.
A little sparrow observed this and snipped the horsefly in half with his beak.
“Oh, thank you!” said the elephant. “That was such a relief.”
“My pleasure, ma’am,” said the sparrow.
“Listen, Mr. Sparrow, if there’s anything I can ever do for you, don’t hesitate to ask.”
The sparrow hesitated. “Well, ma’am…” he said.
“What is it?” said the elephant. “You needn’t be shy with me.”
“Well,” said the sparrow, “the truth is that all my life I wondered how it would feel to make love to an elephant.”
“Go right ahead,” said the elephant. “Be my guest!”
The sparrow flew around behind the elephant and began to make love immediately. Up above them, a monkey in the tree watched and began to get very excited. He started to shake the tree, and a coconut got loose and fell from the tree, hitting the elephant smack on the head. “Ouch!” said the elephant.
At which point, the sparrow looked from behind and said, “Am I hurting you, dear?”
Drop the magnifying glass, and there is neither sin nor virtue, and there are neither sinners nor saints – simple human beings, just simple human beings.
In that simplicity, God arrives. In that simplicity, existence starts pouring love. It is already pouring, but because of your ideas, great ideas about yourself, you are not receptive.
Hakim Sanai says:
From him forgiveness comes so fast,
It reaches us before repentance
Has even taken shape on our lips.
See the beauty of Sanai’s statement. This sutra is worth writing in gold in your heart.
From him forgiveness comes so fast,
It reaches us before repentance
Has even taken shape on our lips.
He is forgiveness, he is already flowing towards you. You need not even repent. You have just to be simple, unpretentious; you have to drop your sinners’ and saints’ masks. And even before repentance has taken any shape on our lips, even without that, you are forgiven.
This is the experience of all the great mystics of the world. Luther is right when he says, “Pecca fortiter: sin boldly” – because his forgiveness is immense, infinite. And whatever you do is just tiny straws: the flood will come and take them all away.
Sufism is the path of grace. No effort is needed on your part: only receptivity, openness, a loving heart, a state of surrender, a let-go. And all that so-called yogis cannot attain in millions of lives, you attain in a single instant. His forgiveness comes so fast: it is immediate, because God knows only one time, and that is now. God cannot postpone; he has no future. He cannot say ‘Tomorrow’, because there is no tomorrow for him – time means this time, this moment.
For God, all is the present. Because our vision is limited, that’s why something is past and something is future and something is present. Our vision is so limited that our present is very tiny. That is the proportion of our vision. We are looking through a keyhole into reality: we can see only this much, all else is the past.
Just sit behind a keyhole and watch. Somebody comes: you see a person suddenly emerge out of nowhere, because just a moment ago you were not able to see him. When he comes in front of the keyhole you see him, and then next moment he is gone, he has passed, again he is no more. Just a moment ago he was in the future, just a moment afterwards he is in the past.
Do you think that man has disappeared? Do you think that man suddenly appeared from nowhere and now suddenly disappears into nowhere again, and he appeared only for a single moment? It is our vision that is creating the fallacy. Come out of your hiding place, open the door, and you will be surprised: he was before you saw him, and he is after you see him. Now you will have a better vision.
For God, all is eternal now.
The thief who was crucified with Jesus asked him, “Lord, will I be able to see you again sometime in the future?” Jesus says, “Today you will be able to see me in the kingdom of my God.”
The word is ‘today’ – that is very significant. “Today you will see me in my kingdom of God.” There cannot be any question of tomorrow.
God is immediate, God is always present, so all that happens through God happens now. And it is not happening to you, God is not happening to you, because you live either in the past or in the future, and he is never in the past and never in the future.
Hence the science of meditation: it brings you to the present, it brings you to this moment. The past is a thought; it disappears when thoughts disappear. The future is also a thought; it disappears when you drop thinking. When you are in a state of no-thought – there is no past, no future, there is only the present – in that state of no-thought you are ONE, in tune with God. And suddenly the flood is there: you are flooded with light, with love, with grace. You are no more a man, you are divine. You have surpassed humanity.
Excerpt from Unio Mystica, V. 2, Discourse #5
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