In Prayer You Are Not – Osho

What is prayer?

Deva Tatva, prayer is one of the indefinables, because prayer is the fragrance of love.

Even love is indefinable. Love is a flower, tangible, you can see it, you can touch it, you can smell it, you can feel it. You can close your eyes and you can touch the texture of the flower, the softness of it, you can see the beauty of it; it is visible. But prayer is the fragrance released to the winds, offered to the sky. It becomes even more indefinable because you cannot see it, you cannot touch it.

You can only have a very subtle relationship with it, not one of words, not one of philosophy, not one of theology—only the silence of your heart, the utter silence of your heart, can have a little glimpse of it, of what it is.

What goes on in the name of prayer is not prayer; it is desire disguised. You go to the temple or to the church and you pray to God; your God is part of your imagination. Your God is not true God; it is a Christian God, it is a Hindu God, it is a Mohammedan God. And how can God be Christian, Hindu or Mohammedan? It is a God that you have created, or your priests on behalf of you. It is a toy, it is not true.

Bowing down before a statue made by man, manufactured by man — and you think you are in prayer? You are simply being stupid, you are simply showing utter ignorance. This statue has been purchased in the marketplace, and God is not a commodity and God cannot be made. It is God who has made us—how can we make God? But we are worshipping, praying to man-made Gods.

And what are your prayers? They are also your desires. You want this, you want that; you are trying to use God as a means. You have been told certain prayers from your very childhood and you have crammed it all; you have been forced to cram it. It has become a habit, a mechanical routine; you go on repeating it but your heart is not in it. Your prayer is a corpse, it breathes no more.

Yes, when Jesus called God ‘Abba’ he meant it. When you call God ‘Father’ you don’t mean anything. And between ‘Abba’ and ‘Father’ there is a great difference. ‘Father’ is an institution, legal, social; ‘Abba’ is a heart-to-heart relationship. Jesus looked at existence as the source of our life.

A disciple asks Jesus, “What is prayer?” Jesus falls on his knees and starts praying. The disciple says, “I am asking what prayer is, I am not asking you to pray!” And Jesus says, “There is no other way. I can pray, you can participate. I INVITE you to be a part of my prayer. I cannot say what prayer is, but I can go into prayer – because prayer is a state of being, not something that you do.”

Leo Tolstoy has written a beautiful story:

Three men became very famous saints in Russia.

The highest priest of the country was very much disturbed—obviously, because people were not coming to him, people were going to those three saints, and he had not even heard their names. And how could they be saints?—Because in Christianity a saint is a saint only when the church recognizes him as a saint. The English word ‘saint’ comes from ‘sanction’; when the church sanctions somebody as a saint, then he is a saint. What nonsense! that a saint has to be certified by the church, by the organized religion, by the priests—as if it has nothing to do with inner growth but some outer recognition; as if it is a title given by a government, or a degree, an honorary degree, conferred by a university.

The high priest was certainly very angry. He took a boat because those three saints used to live on the far side of a lake. He went in the boat. Those three saints were sitting under a tree. They were very simple people, peasants, uneducated. They touched the feet of the highest priest, and the priest was very happy. He thought, “Now I will put them right—these are not very dangerous people. I was thinking they would be rebels or something.”

He asked them, “How did you become saints?”

They said, “We don’t know! We don’t know that we are saints either. People have started calling us saints and we go on trying to convince them that we are not, we are very simple people, but they don’t listen. The more we argue that we are not, the more they worship us! And we are not very good at arguing either.”

The priest was very happy. He said, “What is your prayer? Do you know how to pray?”

They looked at each other. The first said to the second, “You say.” The second said to the third, “You say, please.”

The priest said, “Say what your prayer is! Are you saying Our Lord’s Prayer or not?”

They said, “To be frank with you, we don’t know any prayer. We have invented a prayer of our own and we are very embarrassed—how to say it? But if you ask we have to say it. We have heard that God is a trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. We are three and he is also three, so we have made a small prayer of our own: ‘You are three, we are three: Have mercy on us!’ ”

The priest said, “What nonsense! Is this prayer? You fools, I will teach you the right prayer.” And he recited The Lord’s Prayer.

And those three poor people said, “Please repeat it once more, because we are uneducated, we may forget.”

He repeated it and they asked, “Once more—we are three, repeat it at least three times.”

So he repeated it again, and then very happy, satisfied, he went back in his boat.

Just in the middle of the lake he was surprised, his boatman was surprised: those three poor people were coming running on the water! And they said, “Wait! Please one more time—we have forgotten the prayer!”

Now it was the turn of the priest to touch their feet, and he said, “Forget what I have said to you. Your prayer has been heard, my prayer has not been heard yet. You continue as you are continuing. I was utterly wrong to say anything to you. Forgive me!”

Prayer is a state of simplicity. It is NOT of words but of silence.

Martin Buber, the great Jewish philosopher, has said that prayer is an I/thou relationship.

It is not. He does not know anything about prayer. An I/thou relationship? In prayer there is no I and in prayer there is no thou. A prayer is not a dialogue between I and thou; a prayer is a merger. The I disappears into the thou, the thou disappears into the I. There is nobody to say anything and there is nobody to say anything to.

The river disappearing into the ocean is prayer. The dewdrop slipping from the lotus leaf into the lake is prayer. Seeing the early morning sun and you are silent, and something starts rising in you too—that is prayer. A bird on the wing, and YOU are on the wing; you forget that you are separate—THAT is prayer. Wherever separation disappears, prayer appears. When you become one with the whole of existence, that is prayer.

Ego is a state of no-prayer: egolessness is a state of prayer. It is not a dialogue, it is not even a monologue. It has nothing to do with words; it is wordless silence. It is an open, silent sky; with no clouds, no thoughts. In prayer you are not Hindu or Christian or Mohammedan. In prayer you are not: in prayer God is.

-Osho

From Be Still and Know, Chapter Four

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

A PDF file of this book can be downloaded from Osho World.

 

God Has to Be Freed from Personality – Osho

What is God?

Prem Sukavi, God is not a person. That is one of the greatest misunderstandings, and it has prevailed so long that it has become almost a fact. Even if a lie is repeated continuously for centuries it is bound to appear as if it is a truth.

God is a presence, not a person. Hence all worshipping is sheer stupidity. Prayerfulness is needed, not prayer. There is nobody to pray to; there is no possibility of any dialogue between you and God. Dialogue is possible only between two persons, and God is not a person but a presence – like beauty, like joy.

God simply means godliness. It is because of this fact that Buddha denied the existence of God.

He wanted to emphasize that God is a quality, an experience – like love. You cannot talk to love, you can live it. You need not create temples of love, you need not make statues of love, and bowing down to those statues will be just nonsense. And that’s what has been happening in the churches, in the temples, in the mosques.

Man has lived under this impression of God as a person, and then two calamities have happened through it. One is the so-called religious man, who thinks God is somewhere above the sky and you have to praise him to persuade him to confer favors on you, to help you to fulfill your desires, to make your ambitions succeed, to give you the wealth of this world and of the other world. And this is sheer wastage of time and energy.

And on the opposite pole the people who saw the stupidity of it all became atheists; they started denying the existence of God. They were right in a sense, but they were also wrong. They started denying not only the personality of God, they started to deny even the experience of God.

The theist is wrong, the atheist is wrong, and man needs a new vision so that he can be freed from both the prisons.

God is the ultimate experience of silence, of beauty, of bliss, a state of inner celebration. Once you start looking at God as godliness there will be a radical change in your approach. Then prayer is no more valid; meditation becomes valid.

Martin Buber says prayer is a dialogue; then between you and God there is an “I-thou” relationship – the duality persists. Buddha is far closer to the truth: you simply drop all chattering of the mind, you slip out of the mind like a snake slipping out of the old skin. You become profoundly silent. There is no question of any dialogue, no question of any monologue either. Words have disappeared from your consciousness. There is no desire for which favors have to be asked, no ambition to be fulfilled. One is now and here. In that tranquility, in that calmness, you become aware of a luminous quality to existence. Then the trees and the mountains and the rivers and the people are all surrounded with a subtle aura. They are all radiating life, and it is one life in different forms, the flowering of one existence in millions of forms, in millions of flowers.

THIS experience is God. And it is everybody’s birthright, because whether you know it or not you are already part of it. The only possibility is you may not recognize it or you may recognize it.

The difference between the enlightened person and the unenlightened person is not of quality – they both are absolutely alike. There is only one small difference: that the enlightened person is aware; he recognizes the ultimate pervading the whole, permeating the whole, vibrating, pulsating. He recognizes the heartbeat of the universe. He recognizes that the universe is not dead, it is alive.

This aliveness is God!

The unenlightened person is asleep, asleep and full of dreams. Those dreams function as a barrier; they don’t allow him to see the truth of his own reality. And, of course, when you are not even aware of your own reality, how can you be aware of the reality of others? The first experience has to happen within you. Once you have seen the light within you will be able to see it everywhere.

God has to be freed from all concepts of personality. Personality is a prison. God has to be freed from any particular form; only then he can have all the forms. He has to be freed from any particular name so that all the names become his.

Then a person LIVES in prayer – he does not pray, he does not go to the temple, to the church.

Wherever he sits he is prayerful, whatsoever he is doing is prayerful, and in that prayerfulness he creates his temple. He is always moving with his temple surrounding him. Wherever he sits the place becomes sacred, whatsoever he touches becomes gold. If he is silent then his silence is golden; if he speaks then his song is golden. If he is alone his aloneness is divine; if he relates then his relating is divine.

The basic, the most fundamental thing is to be aware of your own innermost core, because that is the secret of the whole existence. That’s where the Upanishads are tremendously important.

They don’t talk about a God, they talk about godliness. They don’t bother about prayer. Their whole emphasis is on meditation.

Meditation has two parts: the beginning and the end. The beginning is called dhyana and the end is called samadhi. Dhyana is the seed, samadhi is the flowering. Dhyana means becoming aware of all workings of your mind, all the layers of your mind – your memories, your desires, your thoughts, dreams – becoming aware of all that goes on inside you.

Dhyana is awareness, and samadhi is when the awareness has become so deep, so profound, so total that it is like a fire and it consumes the whole mind and all its functionings. It consumes thoughts, desires, ambitions, hopes, dreams. It consumes the whole stuff the mind is full of.

Samadhi is the state when awareness is there, but there is nothing to be aware inside you; the witness is there, but there is nothing to be witnessed.

Begin with dhyana, with meditation, and end in samadhi, in ecstasy, and you will know what God is. It is not a hypothesis, it is an experience. You have to LIVE it – that is the only way to know it.

-Osho

From I Am That, Chapter Two

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

A PDF file of this book can be downloaded from Osho World.