Chapter 19: Infinite Patience
If your life makes you religious, then it is totally different. If your very experience of life creates inquiry in you about truth, that has beauty in it. But just because you have heard - people are talking about God and paradise and nirvana and enlightenment - and because of their talk and constant propaganda down the centuries, and millions of books and scriptures, and churches and temples and gurudwaras and mosques, and everywhere it is being taught, from the very childhood you are being conditioned that there is a God, that there is a paradise, that you have to search for it.. If you become interested in the search because of these conditionings, your search is doomed from the very beginning. You have already moved in a wrong direction. It is not your search, it is borrowed. It is not an authentic desire in your heart, it is just in your head. It is accidental; it is because you have been told. If you were not told you would not have bothered at all. And you can see it.
When a Jaina comes to me, he never asks how to find God, because in his scriptures there is no belief about God. He asks how to attain to moksha, to ultimate freedom, liberation. God is not meaningful to him at all, because he has not been taught about God. Not that he knows there is no God, but because his mind has been conditioned in a certain way, he has given another word with totally different connotations. He has been taught that y our soul is in a bondage in the world and you have to drop the bondage and attain to ultimate freedom. Unless you attain to ultimate freedom - when all bondages of attachment, possessiveness, domination, have disappeared, when there is no greed, no anger, no sex, when there is nobody left and you are a pure soul.then you have arrived. This is the goal, moksha. He asked about moksha.
But no Christian ever asks me about moksha, freedom. He has not been told. He asks how, by what means, one can enter into the kingdom of God. He never asks how to become God, because he has not been told. On the contrary, he has been told nobody can become God. God is God and you are you, God is the creator and you are the creature - and how can the creature be the creator? So even the idea of becoming God will look sacrilegious, a sin, a great sin. He will never ask how to become a God, how to realize God. No! All that he wants is how to enter into the kingdom of God, that’s all.
But when a Vedantin comes to me, then his inquiry is totally different. He says, “How to become God? How to become absolute truth?” He does not ask about the kingdom of God. He has been told tat- vamasi, that art thou. You are in your very essence God, so attain to your Godhood. Aham brahmasmi - I am God - that has been poured into him with the mother’s milk. He has become saturated with the idea. He asks, how to become God? From where are these different inquiries coming?
And when a Buddhist comes he never asks how to become a God, because there is no God in his theology. His theology is without any concept of God. In fact, to call it theology is not right, because there is no theos, no God. He does not believe in any soul, so he will never ask how to realize one’s own being - there is none. Self-realization is utter nonsense for him. Because he does not believe in the soul there is no question of attaining liberation; there is nobody to be liberated. Then what is his inquiry?
He asks about nirvana. Nirvana means to extinguish this illusory flame of life. His inquiry is very negative; he simply asks how not to be. There is no question of being a soul, no question of being a God, no question of God’s kingdom. His inquiry is very negative. He asks how not to be, how to be extinguished utterly, how to become utter emptiness, how to disappear into emptiness so nothing is left.