Chapter 2: In the Arms of the Moon
The first question.
I always yearn to be here, but why, on seeing you, am I filled with awe?
That’s how it should be. One should feel blessed, because awe is the only quality that can make man religious - that is the only door. Through awe, you start feeling the divine around you. Eyes filled with awe cannot deny God, it is impossible. And people who have forgotten how to be filled with awe cannot accept God. God is not the question. If you are still capable of being in a tremendous state of wonder, so tremendous, so penetrating that thinking stops, everything stops - suddenly time is not there, space is not there and you cannot figure it out, what it is - some sublime presence is felt in those moments.
But man has become afraid of awe. That’s why in language, in the ancient days, awful was a religious word, very sacred. Now, when you are feeling terrible you say you are feeling awful. Even the word has changed its meaning. People used to be awful when they were deep in prayer, when they were in close contact with the divine. When the divine was revealed to them, then they used to be awful. Now when they are feeling terrible, horrible, very bad, they say, “I am feeling awful.” The word has completely been destroyed. It used to be at the peak, now it is at the bottom. It used to be the most positive feeling, now it is the most negative feeling. How has it happened? There are some reasons for it.
Whenever people used to feel awe, they also used to feel fear. That is natural because through awe you come in contact with the unknown, unfamiliar, the strange, the mysterious. You cannot control it, you cannot manipulate it, you cannot possess it. Suddenly, something bigger than you, something vaster than you surrounds you and you are at a loss. Fear arises - you start feeling afraid.
All the old religions describe God as both “the mysterium” and “the tremendum” - mysterium because he is the mystery, a mystery that can never be solved, and tremendum because one feels terrible before him. These two feelings arise together, but you should pay attention to the first feeling more; otherwise the doors of the temple will be closed for you. Emphasize the positivity of it and learn how to be in the presence of the unknown, how to be in the presence of something that you cannot manipulate, how to be in the presence of something where you have to surrender, where surrender is the only thing that you can do, that can be done.that is all that is possible.
You should feel blessed; but you must be feeling afraid, hence the question. You must be paying more attention to the negative part, to the shadow part. If you do that, by and by you will become closed. Then you will not feel awe and if you cannot feel awe you cannot feel God.