Chapter 7: The Mad King and His Idol
True godliness is what has created you, the false God is one that you have created. This is one of the fundamental insights of Sufism: the temple has to be empty, empty of all that is man-made; prayerfulness has to be silent, silent of all that man has fabricated in words. Prayerfulness can only be a dialogue - wordless, silent - with the infinity. It can only be a disappearance on your part. You can only dissolve, melt, merge. Then you are transplanted, taken up, transported. Then the winds take you beyond the desert, beyond the wasteland of mind.
But to be ready for that, great courage is needed. And man is always happy with toys. All your idols are toys - beware of the fact. And man is so cunning: he can create great philosophies around his falsities. He can defend, he can argue, he can rationalize. He can almost create such clouds of logic that you can be lost in those clouds. That’s how humanity is lost. Somebody is lost in Christian clouds, somebody is lost in Mohammedan clouds, somebody is lost in Hindu clouds. But if you go deep down into them, they are all speculative, logic-chopping, philosophizing, about and about. But the truth does not reflect in them.
Truth reflects only in a meditative consciousness, not in a speculative consciousness - never. The moment you think, you go astray. Truth reflects only when you are in a state of no-thought, when nothing stirs within you. When there is not even a ripple in the inner lake of consciousness, then truth reflects in you, and that truth has no image. That truth is formless, nameless. All names are our efforts to communicate with the eternal silence, but they all fail.
Sufis have a hundred names for God - not exactly a hundred, but ninety-nine. I call them “the ninety-nine names of nothingness.” The real, the hundredth, is empty. What it is, is not said, is not provoked, it is left. Ninety-nine names are given; where is the hundredth? That is the true name - which cannot be pronounced, which cannot be uttered. To utter it would be a profanity. How can the ultimate be uttered? And once uttered, how can it remain the ultimate?
Lao Tzu says, “I don’t know its name - nobody knows - hence I will call it Tao.” It has to be called something, but no name is a true name. When all names disappear from your mind and you are there just watching, being, doing nothing, you have the first glimpse, the first penetration of the infinite into the finite. You become pregnant. The first penetration of the sky into the earth, and your seed is broken, and you start growing. And that growth is a kind of happening - nothing that you do, you simply allow it. This is the first thing to be remembered.
But even Mohammedans, who have been against all kinds of idol-worship, have created their own idols. It seems the human mind cannot avoid the temptation. Now Kaaba and its black stone have become the idol. Now people go to Kaaba for haj, for pilgrimage. Poor people gather money their whole lives to go just once to kiss that black stone. Now what is it? It is the same.
I have heard.