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Chapter 8: The Useless

The man said, “The whole world is my home, the sky is my shelter; I move everywhere, there is no barrier. I am a free man.”

Then he asked the other, “And where do you live?”

He said, “Next door to him.”

These people give beauty to the world, they are a perfume. A Buddha is a vagabond, a Mahavira is a vagabond. This man, this vagabond, answered that the sky was his only shelter. That is what is meant by the word digambar. Mahavira, the last tirthankara of the Jainas, is known as a digambar. Digambar means naked, only the sky for clothing, nothing else. The sky is the shelter, the home.

Whenever the world becomes too utilitarian you create many things, you possess many things, you become obsessed with things - but the inner is lost, because the inner can flower only when there is no outer tension, when you are not going anywhere, just resting. Then the inner flowers.

Religion is absolutely useless. What use is the temple? What use is the mosque? What use is the church? In Russia they have converted all the temples, mosques, and churches into hospitals and schools, something useful. Why is this temple standing without any use? Communists are utilitarians. That’s why they are against religion. They have to be, because religion gives way to the useless, to that which cannot be exploited in any way, to that which cannot be made a means to anything else. You can have it, you can be blissful in it, you can feel the highest ecstasy possible, but you cannot manipulate it. It is a happening. When you are not doing anything, it happens. And the greatest has always happened when you are not doing anything. Only the trivial happens when you are doing something.

Søren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher, has written something very penetrating. He said, “When I started praying, I would go to the church and I would talk to God.” That’s what Christians are doing all over the world - talking very loudly to God, as if God is deaf. They advise him what to do and what not to do, as if God is just a foolish entity. Or, as if God is just a foolish monarch - persuading him, bribing him to fulfill the desires that are inside them.

But Kierkegaard said, “I started talking, then suddenly I realized that this was useless. How can you talk? One has to be silent before God. What is there to be said? And what can I say which will help God to know more? He is omnipotent, he is omniscient, he knows all, so what is the purpose of my telling him?

“So at first I was talking to him for many years. Then suddenly I realized that this was foolish; so I stopped talking, I became silent. Then after many years I realized that even silence wouldn’t do. Then the third step was taken, and that was listening. First I was talking, then I was not talking, and then I was listening.”

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