Chapter 1: A Hand Beckoning
For a poor man to be religious is very difficult. Great intelligence is needed - because a poor man has nothing. To see that the world is meaningless is very difficult when you are poor. You have not experienced the world - great insight is needed to see that which you don’t have, to see its futility. Because of that, my appreciation for a Christ or a Kabir is far more than for a Buddha or a Mahavira. They had all; they went through the world. Buddha had all the beautiful women of his kingdom available to him. If he became aware that there is nothing in physical beauty, that it is a dream, it is natural. He had all the luxuries possible to a man twenty-five centuries before. If he became alert that they don’t satisfy, much intelligence was not needed for it. They don’t satisfy; the actual experience proves that they don’t satisfy, that the discontent remains the same.
But for a Kabir or a Christ it is very difficult. They are not kings, they are poor people; even their necessary needs are not fulfilled. There is every possibility of hoping and dreaming and desiring. To see that the world is meaningless will need a great genius. So Kabir is illiterate but a man of great intelligence - of eyes so penetrating that he can see even the futility of that which he has not got. He can see it without having it in his own hands, his perception is so clear. He brings the first glimpse of a future religion.
The future religion will not be of ritual. There will not be much worshipping but there will be much celebration. And in fact to celebrate is the only real worship. There will be much singing and much dancing, but not offered to any god in particular, just offered to existence itself - a pouring of the heart, a communion of the heart. Dance itself is enough, it need not be for somebody. The song in itself is enough, it need not be addressed. The prayer in itself is enough, it need not be done in a temple or a church or a mosque. In fact it need not be done at all, just a prayerful heart is enough. And it will be a religion which will not be confined by any dogma, by any doctrine; a religion which will not supply a philosophy but will certainly give you the vision of a different dimension of reality.
Remember, Kabir is a rebel. And I make a great distinction between a rebel and a revolutionary. A revolutionary is not much of a revolutionary; a revolutionary is against something, he is an extremist. The orthodox, the conventional, the traditional, is the rightist; the revolutionary is the leftist, but they are part of the same game. Just like the right hand and the left hand belong to the same man, the rightist and the leftist belong to the same mind.
I have heard about a great Russian saint, his name was Avvakum. Avvakum believed that an individual should cross himself not with three fingers - symbolizing the trinity, but by two - symbolizing the dual nature of Christ, that Christ is man and God both. He is thought to be a great revolutionary. Now what kind of nonsense is this? Whether you cross yourself with three fingers or two fingers, what difference does it make?
But Avvakum is thought to be a great revolutionary saint. And the people must have thought so - because he was crucified, he was killed. Those who murdered him were stupid people, and Avvakum doesn’t seem to be much of an intelligent man either. He was so adamant about this that to the very end he dutifully, defiantly crossed himself with two fingers as he was engulfed in flames at the stake in 1682 - courtesy of the church. He crossed himself with two fingers in the flames, to defy.