Chapter 22: A New Kind of Religiousness
I have seen it many times - my car being chased. Not here, because in Rajneeshpuram we don’t have dogs, we have only human beings; we are finished with dogs, watchdogs, all kinds of dogs. But when I was a professor in the university I had to drive to the university and back home, and once in a while a dog would start chasing the car. I was puzzled. What was he going to get even if he caught the car? What was he going to do? Once in a while I would stop the car just to look at the dog, and I have seen a dog in such an embarrassed condition: he would be standing by the side of the car not knowing what to do now.
This happens to people who are thinkers, philosophers, seekers: they are seeking truth but they don’t know what truth means. They have no idea what they are seeking, and why they are seeking.
And if by chance they stumble upon truth, how are they going to recognize it? They have never seen it before; recognition is impossible.
I have met many people in India who thought that they had seen God, and they were worshipped like great saints, sages, seers - they have seen God! I have asked these people, “I don’t bother about God at all, my simple question is, “How did you recognize that he was God? I don’t doubt that you have seen God, you must have seen him. I never suspect anybody’s intentions - I take it for granted that you have seen God. My question is not with your seeing my question is how did you recognize that this was God? - because you had not seen him before.”
And they were just in the same position as the dog standing by the side of my car, embarrassed, just looking at me with great anger - why had I stopped? - because I had destroyed all his joy of chasing, of reaching somewhere, of finding something. These sages looked at me with the same anger.
I said, “There is no need to be angry. I am asking a simple question. I am not doubting your experience, I am not saying anything against God; I am simply saying that the word recognition cannot be applied. Recognition means cognizing again: you have seen something before, now you are seeing it again; only then can you recognize. Otherwise, you can see that you had an experience, but what it was you cannot give a name, a label. Perhaps you may describe what happened to you in the experience, but you cannot say that you have seen God.”
Thinking is a process between not knowing and an effort to know.
I do not think - I know it.
And why do I know it, that this is the ripe time for the birth of an authentic religion? That I can explain to you. You will have to go with me a little deeply into the roots of the religious phenomenon itself. Religion only has any validity because of death.
If there were no death, nobody would have bothered about religion at all. It is not life that inspires you to be religious, no - it is death. Death makes you search for something which will be alive in spite of death.