Chapter 9: All Principles Are No Principles
Just the other day I was reading a few definitions. Matthew Arnold’s definition of religion is, “morality touched by emotion.” Now, neither has morality anything to do with religion nor has emotion. Remember the words of Yoka again and again - that it is not moral, it is not immoral either; it is beyond. And Professor Taylor’s definition: “the belief in unseen things.” It is not a belief at all. Religion is not a belief at all; those who believe in religion have not known anything of it. It is a trust, but not a belief; a faith, but not a belief. And the difference between faith and belief is great. Faith is out of experience, belief is borrowed - somebody else has experienced, and you believe, but that is not religion. Religion is one’s own experience, and out of that experience great faith arises.
A great atheist went to Ramakrishna, and he argued for hours against God. And Ramakrishna finally laughed, and said, “You argue beautifully, and I am not a logician but still I can appreciate your logical acumen. I appreciate your intelligence, you have a beautiful intelligence. You are clever, and I cannot refute whatsoever you have said because I am not educated at all. But one thing I would like to say: whatsoever you are saying is pointless because God is not a question of proof or disproof. I know him. Nobody can disprove it. Even if I cannot answer you and your arguments, still I know that he is. I have tasted, I know the taste of godliness. What can your proofs or disproofs do to it? Even if the whole world comes and says there is no God, I will still know he is, because I have known.”
This is faith. You cannot unhinge the man of faith. But the man of belief is a poor man; you can create doubt in him very easily - just a single word and doubt can be created. That’s why believers are always afraid, afraid that their belief may be broken. They live in a glass house - not even a glass house but a dream house - very fragile.
So religion is not a belief and not in unseen things at all, because when you enter into samadhi, godliness is the only thing that is seen there; everything else becomes unseen, godliness is the only tangible experience. Godliness is the only reality when you enter samadhi. It is not a question of the unseen.
In fact, the man of religion feels very puzzled with you because you go on believing in things which you have not seen. You believe in matter, and nobody has seen matter. Now scientists say there is no matter. The mystics have always been saying that the world is illusory - there is no world, no matter - but nobody has bothered about them. But now scientists say there is no matter, it only appears. It is an appearance just as in a desert, thirsty and dying, far away you can see an oasis. It only appears; when you reach there, it has disappeared. Or when it is becoming dark in the evening, you can see a snake in a rope, but if you come close and you bring light, the snake disappears. The matter that we believe in is not really there. The belief is utilitarian. And has anybody ever seen anything? All that happens to you is inside you.