Chapter 22: Gratitude Is the Only True Prayer
In their prayers if you look, you will find the beggar, the ungrateful beggar. And you will also find in all the prayers of all the religions - I have looked as deeply as possible into every religion - there is a certain complaint that things are not as they should be: “Others are getting more; I am not getting that much.” These are not prayers, they are simply wasting their time. They have not even come to understand the meaning of prayer.
It is not in the words, it is prayerfulness. And prayerfulness means only one thing, and only one thing, gratefulness - a gratitude that goes on sinking deep into your being for everything: for trees being green, for rain coming down to quench the thirst of the earth. And when the first rains come, the sweet smell coming from the earth is earth’s gratitude. And the trees becoming green, and bringing millions of flowers, that is earth’s thankfulness, that is earth’s prayer. That’s how you should be; that’s how your prayer should be - nothing but a gratefulness.
Slowly, slowly man goes on forgetting what complaint is, what grudge is. As he becomes more attuned with gratefulness, he forgets completely that he has to ask for something. Things are coming without his asking. He has just to keep his doors open and the guest comes. He has just to wait, and wait lovingly, prayerfully.
I am giving you the meaning of prayer in a way no religion has ever given it to humanity; their prayers are so childish, stupid. A gratefulness will make you more and more capable of receiving gifts.
The so-called religions that have overruled man’s mind for centuries are mostly fictions. I have come across Albert Camus’ very strange but beautiful and true statement: “If God did not exist, we would have to invent him” - otherwise, to whom are you going to complain? On whose shoulders are you going to throw all your responsibilities? With whom are you going to be angry? Who is going to be your security, safety.?
Camus is saying something very important when he says that if God did not exist we would have to invent him, and if God did exist, we would have to abolish him. If God did exist why would we have to abolish him? - because it would be intolerable. To be so grateful to him would look like humiliation: you are unworthy and he goes on giving to you - you could not forgive him; he is insulting you, he is making you aware of your unworthiness.
I have a friend who was at a time education minister. He used to come to me once in a while, and one day he told me something that he would not have told anybody: “I have thought many times to bring it to your notice, but then I stopped myself. But there is a limit, I have to tell it to you.” He was born a poor man, and he was adopted by a rich man, a very rich man, who had no children. So he suddenly rose from poverty to be a super-rich man.