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Chapter 21: Confess to the Stars

I said, “This is my whole business. The way you are asking it - you seem to be emotionally involved, but you are being clever. One of your friend has fallen in love.You have fallen in love, but you don’t even have the courage to ask the question. Forget all about love because one who cannot even ask the question - how is he going to marry a woman who is not of his caste? And do you think these problems are like one of your mathematics problems: some friend is suffering, you take the answer from me, give the answer to him and everything is clear? You bring your friend.”

He said, “Forgive me. I was telling a lie. I simply wanted to know the answer.”

I said to him, “No question unrelated to the person and the context can have a right answer.”

This is an example of an unauthentic question. The question is not the way he is proposing it. He wants to know the way, in somebody else’s name. Or sometimes people start asking just to show their knowledge: their questions don’t come from their ignorance, but from their knowledge. They have accumulated knowledge from books, from libraries, from universities; and that knowledge creates questions.

I was staying in a small village in the government guest house, because that was the only place in that village - it was deep in the forest. Two old men came to me and they said, “We are childhood friends” - they looked to be nearabout eighty years old - “and we have been quarreling all our lives. We are neighbors as well as friends. The problem is that I’m born into one religion, and he’s born into a different religion: I’m a Jaina and he’s a Hindu. He believes in God and I don’t believe in God. Hearing that you are staying here, we thought it is better.we have quarreled our whole lives: arguments, scriptures, quotations - nothing solves it. Neither one becomes victorious. So we thought we should go to you and ask.”

I said, “Your question is not authentic. Neither the Hindu knows there is a God - it is bookish knowledge, hypothetical - nor does the Jaina know there is no God; that too is the same kind of knowing. You are not different. Your conflict is absolutely futile.

“Your scriptures say there is no God, his scriptures say there is a God. He believes in that hypothesis, you believe in this hypothesis; but if you look deep down, you both believe in hypotheses. You don’t belong to different religions - you both belong to the religion of those who believe in hypotheses. You should have inquired, do you really have any experience, either one of you? Has the Hindu seen God? Has the Jaina seen that there is no God? Have you explored the whole universe and found no God?”

They looked at each other, and then they looked at me and they said, “Then we wasted our whole lives. You are right: he had no experience of God, I don’t have any experience of no God. His hypothesis is different, my hypothesis is different; but we are both hypothetical.”

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