Chapter 3: A Very Fresh Communion
Zen does not talk about God, for the simple reason that there is no such person as God. What is there? - a tremendous quality of eternal life all around. Nothing dies; if this wave is disappearing another wave is coming, and the disappearing wave will simply go to sleep just to rest, and will be back soon.
Hence, I will not say anything about God. Zen does not talk about it; but it certainly implies godliness. Then God becomes melted ice. Then the personality of God disappears into all living beings. Then God is not a person but the very existence.
Religions have been concerned about God and good, and they have created fossilized dogmas. And they are not willing even to change a little, although anybody can see the foolishness. The foolishness is not God’s. That poor fellow suffers at our hands.
Somebody has made the elephant a god. Somebody has made the monkey a god - even without its permission. There are people who worship trees, and the trees must be giggling, “Why do these idiots waste their time bringing flowers and coconuts?”
Our own coconut has gone on a missionary trip. He was here and it was a good coincidence that when he was here, our Stonehead Niskriya, the first German Zen master, was not here. A single hit on the poor coconut, who used to go to Goa and come back..
And do you know why people offer coconuts? There was a time some five thousand years back, when men’s actual heads were offered - living men, young, in robust health, that was the condition. But because it was a great ritual and whoever offered themselves became immensely loved by the society. And particularly, the idea of meeting God.But slowly slowly, people started thinking that this is very stupid: nobody has returned, nobody has even written a postcard saying, “We have arrived,” or any kind of news. And it looks so inhuman. The coconut is a substitute, because it has a little beard, two eyes, hairs.
If you go into the implications of your religious rituals you will find strange things hidden behind them. You will find the statues of the elephant god, Ganesh. You can make any stone a statue just by painting the stone red, and soon people will start worshipping it.
When for the first time the British empire started to put down tracks for the railway lines, they were in a very great difficulty, because they could not put the stones in that denote the miles. Wherever they put the stone they would make it bright red, because bright red is more visible than any other color. And it was a difficulty for them. The villagers would come, would bring sweets, some flowers. A god has arrived in their town.
The British officers tried hard: “What are you doing? This is just a stone.”
And the villagers laughed. They said, “You don’t understand. This is not a stone; this is the symbol of the god Ganesh.”