Chapter 7: In a Cold Universe
Mulla looks absurd, ridiculous, but that’s what the whole of humanity has been doing for centuries looking at the sky, asking permission, praying - to somebody who is not there. Prayer is not the right thing; the right thing is to meditate. And what is the difference? When you pray you have to believe in someone who is listening to your prayer. When you meditate you meditate alone. In prayer the other is required; in meditation you alone are enough.
Yoga is meditative. It has no place for prayer, because it has no place for God. It has no place for any childish notions about God.
Let this become a constant remembrance in you if you really want to be religious, you will have to pass through the state of atheism. If you really want to be authentically religious, then don’t start by being a theist. Start by being an atheist. Start by being an Adam. Adam is the beginning of Christ. Adam starts the circle and Christ ends the circle. Start by saying no so that your yes can mean something. Don’t be afraid and don’t believe out of fear. If you have to believe someday, only believe out of knowing and love - never out of fear.
That’s why Christianity could not develop a yoga, Judaism could not develop a yoga, Mohammedanism could not develop a yoga. Yoga was developed by people who were courageous enough to say no to all beliefs, to all blind faiths, who were able to deny the convenience of belief to themselves and who, were ready to inquire and go into the wildness of their own being.
It is a tremendous responsibility. To be an atheist is to be very deeply responsible because when there is no God you are left alone in a cold world. When there is no God you are left alone with nothing to hang on to, with nothing to cling to. Great courage is needed, and you have to create the warmth out of your own being. This is the whole meaning of yoga to create warmth out of your own being. The existence is cold. No hypothetical God can give you warmth. You are simply dreaming. It may be a wish fulfillment, but it is not true. And it is better to be cold but to remain with truth than to live surrounded by lies and feel warm.
Yoga says realize the truth that you are alone. You are given an existence; now you have to create meaning out of it. Meaning is not already given.
Existentialists in the West say something with which Patanjali will agree totally. Existentialists say existence precedes essence. Let me explain it to you.
A rock is there. A rock’s essence is given; it is already given. Its existence is its essence also. The rock is not going to grow: it is already that which it can be. But man is different man is born - he brings his existence, but the essence is not given yet. He comes as an emptiness. Now he has to fill that emptiness by his own effort. He has to create meaning: he has to grope in the dark; he has to work it out, what life means. He has to discover; he has to be creative. Existence is given, essence has to be created - and every moment the way you live, you create your essence. If you don’t create it you will not have it.
People come to me and they ask, “Please tell us what is the meaning of life.” As if meaning is given somewhere. Meaning is not given you have to create it.