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Chapter 6: The Distinction between Prayer and Meditation

Really, prayer is childish. In a way it is neurotic, because you create a God in your imagination and then you start praying to it. And you can become so hallucinatory that you will start answering your prayer from the side of the God. Then you really have gone mad. Then you are not in your senses. You can do it; many people have done it and they are known as great saints. They were ill, because with God only silence is possible. When you become silent you cannot relate to the other; you fall within yourself. God has now come to be a force within. He is not a person without; he is now a force within.

There is one beautiful story in the old Indian literature. It is said it happened that God created the world, and then he used to live on earth. It was his own creation, so he enjoyed it and lived with men and animals and trees. But he was in a great difficulty, because the whole day he was disturbed and even in the night he was not allowed to sleep, because people would go on complaining: “This is wrong, that is wrong; why have you done this, why not do it this way?” Everyone would come to advise him and give suggestions.

He got so fed up that he called a council of his wise deities, wise counselors, and he asked them, “Find a place for me to hide from my own creation, because they will kill me or I will commit suicide. Every single moment they come to advise me, and they keep saying, ‘Do this and do that; this is wrong, and this must not be done,’ and their opinions are so contradictory that if I follow them the whole thing will become a mess.”

So someone suggested, “You go to the Himalayas. Hide there on Gourishankar, Everest.”

“But,” God said, “you cannot see further ahead. Some day Tensing and Hillary will come there, and it is only a question of a few hours.” For God it is only a question of a few hours, so he said, “This will not do.”

Then someone suggested, “Go to the moon.”

“But,” he said, “you don’t know. Only a few minutes more and men will be there.”

Then one old, wise counselor came to him and said in his ear, “It will be better that you hide in man himself. There he will never try to enter.”

And it is said that God accepted the suggestion, and from that moment he has not been troubled at all.

Now the moment has come to trouble him there. And only through meditation can you enter there, not through prayer, because prayer goes on believing that he lives somewhere - on the moon, on Everest; prayer goes on trying to locate him outside. Meditation completely washes away the whole concept that he is outside, or that he can be prayed to, or that he can be talked to, or that you can relate to him. No, you can simply move within yourself. And the deeper you move, the deeper you are moving in him. But this meeting will be in silence because he is not the other. He is you - he has been hiding as you.

If you can follow me, if you can understand the distinction between prayer and meditation - God as a person and God as existence - then it will be easy to follow this sutra:

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