Chapter 22: Aloneness Is Ultimate
Or, they start praying in the churches and in the temples and they start talking to God. Now God is their imagination. They cannot find the other in the world because it is too costly to find the other in the world and it takes so much trouble, so now they create “the other,” high there in heaven - they start talking to God. But they cannot live without the other, the other has to be there. They may escape into the desert, but even in the desert cave they will be looking at the sky and talking to the other. This is fantasy and nothing else. And if you go on talking for long, you may start hallucinating that the other is there.
Your need is such that you can create the other through imagination. That’s why the so-called religions have tried to take you away from the others that are ordinary and available. They would like you not to get married - why? - because if you are married and you have a woman, a man, you don’t need a God. It is a strategy: they will not allow you to be in the marketplace because then you are occupied and you will not feel your loneliness. Then why should you talk to God? You can talk to people. They will take you to the Himalayan caves, to the monasteries, so that you are left so lonely that out of the misery of loneliness you have to talk to God, you have to create a God to your heart’s content. And then the deeper your starvation for the other is, the more is the possibility of visions of God. And those visions are nothing but illusions, dreams seen with open eyes. It is like when a person is put on a long fast, he may start imagining food, he may start seeing food.
I have heard about a poet who was lost in a forest for three days, hungry, and then came the full moon night. He looked at the moon and he was surprised, because all his life, whenever he had seen the full moon he had always remembered beautiful faces of women, his beloved, things like that. But that day, after three days of starvation - tired, hungry, thirsty - he looked at the moon and he saw white bread, a chapati, floating in the sky above the clouds. He could not believe his eyes: “What kind of poetry is this? A great poet, and the full moon looks like a chapati!”
And you all know that if you are starved of something too much, you will start substituting it with imagination. If you have lived in a forest, alone for many days, and you have not seen a woman, even the ugliest woman in the world will look like Cleopatra.
Mulla Nasruddin goes to a hill station. He has a bungalow there. Sometimes he says, “I am going for three weeks,” but by the second week he is back, or even after seven days or ten days.
I asked Nasruddin, “Many times you say ‘I am going for three weeks and four weeks,’ then you come within two weeks or even earlier. What is the matter?”
He said, “There is something in it. I have kept a woman there to look after the house. She is the ugliest woman - horrible she is, repulsive she is! Just to look at her and one feels like vomiting.”
I asked then, “But what has she to do with it, with your coming early?”