Chapter 13: Ride on the Wave of Joy
Why is it that, apart from sitting with you twice a day, I only find myself meditating when I am down or confused?
Why is that I rarely meditate out of my joyousness?
Your question touches very deeply the human heart and its workings. In the old way people used to pray only when they were in misery, suffering, some trouble. When they were happy, joyous, successful they never bothered God. It can make you aware of an intense involvement of all the religions with suffering, because only those who are suffering become victims in the hands of the priests. Otherwise, who cares about priests, who cares about holy books?
When you are happy, contented, joyful, you want to enjoy your life. You don’t want to waste your time praying in a church or a temple. This must have been discovered by the priest long, long ago. All religions are based on the exploitation of this discovery. Bertrand Russell is right when he says, “If we can destroy poverty, sickness, old age, inequality and make people happy and joyous, religions will die on their own accord.” He is perfectly right in his analysis, because the joyous man has never been in any way concerned with so-called religions. But Bertrand Russell was an agnostic.
My standpoint is totally different. To me it is natural that when you are sick you will go to the doctor and when you are sick you will need medicine. You don’t go to the doctor when you are healthy. You don’t go to the druggist for some medicine when you are perfectly healthy. And it is not that the so-called religions have helped you in any way to get out of misery - that would be destroying their whole business. They want you to remain in misery, hoping that in the next life you will enjoy the blessings of God, because you suffered so contentedly, you suffered without revolt against the vested interests.
Politicians became interested in religion and kings were very much supportive of organized religion, because they could see a simple arithmetic. Religion provides opium to the people, a consolation, and if this opium is not provided for the people, revolt is going to happen. So those who are in power are deeply interested that you should remain sad, miserable, in anxiety, because your anxiety and your sadness will take you to the priests and they will give you the opium called hope. “Don’t be worried, pray. And if you pray with a pure heart, and if you pray with absolute belief, your prayer will be answered.”
Now, it is a very tricky game. Nobody can have absolute belief. Belief as such is borrowed from somebody else, you don’t know anything about it. How can you be absolute in your belief? At the most you can repress your doubt with the belief, but the doubt is there. So when your prayers are not heard, you know it is not the fault of God or the fault of prayer: your belief is not total, your trust has doubt underneath it. Although you are praying, you know deep within you, “Who knows whether there is a God who is listening or going to answer?” This helps the priest to keep you in your miserable situation.