Chapter 7: Flowers of Feelings at His Feet
God is dead, must be dead. Have you watched yourself? - if you are carrying a Bible you feel a little awkward. Or if you are going to the temple you start finding excuses: that you are going because your wife has gone and there is some work to be done, or your father is there, or you are just going for formality’s sake; it is just social. Have you watched how things change?
I was reminded of this when I was reading a beautiful story:
One dacoit, a great robber, became interested in the American ways of dacoitry. Everybody has to be interested now, because everybody in his own profession is trying to go to America. Doctors are going, engineers are going, so the dacoit thought, “Why not us? We can also learn the modern techniques.” So he went to America, he joined a gang, and he was watching and observing what they were doing, the modern techniques. He was surprised, because first they kidnapped a beautiful woman, and then they wrote.. But he said, “This is okay because we also do the same in India: we kidnap a woman and then we write a letter to the husband that if within three days he doesn’t give fifty thousand rupees, then we will kill his wife.” So he wondered, “But what is new in it?” Then he looked at what they were writing in the letter. He was surprised. He said, “What are you doing?” - because in the letter they were writing, “If within three days you don’t send us fifty thousand dollars, we will send your wife back.”
The world has changed tremendously. People used to read Playboys hiding them in their Bible covers, but now they are hiding their Bibles in Playboy covers. Nietzsche was right - God is dead. But the real God cannot die; that is impossible. To say that God is dead is to say that life is dead. If God means life, then the statement “God is dead” is simply stupid, meaningless, contradictory - because life is that which lives, that which goes on living.
The Bauls would laugh. They would say, “Then you have not understood the real God. Yes, your God is dead because he was false, but the God of the Bauls is not dead, cannot be dead, because we never talked about God - we talk about life, love. If all the temples were destroyed and all the mosques and gurudwaras were burned, nothing would happen to God. Because the God enshrined there is not the real God. The God enshrined in you is the real God, and that cannot be destroyed. Life cannot be destroyed; life goes on. It is an eternal river.”
But man feels lonely. In his loneliness he creates fantasies, dreams. Man has become so lonely that he finds solace in any way, anywhere. It is unfortunate. But this is no way to find the real.
I was reading one anecdote:
Ira quit college, got himself a backpack and began hitchhiking around the United States. After he had been gone more than a year he telephoned home. “Hello, Ma, how are you?”
“Just fine, son. When are you coming home? I will fix you some chopped liver and chicken soup and a beautiful pot roast.”