Chapter 7: Translucent Darkness
We long exceedingly to dwell in this translucent darkness, and through not seeing and not knowing to see and to know him who is beyond both vision and knowledge - by the very fact of neither seeing him nor knowing him. For this is truly to see and to know, and, through the abandonment of all things, to praise him who is beyond all above all. For this is not unlike the art of those who hew out a lifelike image (from stone), removing from around it all which impedes clear vision of the latent form, showing its true and hidden beauty solely by taking away.
For it is, as I believe, more fitting to praise him by taking away than by ascription, for we ascribe attributes to him when we start from universals, and come down through the intermediate to particulars. But here we take away all things from him, going up from particulars to universals, that we may know openly the unknowable, which is hidden in and under all things that we may be known. And we behold that darkness beyond being, concealed under all natural light.
We have praised those things which fitly pertain to the theology of affirmation; how the divine and excellent nature may be spoken of as one, and how as three; how in accord therewith the fatherhood of god may be explained, how the sonship, and in what manner the truth of the spirit may be revealed; how out of the incorporeal and undivided excellence they put forth these three interior lights of goodness, and how in himself and in themselves, and in their mutual and co-eternal propagation they remain together, nowhere going apart; how Jesus, while above all creation, may be in very truth of the substance of human nature. We have told how he may be called good, being, life, wisdom, and power, and whatsoever else concerns the spiritual naming of God.
Theology is a perverse discipline: it is masochistic. It is a subtle way of torturing yourself, but very subtle. In fact, nobody has ever said that it is a hidden form of masochism, self-torture and perversion, but I would like to make it clear to you that the theology of all the religions is basically stupid. It talks about things it knows not. It talks about things which cannot be talked about. It goes on moving in a vicious circle of contradictions - because religion is silence and theology is nothing but words.
In the East the division has been very clear, hence we have been saved from a very great curse. In the East the mystic has never tried to be a theologian and the theologian has never been thought to be a mystic. They have been separate disciplines. In the West theology has dominated, so much so that either a mystic had to talk in terms of theology or he had to be ready to be burnt alive.
Dionysius must have felt the utter futility of all that he was saying. I can feel his pain. I can feel compassion and love for him. I can see the man knows. But the people who were in power were utterly ignorant of the truth. And he did not want to be burnt alive so he had to talk in a stupid way.
Lao Tzu talks directly, Buddha’s statements are absolutely clear; there is nothing airy-fairy about them. Mahavira says whatsoever he wants to say without creating a great camouflage of big words, theories, ideologies, philosophies. They are very, matter of fact people and very, precise too, almost mathematically precise.
That’s why in the East the statements of all the great enlightened masters are known as sutras. Sutra means a very condensed statement; all that is non-essential has been eliminated, only the very essential has been expressed. They are like seeds. You can sow those seeds in your soul and a big tree will start growing in you with millions of flowers and millions of seeds. But the statements themselves are very small. They don’t go zigzag; they are straightforward, they go like an arrow. They don’t go in a roundabout way because they are not afraid to say whatsoever they feel like saying.
The West has not allowed that freedom. And now even in the East the Western disease is spreading. Now even in the East the freedom is disappearing.
I am continuously condemned just because I go on saying the truth as it is without making any compromise with any kind of theology - of the Hindus, of the Jainas, of the Buddhists, of the Mohammedans, of the Christians. They are all against me. It is a strange phenomenon in the East. It has been the tradition in the West, but the disease has come to the East too. Otherwise in the East nobody has ever been crucified, nobody has ever been killed, poisoned, like Socrates, Jesus, al-Hillaj Mansoor and many others.