Chapter 9: That - The Universal Religion
Had Freud known about the Upanishads he would have been in difficulty, because the Upanishads do not create any relationship with God. Had Freud read the Upanishads the story of modern psychology would have been different. But Freud was an honest man. Had he even a slight inkling that there is some tradition of thought, philosophy, experience which does not establish any kind of relationship with God and which uses a most impersonal word tat, “that” - where God is “that,” and there cannot be any other more impersonal address - Freud would have surely been amazed. “That” means no name has been given, only a hint. “That” is not a name, it is only an indication, a pointing finger.
Certainly this tat cannot be born out of any shortcomings of childhood. One may think of mother, one may think of father - but ‘that’? It has nothing to do with the psychology of childhood. In fact it has nothing to do with psychology as such. It has to do with the experience of those who have gone beyond mind, who have gone beyond man.
These words manushya and mun, man and mind, should also be understood. In this country we have called man, manushya. He has been called so because he is surrounded by mun, the mind, because he is living in mind, because he is solely mind-oriented and derives nourishment from the mind. The English word man is also the derivative of the Sanskrit word mun, meaning mind.
Mun, mind, is man. Where mind is transcended, the manhood is also transcended. These are the statements of those who transcended man, who transcended mun, the mind, and hinted at ‘that’. But there are several things in it worth considering. A father can be worshipped, but how would you worship ‘that’? A temple of ‘father’ can be built, a temple of ‘mother’ can be built, but how would you build a temple of ‘that’? How can you make a temple of ‘that’? or can you? One can make idols of man, woman, mother, father, but how can an idol of ‘that’ be made? There are no scriptures more iconoclastic than the Upanishads, though not a word has been said by them against worshipping idols. This too is worth understanding.
Mohammedans have been busy breaking idols just because Mohammed said, “There can be no idol of ‘that’.” Mohammed’s statement is similar to that of the Upanishads: there can be no idol of ‘that’. Mohammedans seem to believe that the idol of ‘that’ cannot be made but that the idol of ‘that’ can be broken! How can that be broken which cannot be made in the first place? So one group of mad people are busy making idols and another group of mad people are busy breaking idols.
It is very interesting to see that the iconoclast is also nothing but a worshipper of idols. One who goes to break the idol also believes in idols - at least he believes them to be worth taking the trouble of breaking. He believes in the idol at least that much. Where is the difference? One goes to place offerings of flowers on the head of the idol, another goes to break the head of the idol with a hammer.