Hence all the religions have used this phenomenon in different ways. Whenever Jesus prays to God he always calls him Abba. Christians have translated it as “God the Father;” that translation is not right, it is very inaccurate – in a way literally true, but the metaphor has changed. Abba can only be translated as daddy not as father; father seems to be cold. Just repeat the word father and it looks so far away: “God the Father” looks like an institution! Father is really an institution, it is not a natural phenomenon. The mother is natural, the father is only a creation of a certain society. There have been societies before where father never existed.
The word uncle is far older than the word father. In a matriarchal society people knew about the mother, but because marriage had not come into existence yet, no child knew about the father. So all the people who have been the lovers of the mother – somebody out of them must be the father but that is not known – so all the people who could have been the lovers were known as uncles.
In the Talmud, the Jewish God says: “Remember, I am not nice, I am not your uncle!” The uncle is always nice, the father almost never. It is very difficult to be friendly with the father; it is very easy to be friendly with the uncle. I would rather say it is better to call “God the Uncle” than to call him “God the Father.” It is closer, nicer, more friendly. But to call him Abba is the best. Jesus is giving him a name which creates intimacy.
When you call God Abba – Daddy – you are saying, “I am just a child. Take care of me, don’t ignore me. I cannot live without you – you are my life. Your love is my very nourishment.”
All the religions have used the idea that unless a man becomes a child again he cannot be truly religious. To be a child means to be innocent, means to be full of wonder, means to be full of awe. For the child everything is a mystery – everything. He has no answers, he has only questions. He is immensely interested in knowing, he is open. The moment you have an answer you become closed, to that extent. If you have all the answers for all the questions you are absolutely closed, then you are not open. Your inquiry is finished, and with the inquiry finished you are dead.
A real being is always inquiring, he is always on the pilgrimage. He remains always an agnostic. All children are agnostics, neither theists nor atheists, nor Hindus nor Mohammedans, nor Catholics nor Protestants. They are simply innocent. They don’t believe in anything but they are ready to inquire, to investigate – and the inquiring heart is a healthy heart. When you are loaded with beliefs you are ill.
The Christian is ill, the Hindu is ill, the Jaina is ill – ill because they are prejudiced, ill because without seeing they have believed, ill because they are behaving stupidly. How can you believe in something that you have not known? When you know something there is no need to believe at all, so belief in any case is ridiculous. Either you know or you don’t know. If you know there is no need to believe, if you don’t know, how can you believe? So belief is only for the mediocre, the stupid, the idiots. And no child is an idiot. Every child is so fresh, so alive, so full of zest that his very aliveness makes him healthy.
If you can touch the child in the patient in any way…and hugging is simply one of the most important things.