Ananda said, “That I can understand. It is not my question, and you have not answered me. But I have ears and I can hear; I heard the question, I heard the answer. And all the three answers are contradiction upon contradiction. First you say yes, then you say no; and then you remain silent, you don’t say anything. And that great guy touched your feet and said, ‘Thank you for your answer.’ And we are sitting there and there has been no answer at all!”
Buddha said, “You think about life in terms of absolutes, that’s your trouble. Life is relative. To that man, the answer was yes; it was relative to him, related to the implications of his questions, his being, his life. That man to whom I said yes was an atheist; he does not believe in God, and I do not want to support his stupid atheism. He goes on proclaiming there is no God. Even if a small space is left unexplored…perhaps in that space God exists. You can say with absoluteness there is no God when you have explored all existence. That is possible only in ultimate samadhi.
“And that man was simply believing that there was no God – he had no existential experience of there being no God. I had to shatter him, I had to bring him down to earth. I had to hit him hard on the head. My yes was relative to that person, to his whole personality. His question was not just words. The same question from somebody else may have received another answer.
And that’s what happened when I said to the other person, no. The question was the same, the words were the same – but the man behind those words was different. So the relationship between the words and the implications had changed. It is relative. The second man was as much an idiot as was the first, but on the opposite pole: he believed there is God. And he had come to get my support for his belief. I don’t support anybody’s belief because belief as such is the barrier. It does not matter what belief it is, true or false. No belief is true, no belief is false; all beliefs are simply idiotic. I had to say to that man, no.
“And the third man had come with no belief. He had not asked me, ‘Is there a God?’ No, he had come with an open heart, with no mind, no belief, no ideology. He was really a sane man, intelligent. He asked me, ‘Would you say something about God?’ He was not in search of somebody’s support for his belief system, he was not in search of a faith, he was not asking with a prejudiced mind. And he was asking about my experience: ‘Would you say something about God?’
“I could see that this man has no belief, this way or that; he is innocent. With such an innocent person, language is meaningless. I cannot say yes, I cannot say no; only silence is the answer. So I closed my eyes and remained silent.
“And my feeling about the man proved to be true. He closed his eyes – seeing me close my eyes, he closed his eyes. He understood my answer: Be silent, go in. He remained in silence for half an hour with me and he received the answer – that God is not a theory, a belief, that you have to be for or against.
“That’s why he thanked me for the answer, and you are puzzled for what answer he thanked me. He received the answer that silence is divine, and to be silent is to be godly; there is no other god than silence. And he went tremendously fulfilled, contented. He has found the answer.