It is almost like the fish who does not know anything about the ocean because it is born in the ocean, it has lived in the ocean, and one day it will die in the ocean. It was part of the ocean, just a wave; it knows nothing of the ocean. The fish comes to know the ocean only when a fisherman pulls her out of the ocean and throws her on the beach in the hot sand. Then she knows that she has missed her real home, of which she has never been aware. Now she is thirsty, trying in every possible way to reach back there and jump into the ocean. Out of the ocean she becomes aware of what she has missed.
People become aware only at the time of death of what they have missed because death comes, like a fisherman, pulling you out of the ocean of life. As you are pulled out of life, suddenly you realize, “My God! I have been alive, and I never became aware of it. I could have danced, I could have loved, I could have sung, but now it is too late.” People become aware only at the time when they are dying, that they have been continuously surrounded by the eternal energy of life, but they never participated in it.
Your daily life is your temple, and your religion. Act in awareness, act consciously, and naturally many things will start changing.
A man who understands that the whole of life is the temple, is the religion, cannot go on killing animals for eating, because if you are divine, then they are also divine. If existence beats in your heart, it also beats in the heart of a deer. How can you kill a deer? – so beautiful, and so dignified; so swift, he goes like an arrow. Have you ever seen a deer who is ugly? That’s why deer don’t have any competition for beauty, because what is the point? – they are all beautiful. Have you ever seen a lion who is not beautiful?
But man becomes ugly. Every child is born beautiful, but as he grows he starts learning ways to become ugly, to be competitive, to be jealous, to be violent, to be destructive, to be aggressive. Slowly, slowly, he loses all contact with life because he has lost reverence for life.
If you ask me, I will say religion is reverence for life. And if you don’t have reverence for life, you cannot conceive the whole of existence – the trees and the birds and the animals – as different expressions of the same energy. In the source we are brothers and sisters with the animals and the birds and the trees; and if you start feeling this brotherhood, this sisterhood, you will find the first taste of what religion is.
Whenever you enter into it take with you your all.
Take the plough and the forge and the mallet and the lute,
The things you have fashioned in necessity or for delight.
For in reverie you cannot rise above your achievements nor fall lower than your failures.
Do not discard anything as profane. The plough and the forge and the mallet and the lute – whatever you are working with, have a respect for it. People don’t even respect other people; people treat other people as if they are things.
Have you ever thought that your servant is also your brother, has the same dignity as you; needs to have his pride, just as you need it? No, a servant passes from your room and you don’t even pay attention – as if nobody has passed. A servant seems to have no soul. Have you purchased the soul of the servant?