We will be talking about Hasidism. Before we enter into the spirit of it, a few remarks are needed as an introduction.
Whenever the problem arises, “How to talk about the religion,” it becomes very difficult because whatsoever you say about it is always going to be less than the truth. Whatsoever you say about it is always going to be a reflection: it can indicate, it cannot explain; it can show, but it cannot say. From where to begin to indicate, to show?
I would like to start with Samuel Beckett’s beautiful play, Waiting for Godot. It is absurd – as absurd as life is – but the very absurdity of life, if understood deeply, becomes an indication towards something which is beyond and meaningful. And only the beyond is meaningful: that which is beyond you is meaningful, that which is beyond mind is meaningful.
Waiting for Godot can be a good beginning for Hasidism, Zen, or Sufism – a very indirect indication – because to say something direct about such intimate, deep phenomena is to violate them. So be cautious, move slowly; it is holy ground.
The curtain rises: two vagabonds are sitting and waiting for Godot. Who is this Godot? They don’t know, nobody knows. Even Samuel Beckett, when once was asked, “Who is this Godot?” said, “If I had known, I would have said so in the play itself.”
Nobody knows – this is a Zen gesture. But the word Godot sounds like God…that is significant. Who knows God? Who has ever known? Who can say, who can claim that “I know”? All knowledge is foolish, and one who claims that he knows God is simply stupid.
Godot sounds like God, the unknown. It may be all, it may be nothing. They are waiting for Godot. When they don’t know who this God is, why are they waiting? Because, if you don’t wait for something you fall into the inner emptiness, if you are not waiting for something to happen you have to face your inner vacuum, the inner nothingness – and it is scary, it is deathlike. To avoid it, to escape from it, one projects a dream in the future. That’s how future time is created.
Future is not part of time, it is part of mind. Time is always present. It is never past, never future. It is always now. Mind creates future because then one can avoid the “now”: one can look ahead into the clouds, wait for something and pretend that something is going to happen – and nothing happens!
One of the most basic truths about human life is that nothing ever happens. Millions of things seem to happen and nothing ever happens. One goes on waiting and waiting and waiting: waiting for Godot. Who is this Godot? Nobody knows! But still one has to project…how to avoid one’s inner emptiness – a dream?