If your prayer is not heard, then fast, purify yourself, do all kinds of disciplines and certainly your prayer will be answered. Nobody’s prayer has ever been answered. But because of this strategy, they have planted in you the idea that when your prayer is not answered, you are at fault. So you have to be absolutely pure.
They demand perfectionism. And because of their demand of perfectionism they have driven the whole of humanity neurotic. Nobody can be perfect. Perfection is simply out of the question; perfection means death. You have to go on trying to be perfect – in this way evolution moves. You will be coming closer and closer to perfection, but you will never be perfect. The moment you are perfect you are finished, evolution has come to an end. The ideas of evolution and perfection are antagonistic.
But all over world, through all the ages, civilizations and cultures, every child has been forced to be perfect. And once this cancer of being perfect enters your mind, you will always feel you are not perfect, you will always feel guilty. You will pray, but you know your prayer will not be heard.
But the religions have completely diverted your attention. Your suffering is being caused by the vested interests here, now, and they have shifted the whole idea to the future – and not even to the near future…to after death. Different religions have tried different strategies, but the basic thing is to divert your mind from the exploitation which is going on right now. If all kinds of consolations are dropped, you will be able to see that your problem, your suffering, your misery is being created, manufactured by man. It has nothing to do with prayer.
And this is a very dangerous situation because all the religions – and almost everybody belongs to some religion – are trying to divert you from the actuality of things to dreams of paradise and heaven and all kinds of joys. These people are sellers of dreams and they fill your mind with dreams so much that you stop seeing the reality. The reality is that a few vested interests – politicians, the rich people, the priests – they are the cause of your suffering, of your anguish, of your misery, and they can be removed. But who is going to remove them? – because the people who are suffering never think that these good people can be the cause of their suffering.
Secondly, you have found it very clearly in your own meditations that when you are in suffering you want to meditate, but when you are happy you don’t even think about it. You are using meditation again as a new hope, as a new consolation. You are not really a meditator. You are using meditation also as medicine. It will give you some relief, but it cannot transform you to a state where ecstasy becomes your moment-to-moment experience.