After the prayer to the divine, the inquiry begins. Inquiry can only begin after prayer. Prayer brings the heart into such a space, it creates such a receptive and sensitive state of mind, that now the inquiry is not just made out of curiosity, it has turned into a longing for liberation. Inquiry without prayer is only an intellectual game, and someone who inquires without having prayed first has not inquired at all. If someone is sitting in the dark with his door closed inquiring about the sun and about light, he can continue inquiring forever but he will never get an answer.
One of the biggest games of the mind is: when it receives no answer, it fabricates some answers in the darkness, never having known the sun. Someone will state, “The sun does not exist” – not because he knows that the sun does not exist, but because it is easier for him to deny what he could not know about than to allow his anguish, his state of not knowing, to persist. The anguish disappears with the denial; we can then remain contented in our darkness. He who has not opened his doors may continue to inquire about the sun and about the light, but he will not get an answer. And, not getting an answer, he may not even deny the existence of the sun, but may instead fabricate an imaginary sun, fabricate his own concept, his own notion. And those concepts are just as false as his denial.
A non-believer standing in the darkness is as untrue as a believer standing in darkness. Without knowing the divine, their statements about the existence or the nonexistence of the divine are meaningless. Both statements are meaningless. And it is really interesting that great disputes and discussions go on in the darkness between these two groups who do not know anything at all.
Ignorance is full of disputes. Ignorance does not know, yet it is very voluble. Disputes can go on, doctrines can be established…. In fact doctrines can only be created in darkness; in the light there can be no beliefs. The light is enough; beliefs are not needed. All doctrines are born in darkness, since where there is light none are needed. Where truth is revealed, words have vanished; and where truth is everything, doctrines serve no purpose. Beliefs are a substitute, a compensation; when truth is not known, we create beliefs and install them in place of the truth.
Right inquiry begins with prayer. When I say this, I mean that someone who wants to know the sun should at least fulfill one condition: that he should open the door of his house. If there is a longing to know the sun, he should at least open his doors so that if the sun wants to answer, it can answer. The sun has tremendous energy; even so it will not break down the doors to enter into your house. The sun will not even knock on your door.
In this world truth never trespasses on one’s life, it never meddles in one’s life. Truth never brings any slavery into one’s life, it never brings any bondage. That is why truth is freedom. Truth never imposes itself forcibly without your will. Unless you are ready, truth will stand waiting without knocking at your doors. Your readiness, only your heartfelt invitation, can become truth’s arrival.
But what is the point of your invitation if your door is not open? You should stand and wait at the door for the guest whom you have invited. That is why the Upanishad begins with prayer.