You have been taught to appreciate the flower, which is a simple thing. You have been taught to appreciate a tree, which is a simple thing. You have even been taught to appreciate stones, rocks, mountains, rivers, but you have never been taught to respect your own body, never to be mystified by it. Yes, it is very close, so it is very easy to forget about it. It is very obvious, so it is easy to neglect it. But this is the most beautiful phenomenon.
If you look at a flower, people will say, “How aesthetic!” And if you look at a woman’s beautiful face or a man’s beautiful face, people will say, “This is lust.” If you go to the tree and stand there, and look in a dazed state at the flower – your eyes wide open, your senses wide open to allow the beauty of the flower to enter you – people will think you are a poet or a painter or a mystic. But if you go to a woman or a man and just stand there with great reverence and respect, and look at the woman with your eyes wide open and your senses drinking the beauty of the woman, the police will catch hold of you. Nobody will say that you are a mystic, a poet; nobody will appreciate what you are doing.
Something has gone wrong. If you go to a stranger on the street and you say, “What beautiful eyes you have!” you will feel embarrassed, he will feel embarrassed. He will not be able to say thank you to you. In fact he will feel offended. He will feel offended, because who are you to interfere in his private life? Who are you to dare? If you go and touch the tree, the tree feels happy. But if you go and touch a man, he will feel offended. What has gone wrong? Something has been damaged tremendously and very deeply.
Tantra teaches you to reclaim respect for the body, love for the body. Tantra teaches you to look at the body as the greatest creation of God. Tantra is the religion of the body. Of course it goes higher, but it never leaves the body; it is grounded there. It is the only religion which is really grounded in the earth: it has roots. Other religions are uprooted trees – dead, dull, dying; the juice does not flow in them. Tantra is really juicy, very alive.
The first thing is to learn respect for the body, to unlearn all the nonsense that has been taught to you about the body. Otherwise you will never turn on, and you will never turn in, and you will never turn beyond.
Start from the beginning. The body is your beginning. The body has to be purified of many repressions. A great catharsis is needed for the body, a great rechana. The body has become poisoned because you have been against it, you have repressed it in many ways. Your body is existing at the minimum, that’s why you are miserable.
Tantra says: Bliss is possible only when you exist at the optimum, never before it. Bliss is possible only when you live intensely. How can you live intensely if you are against the body? You are always lukewarm, the fire has cooled down. Down the centuries, the fire has been destroyed. The fire has to be rekindled.