Man had always lived with nature. To live with nature is to live with God in an indirect way, because nature reflects God, existence, in a thousand and one ways. The growing trees and the faraway call of the cuckoo and the winds in the pine trees and the rivers moving towards the ocean and the proud mountains standing in the sun and the starry night, and it is impossible not to be reminded of some invisible hands. It is impossible not to see that existence is not dead but alive. The ocean heaves, breathes; the whole existence is a growing phenomenon. It is not dead, it cannot be dead. Everything is growing.
Because of this growing experience man has remained constantly aware of some invisible, mysterious force behind it all. That force is called God. God is not a person, let me repeat, but just a presence.
Still when you go deep into the Himalayas, you again start feeling a kind of reverence, awe, wonder. Again you start feeling something that was very easily available to the primitive man.
The civilized man has lost something because now we live in the man-made world where it is almost impossible to find any signature of God. How can you find the divine on asphalt roads? They don’t grow, they don’t breathe. How can you find God in cement structures? They are not alive. How can you find God in machines, in technology? Although it is great, even the greatest machine cannot give you the sense of the mysterious, of the miraculous. Even facing the greatest machine you cannot feel awe, you cannot feel reverence, you cannot feel like falling on your knees and praying. And if you cannot feel like falling on your knees and praying once in a while, how can the divine remain a part of your being? How can you remain alert, aware of the divine?
Yes, “…something has happened that has never happened before: though we know not just when, or why, or how, or where.” It is difficult to pinpoint the exact date and time when God died – at least in our consciousness – when God disappeared from our world. And with him disappeared all poetry, and with him disappeared all dance. With him disappeared all that is beautiful and sacred. With him disappeared all for which one can live and die; now we don’t have anything worth living or worth dying for. We are simply dragging our existence, burdened, seeing no point in it all, just carrying on somehow because the other alternative is suicide – that too seems pointless. To live seems pointless, to die seems pointless.
Man is facing a tremendous flood of meaninglessness for the first time. Everything seems to be utterly insignificant, and the reason is simple: without the divine there can be no significance, without the divine there can be no grandeur, without the divine there can be no splendor. Life can have meaning only in the context of something that surpasses life. The meaning always comes from the context; now man stands without a context. The meaning comes only when you can look upwards to something bigger than you, something greater than you. When you feel related with something greater, holier, your life has meaning. When you feel unrelated, uprooted, how can you feel meaning?
The first thing is that man has left nature and has created an artificial world of his own. That has been the most shattering phenomenon which has disrupted man, unbridged man from the divine and all that is implied in it: meaning, significance, majesty, love, prayer, meditation, all that is valuable, precious. Man has never been such a beggar as he is today.