The moment your heartbeat and the heartbeat of existence become one, the moment your small dance is in tune with the vast dance that goes on around you, the moment you become part of this celebration that is existence, there arises a tremendous gratitude. You don’t have to do it. You simply find it arising from you, just as fragrance arises from the flowers. It is a spontaneous thing.
This is true prayerfulness.
I have told you a beautiful story by Leo Tolstoy. An archbishop of the Russian Orthodox Church was very angry because thousands of people were going to see three absolutely unknown villagers who lived on a small island in a lake. People thought they were saints.
Now in Christianity, unless the church certifies you as a saint, you cannot be a saint. This is such a stupidity that you cannot conceive…For centuries this has been going on. In fact, the English word ‘saint’ comes from sanctus. It means sanction by the church. Unless the church gives you a sanction…it is almost like getting an honorary D.Litt from a university.
Sainthood cannot be certified by anyone. There is no one who has the authority to certify anybody’s sainthood. Sainthood is, in itself, self evident. The moment you see it, you know it. The moment you feel it, you know it. It needs no other approval.
But the archbishop was very angry; “Without my permission, without my sanction, how have three idiots from a village become saints?” And people were not coming to his congregation; people were going to visit those faraway saints.
Finally he decided to go and see for himself what was going on. He took a motorboat, reached the small island. It was so small that there was only one tree on the island, but with beautiful foliage, and all those three saints were sitting underneath it.
Just by looking at them the archbishop knew: These are absolutely uneducated villagers – who has created this rumor? And how gullible are people that they are worshipping these people? And as he descended from his boat all the three villagers touched his feet. He was immensely happy.
He said, “Are you the three priests the whole country is talking about?”
They said, “We don’t know. People come to us, we cannot prevent them coming. All that we know is that we are absolutely contented. All that we know is that there is no more desire, no more ambition. Life is just a tremendous blessing, and we are enjoying it. More than that we don’t know. We are uneducated, we are villagers.”
The archbishop was very happy. He said, “What kind of prayer do you do?”
Those three saints looked at each other ashamed, embarrassed. Finally one said that it was not much of a prayer. “We have created it by ourselves. We don’t know what is the authorized prayer of the church, but whatever we have been doing we will tell you.”