The moment you start moving away from both yes and no, you will have your first glimpse of the ultimate. Hence the ultimate remains absolutely inexpressible; you cannot say no, you cannot say yes.
Gautama the Buddha never said no to God, never said yes to God. He seems to be the only person in the whole history of man who is neither an atheist nor a theist. This is unique, something immensely valuable. He is a pioneer; he is breaking into a new dimension, he is a breakthrough.
People were continuously asking, as they have always asked, “Does God exist?” and they expected a categorical answer, yes or no. They were very puzzled by Buddha, because he would never answer clearly whether God exists or not. On the contrary, he would divert the question into something else; he might start talking about something else. And his impact and his magnetism were such that you would forget all about what you had come to ask him; you would remember only later on that he deceived you. You had asked about God and he didn’t say a single word about it.
Many thought, “He does not believe in God and that’s why he keeps silent about God, because he is afraid that if he says no then religious people will leave him.” Many thought, “He knows God is, but he does not say so because he does not want the atheists to leave him.” And many thought, “He remains silent about the most fundamental question because he knows nothing, he is utterly ignorant.” But they were all wrong.
He was silent because God means something which is transcendental; yes is as irrelevant as no is irrelevant. Nothing can be said about God; to be silent about him is the only right answer. He was really answering. Very few, rare people understood him.
Once a man came. He touched Buddha’s feet and asked him, “Does God exist?” – the perennial question.
Buddha said – that was always his way, it will show you his method – he said, “When I was young I used to love horses very much.” Now, the man is asking about God, and he starts talking about horses! But he was a sweet talker, the man became interested in the horses, and Buddha said, “I came across four kinds of horses. One is the most stupid and stubborn kind; you beat the horse, still he would not budge. Many people are like that. The second kind is; you beat him and he would move, but he would move only if you beat him, if you whip him. Many people are like that. And the third kind you need not beat – you simply show him the whip and that’s enough; if he knows you have the whip in your hand, that’s enough. And I have also come across very rare horses; even the whip is not needed, just the shadow of the whip is enough.”
And then he closed his eyes and sat silently. The man also closed his eyes and sat in silence with Buddha.