But this has happened as far as religion is concerned. People are worshipping, and they think worship is religion. Worship is not religion. You have gone astray, clinging to the symbols still in the temples of Zarathustra. The fire has been kept alive for twenty-five centuries but nobody becomes a fire himself, so that all that is rubbish in you can be burned and only the gold, pure gold, can be saved.
Zarathustra was talking about the highest value, of love. Love to him is synonymous with God, but not in the same way as it is with Jesus. With Jesus God comes first, love comes second. Jesus says, “God is love.” It indicates that love is one of the attributes of God, but he may have many other attributes. God is not only love, just love; he is many more things.
With Zarathustra love comes first; love is God because love is the highest value. And just to change those words makes such a tremendous difference that it looks unbelievable. If love is God, then God becomes an attribute of love – and what is God except creativity? Love being creative is all that religion is about.
He has defined the highest value in an absolutely unique way. First, that it is not common – so whatever you think about love cannot be the love Zarathustra is talking about. Your love is very common. Your love is only a name; behind it is nothing but biological lust. Your love is not a value, but a degradation, a bondage – not a freedom. It brings misery and anguish in your life, not blissfulness, not silence, not serenity, not godliness. Unless love brings these qualities it remains common. According to Zarathustra the first important thing about the highest value is, it has to be unique, very rare.
Secondly, it has to be useless. To understand the second point is a little bit difficult, because we have all been taught in the philosophies of utility. Anything that is useless, how can it be the highest value? It cannot even be called a value.
But Zarathustra’s meaning is clear. He is saying: Love cannot be a means to another end. You cannot use it. You can live it, you can be it, but you cannot use it for any purpose, for any goal, for any end; you cannot reduce it into a means. That’s what he means when he says the highest value is the end of all other values, but itself is useless – because there is nothing higher than this to which it can become a means. It is an end unto itself.
And thirdly, that it does not need any outside support to make it valuable; it shines from its own inner center. It is luminous. It bestows beauty upon itself. It is absolutely independent.
After talking about the highest value…
Here Zarathustra fell silent a while and regarded his disciples lovingly.
Whenever something profound is uttered it has to be followed, of necessity, by silence. That silence gives it more depth, more meaning, more profundity.