In the West this looked not very religious, because you cannot worship a negativity. You can worship only something positive, you can love only something positive, you can devote yourself only to something positive. How can you devote yourself to something which is simply a denial, a negativity, a neti neti, neither this nor that? You cannot make an idol of a negative Brahman. How can you make an idol of a negative Brahman?
That’s why Hindus conceived their highest conception of Brahman as shivalinga. And people go on thinking that shivalinga is just a phallic symbol. It is not just a phallic symbol, that is just one of its implications. Shivalinga is a symbol of zero, shunya, the negative. Shivalinga doesn’t define any image. There is no image on it – no face, no eyes, nothing; just a zero, not even one. And the zero can be infinite. Zero has no boundaries; it begins nowhere, it ends nowhere.
How can you worship a zero? How can you pray to a zero? But Hindus have totally a different conception. They say prayer is not really an address to God, because you cannot address anything to him. Where will you address him? – he is nowhere or everywhere. So prayer is not really some address; rather, on the contrary, prayer is your inner mutation. Hindus say you cannot pray, but you can be in a prayerful mood. So prayer is not something you can do, prayer is something you can only be.
And prayer is not for God, prayer is for you. You pray and through prayer you change. Nobody is listening to your prayer and nobody is going to help you, nobody is going to follow your prayer but just by praying your heart changes. Through prayer, if authentic, you become different – your assertion changes you.
In the south there is one old temple. If you go in the temple there is no deity; the place for the deity is vacant, empty. If you ask the priest, “Where is the deity? Whom to worship? And this is a temple – to whom does this temple belong? Who is the deity of this temple?” the priest will tell you, “This is the tradition of this temple – that we don’t have any deity. The whole temple is the deity. You cannot look for the deity in a particular direction. He is everywhere – that’s why the place is vacant.”
The whole universe is Brahman. And this is such a vast phenomenon that positive terms will only make it finite; hence negativity – it is one of the highest conceptions possible. And this negativity reached its most logical extreme in Buddha. He would not even negate. He said, “Even if you negate, indirectly you assert, and every assertion is blasphemy.”
Jews could have understood this. They have no name for God. Yahweh is not a name, it is just a symbol; or it means “the nameless.” And in the old Jewish world before Jesus, the name was not to be asserted by everybody. Only the chief priest in the temple of Solomon was allowed once a year to assert the name. So once a year all the Jews would gather together at the great temple of Solomon, and the highest priest would assert the name, Yahweh. And it is not a name, the very word means the nameless.