A great philosopher in Gautam Buddha’s time came to see him. He brought his five hundred disciples with him. Buddha never refused anybody. Even at the last moment when he was dying, he asked if anybody had a question because “Now, I am going, my ship has arrived. And I don’t want it to be said by future generations that Gautam Buddha was alive and yet he did not answer an authentic question.”
Buddha asked the philosopher, “Is it your question or a quest?”
The philosopher said, “What is the difference?”
Buddha said, “The difference is unbridgeable, of the earth and the sky. A quest is a thirst. A question is a mind game. If you have a quest, I am ready to answer. But if it is only a question, don’t waste my time.”
Almustafa did not answer those people amongst whom he had lived for twelve years and who had never asked anything. But when Almitra, the woman who had recognized him on the first day in the city of Orphalese asked, he answered. And he answered with such beauty, with such poetry, with such truth. Perhaps nobody else has answered that way – not even a person like Krishna, who answered his disciple Arjuna, questions after questions…
Perhaps Arjuna’s questions are authentic, but Krishna’s answers are not. He is not concerned with the quest. His whole concern is political – to somehow persuade Arjuna to participate in the war. So he goes on answering in different ways which contradict each other and finally, when he finds that his answers are not convincing Arjuna, he resorts to the last thing which any dictator is bound to fall upon.
Finally, he says, “It is God’s will that you should participate in the war.” It is strange that God is speaking to him and not to Arjuna directly. If I had been in the place of Arjuna, I would have said, “It may be God’s will for you – fight! But as far as I am concerned, it is God’s will not to fight, but to renounce this whole nonsense of destroying and killing people and move deeper into the Himalayas to meditate.”
But he became afraid. If it is God’s will, he has to fight. He forgot a simple thing: why does God always need mediators? Why can’t he speak directly?
In fact, there is no God. These mediators are the most cunning people in the world. In the name of God, they are forcing their own ideas. Because they cannot force through their arguments, their final strategy is to bring God in.
I have always wondered: is God your real question? – anybody’s? It is philosophical, intellectual, hypothetical – but what would you do if you met God? And what is the point of meeting God? No, that is not the real quest of man.
Almitra does not ask Almustafa, “Speak to us of God.” No, she asks:
Speak to us of Love.
It has to be noted that only a woman can ask about love. Man wants to know God or to become God. These are power trips. Love is not a power trip. Love is the only experience in which you become humble, simple, innocent.