If you go on asking this question again and again…then what is poetry? Just a certain arrangement of words? It is not. It is something that happens in a certain arrangement of words, but it is more than the certain arrangement of words itself. It is not grammar, it is not language – it is something transcendental. It is provoked by the words. The words are used as an occasion for the poetry to happen.
And exactly that is what music is. The instruments are used, notes are used, sounds are used, for that silence that is music to happen. Between two sounds is music, and between two words is poetry, and between two lines is all that is significant. It is never in the lines but always between the lines And one has to learn to read the intervals, the gaps.
Still, a few things can be said about prayer – but they will not be exact, so I cannot fulfill your desire. The very nature of prayer prohibits it. And to try to do something against its nature is sacrilege.
So the first thing that I can say about prayer is: a feeling of immense gratitude, a thankfulness. You are here, in this beautiful world, with these trees and rivers, mountains and stars. In this tremendous beauty you are pulsating, you are alive. This opportunity you have not earned. It is a gift. Prayer is a thankfulness for this gift of life. Just to breathe is such a joy, just to open your eyes and see the greenery. Just to listen to the chirping of the birds, or the sound of running water, or the silence of the night and the velvety darkness. Or the dawn and the sun rising…we have not earned it! It has been given to us, and we have not even thanked.
Whether there is a God or not is irrelevant – thankfulness is a must. People think that “If there is a God, then we will thank him.” I tell you just the opposite: “If you start thanking, you will find him.” There is no other way. If you start feeling grateful, you will find him because he happens only in that dimension of gratitude.
Just as you cannot see from the ears and you cannot hear from the eyes – eyes can only see, ears can only hear – exactly like that, only gratitude can find God, can feel God. Gratitude is your sensitivity for God. Prayer is that sensitivity.
Second thing: prayer is a way of living. It is not just something that you do early in the morning like a ritual. If it is a ritual, it is meaningless. If it is a ritual, it will not make you religious – it will make you a Hindu, it will make you a Mohammedan, but not religious. Prayer has to be something absolutely informal, of the heart, not a ritual. Not something that you finish somehow in the morning because you have to do it and you have been taught to do it – it has become a duty. If you don’t do it, you feel a little guilty; otherwise, doing it, you don’t feel any joy out of it. When you don’t do it, only guilt arises. To avoid that guilt, you go on doing it. This is not prayer.