You are afraid to love a single individual. How will you grow? And you can trick your mind – you can go to the libraries, you can collect information about love and about lovers, and you can know much without knowing anything at all. And this happens in every dimension of life. Wherever great matters are concerned, this is how you deceive. To pray is difficult; to become a priest is easy. A priest is a man who has collected all about prayer, but to pray is difficult. It is like death – because unless you die how can you invite the divine to enter in you? Unless you become empty, how can he come into you?
Soren Kierkegaard has said: “In the beginning, when I started to pray, I used to talk much to God. Then, by and by, I came to the understanding of what foolishness I was doing. I was talking – how can talking be prayer? Prayer can be only a deep listening, not a talking. You have to be silent so God can be heard. You have to be so silent that the silent and still word of God can penetrate you. In that silence the divine is revealed.” Prayer is not talking, it is a listening – alert, passive, open, ready, ready like a womb. Prayer is feminine and a priest is a male phenomenon. A priest is aggressive: he is doing something. Prayer is not a doing at all – it is simply being receptive, it is simply being open. A door is open and you are waiting. It is infinite patience and waiting. A priest is aggressive. You can learn it: priesthood is an art, you can learn it. Prayer is not an art, you cannot learn it anywhere. You can learn it only in life. There exists no school, no university, which can teach you prayer – only life.
You move in life, you suffer much, you grow and, by and by, you feel your total helplessness. By and by you feel that all egoistic claims are foolish – because who are you? Being tossed from there to here, from here to there; just drifting, a drifting wood on the sea…who are you? When you feel, “I am nobody,” the first seed of prayer has entered in you. When you feel, “I am helpless, I cannot do anything, because I have been doing and doing for so long and nothing happens except misery, nothing happens through my effort,” you become effortless. In that moment of helplessness the prayer takes a second step. Not that in your helplessness you start demanding from God: “Do this for me because I cannot do it” – no! If you are really helpless you cannot even demand and desire, because you come to realize: “Whatsoever I say will be wrong, whatsoever I ask will be wrong. I am wrong so all that comes through me will go wrong”; so you will say, “Thy will be done…don’t listen to me, just you do whatsoever you would like to do, and I am ready to follow.” This is prayer – but this is not priesthood. You can be trained as a priest; there are colleges which train priests. Every gesture of prayer is taught: how to sit, how to bow down, what words to use and what words not to use.
Leo Tolstoy has written a small parable. It happened that a man came to a priest, the greatest priest in Russia, and said, “I know three saints. They live on an island, and they have attained to God.”
The priest said, “How can it happen? I am the high priest of the whole country. Without knowing me, without my knowing of the phenomenon, how is it possible that three persons have attained to God? I will go and see them.”