The psychotherapist is trying to become the master in the West. A strange phenomenon is happening: the psychotherapist is trying to become the master, is trying to become the guru – and the priest, the guru, is trying to become the psychotherapist! Now priests talk about psychology, and psychologists talk about religion – because priests are seeing that whatsoever they have been selling up to now cannot be sold any more – it is out of date. People are no more interested in it. People are no more interested in theology. People are interested in knowing about their mind and its working; people are more interested in having a better mind, more efficient, more calm and quiet and collected.
So the priest is moving, slowly, slowly from theology to psychology. And the psychoanalyst, the psychotherapist, is becoming aware of the phenomenon that the people’s real problems are not psychological but religious.
Carl Gustav Jung is reported to have said: “observing thousands of patients in my life, this has been one of my most important conclusions – that people who come to me after the age of forty-two, or nearabout, are not really suffering from any psychological problems but are suffering from religious problems.”
I perfectly agree with Jung – that is the time when a person suddenly becomes aware of death. Just as at the age of fourteen a person suddenly becomes aware of sex, and sex becomes important, and sexual fantasies come rushing towards his being from all over the place, and each thing starts taking a sexual color – the dress, the way he walks, the way he talks, the way he looks – everything starts taking a sexual tinge, just like that, at the age of forty-two suddenly death is encountered for the first time. Life starts declining. One has to be ready for the second phase of life. And the modern society does not prepare people for the second phase.
For life you have been prepared in the school, college, university – for almost twenty-five years you have been prepared! You have been taught how to live, but you have not been taught at all how to die. And death is the culmination of life. It is a great art.
Religion is the art of death – how to die joyously, how to die with hallelujah on your lips, how to die dancingly. How to transform the quality of death into the quality of samadhi. How to transform the experience of death into the experience of communion with the divine.
It is near about the age of forty-two that suddenly religion starts becoming important. And modern man does not accept that, so a thousand and one problems arise. Jung is right: people suffer from something which is not psychological but religious. They need an understanding that can help them to go through death. They need some awareness of the immortality of the soul. They need something that is not part of the body but is part of the beyond, so they can trust it. They need a boat so when they leave the body they can move to the other shore.