2 And supper being ended,
5…He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter, and Peter saith unto him: “Lord, dost thou wash my feet?”
7 Jesus answered and said unto him: “What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.”
8 Peter saith unto him: “Thou shalt never wash my feet! Jesus answered him: if I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.”
12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them: “Know ye what I have done to you?”
13 “Ye call me Master and Lord, and ye say well; for so I am.”
14 “If I then, your lord and master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.”
15 “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”
21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said: “Verily, verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.”
27…Then said Jesus unto him: “That thou doest, do quickly.”
28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.
31 Therefore, when Judas was gone out, Jesus said: “Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.”
34 “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
35 “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
The essence of religion is paradoxical – opposites meet there and lose their oppositeness. Contraries become complementary there and lose their contrariness. Day and night are not separate there, neither are life and death, nor the lower and the higher. The earth is the sky there, and the sky is the earth. To the logical mind, to mind as such – because all minds are logical – it is very difficult to conceive.
I will read a few words from A.N. Whitehead, a very perceptive man: “Religion is the vision of something which extends beyond, behind, and within the passing flux of immediate things: something which is real and yet waiting to be realized; something which is a remote possibility and yet the greatest of present facts; something which gives meaning to all that passes and yet eludes apprehension; something whose possession is the final good and yet is beyond reach; something which is the ultimate ideal and the hopeless quest.”
Whitehead understands rightly the paradox of religion, but he is trying to see it through the mind, hence his final conclusion is that it is a “hopeless quest” – hopeless because how can the opposites meet? Jean-Paul Sartre says that God is impossible because to make God possible, opposites will have to disappear. Death and life should become one; only then can God exist. And how can the mind conceive of life and death becoming one, winter and summer becoming one, the beginning and end becoming one? For the mind, the quest becomes hopeless.
The modern mind is basically without religion because the modern mind has lost the capacity, the elasticity, to be illogical. In the ordinary world, to be illogical is to be mad; in religion, to be illogical is the method. Madness itself is the method to know God. Unless you are mad enough so that you can put aside the categories of the mind and you can look directly without bringing any concepts between you and the reality, you can, at the most, know the matter, the dead part, the past, but you cannot know the real, the alive, the God. Essential religion will always look elusive to the mind. In fact, it looks like a sort of craziness.
Just a few days ago I was reading R.C. Zaehner’s books. This man has tried to understand Zen, Krishnamurti, but he could not; and in the end he has written a small; poem to ridicule them. That small poem not only ridicules Krishnamurti and Zen, it ridicules Jesus, Krishna – it ridicules all religion. R.C. Zaehner writes in this poem, and he feels that he is giving you the very essence of this insanity called Zen: