Your journey with nature is over, nature has brought you as far as it can – and it has been a very long journey. It has not been an insignificant thing; it has taken a very long time. Assuming the earth were twenty-four hours old, then scientists say man has only been here for two seconds. Man has not been here for very long. Nature is very very ancient, but in a total journey of twenty-four hours only two seconds have passed since the consciousness that is man has been born. This evolution to the human stage is the highest flowering in nature.
The journey through the darkness of nature is over. Man has reached the frontier; he has come to the crossroads. If you go back to nature now you will just be repeating the cycle of births and deaths all over again – this is what humans generally do. Such men belong to the world; such men are worldly men.
The Hindi word for world is sansara; it means a wheel. And the man who lives like a wheel, continuously revolving in the same circle, is bound to the world. He repeats the same routine day after day. He gets up in the morning and does what he did yesterday; he spends this afternoon as he spent the one before. Living by the clock – which goes round and round too – he repeats the same routine in the evening and the same routine at night. He is lost in the repetition of his routine. And then one day he is suddenly no more. Then, as a seed, he enters a new womb and the blind journey begins all over again.
The Hindus are the oldest conscious people, the most ancient awakened people on this earth. They were the first to conceive of religion and they have only one great desire, only one great throbbing in their hearts – how to be freed, how to be liberated from this cycle of births and deaths, how to jump outside the circumference of this wheel, how to attain to consciousness and move outside the circle of sansara. The Hindus say, “We have taken this blind journey so many times. We have become seeds and trees and trees and seeds over and over again. It all seems so pointless, so useless.”
Now a tension begins; now anxiety is born. No irreligious or non-religious man will ever become as uneasy as a religious man will. What is there for an irreligious man to worry about? You will find him making merry in a club, in a bar or in the marketplace. Such a man has no worries at all. And even if he does have a few he is easily rid of them. For example, if he does not have enough money it can be earned; his bank balance can be augmented. If he hankers after fame, fame can be found; if his house is small he can build a bigger one. These are not very great problems; they can easily be solved. This is why such a man is not overly concerned. You will find him laughing and enjoying, but do not be deceived by this outward show.
A deep anxiety grips a religious man because he has begun to think, “How long can this repetitiveness last?” This is the beginning of his anxiety. He is anxious to free himself from this cycle of births and deaths. He thinks, “I have gone around and around often enough. It is already late. When shall I awaken? When shall I become conscious?”
So the first stage in the growth of a man of religion will be one of anxiety; the last stage will be one of serenity and peace. But this last stage is very, very far away; a long journey must be undertaken. Between these two stages, between anxiety and peace, a man of religion has to make tremendous effort.