If someone asked Buddha about God he would remain silent. This created much misunderstanding: many people thought that he did not believe in God. But he was so silent about it that he would not say even this much, that “I am not able to say anything about it.” Buddha said, “Even to say that I am not able to say anything about it is already saying something about it. I have already said something.” He was not ready to say even that much.
If the ultimate mystery of life were simply unknown, then we could study it in the universities because then it would be possible to make it known. Scientists make discoveries. Until something has been discovered, it is unknown. Then a scientist – an Edison, an Einstein, a Newton – discovers it, and it becomes known. Then even the schoolchildren of the whole world can read it and learn about it, then each person does not have to discover it. In science, first one person discovers, then everyone else will know it. Then each person need not discover it all over again because what had been unknown has now become known.
The divine is not like this. With the divine, many have discovered it and yet it remains unknown. Hence we should not put it in the category of the unknown: it is in the category of the unknowable. Unknowable means something which remains unknown even after having known it again and again. People learn about it, they even talk about it, and yet it cannot become your knowledge. There can be no education about it, no educational system can fathom it.
Now take note of another thing: all knowledge in life is collective; one comes to know and then everyone else comes to know. But the divine is a personal experience. When one person has known it, it becomes like sugar eaten by a man who cannot speak – an ecstatic feeling that cannot be expressed. He is unable to tell it to others, he is tongue-tied, his lips won’t move.
This also is a very interesting thing – that one who does not know about the divine can talk about it, but one who knows finds it very difficult to say anything. This seems to be strange, that those who don’t know can speak about it; they can speak for the simple reason that they don’t know! They don’t know that what they are trying to put into words cannot be put into words. They have only heard words about it and now they are repeating those same words.
This is why a pundit or a scholar never feels any hesitation to speak about the divine. The pundit goes on talking, but the sages constantly face their inadequacy. Even if a sage says something, at the same time he repeats again and again, “I have not been able to say it, it has remained unsaid. I have tried, but I have failed.” A pundit never fails, he always appears to have succeeded; but the one who knows always feels that he has failed. He tries, but then he finds, “No, the thing has slipped away. I have not been able to say it.” It is something like trying to hold a fresh breeze in your fist: as long as your fist is open the breeze is there, but the moment you close your fist, it escapes.
The divine is in the experience, but as we try to put it into words, it slips away. Words function like a fist: you don’t say it and the divine is there, you say it and it slips away. Those who have spoken have only expressed their inability. Those who did not speak were saying through their silence that it could not be said. The experience is personal, not collective.