Patanjali is rare. He is an enlightened person like Buddha, like Krishna, like Christ, like Mahavira, Mohammed, Zarathustra, but he is different in one way. Buddha, Krishna, Mahavira, Zarathustra, Mohammed – none of them has a scientific attitude. They are great founders of religions. They have changed the whole pattern of the human mind and its structure, but their approach is not scientific.
Patanjali is like an Einstein in the world of buddhas. He is a phenomenon. He could easily have been a Nobel Prize winner like an Einstein or Bohr or Max Planck or Heisenberg. He has the same attitude, the same approach as a rigorous, scientific mind. He is not a poet; Krishna is a poet. He is not a moralist; Mahavira is a moralist. He is basically a scientist who is thinking in terms of laws. And he has come to deduce absolute laws of the human being, the ultimate working structure of the human mind and of reality.
And if you follow Patanjali you will come to know that he is as exact as any mathematical formula. Simply do what he says and the result will happen. The result is bound to happen – it is just like two plus two become four; it is just like you heat water up to one hundred degrees and it evaporates. No belief is needed, you simply do it and know. It is something to be done and known. That’s why I say there is no comparison: never again has a man existed on this Earth like Patanjali.
Yoga is pure science. And Patanjali is the greatest name as far as the world of Yoga is concerned. This man is rare, there is no other name comparable to Patanjali. For the first time in the history of humanity this man brought religion to the status of a science. He made religion a science; pure laws, no belief is needed.
So-called religions need beliefs. There is no other difference between one religion and another; the difference is only of beliefs. A Mohammedan has certain beliefs, a Hindu certain others, a Christian certain others. The difference is of beliefs. Yoga has nothing as far as belief is concerned; Yoga doesn’t say to believe in anything. Yoga says “Experience.” Just as science says “Experiment,” Yoga says “Experience.” Experiment and experience are both the same; their directions are different. Experiment means there is something you can do outside; experience means there is something you can do inside. Experience is an inner experiment.
Science says, “Don’t believe, doubt as much as you can,” but also, Don’t disbelieve” – because disbelief is again a sort of belief. You can believe in God, you can believe in the concept of no-God. You can say God is with a fanatic attitude; you can say quite the reverse, that God is not, with the same fanaticism. Atheists, theists, are all believers, and belief is not the realm for science. Science means to experience something, that which is; no belief is needed.”
Patanjali – I call him the scientist of the religious world, the mathematician of mysticism, the logician of the illogical. Two opposites meet in him. If a scientist reads Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras he will understand immediately. A Wittgenstein, a logical mind, will immediately feel an affinity with Patanjali. He’s absolutely logical. And if he leads you towards the illogical, he leads you in such logical steps you never know when he has left the logic and taken you beyond it.
He moves like a philosopher, a thinker, and makes such subtle distinctions that the moment he takes you into nirvichara, into no-contemplation, you will not be able to see when the jump has been taken. He has cut the jump into many small steps.
With Patanjali you will never feel fear, because he knows where you will feel fear. He cuts the steps smaller and smaller, almost as if you move on the plain ground. He takes you so slowly that you cannot observe when the jump has happened, when you have crossed the boundary. And he is also a poet, a mystic – a very rare combination.
There are mystics like Tilopa, there are great poets like the rishis of the Upanishads, there are great logicians like Aristotle, but you cannot find a Patanjali. He is such a combination that since him there has been no one who can be compared to him. It is very easy to be a poet because you are out of one piece. It is very easy to be a logician – you are made of one piece. It is almost impossible to be a Patanjali because you comprehend so many opposites – and he combines them all in such a beautiful harmony. That’s why he has become the alpha and the omega of the whole tradition of Yoga.
In fact, it was not he who invented Yoga; Yoga is far more ancient. Yoga had been there for many centuries before Patanjali. He is not the discoverer, but he almost became the discoverer and founder just because of this rare combination of his personality. Many people had worked before him and almost everything was known, but Yoga was waiting for a Patanjali. And suddenly, when Patanjali spoke about it, everything fell in line and he became the founder. He was not the founder, but his personality is such a combination of opposites, he comprehends in himself such incomprehensible elements, he became the founder – almost the founder. Now Yoga will always be associated with Patanjali.”