What is existence? Is it something like what people call God?
Existence is that which is, and God is that which is not. Existence is a reality, God is a fiction. Existence is available only to meditators, people of silence; God is a consolation for sick minds, sick psychologies.
Existence is not your production – God is. That's why there is only one existence, but thousands of gods. Each according to his needs, each according to his suffering, each according to his expectations, creates a god or accepts an old belief about God.
God is a great consolation, but it is not a cure. Existence is not a consolation. To be in tune with it is to be healthy and whole. All the religions of the world have been teaching God; I teach you existence. I teach you to be in tune with that which surrounds you, which is within you and without you. Once you are in tune with it, there is no death for you, no misery, no tension, no worry, but a tremendous peace surrounds you, a contentment which you have never even dreamt of.
God is for those who cannot grow in consciousness, who are retarded as far as consciousness is concerned. It is a kind of toy; retarded people need it. And the moment I say it is a toy, then it is up to you how you want to make it – looking like a monkey or looking like an elephant. It is just up to you whether to give him four hands or one thousand hands. It is your creation. Strangely enough, man believes God created everything.
The truth is that God himself is a creation of man's imagination.
God is the greatest lie you can ever find, because on that lie thousands of other lies depend. Churches, religious organizations go on multiplying lies upon lies, just to protect one lie.
You have to understand the psychology of lying. The first thing about lying is that you need a good memory because you have to remember. You lie to someone about something, to somebody else about something else; you have to remember what you have said to one and what you have said to the other.
Truth needs no remembrance. Truth is always there, just the same. You don't have to cram it in your memory. Memory gives you a bondage, a prison; it clings around you, covers you so much, slowly, slowly that you disappear completely. Truth is uncovering yourself from all lies. And there is a sudden revelation that you are part of the immense truth I am calling existence.
You don't need any churches, you don't need any temples, you don't need any mosques; you need only a prayerful heart, a loving heart, a grateful heart. That is your real temple. That will transform your whole life. That will help you to discover not only yourself, but the very depths of this immense existence.
We are almost like the waves of the ocean – just on the surface, and the ocean may be miles deep. The Pacific Ocean is five miles deep. But a small wave on the top will never know the depth – her own depth, because she is not separate from the ocean. She will cling to her small entity, be afraid about death, be afraid of losing herself in the vastness, the oceanic infinity. But the truth is, the death of the wave is not a death, but the beginning of an eternal life.
God has been invented.
It was people's need; people needed a protector. In the immensity of the universe, a man feels so alone, so small. The vastness creates trembling in him. What is your existence?
I am reminded of a story by Bertrand Russell. The archbishop of England sees in a dream that he has reached the pearly gates of paradise. On one hand he is immensely pleased, and on the other hand he is very much troubled, because the pearly gates are so vast, in both directions, that he cannot see the whole gate. It is so high that it is beyond the capacity of his eyes to see. And he himself seems to be just like a small ant, compared to this great gate. He is a little bit afraid. He is no ordinary man, he is the archbishop of England. He feels humiliated just by the gate, and the fear arises, "If this is the situation at the gate, what is the situation going to be inside?"
With fearful hands he knocks on the door, but in the immensity of that space only he can hear his knock. It takes days for him, but he goes on knocking harder and harder. Finally a small window opens in the gate and Saint Peter looks out with one thousand eyes, trying to figure out who has been making a noise. Those one thousand eyes are so shiny, like stars, that the archbishop feels even more reduced – almost to a nonentity.
And Saint Peter asks, "Please, whoever you are, wherever you are, come in front of me."
The archbishop declares himself. He says to Saint Peter, "Perhaps you don't know me. You can check with Jesus Christ, I am the archbishop of England."
Saint Peter says, "Never heard of any such thing as England."
The archbishop says, "Perhaps you may not have heard about England, but you must have heard about our beautiful planet, Earth."
Saint Peter says, "I don't want to hurt your feelings, but unless you give me the index number of your Earth, I cannot figure out what you are talking about. I will have to go to the library and look – if you give me the index number – to which solar system you belong, because there are millions of solar systems and each solar system has many planets."
But the archbishop has never thought that the earth has any index number. He says, "I don't know any index number, but I am the archbishop. You just go and tell Jesus Christ."
He says, "You are giving me puzzle after puzzle. Who is this fellow Jesus Christ?"
The archbishop is very much shocked. He says, "You don't know Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God?"
Saint Peter says, "As far as I am concerned, I have never seen God; I don't know whether he exists or not. I am just a doorkeeper. Perhaps somewhere in the most interior parts of paradise somebody exists who thinks that he is God, but I have never come across..."
It is such a shock that the archbishop wakes up perspiring.
The story is significant because it shows how small we are and how big the universe is. Naturally primitive man was not able to adjust himself to the idea of this vastness of the universe without giving it some personality and without making himself in some way related to that personality.
God was an effort of the primitive mind of man to give existence a personality. Then he becomes God the father. Then you can make some relationship with him. You may even be against him, but at least there is someone you can be for, you can be against; there is someone who is greater than you, who is going to protect you, who is your guarantee.
God is simply the poverty of human consciousness.
The people who attained to their inner consciousness and its highest peak, like Gautam Buddha, denied the existence of God. Anybody who has ever become inwardly healthy, gone beyond the mind which is basically sick, has denied God. God as a fiction is good for kindergarten school children. They need it – parables, fables, stories. But very few human beings have gone beyond the kindergarten school.
God exists because you are not aware of yourself. God exists because you have not made any contact with your own center. The moment you know yourself, there is no God and there is no need of any God. In fact I am in absolute support of Friedrich Nietzsche: "God is dead."
The second part of his sentence is even more significant, "God is dead and man is now free." That second part has not received much attention from the philosophers, from the mystics, from the psychologists, but the second part is the most important; the first part is not much. In fact, the first part is basically wrong. God cannot die – fictions never die. The moment you know they are fictions there is no question of their death. Neither are they born, nor do they die. God was never born in the first place – how can he die? Death is the other extreme of birth.
So the first part is not very important, but that has been given much importance by theologians, because they became afraid: "This is sacrilegious, to tell people that God is dead. That means that now no religion is needed." They became afraid for their own business. But they forgot the second part which is more important. It has tremendously significant implications. It means that God was a bondage, God was a retardedness, God was out of fear. God was not a treasure, but a heavy, mountainous weight on your heart and on your growth.
Once God is removed, man's possibility to grow and blossom is absolutely free.
A God is a despot, a fascist. Without God, the world becomes freedom. Existence gives a tremendous dignity to every individual. From the smallest blade of grass up to the greatest star in the universe it gives immense significance and love; it makes no difference. There is equality and equal opportunity. And there is no need unnecessarily to pray and waste your time, to read the holy scriptures, which are the most unholy books in the world. There is no need to be exploited by the priests. You are certainly and suddenly free from all these chains. Now you can be yourself.
While God is in existence you can never be yourself. You are just a puppet, your strings are in the hands of God. The ancient saying in India is that not even a small leaf of a tree moves unless God's order is received for it to move. Whatever you are, according to religions you are made out of mud. The word “human” comes from humus, which means mud. And the word in Hebrew, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, is admi – it is used as the name of the first man, Adam. Admi means the earth. God made man out of the earth and then breathed life into the puppet.
Now, what kind of freedom do you have? Somebody has breathed life into you, and it is in his hands to stop breathing life into you any moment. Whatever you are doing, the religions believe it is your fate, it is written on your forehead. And there have been many con men who have even been trying to read what is written on your forehead. Astrologers, palmists, all kinds of cunning people have been exploiting the simplicity and innocence of humanity. There are people who are reading your hand, looking at the lines, telling you what those lines mean. The whole emphasis is that you are not living a life of your own, you are just a part in a drama, and the part that you are playing has been decided beforehand.
That was the argument that the Indian God's incarnation, Krishna – in the great Indian war, Mahabharata – gave to his disciple Arjuna. Seeing the immense massacre that was going to happen, Arjuna simply lost his nerve. He was a man of immense courage and great intelligence.
He said, "I don't see any point in this war. Even if I win... and I am certain I am going to win" – there was no other warrior of his quality – "But sitting on the golden throne of victory surrounded by the corpses of all my friends and all my enemies, all the beautiful people, does not appeal to me at all. The scene makes me feel insane. Rather than fighting, I will leave it to the other party – who is nobody, another cousin-brother. Let him rule over the country and I will go to the mountains, to the Himalayas to meditate, to become a sannyasin. I have lost all interest in fighting."
Krishna tries in every way to persuade him, but Arjuna is a great intellectual; he goes on arguing against him. Finally seeing no other way, Krishna takes the last resort and says, "It is written in your destiny. Going away, you are going away from God. This war is predetermined by God to destroy those who are not virtuous and only let those survive who are virtuous." Now there is no argument against it, because Arjuna himself believes in God and destiny.
Arjuna fought the war. Krishna was responsible, five thousand years ago, for destroying this country by giving a false argument, absolutely fictitious, to Arjuna. That war killed so many people. And it is not only that it killed people, it also destroyed the courage of the country; it became afraid of any small calamity.
Two thousand years of slavery.... I want to make it absolutely clear that the people who are responsible for these two thousand years of slavery are the greatest people of India. The list is headed by Krishna; Arjuna is just his shadow. Then came Mahavira, who taught people to be nonviolent to such an extreme that his followers cannot even cultivate, because plants have life; if you cultivate then you will have to kill the plants when you reap the crop. Gautam Buddha comes third, who taught people to accept, to be contented wherever and with whatever they have – poor, hungry, starving, enslaved, remain utterly contented.
Their teachings were great. This is something to be remembered; otherwise I will be misunderstood by everyone. Their teachings were great, but they never thought about all the implications of their teachings. They never thought that if you teach a country nonviolence, if you teach a country to drop all weapons, when the whole world is not doing that, then you are putting that country in a state of being victimized, exploited by anyone.
And for two thousand years invader after invader came to India, exploited it and went back. Finally Mohammedans came and they thought, "What is the need to go back? We can not only exploit people, but rule them and remain here." And then came the Britishers and the French and the Portuguese, and they all tried to exploit the country. They all had their small pockets. Britain proved to be far more clever. But the Portuguese had their small islands of Diu, Daman and Goa, and the French had a small portion of the country, Pondicherry. Britain had the whole country.
People have remained starved and hungry, and people have gone on dying because of hunger, and nobody has ever thought that these great principles in some way are responsible for this unfortunate situation that for thousands of years India has had to pass through. And even today nobody is trying to see all the implications. Every great principle has its own black cloud behind it. And unless you understand the black cloud also, you are soon going to be absorbed by the black cloud. If you understand it, you can avoid it.
God seems to be the greatest principle that has been preached to man down the ages, but nobody has looked at its implications.
If God created man then man has no individuality of his own, then he cannot claim any dignity, any freedom.
There is no question of a puppet declaring, "I want to be free." If God created the universe, then whatever has happened in the universe has had to happen. It was God's will. No effort on our part was going to change anything.
And finally you can see, if God created the world, and if he is behind nuclear weapons and the people who are creating them, then no effort on man's part can prevent the destruction of the whole planet. To give the creation of the world into the hands of a fictitious God is very dangerous. It makes us absolutely impotent. We cannot do anything.
Hence, my simple understanding of consciousness is that if God did not die with Friedrich Nietzsche's declaration, then we have to kill him! Wherever you meet him, there is no need even to say hello. First kill him and then you can say hello – just to fulfill the formality. But God is not needed at all. With God above in the sky, man will always remain a slave, and man will always remain unconscious, and man will never strive to reach to the peaks of his potential.
With God removed you may feel a little fear – just out of old habit – but that fear will disappear.
Once you recognize that you are standing on your own feet and you have to do something to create a better consciousness in you, to create a more loving heart in you, that prayers are useless, there is nobody to answer them... Yes, sometimes they have been answered. At least once, certainly....
A poor man asked God for months continually, "Give me fifty dollars. I don't want much, just fifty dollars."
First he prayed, but then he thought, "Millions of people are praying, and there is one God and there are millions of prayers. Whether my poor prayer ever reaches to him... And there must be around him so much noise – prayers from all the churches, all the mosques, all the synagogues, all the temples – who is going to take care of me? It is better that I write a letter."
He wrote a letter saying, "This is to remind you that for months I have been praying, but the answer has not come. It seems my prayer has not reached you. I can understand, because of the noise around you of so many prayers. And great people are praying – the pope and the archbishop and the shankaracharya – so who is going to take care of my small prayer? And I am not asking much – no paradise, no heaven, nothing, just fifty dollars. Finally I decided to write the letter." And he wrote in big letters, "Fifty Dollars! Remember, it is urgent."
But then he was very much disturbed, because he didn't know the address, whom to address it to. He thought, "The best way is to address it to: God, c/o The Postmaster General. If the postmaster general cannot find his address, who else can?" The letter reached the postmaster general. He looked, he laughed, and then he felt sad also. He thought, "The man must be in desperate need – nobody writes letters to God. And he is not asking much."
So he said to all his friends, "Please look at this poor man's letter. You all contribute, and we will send those fifty dollars to him. At least for once let a prayer be answered." They collected the money, but they collected only forty-five dollars. The postmaster general said, "No harm, at least we should send this much."
When forty-five dollars reached the man he counted the dollars, and he looked above and shouted, "God, remember one thing. Next time you send any money to me, never send it through the post office! Those cunning fellows have taken out their commission. I have received only forty-five dollars!"
Except this, I have not come across any prayer which has been answered – and that too not fully. There is no one to answer. Existence has to be approached in a different way.
God has to be worshipped.
God has to be prayed to.
Existence has to be contacted in meditation.
There are only two kinds of religions in the world: the religions of prayer and the religions of meditation. You can see my point. The religions of prayer all believe in God and the religions of meditation don't believe in any god. Because meditation takes you inwards, and fulfills you, there is no need to pray, there is no need for any consolation. You are in such a rejoicing, in such a blissful state; you can bless the whole world.
I teach you existence, and the entry into existence is through your own being; hence meditation is not prayer – remember, it is against prayer. Prayer is part of that phony jargon about God, heaven, hell. Prayer is part and parcel of that whole rubbish. Meditation is simply the only pure way of coming in contact with existence. And this contact immediately becomes a merger and a melting. You become existence yourself. Then you are in the clouds and you are in the stars and you are in the flowers and you are in the rains. You are everywhere. You are no longer a drop, you have become the ocean.
Remember the clear-cut distinction between existence and God. God is a condemnation of our intelligence. It is accepting humiliation, it is accepting that, "We are only puppets; you are the power. Whatever you want to do with us you will do. All that we can do is to pray." It makes you so crippled. The very idea of God is nauseating. But existence has a freshness and a beauty and a truth.
Never get mixed up with these two words. One is reality, one is simply fiction.
Osho, Hari Om Tat Sat, Talk #9
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