ENERGY BLOCKAGE REMOVAL
|2005 AND 2006|
VOL. 2, SUFIS: THE PERFECT MASTER
The Bell Tolls for Thee
The third question:
WHY ARE YOU SO MUCH AGAINST RITUALS AND RULES?
BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT RELIGION, and they cannot be religion. I am against rituals, but that does not mean that a religious person cannot go into a ritual. But when a religious person goes into a ritual, it is not a ritual at all. His heart is in it; then his words have wings.
So remember it: I am against the ritual when there is no heart in it. Then it is a ritual! But if there is a heart... just remember those three mystics, those three Russian mystics, praying to God: "You are three, we are three -- have mercy on us!" This too is a ritual, a simple one, of their own invention; this too is a prayer -- but their heart was in it.
A famous story about Moses:
He was passing through a forest. He saw a man praying. But the man who was praying was saying such absurd things that he could not go further. He had to stop the man. What he was saying was profane, sacrilegious. He was saying to God: "God, you must be feeling sometimes very alone -- I can come and be always with you like a shadow. You can depend on me You need not be alone. Why suffer loneliness when I am here? And I am not a useless person either -- I can be of much use, I can be handy. I will give you a good bath. I can massage too. I am a shepherd. And I will take all the lice from your hair and your body..."
Lice? Moses could not believe his ears: "What is he talking about?"
"And I will cook food for you. And do you know what? -- everybody likes what I cook. It is delicious. And I will prepare your bed and I will wash your clothes. And I can do a thousand and one things! And when you are ill I will take care of you. I will be a mother to you, a wife to you, a servant, a slave -- I can be Al kinds of things. Just give me a hint so I can come ."
Moses stopped him and said, "Listen! What kind of prayer is this? What are you doing? To whom are you talking? Lice in God's hair? He needs a bath? And you are saying 'I will rub your body and make it absolutely clean'? Stop this nonsense. This is not prayer. God will be offended by you."
Looking at Moses, the man fell at his feet. He said, "I am sorry. I am an illiterate, ignorant man. I don't know how to pray. Please, you teach me!"
So Moses taught him the right way to pray, and he was very happy because he had put a man on the right track. Happy, puffed up in his ego, Moses went away.
And when he was alone in the forest, a very thundering voice came from the sky and said, "Moses, I have sent you into the world to bring people to me, to bridge people with me, but not to take my lovers away from me. And that's exactly what you have done. That man is one of the MOST intimate to me. Go back! Apologize. Take your prayer back! You have destroyed the whole beauty of his dialogue. He is sincere. He is loving. His love is true. Whatsoever he was saying, he was saying from his heart. It was not a ritual. Now what you have given to him is just a ritual. He will repeat it but it will be only on the lips; it will not be out of his being."
I am not against prayer, I am against the ritualistic prayer -- BECAUSE IT IS NOT PRAYER, that's why I am against it. Don't learn empty gestures. Let your gestures be alive, spontaneous. Otherwise, deep down you know that this is a ritual, deep down you know that this is just a formality you are performing. And if that is your feeling inside, what is the point of going into it?
During a race riot in Detroit, the police stopped a black man driving an automobile which had a white pillow-case flying from the radio antenna.
"What's that for?" asked a patrolman.
"It's a white pillow-case," explained the driver, "to show that I'm neutral!"
The policeman quickly frisked him and discovered a pistol in his pocket.
"Neutral, eh?" said the cop. "Then what's this gun for?"
"In case somebody don't believe it," said the driver.
But that's what your rituals are. Deep down, you know that they are rituals. You yourself don't believe in them. They have been taught to you, you have been conditioned for them. You go on repeating them mechanically, robot like. If you don't repeat them, you feel something is missed; if you repeat them nothing is gained. And there is no understanding behind them.
"No," said Clarabelle. "Ah'm not that kind of girl. Besides, the grass is wet, Mama said I shouldn't, and two bits ain't enough."
What you have been told by others is never going to become your true life. It will remain superficial. And not only that: your true life will remain absolutely against it. And all the rituals that you have learnt, you have learnt from others who had learnt them from somebody else. They don't know what they are doing. They don't know what they are teaching you.
So on the surface you learn one thing: deep down you learn quite another. Deep down, you learn falsity. Deep down you learn hypocrisy.
His grandmother watched the boy eat his soup with the wrong spoon, grasp the utensils with the wrong fingers, eat the main course with his hands, and pour tea into the saucer and blow on it.
"Hasn't watching your mother and dad at the dinner table taught you anything?"
"Yeah," said the boy. "Never to get married."
People are learning on two levels: on one level what you are teaching, on another level what you are. Small children are very perceptive; they go on seeing all the falsities. You cannot cheat a small child; he is very intuitive. He knows! And even if he allows you to cheat him, he knows that you are cheating and he knows that he is being cheated and he is allowing it, but he is just playing a game. He is enjoying it! You think you are cheating him, he thinks he is cheating you.
I am against rituals because they have killed the spirit of religion in the world. But I am not saying don't pray, but let the prayer arise. Let it be of your own. Let it be of your own feeling. Don't repeat it parrot-like.
I am not against rules, but the rules should arise out of your understanding. They should not be imposed from the outside. I am not against discipline! but discipline should not be slavery. All true discipline is self-discipline. And self-discipline is never against freedom -- in fact, it is the ladder to freedom. Only disciplined people become free, but their discipline is not obedience to others: their discipline is obedience to their own inner voice. And they are ready to risk anything for it.
Let your own awareness decide your life-style, life-pattern. Don't allow anybody else to decide it. That is a sin: to allow anybody else to decide it. Why is it a sin? -- because you will never be in it. It will remain superficial, it will be hypocrisy.