IS GOD REALLY DEAD? THE VERY IDEA OF HIS DEATH CREATES INTENSE ANXIETY, FEAR, DREAD AND ANGUISH.
The way I look at things, God has never been there, so how can he be dead? He was never born in the first place. It was invented by the priests, and it was invented for exactly these reasons: because man was in anxiety, man was in fear, man was in dread, man was in anguish. When there was no light, no fire — just think of those days of humanity — wild animals all around, and the dark night, no fire, the intense cold, no clothes, and the wild animals searching for their food in the night, and people were hiding in caves, sitting on the trees just to avoid… In the day, at least they could see that a lion was approaching, they could make some effort to escape. But in the night, they were completely in the hands of the wild animals.
And then they found that a time comes, people become old for no reason, and one day somebody dies. They could not understand what was happening. This man was talking, breathing, walking, was perfectly okay. Suddenly he was no longer breathing, he was no longer talking. It was such a shock to the primitive man that death became a taboo: Don’t talk about it. Even talking about it created fear, fear that sooner or later you would be standing in the same queue, with the queue becoming smaller and smaller every moment. Somebody dies and you come closer to death; another dies, you come even closer to death. Even to talk about death became a taboo, and not only to ordinary primitive people, even to the most sophisticated. The founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, could not tolerate the word `death’. No one was allowed to mention the word in front of him, because just at the mention of the word `death’ he would fall into a fit, he would become unconscious and start foaming. Such was the fear of the man who founded psychoanalysis…
Two things have been taboos in the world, and those two things are two polarities of the same energy. One is sex, which has been taboo, “Don’t talk about it”; another is death which is taboo, “Don’t talk about it.” Both are connected: in the beginning is sex, in the end is death; it is sex that brings death in. Only one animal does not die, that is the amoeba. And you know that perfectly well because Poona is so full of amoebas. I have chosen this place specially, because amoebas are immortal beings. And their immortality depends on the fact that they are not sexual beings. They are not the by-product of sex, so there is no death. Sex and death are absolutely connected.
Just try to understand.
Sex brings you into life, and life finally ends in death. Sex is the beginning, death is the end. In between is what you call life.
The amoeba is a non-sexual animal, the only celibate monk in the whole world. It reproduces in a very different way. God must be immensely happy — if he is there — with the amoebas; they are all saints. They simply go on eating and becoming fatter and fatter, and at a certain point they divide into two. When one amoeba becomes so fat that it becomes impossible for him to move, he divides in two.
This is a different way of reproduction. But because there is no sex involved, there is no male, no female. Both the amoebas start eating again. Soon they will be fat enough to divide again. So it is by a very mathematical method that they create. There is no death, an amoeba never dies — unless he is murdered! He can live from eternity to eternity if medical science does not murder him. But their immortality depends on the fact they are not the by-product of sex. Any animal who is born of sex is going to die, he cannot be immortal in the body.
So these two things have been taboos in the world: sex and death. Both have been kept hidden. I have been condemned all around the world, simply because I talked about every taboo without any inhibition, because I want you to know everything about life from sex to death. Only then can you rise beyond sex and death. In your understanding you can start approaching something which is beyond sex and beyond death. That is your eternity, that is your life energy, pure energy.
By sex your body is born, not you.
By death your body dies, not you.
So it is absolutely unnecessary to make those taboos. But religions have a great investment in creating in you anxiety, fear, dread and anguish, and nature was already producing it. Religions, and particularly the priests all over the world, whatever their denomination, have exploited man’s fear, have given him God, a fiction, a lie — which at least temporarily covers the wound. “Don’t be afraid, God is taking care of you. Don’t be in any dread or anxiety, there is God, and everything is okay. All that you have to do is believe in God and believe in the representative of God, the priest, and believe in the holy scripture that God has sent to the world. All that you have to do is to believe.” And this belief has been covering your anxiety, fear, dread, anguish.
So when you hear God is dead, the very idea of his death creates intense anxiety. That means your wound has been uncovered. But a covered wound is not a healed wound; in fact for the healing process it has to be uncovered. Only then in the sun’s rays, in the open air, will it start healing. A wound should never be covered, because covering it you start forgetting about it. You want to forget about it. Once it is covered, not only do others not see it, you yourself don’t see it. And under the cover it goes on becoming a cancer.
Every wound has to be healed, not covered. Covering is not the way. God was the cover, that’s why the very concept that God is dead creates fear. Whatever comes to your mind, intense anxiety, fear, dread, and anguish — these were the things priests were covering with the word `God’. But by their covering, they have stopped man’s evolution towards buddhahood, they have stopped man’s healing process, they have stopped man’s search for truth.
A lie was handed to you as truth; naturally you need not search for truth, you have it already.
It is absolutely necessary that God should be dead. But I want you to know my understanding. It was good of Friedrich Nietzsche to declare God dead. I declare that he has never been born. It is a created fiction, an invention, not a discovery. Do you understand the difference between invention and discovery? A discovery is about truth, an invention is manufactured by you. It is man-manufactured fiction. Certainly it has given consolation, but consolation is not the right thing!
Consolation is opium. It keeps you unaware of the reality, and life is flowing past you so quickly — seventy years will be gone soon. Anybody who gives you a belief system is your enemy, because the belief system becomes the barrier for your eyes, you cannot see the truth. The very desire to find the truth disappears. But in the beginning it is bitter if all your belief systems are taken away from you. The fear and anxiety which you have been suppressing for millennia, which is there, very alive, will surface immediately. No God can destroy it, only the search for truth and the experience of truth — not a belief — is capable of healing all your wounds, of making you a whole being. And the whole person is the holy person to me.
So if God is removed and you start feeling fear and dread, and anxiety and anguish, that simply indicates God was not the medicine. It was just a trick to keep your eyes closed. It was a blinding strategy to keep you in darkness, and to keep you hoping that beyond death there is paradise. Why beyond death? It is because you are afraid of death, so the priest creates a paradise beyond death, just to take away your fear. But it is not taken away, it is only repressed in your unconscious. And the deeper it is repressed the more difficult it is to get rid of it.
So I want to destroy all your belief systems, all your theologies, all your religions. I want to open all your wounds so they can be healed. The real medicine is not a belief system; the real medicine is meditation. Do you know that both the words come from the same root: medicine and meditation? Medicine heals the body, meditation heals your soul. But their function is the same, healing…
Zen is the only living alternative, positive alternative, because it gives you a sense of direction, a sense of fulfillment, a sense of eternity, and a sense of going beyond birth, death, body, and of being one with this beautiful existence which is immensely intelligent.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse name: God is Dead, Now Zen is the Only Living Truth
Chapter title: God is a puppeteer
6 February 1989 pm in Gautam the Buddha Auditorium
Osho has spoken on ‘Zen, god, meditation’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Dang Dang Doko Dang
- Ah, This!
- The First Principle
- I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
- The New Dawn
- Live Zen
- The Miracle
- Take It Easy, Vol 1, 2
- Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen
- This, This, A Thousand Times This: The Very Essence of Zen
- Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1, 2, 3
- Zen: The Solitary Bird, Cuckoo of the Forest
- The Zen Manifesto: Freedom From Oneself