Prayer, a Silence

Birthday of Catholic Missionary Mother Teresa

26th August is the birthday of Macedonia born Roman Catholic nun and Missionary Mother Teresa who is known to have established Christian missionaries, hospices; centers for the blind, aged, orphans and disabled; and a leper colony. She received the Nobel Prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work. Her practices, and those of the Missionaries of Charity, the order which she founded, were subject to numerous controversies. These include objections to the quality of medical care which they provided, suggestions that some deathbed baptisms constituted forced conversion, and alleged links to colonialism and racism. Her writings revealed that she struggled with feelings of disconnectedness that were in contrast to the strong feelings which she had experienced as a young novice. In her letters Mother Teresa describes a decades-long sense of feeling disconnected from Godand lacking the earlier zeal that had characterized her efforts to start the Missionaries of Charity. As a result of this, she was judged by some to have “ceased to believe” and was posthumously criticized for hypocrisy.

Osho says, “To me Mother Teresa and people like her are hypocrites: saying one thing but doing something else behind a beautiful facade. It is the whole game of politics — the politics of numbers. And she says, ‘For the adjectives you add to my name I forgive you with great love.’ First of all, love need not forgive because in the first place it is not angered. To forgive somebody first you have to be angry; that is a prerequisite. I don’t forgive Mother Teresa at all, because I am not angry at all. Why should I forgive her? She must have been angry. This is why I want you to start meditating on these things. She says, I forgive you with great love’ — as if there is small love and great love, and things like that. Love is simply love; It cannot be great, it cannot be small. Do you think love is a quantitative thing? — one kilo of love, two kilos of love. How many kilos of love make it great? Or are tons needed? Love is not a quantity at all, it is a quality. And quality is immeasurable: it is neither small nor great. Whenever somebody says to you, ‘I love you very greatly,’ beware! Love is just love; it cannot be less than that, it cannot be more than that. There is no question of less and more.”

Osho Says……



Rosemary, I have not said what you have heard. You must be hearing through a thick layer of Christianity, a thick layer of rubbish. In the first place, you say, “Why do you say that it is right to meditate but wrong to pray?” … Because meditation is the only prayer there is, and prayer is possible only in meditation; any other prayer is going to be false, pseudo. If you have not been in deep meditation, how are you going to know that there is God? Then the idea of God is just a conditioning given by others to you. Just think, Rosemary, if you were born in Soviet Russia, then you would not have talked about God at all. You would not be talking about the Bible; you would be talking about the COMMUNIST MANIFESTO or DAS KAPITAL. You would not be talking about the Holy Trinity of God the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost; you would be talking of the unholy trinity of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and V.I. Lenin, because you would have been told and conditioned by communist education. If you had been born in a Jaina family you would have never thought of prayer, never — because there is no God, so to whom to pray? If you were born in a Buddhist family, things would have been totally different because you would have been conditioned in a different way. It is not you, Rosemary, who is asking this question; it is your conditioning. And all conditionings are wrong.

Meditation means a state of unconditioned mind. Meditation is the process of undoing the harm that every society goes on doing to every individual — communist or Catholic, Jaina or Jew, it does not matter. I am not talking about any particular conditioning that is wrong; I am saying conditioning AS SUCH is wrong. Conditioning is nothing but a process of hypnotizing people:

go on repeating from the very childhood, in the church, in the Sunday school…. You have been told about God and prayer and you have been told by your parents and teachers and priests and all the authoritative people. And the small child has learned how to imitate those who are in power. Now you have completely forgotten the beginning of conditioning.

No child is born as a Christian or a Hindu. No child is born with any idea of God’s existence — whether God exists or does not exist, whether there is one hell or seven hells or seventy or seven hundred. No child is born with any theology.

Meditation means a process of removing all that has been forced upon you so that you can become again a child. That’s what Jesus says. He says: Unless you are like a child you will not enter into my kingdom of God. He is talking about deconditioning, dehypnotizing. He is not using these words ‘deconditioning’, ‘dehypnotizing’, because these words did not exist in his days, but that’s what actually he is saying. He is saying: Unless you become a child again…. Again and again he says: Unless you are BORN again… because this birth has been contaminated by the people; they have poisoned your minds. You need a new spiritual birth. And it is possible only through meditation; there is no other way.

Prayer will mean you will be continuing the conditioning. If you are Christian, your prayer will be Christian. Your very question says… it has the stink of Christianity! A Hindu will not say this, he will not use such words: “And his holy spirit comes down to you.” A Jaina will never use such terminology — impossible, because for a Jaina, nothing comes down, everything goes up! He believes in growing up into a god. God is not someone there high above who comes down to you; there is no God. You have the seed of divineness in you; it grows upwards. The holy spirit descending on you is simply something that has been taught to you. You say, “In my opinion….” Opinions mean nothing! If you have some experience, then it is important. Opinion is just opinion. Opinion means something of the mind. You have not experienced anything; it is just a thought. People have all kinds of opinions.

I have heard: Two camels were passing through a desert. Both were looking very tired and both wanted to say something to the other, but somehow they were keeping control.

Finally one exploded and he said, “Whatsoever people say, whatsoever their opinion, I want to say that I am thirsty!”

Thirst is not an opinion, it is your experience. Is it your experience? If it is your experience, the question cannot arise, because then you would have understood exactly what I was saying.

Meditation is the process that cleanses you, and when you are utterly clean a fragrance arises in you. That is prayer. Prayer is a consequence of meditation. I am not against prayer; I am against YOUR prayer, but not against prayer itself. Your prayer is false. Your prayer is only a part of your conditioning. The Hindu prays in the Hindu way and the Mohammedan prays in the Mohammedan way, but a real prayer is neither Hindu nor Mohammedan. It comes out of an unconditioned being. How can it be Hindu or Mohammedan?

A real prayer is simply prayer. It has no words; it is pure silence. It is a surrender in deep silence. In fact, it is not addressed to any God; it is bowing down to the whole existence. It is not an address. God is everywhere, all is God, so you simply bow down in tremendous gratitude, in ecstasy, in joy, in love. But first your love, your ecstasy, your joy have to be released. You are just a seed, and talking about fragrance will be only an opinion heard from others, borrowed. And anything borrowed is ugly. Anything borrowed is going to be only verbal. And that’s what has happened: when you heard me you only understood the literal meaning of the words. You missed the significance…I have not said anything against prayer, but I have said that meditation prepares the way. It cleanses you — it cleanses you of all thoughts given by others. It creates the space in which prayer can flower. Meditation brings the spring — and there is no other way. If you pray without meditation, then your flowers will be plastic flowers. Real flowers of prayer grow only in meditation. And then prayer is not addressed to God; in fact, then there is no God.

The whole idea of God the Father is childish, and Sigmund Freud is right that it is a projection of our deep desire to cling to the parents. It is a projection of your idea of the father, because your father cannot be with you forever. One day he dies and you miss the protection, the security, the safety. And you project a father in heaven who is forever and forever, who will never die and who will always take care of you. And you pray on your knees to the father in heaven. The idea is YOUR creation, the prayer is your creation. And you go on doing this stupid thing for your whole life, thinking that you are doing something religious. And sometimes it can happen that certain of your prayers may be fulfilled. That is just coincidence. If you go on praying for thousands of things, once in a while it is bound to happen…Prayers sometimes will be fulfilled — not that there is somebody who is there listening to your prayers and fulfilling them — and sometimes they will not be fulfilled. And priests are very clever. They will say, “Whenever your prayer is fulfilled you prayed deeply, truly, sincerely.” And whenever your prayer is not fulfilled they say, “Your prayer was superficial.” And the argument has much appeal because, in fact, ALL your prayers are superficial so you know perfectly well that your prayers are superficial. The priest can always say that you prayed, but deep down there was doubt.

There is ALWAYS doubt because your belief in God cannot destroy doubt; it can only repress doubt. And the repressed doubt is always there boiling within you, ready to explode. So don’t be deceived if sometimes a coincidence happens. That’s how many things continue in the world, many things CAN continue in the world. All hocus-pocus! For example, there are so many “pathies” in the world: homeopathy, naturopathy, ayurvedic, and so many others. They all claim to cure — and their claims are not false; they cure many people. You try. Just go on giving sugar pills to people and you will be surprised; many are cured, so you have invented a new therapy. Seventy percent of people are only falsely ill, they are not truly ill. Seventy percent of illnesses are psychological, so all that is needed is somebody to convince them that “This is going to help.” And people go to homeopathy and to other exotic medicines only when nothing else helps them. The trouble with allopathy is that it can help only if your illness is real. If your illness is not real, then a real medicine will do harm instead of helping you. So you have to search for some quack, somebody who can give you a false medicine to cure you of a false disease.

Your prayers are false, your diseases are false. Sometimes they do help, and when they help, you become more and more convinced. And in despair, in deep helplessness, you don’t know where else to go. When all human efforts fail you start looking towards the sky. That has been always so; nothing much has changed. In the Vedas it is said: When there is lightning in the clouds, it is God who is angry; it is his anger. Pray to God. Now we know it is not God or his anger; now we know it is electricity, natural electricity. Now we are using God’s anger in running our fans and machines. Now nobody prays. In India, still, when you put the light on in the evening, orthodox Hindus will immediately bow down their head with folded hands — to an electric bulb! Just an old conditioning. God used to do many things; now science is doing all those things. God is being deprived every day! In fact, soon he will be out of employment; you will find him standing before some employment office in a queue! Your God is your invention. Friedrich Nietzsche is right about your God — that that God is dead. So don’t be too much surprised or convinced when some coincidence happens. Coincidences are always happening…Beware of coincidences!

You say, Rosemary, “Why do you say that it is right to meditate but wrong to pray?” To pray is not right; to be in prayer is right. To pray means you will be saying something to God. Your God is your invention, your prayer is your invention. And what are you going to say? Just something trivial: Do this, do that, don’t do that. Or: You are great. He has been hearing that for so long, he must be fed up! He must be using ear plugs just to avoid these so-called religious people! Millions of people praying and saying all kinds of things to God. He must be getting tired, utterly tired. But to be in prayer is a totally different phenomenon.

To pray is one thing; that is childish, out of a conditioned mind. But to be in prayer means to be in love with existence, to be in a dance with existence, to dance with the stars, to sing with the birds, to flow with the river. That is prayer. But that prayer arises only when meditation has created the right space for it. Hence my emphasis is on meditation and I don’t talk much about prayer, because when meditation is complete, prayer comes on its own accord. There is no need to talk about it — because if I talk about prayer there is every danger you will misunderstand, because prayer is easy and meditation is difficult.

Prayer is easy, very cheap. You can go to the church, kneel down on your knees, fold your hands, talk to God. It costs nothing. Or every night before you go to sleep you pray to God….

I don’t say to you to pray because I know that whatsoever you do right now will be wrong. I teach meditation — and prayer comes inevitably; it can’t be avoided, but a totally different kind of prayer, with a different fragrance, a different texture to it. It is just a joyousness, a cheerfulness, a gratitude. You feel so fulfilled, so blessed, that your whole heart says thank you — not in so many words — your whole heart says yes. Your whole heart becomes the yes. You are surrendered. Your life is a prayer. Then you need not go to a church or a temple or a mosque. You LIVE your prayer. You breathe, you drink, you move… and all that is prayer. You say, “In my opinion, meditation gives deep inner calm to a person for his own sake….” Rosemary, have you ever meditated? A mere opinion has no value — and it is a mere opinion. You may have read, you may have heard about it, but don’t give much importance to opinions.

You say, “Meditation gives deep inner calm to a person for his own sake….” You don’t have any experience, any taste of meditation. In meditation, the self disappears, the ego disappears. There is no question of “for one’s own sake.” One is no more an island; one becomes part of the vast continent of existence.

Meditation means you disappear, evaporate. You are no longer there, just a pure nothingness. How can it be for one’s own sake? There is no SELF left. In meditation, no self is ever found so how can it be selfish? Meditation is the only way to get rid of the self. Meditation is the only possibility to create unselfishness in the world. Everything else is selfish.

 The Christian missionary serving the poor people, the crippled — this is all selfish. Mother Teresa of Calcutta and all her work is absolutely selfish. Why do I call these works selfish? They are doing great service to humanity, but they are doing service to humanity as a means to reach to heaven. They are using the poor people and the blind people and the crippled and the lepers as ladders to reach to heaven. Just think of a world where there is nobody poor, nobody crippled, nobody is a leper, nobody is blind. Then what will Mother Teresa do? Will you still give her a Nobel Prize? For what? The basic requirement is that blind people should be there, poor people should be there, lepers should be there, widows should be there, orphans should be there. Thousands of orphans are needed for one woman to become a great servant of humanity. One of the Hindu priests, the head of the Hindu priests, Karpatri, has written a book, AGAINST SOCIALISM. He gives many reasons against socialism, but the most hilarious reason that he gives is that in Hindu scriptures it is said: Unless you donate to the poor people you will never enter into heaven. And socialism is trying to destroy classes so there will be no poor, no rich. Once there is nobody rich and nobody poor, who is going to donate unto whom? And what will happen to heaven? Very logical! And these people are great servants of humanity! These stupid people are thought to be saints!

In meditation, you disappear; in prayer, you are very much there. You have to be there to pray; otherwise who is going to pray and to whom? Martin Buber has written one of the greatest books of this time, I AND THOU. He says that prayer is a relationship between I and thou; both are needed. “I” is needed — the one who is going to pray — and “thou,” a concept of God. Then prayer is possible.

Prayer is a dialogue between I and thou. Prayer is basically selfish, self-centered. But meditation is not a dialogue at all. Neither I is needed nor thou is needed. No I, no thou. The whole idea of I-and-thou disappears. A silence prevails, a virgin silence, undisturbed with any dialogue. It is not for one’s own sake. One disappears; only then meditation happens. Meditation is like a flower opening, and prayer is the fragrance of the flower that is released to the winds. I don’t talk about the fragrance, I only teach how to cultivate roses,

Rosemary, remember!


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune. 

Discourse Series: The Dhammapada : the Way of the Buddha, Vol. 10


Chapter title: Life Transcends Logic

26 February 1980 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on many politicians and social reformers like Abraham Lincoln, Lenin, Dr. Ambedkar, Helen Keller, Madame Blavatsky, Plato, Aristotle, Mother Teresa, Confucius and more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. From Bondage to Freedom
  2. From Ignorance to Innocence
  3. The Path of the Mystic
  4. From False to Truth
  5. From Misery to Enlightenment
  6. Zen: Zest, Zip, Zap, Zing
  7. Beyond Psychology
  8. Live Zen
  9. The Invitation
  10. Communism and Zen Fire, Zen Wind
  11. The Book of Wisdom
  12. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 3
  13. Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
  14. From Personality to Individuality
  15. No Mind: The Flowers of Eternity
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