Theologia Mystica 01

First Discourse from the series of 15 discourses - Theologia Mystica by Osho.
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Thou Trinity beyond being…direct us to the height of mystical revelation, sublime beyond all thought and light; wherein the simple, absolute and immutable mysteries of divine truth are hidden in the translucent darkness of that silence which revealeth in secret. For this darkness, though of deepest obscurity, is yet radiantly clear, and, though beyond touch and sight, it overfills our unseeing minds with splendors of transcendent beauty.
This is my prayer. As for you, beloved Timothy, exerting yourself sincerely in mystical contemplation, quit the senses, the workings of the intellect, and all that may be sensed and known, and all that is not and is. For by this you may unknowingly attain, in as far as it is possible, to the oneness of him who is beyond all being and knowledge. Thus through indomitable, absolute and pure detachment of yourself from all things, you will be lifted up to that radiance of the divine darkness which is beyond being, surpassing all and free from all.
Up to now man has lived in a very schizophrenic way. The reason he has become divided is not very difficult to understand. For centuries he has been told that the world consists not of one world but of two worlds: the world of matter and the world of the spirit. This is absolute nonsense.
The world consists only of one truth. Of course, that truth has two aspects to it, but those aspects are indivisible. The outer aspect appears as matter and the inner as spirit. It is like a center and its circumference. This division has penetrated human mind in a thousand and one ways. It has become the separation between the body and the soul. It has become the separation between the lower and the higher. It has become the separation between sin and virtue. It has become the separation between the sinner and the saint, and it has also become the separation between the East and the West.
Man today stands so fragmented, so divided, that it is almost a miracle that we are managing to keep ourselves together. The whole energy is exhausted in just keeping ourselves together because we are constantly falling apart.
The greatest need of the day is to get beyond this schizophrenia, to get beyond all divisions, to reach the one which is neither this nor that, which is neither East nor West, which is neither man nor woman. That “one” has been called by the mystics: God, truth, moksha, nirvana, the absolute, dhamma, Logos, Tao – different names but pointing to the same one reality. It was possible up to now somehow to go on living in a schizophrenic way, but now it is no longer possible.
We have come to a point where the decision has to be made. If we want to exist we have to create a synthesis, or rather a transcendence of all dualities. If we don’t want to exist then there is no problem. If we want to commit a global suicide, then of course all problems are solved – but I don’t think anybody wants or desires a global suicide.
Man has achieved much in spite of all kinds of madness. Man has reached many peaks: religious, aesthetic, poetic, musical. And all this has happened in spite of all kinds of madness that we go on supporting, nourishing, because the vested interests don’t want you to be united and one; the vested interests want you to remain divided.
When Rudyard Kipling said, “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,” he was giving expression to all the vested interests. They want the world to remain divided, they want man to remain divided – into many religions, philosophies, political ideologies. In every possible way they would like you not to become one. Why? – because the man who is integrated and one is impossible to enslave. He cannot be exploited by the priests or by the politicians. In fact, he becomes absolutely free from all possibilities of exploitation and oppression. He becomes an individual, he becomes rebellious, he becomes intelligent. He becomes so sharp and clear that he can see through all superstitions, howsoever old and ancient. He can see the stupidity in which humanity has lived – and not only lived in, but glorified. He can see the foolishness of nationalities, the utter nonsense of so many religions in the world.
There are three hundred religions in the world and at least three thousand sects. He can see clearly that to divide matter from spirit is to create a division in the very being of man – because the body, matter, is nothing but spirit manifest, and the spirit is nothing but matter, body, unmanifest.
God and the world are not two things. God is not the creator and the world is not the created; God and the world are one. It is a process of creativity. You can divide creativity in two parts, the creator and the created, but in fact that division is arbitrary. It is one flow of creativity. God is not the creator, let me remind you again and again, and the world is not the created. This whole existence is a riverlike creative energy.
My sannyasins have to understand this oneness in as many ways as possible, so that no nook and corner of your being remains divided. The West is very proud of its materialism, science, technology. That pride hinders it from getting into a deep communion with the East, but that pride is nothing compared to the Eastern ego.
The Eastern ego is far more subtle and far more dangerous, far more poisonous. The Eastern ego pretends, projects, brags about its spirituality. Of course, the people who think they are spiritual can condemn the people who are materialists more easily than vice versa because even the materialist feels somehow that matter is a lower reality. He may not even consciously believe in any higher reality, but the conditioning is so old – it has penetrated the blood, the bones, the very marrow – that a man can become consciously a materialist but deep down he remains part of the whole heritage of humanity. Hence the Western ego is not much of a danger, but the Eastern ego is very dangerous, for the simple reason that it is more subtle, more hidden, not on the surface, more unconscious.
The East goes on proclaiming itself as the source of all spirituality, the source of all mysticism, which is patent nonsense. It depends only on ignorance. If you ask any Eastern so-called mahatma, you will be surprised that he knows nothing about other spiritual masters who have existed in other parts of the world. He has not heard about Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu, Ko Hsuan. He has not heard about Lin Chi, Basho, Bokuju. He has not heard anything about Pythagoras, Heraclitus or Dionysius.
We are going to discuss Dionysius in this series. Dionysius is one of the greatest buddhas ever. And whenever the Eastern scholar by any chance, if at all, comes across a person like Dionysius, he starts thinking that he must have borrowed from the East. That seems to be a tacit assumption, that the East has some monopoly over spiritualism. Nobody has any monopoly. East or West cannot make any difference in man’s spiritual growth. Jesus could become a buddha in Jerusalem, Lao Tzu could become a buddha in China, Dionysius could become a buddha in Athens. There is no need to borrow from anybody.
Yes, in scientific experimentation we have discovered very recently a strange phenomenon that whenever one scientist discovers something, almost simultaneously many people all around the earth discover the same thing in different ways. Albert Einstein is reported to have said, “If I had not discovered the Theory of Relativity, then within two years somebody else was bound to discover it.”
Why does it happen that some scientist working somewhere far away in Soviet Russia discovers something almost simultaneously with some other scientist who is working in England or in America or in India or in Japan – not knowing anything of the other, not even being aware of the existence of the other, not knowing that somebody else is also working on the same problem?
Now it is becoming more and more clear that with all the great discoveries, although the initial effort is made by the conscious mind, the ultimate result always comes through the unconscious. And the deepest layer of the unconscious mind is collective. I am different from you as a person, you are different from me as persons – as far as conscious mind is concerned. If you go a little deeper we are not so different in the unconscious mind. If you go a little deeper still, we come even closer in the collective unconscious.
The mystics say there is even a little more than the collective unconscious; they call it the universal unconscious, or God. That is the very center. At that center we all meet and we are all one. All the great insights come from that center. It is only a question of who is looking in that direction – he will get the insight first. Otherwise the insight starts happening to many people; they may not be looking at it and therefore they will miss it.
Alan Watts, writing on this small treatise of tremendous beauty, the Theologia Mystica of St. Dionysius, says that one is tempted, greatly tempted, to think that Dionysius must have visited the East; if not, then some Eastern mystic must have traveled to Athens.
When Dionysius lived, in those days, many Western travelers had started coming to India. With the coming of Alexander the Great many barriers were broken, many bridges were made. And it was not one sided; Eastern mystics also started traveling toward the West. Even Jaina monks, who live totally naked, for whom the Western climate is bound to be far more harmful than Pune is for you, they went to Alexandria, to Athens, to the farthest corners of the known world. The Jainas are referred to in ancient Athenian treatises as gymnosophists. Sophist means one who is searching for the truth and gymno comes from Jainu. Gymnosophist is the name for the Jaina mystics who had penetrated Athens. And there was great business going on between India and Greece. And, of course, with the businessmen, the traders coming and going, there was a great exchange of thoughts.
Alan Watts thinks either Dionysius visited India because the way he speaks is so Eastern, the insight that he reveals is so Eastern. Even his words remind one of the Upanishads and nothing else. So Watts thinks either he visited the East, or somebody from the East or many influences from the East somehow became available to him. But I am not tempted that way at all.
My own experience and understanding is this: that great truths erupt in many places in almost similar ways. Lao Tzu never came to India and nobody from India ever visited Lao Tzu. China and India were divided by the great Himalayan mountains. There was no business going on between India and China, no communication of any kind. Still, what Lao Tzu says is so similar to the Upanishads, is so synonymous with the teachings of Buddha, that there is a great temptation to believe that there must have been some communication – either Buddha has borrowed from Lao Tzu or Lao Tzu has borrowed from Buddha.
But I say to you, nobody has borrowed from anybody else, they have all drunk from the same source. And when you taste the ocean, whether you taste it on an Indian shore or on the Chinese shore, it makes no difference; it always tastes the same, the same salty taste. So is truth: it has the same taste, the same flavor, the same fragrance. Maybe in expressing it there is a possibility of a few differences of language, but that does not matter much. Sometimes even those differences are not there.
Dionysius is a Christian, and one of the real Christians. It seems Friedrich Nietzsche was not aware of Dionysius and his Mystica; otherwise he would not have said that the first and the last Christian died on the cross two thousand years ago. In fact, there have been a few more christs in the tradition of Christ. Dionysius is one of the most beautiful of them all. Then there is Meister Eckhart, St. Francis, Jacob Boehme and a few more – not many of course because Christianity became such an organized religion that it became impossible for mystics to exist, or even if they existed they went underground. They had to; there was no other way.
It is just like today in Russia you cannot be a mystic without hiding yourself. Because to be a mystic in Russia means you are insane, you have to be hospitalized, you have to be given insulin shocks or electric shocks.
It is fortunate that Buddha, Lao Tzu, Jesus, Mahavira were not born in today’s Soviet Russia. Jesus would not have been crucified in Soviet Russia, that is true, but he would have gone through far more sophisticated tortures. Crucifixion is a very primitive phenomenon, and not so dangerous either; it kills you, that’s all. Electric shocks will not kill you, but they will destroy all your splendor, all your glory, all your intelligence. They will force you to vegetate. Your life will become as lifeless as possible. You will continue to exist but it will be a mere existence, mere survival. Your dignity will be gone.
Jesus died a dignified man. He died with tremendous joy. He died fulfilled. But if he is born in Russia today he will have to die a very undignified death, or if he lives he will have to live a very undignified life.
In Russia now, a really religious person has to go underground. There are my sannyasins who have to go underground. They are working underground – they meet in basements in the darkness of the night. What an ugly world we have created, where you cannot meditate openly, when you cannot discuss about truth, about love openly. To meditate as if you are committing some crime does not show that humanity has progressed; in many ways it has regressed.
Christianity did the same for two thousand years in the West. Communism is an offshoot of Christianity. Whatever communists are doing now they have learned from the Christian popes. Christianity destroyed all possibilities of mysticism.
There were only two ways to avoid being persecuted. One was to go underground or escape to some desert, to some mountains. And the second possibility was to exist as a formal Christian on the surface, use the Christian language, and go on doing your inner work privately. That’s what Dionysius did.
You will be surprised to know he was the first Bishop of Athens. He must have been a man of rare intelligence. To remain a Bishop of Athens and yet to penetrate the deepest mysteries of life like Buddha, Lao Tzu, Zarathustra, he must have been a man of rare intelligence. He managed a facade. He deceived the Christian organization.
His treatise was not published while he was alive. He must have arranged it in such a way that it was published only when he was dead. If the treatise had been published while he was alive he would have been expelled from the Church, persecuted, tortured. And a man of understanding, a man who is not suicidal in some way, would not like to be persecuted unnecessarily. If it becomes a necessity he accepts the challenge. But he is not looking for it; he is not in some way hankering to be a martyr. He is not suicidal, he is not violent toward himself.
Dionysius is a rare man living with stupid Christianity and its rigid organization. Being a bishop and still being able to reach the ultimate peaks of consciousness is something worthy of praise.
Before we enter into these beautiful sutras of Dionysius, a few things have to be understood. One: these sutras were written as letters to one of his disciples, Timothy. All that is really great, all that is really of the ultimate, of the transcendental, can only be communicated to disciples. It has to be addressed to those who love you, to those who have a deep attunement with your heart. It cannot be addressed to the mass, to the crowd, to the indifferent, to the antagonistic. Great truths are communed only when there is love. It is possible only between a master and a disciple that a truth can be transferred.
The disciple means one who is open to receive. The disciple means one who trusts so totally that there is no question of arguing because these profound mysteries cannot be argued about. Either you know or you don’t know – you cannot argue. There are no proofs for them, except your trust in the master. Of course, if you trust the master, the master can take you to the window from where you can see the vast sky with all its splendor…millions of stars. But you will have to trust him at least this much to allow him to hold your hand, to allow him to take you to the window. If you start arguing about the window and its existence and about the sky and its existence then there is no way to convince you.
There are no proofs for God; there have never been, there will never be. Those who have known have known only because of deep intimacy, because of a love affair with the master. It is not a question of convincing somebody, it is not conversion about a certain ideology; it is simply a mad love affair. You come across a man like Dionysius and the very presence of the man is enough, the very presence becomes a proof that there are many more things in life than you have ever dreamed of. The presence of the man penetrates your very heart. The presence of the man transpires something in you, triggers something in you of which you were never aware before. You start hearing a song, you start seeing a beauty, you start feeling a new mood of elation, ecstasy – for no visible reason. Then it becomes possible to surrender your ego to such a person.
When you surrender your ego to the master, the master is only an excuse. You are really surrendering to existence, not to the master. In fact you are simply surrendering. It is not of any importance to whom – the question is not to whom, the question is that you are surrendering the ego. The moment the ego is surrendered there is a possibility of communion.
These are letters from Dionysius to his most beloved disciple, Timothy.
The second thing to remember is Christianity, in becoming the religion about Jesus, missed something of tremendous importance. Because it tried to become the religion about Jesus, it could not become the religion of Jesus. A religion about Jesus is not a religion of Jesus. In fact, the religion about Jesus is against the religion of Jesus because when a religion becomes about a person, you lose contact with his inner reality; you become concerned with his outer expressions.
Christianity became too concerned about following Jesus as an example. Now, that is going in a wrong direction. Nobody can follow Jesus as an example, his life cannot be an example to anybody else because a certain life exists in a certain context. To be exactly like Jesus you will need the whole situation, the whole context in which Jesus existed. Where can you find the same context again? Life goes on changing; it is never the same even for two consecutive moments. You cannot be Jesus of Nazareth, impossible; there is no Nazareth anymore. You cannot be Jesus because that Jewish mind which crucified Jesus no longer exists.
Among my sannyasins there are thousands of Jews. Jesus would not have believed his eyes if he had seen this. He was a Jew: he was born a Jew, he spoke the language of the Jews, he believed in all the fundamentals of the Judaic religion. Still he could not find many followers. I am not a Jew: I don’t speak the language of the Jews, I don’t believe in the Judaic fundamentals. Still I have been able to find thousands of Jews. The context has changed, it is a totally different world. Twenty centuries have passed.
Also, whenever you start trying to follow a certain person as an example you become imitative, you become false, you lose authenticity, you are no longer yourself. And to make the point very emphatic, Christianity has insisted for two thousand years on a very absurd thing. The absurdity is that on the one hand Christianity says, “Follow Jesus, imitate Jesus! Let Jesus be your example,” and on the other hand the same Christianity goes on telling you that “Jesus is God, God’s only begotten Son, and you cannot be related to God in the same way.” Can you see the absurdity? On the one hand you say, “Follow Jesus, be like Jesus,” and on the other hand you make it absolutely impossible for yourself to be like Jesus because Jesus has a special relationship with God and you cannot have that relationship; that is not possible.
Hence Christianity has created an impossible religion on the earth, telling people such nonsense. Such an absurd approach is bound to create guilt. People try to follow Jesus, but they cannot be Jesuslike; hence guilt arises, they feel guilty. No other religion has created so much guilt on the earth as Christianity. Christianity has proved the greatest calamity for the simple reason that religion is not supposed to create guilt. If religion creates guilt then it makes you depressed, then it makes you frustrated with yourself, then it creates a subtle suicidal instinct in you.
A true religion elates you, enhances, enriches your being, makes your life more festive, creates more possibilities for you to celebrate and rejoice. Jesus goes on saying to his disciples, “Rejoice! Rejoice! I say unto you rejoice!” And what has Christianity done? It has done just the opposite. Dionysius was aware of this fact.
The third thing: the experience of truth is like music – yes, more like music than like anything else because you cannot describe music to anybody else. You can say it was beautiful, but that is an evaluation, your judgment. You are not describing music, you are describing your mood that happened through the music. There is no way to describe the beauty of music.
The same is true about religious experience. That’s why authentic religion is always mystic. By mystic I mean something that can be felt, experienced, but can never be described. Even though you know it, you are incapable of making it known to others; you are almost dumb. The more you know, the dumber you are. When you have known it absolutely you become almost an absolutely ignorant man.
Dionysius has a special word for it; he calls it agnosia. You must have heard the word agnostic; Bertrand Russell used the word for himself. An atheist says there is no God, but he says it as if he knows – that “as if” is always there – as if he has explored the whole reality and has come to know that there is no God. In declaring there is no God he is declaring his knowledge. He is a gnostic, he knows. Gnosis means knowledge. The theist says there is a God – as if he knows, as if he has attained, arrived. He is also a gnostic; he has gnosis, knowledge.
An agnostic means one who says, “I don’t know, neither this way nor that. I don’t know whether God is or God is not. I am utterly ignorant.” Hence Bertrand Russell says, “I am agnostic.” He must have discovered the word in Dionysius: agnosia. But Dionysius’s use of the word is far more potential, far more pregnant than Bertrand Russell’s; Bertrand Russell’s cannot be more than a logical statement. He is a logician, a mathematician; he has never meditated, he has never gone within himself. He says he is an agnostic, but he has never tried to go beyond it, as if agnosticism is the ultimate and there is nothing more to do about it.
My feeling is that he is not a true agnostic. The atheist says, “I know there is no God,” the theist says, “I know that there is a God,” and the Bertrand Russellian agnosticism says, “I know there is no way of knowing” – but that knowledge, that tacit knowledge is there.
Dionysius says that one can know God only when one comes to the moment when one knows nothing. The state of not-knowing is the opening of the door. By agnosia he means exactly the same as the Upanishads mean. One of the most famous Upanishads, the Kena Upanishad, says:
It is conceived by him who conceives it not.
Who conceives it, knows it not.
It is not understood by those who understand it.
It is understood by those who understand it not.
Or it reminds one of the Zen Master Yung-chia. In his Song of Enlightenment he says:
You cannot grasp it;
You cannot get rid of it.
In not being able to get it, you get it.
When you are silent, it speaks;
When you speak, it is silent.
Or it reminds one of the great Socratic statement: “I know only one thing, that I know nothing.”
Agnosia means the state of not knowing. That’s what samadhi is, that’s what meditation is all about: the state of not knowing.
Meditation creates that state, agnosia. When meditation has helped you to burn all your knowledge, to unburden you of mountainous loads of conditioning, when it has left you utterly silent, like a small child full of wonder and awe, in India that state is called samadhi. Samadhi means all is solved, there is no longer any question and there is no longer any answer, one is utterly silent. There is no longer any belief and no longer any doubt. Dionysius calls it agnosia. It is through agnosia that one comes to know.
This is the ultimate paradox of mysticism: that by not knowing one comes to know it and by knowing one misses it. Not knowing is far higher than all knowledge. The universities give you knowledge, but when you enter the buddhafield of a master you are entering an anti-university. In the university you learn more and more knowledge, information; you accumulate. In the anti-university of a master you unlearn more and more. A moment comes when you know nothing.
It is a very strange moment, hence it has been described by Dionysius with tremendous beauty. He calls it “translucent darkness.” Many mystics have called it different names, but Dionysius seems to surpass them all. Translucent darkness, darkness which is pure light. He also calls it Doctrina Ignorantia, the doctrine of ignorance. He also calls it “knowing ignorance.” You can compare it with the knowledge of the knowledgeable people. The knowledgeable people are called by Dionysius, people who have “ignorant knowledge.” So he divides people in two categories: those who belong to the world of ignorant knowledge – they know much, knowing nothing; and the second category, the people who belong to the world of knowing ignorance – they know nothing, hence they know all.
Now the sutras:
Thou Trinity beyond being…direct us to the height of mystical revelation, sublime beyond all thought and light; wherein the simple, absolute and immutable mysteries of divine truth are hidden in the translucent darkness of that silence which revealeth in secret. For this darkness, though of deepest obscurity, is yet radiantly clear, and, though beyond touch and sight, it overfills our unseeing minds with splendors of transcendent beauty.
You can immediately see that the way he writes is to hide his mystical revelation in Christian terms. He begins: Thou Trinity beyond being…
Now, there was no need to use the word trinity. That is just to befool the whole Christian organization because these people live in words. Just utter a single word, trinity, and everything is okay – if you are a Christian and you believe in the Christian doctrine, then there is no danger. Hence he begins: Though Trinity beyond being…
But immediately the condition that he puts on Trinity destroys the whole idea of the Christian doctrine: …beyond being… No mystic has been so courageous, saying that God is beyond being. Many have said that God is beyond knowledge, but Dionysius seems to be the only one who says that God is beyond knowledge and beyond being. You cannot say, “God is,” you cannot say, “I know.” How can you know when there is no God?
But you see the sharpness of his intelligence, his clarity? He uses the word trinity. He starts with: Thou trinity beyond being… If something is beyond being, how can you call it “thou”? That is just a facade to befool the fools who live only in words. Those who want to go beyond words will be able to sort it out.
Thou Trinity beyond being…direct us to the height of mystical revelation… This sutra is something to be deeply understood: …direct us to the height of mystical revelation…
All the Upanishads in the East begin with this prayer: Direct us, lead us, guide us, from darkness to light. Tamso ma jyotirgamaya. We are in darkness; O Lord, lead us, guide us, direct us, so that we can move into the world of light. Guide us, lead us, direct us, from the world of untruth to the world of truth: asto ma sadgamay. We are living in death, we are surrounded by death – death surrounds us like an ocean surrounding a small island – O Lord, lead us from death to deathlessness, from time to timelessness: mrityor ma amritamgamay.
All the Upanishads start with this prayer; there is something very significant in it. Dionysius also says: …direct us to the height of mystical revelation…
Although there is no God as a person, as a being, still the prayer is significant. You will have to understand something very subtle. People think a prayer is significant only if there is somebody to listen to the prayer; that is not right. The prayer is significant because you pray. It doesn’t matter whether there is anybody to hear it or not. The prayer does not change God, the prayer changes you. The prayer changes the one who is praying, not the one prayed to.
When you pray you become humble. When you pray you become surrendered. When you pray you accept your agnosia. You say, “I don’t know where to go, how to find you. I don’t know from where to start. Please guide me.” Not that there is a God to guide you, not that somebody is going to come and guide you, not that somebody is going to fulfill your prayer, but just the capacity to pray is enough; it will help you. The capacity to bow down to existence is enough: you lose the egoistic stiffness. The prayer helps you to relax. The prayer gives you an opportunity to let go.
In that let-go, you start moving toward the right direction without anybody guiding you. It is the state of let-go that helps you to find the right direction, because when you are not tense you are always moving toward the right direction. Whenever you are tense, even if you are moving in the right direction, the direction is not going to prove right because you are not right. The question is not of direction; the question is of your being right or wrong.
When you are relaxed, at ease, at home, trusting existence, loving existence, nothing can ever go wrong. That’s the purpose of prayer. It is not a demand. It is not that you have to shout it so that God can hear it.

A great Indian mystic, Kabir, was passing by the side of a mosque, and the maulvi, the priest of the mosque, was doing his morning prayer, shouting.
Kabir went in, shook the man and told him, “What are you doing? Do you think your God has gone deaf? Why are you shouting? Just whisper, that will do! In fact, there is no need even to whisper – just the attitude is enough.”

Prayer is an attitude. Prayer is not something to be done; rather, it is a quality. Call it prayerfulness and you will be closer to the truth. Prayer means prayerfulness.
…direct us to the height of mystical revelation, sublime beyond all thought and light… Mystics have always said that God is beyond all thought; there is no way to think about God. To think about God is to go on missing him. Think, and you will miss because thinking means you are using your mind, and the mind contains only that which you already know. If you already know God there is no need to think. If you don’t already know God there is no point in thinking because the mind moves in the small world of knowledge. It goes on repeating what it knows again and again and again. It cannot move toward the unknown.
The mind has no capacity to rise toward the unknown, hence no thinking ever helps. It hinders, certainly, and hinders greatly, but it has never helped anybody. One has to put aside all thinking. One has to come to a moment of no-thought.
But Dionysius is something really unique. He says …beyond all thought and light… because those who have said that God is beyond thought have always said that he is light. In fact, the English word divine comes from a Sanskrit root div. From the same root comes the English word day. From the same root come the Sanskrit words devata, deva. They all mean light: divine means light, day means light, div means light, devata means light. Light has always been thought synonymous with God.
Dionysius says that too is a projection of thought because you are afraid of darkness, and out of your fear of darkness you conceive God as light. But light is also a thought, a mind projection. When you go beyond all thought you also go beyond light.
Then what is God? Is God darkness? That will not be right – God is not darkness either. Then what is God? God is: translucent darkness, darkness which is luminous.
In this way, Dionysius is trying to help you to go beyond the duality of words. God is both death and life together, both light and darkness together, both matter and consciousness together, both man and woman together. So don’t ask the question again whether God is a he or a she; he is both and neither. That’s why the Upanishads never call him he or she but “It” – of course It with a capital I so that you don’t misunderstand him as a thing, as a commodity. But God is It.
Now in the West, Women’s Liberation is raising great dust insisting that God should be called she, not he – to call God he is nothing but the male chauvinist pig’s idea. But to call him she will be the female chauvinist’s idea. It won’t make any difference; it will be the same. Any part of the duality is insufficient; he has to be called both together.
…wherein the simple, absolute and immutable mysteries of divine truth are hidden in the translucent darkness of that silence which revealeth in secret. God is known only in absolute silence. But that silence does not mean a dead silence – not the silence of the cemetery, but the silence of a garden where birds are singing and bees are humming and flowers are opening, where all is alive.
The silence that one comes to know through meditation, through agnosia, is a living silence. It is full of song, full of music, full of melody, full of joy, full of love, empty of all thoughts. Even the thought of love, the thought of joy, the thought of silence is absent. But joy is present, love is present. The thought of love is not present; in fact, the thought of love is present only when love is absent. You think of joy only when you are not joyful. When you are really joyous you never think of joy.
The mind gives you substitutes. Because you are joyless, the mind gives you the idea of joy. Because you don’t know what love is, the mind gives you a thousand and one definitions of love. When you know love, the mind has nothing to do, the mind simply ceases. One’s real silence is not empty, it is not a kind of absence of everything. On the contrary, it is full – too full, abundantly full, overflowing – not with thoughts but with real experiences. And that is the revelation of the secret.
For this darkness, though of deepest obscurity… Obscurity in the sense that you cannot figure out what it is and what it is not. Obscurity in the sense that you cannot define it and you cannot describe it. But it: …is yet radiantly clear, and, though beyond touch and sight, it overfills our unseeing mind with splendors of transcendent beauty. Beauty is there, but the idea of beauty is not there. You hear the music, but you cannot describe it – not even to yourself.
Dionysius uses two kinds of language. One he calls cataphatic. Cataphatic means a positive language which speaks of God as Father, light, spirit, power, and being; it tells us what God is like. But remember, it is only a finger pointing to the moon – the finger is not the moon. The cataphatic language is useful, at least useful for those who are very childish in their approach toward life. A child can understand God only as the father, hence all childish religions talk about God as the father. When religion reaches maturity it drops that idea completely.
Jainism does not talk about God as the father; in fact, it does not talk about God at all. Buddhism emphatically denies talking about God because to talk about God you have to use cataphatic language and a cataphatic language is at the most approximate. But as far as truth is concerned you cannot be approximately true: either you are true or you are not true.
Can you say to somebody, “I almost love you,” or, “I love you approximately?” That will look very stupid, silly! Either you love or you don’t love. You cannot say, “I love you fifty percent, sixty percent, seventy percent.” The idea of percentage won’t work; it is either a hundred percent or nothing at all.
Truth cannot be approximately described. Hence to call God “light” is helpful for children to understand, but is not the right way because then darkness is denied. If you call God “consciousness,” then where are you going to put matter? If you call God “spirit,” then the body becomes something ungodly, undivine, evil.
It is because of this cataphatic language that millions of people are misguided. They become anti-body, anti-life, anti-love, anti-joy, anti-pleasure – anti- everything – for the simple reason that they have become accustomed to a cataphatic language.
Dionysius says, remember that cataphatic language is just like music. You cannot describe music, but you can give instructions about music, you can give notations for music. And the person who understands the language of notation, one who can decode it, will be able to produce music: the indescribable will be heard. But it is a very indirect way. If the person does not know anything about the notations he may start worshipping the notations as music. He may try to hear it by bringing the notation close to his ears and he will be surprised: “There is no music! And that fool was saying that great music is contained in this notation, and I don’t hear anything at all!”

In the middle of a busy street, a madman is kneeling down, his ear to the tar. A passerby sees him and becomes very puzzled by the scene. Not being able to contain his curiosity he also kneels down and puts his ear to the ground.
He does not hear anything so he says to the madman, “What are you listening to? I can’t hear anything.”
The madman replies, “Yes, it has been like that since this morning.”

You cannot hear music from musical notations – that will be mad – but you can produce it. Those notations are not descriptive; they are instructive. These two words are significant, descriptive and instructive.
All great masters are instructive; they are not descriptive. They are not describing God, they are simply instructing you how to create agnosia, the state of not knowing, so that knowing can happen.
The second kind of language Dionysius calls apophatic. It is negative language which speaks of God in terms of what he is not. This brings you closer to the truth because it does not say anything about God; it does not affirm anything. It is not via positiva, it is via negativa. It simply says, “God is not this, God is not this.” It simply denies.
Dionysius says it is like a man who is trying to make a statue out of a marble rock. He goes on chipping, cutting pieces of rock, goes on throwing away pieces of rock, chunk by chunk. Slowly, slowly the statue emerges.
When you are with a master who knows the art of apophatic language – and a master cannot be a master without knowing the use of apophatic language. All masters are via negativa, neti-neti, neither this nor that. If they sometimes speak in descriptive language, that is only for the newcomers, for the initiates, but not for the adepts not for those who are getting a little more mature, a little more centered. For them they always speak the language of negation. They always say, “This is not, this is not, this is not…” They go on eliminating the unnecessary. And finally, when they have eliminated all, they say, “Now this is it!” But still they will not describe it, they will only say, “This is it! Now, here, this silence, this agnosia, this is it!”
Dionysius says:
This is my prayer. As for you, beloved Timothy, exerting yourself sincerely in mystical contemplation, quit the senses, the workings of the intellect, and all that may be sensed and known, and all that is not and is. For by this you may unknowingly attain, in as far as it is possible, to the oneness of him who is beyond all being and knowledge. Thus through indomitable, absolute and pure detachment of yourself from all things, you will be lifted up to that radiance of the divine darkness which is beyond being, surpassing all and free from all.
This is something tremendously beautiful. Dionysius writing to his disciple, Timothy, says: This is my prayer.
A real master cannot say more than that. He cannot order you. He cannot say, “Do it – you have to do it!” He does not talk in terms of shoulds and should-nots. He is not in any way trying to lay his trip on you. He is simply praying for you. Dionysius says: This is my prayer.
“This is what I would like to see happening in you. This is my wish, my prayer. So don’t take it as an order; it is not that you have to do it. It is not that if you don’t do it you will be punished, thrown into hell for eternity. There is no need to listen to me, there is no need to follow me. This is only my prayer because I have experienced such transcendent beauty through agnosia that I would like you, beloved Timothy, to also share it. I would like to share it with you. If you are ready, the sharing can happen.”
This is the way to be ready: exert yourself sincerely – not seriously but sincerely. There are people who are always doing things halfheartedly; their life is lukewarm. They never achieve anything because they are always holding back. They never move into anything totally, intensely. They are always standing on the bank and thinking of the farther shore. Or even if sometimes they try, they are riding on two horses; in case one fails, the other will always be there. They are riding in two boats. Their life is so divided that whatever they do, they always do with dividedness. And any flowering of consciousness is possible only when there is an organic unity in you. Hence, be sincere: …in mystical contemplation, quit the senses…
Dionysius says: Watch your senses. You are not the eye but the consciousness standing behind the eye. The eye is only a window – don’t get identified with it. And so are all other senses: they are only windows. You are standing behind the window – don’t become the window! Don’t start thinking, “I am the frame of the window.”
That’s what everybody is doing. You become identified with your senses, you become identified with your mind, you become identified with a thousand and one things.
And you completely forget that you are only one thing and that is witnessing, consciousness, awareness.
…quit the senses, the workings of the intellect… Don’t get involved in the mind. Watch the mind pass by. Slowly, slowly the functioning of the mind ceases: …and all that may be sensed and known…
Go on dropping that which can be known and sensed so that you can fall into agnosia: …and all that is not and is. And don’t become attached to the positive or the negative, to the theist or the atheist.
Dionysius is a rare man. He is saying these things behind the cover of Christianity, hiding this great mystic approach – as great as Lao Tzu’s or Buddha’s, behind the covers of the Bible. Hence he has survived – he managed well. Christians have never condemned him, otherwise he might have been burned alive; at least his letters would have been destroyed.
Thousands of great treatises have been burned and destroyed, and if they are not burned and destroyed they are lying in the basement of the Vatican. Thousands of manuscripts never read, never allowed the light of the day. Nobody can approach them.
In fact, it should be one of the duties of the U.N. to free all the manuscripts which are imprisoned in the Vatican. And there are millions, not few. This is a great crime! Centuries of understanding of enlightenment are hidden, not allowed. Catholics have a special category for such books. Once they are put on the black list, no Christian is allowed to read them; to read them is to commit a sin.
Dionysius must have been a very intelligent man; he managed well. He deceived the Vatican, he deceived the popes. After all, he himself was a bishop – he knew all the inside tricks! His treatise is thought to be Christian; it is not Christian at all. It has nothing to do with Christianity. Jesus would have agreed with it, but not the Christian organization.
For by this you may unknowingly attain… You see his words? – unknowingly attain. God is never attained knowingly because before God is attained, the knower disappears. So how can you attain him knowingly? God always comes unawares. When you are not he comes. When you are not he suddenly fills you. When you are absent he is present.
…in as far as it is possible, to the oneness of him who is beyond all being and knowledge. Thus through indomitable, absolute and pure detachment of yourself from all things, you will be lifted up to that radiance of the divine darkness which is beyond being, surpassing all and free from all. What Buddha calls nirvana, the absolute freedom, what Mahavira calls moksha, the ultimate freedom, that’s what Dionysius is talking about, but putting it into Christian terminology, into a Christian packet. But the inner reality is the same.
Nobody from the East has ever commented on Dionysius – I may be the first person – because the East lives with the ego that says they are the only spiritual people, only they have reached the Everest of consciousness. That is not true. I have come across many people who have reached the same peak. Dionysius is one of them. He is a Buddha, he is a Jaina, of the same height, of the same quality, of the same depth – and sometimes even transcending them all because no Buddha has said: “Unknowingly you attain him.”
There are a few precious statements, rare, unique, never spoken before. No other buddha has said that that experience is of translucent darkness, agnosia.
Dionysius has to be meditated upon. Listen to these sutras. Sit silently. Meditate on each single word. If you can have even a small glimpse of agnosia, of not knowing, you will have stumbled into a door of the divine. The door is not far away; that which keeps you away from the door is your knowledge. Be knowledgeable and you will remain irreligious, unmystical. Attain ignorance, total ignorance, and then all the mysteries are yours: …surpassing all and free from all.
Enough for today.

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