Light is an experience

Light is an experience

I have heard:

A new superintendent was appointed in a mental asylum. The old one was giving his charge over, he was retiring, and a small feast was arranged for the old one to be thanked for all his services, for the new one to be received by the inmates. All the mad people gathered.

The old superintendent was a little puzzled; he had never seen them so happy. All the mad people were so happy, so joyous, that he could not resist the temptation of asking them — and he was to leave the same day, so he had to ask immediately; otherwise it would always remain a curiosity in his mind and he would never know the answer.

He asked the mad people. “Why are you looking so happy?”

They said, “Because of the new superintendent — he looks just like us! You were a foreigner amongst us, you were sane. He looks mad!”

And that was a truth — the new superintendent was almost insane. But the insane people were very happy. Somebody had now come who would not make them feel insane.

This has always been the situation on the earth — this earth is the madhouse — and whenever a sane person happens, we misbehave with him. Thousands of people had come to Buddha to ask, “Where is God? What is God?” And especially the brahmins, the pundits, the scholars, who were fully informed, well informed about the scriptures, they used to come to him to ask, “Do you believe in God? Define your belief, explain your concept.”

And Buddha insisted again and again: HOW CAN A TROUBLED MIND UNDERSTAND THE WAY? He used to say, “Please don’t ask about God. Your asking about God is just like a blind man asking about light — it cannot be explained. I am a physician,” he insisted. “I can treat your eyes, I can give you your vision back. And then you will be able to see by yourself, and the light has to be seen by you. My seeing the light is not going to help. I may see the light, I may even describe it, but it is not going to give you any idea of what it is.”

In fact there is no possible way to explain to the blind man what light is. Light is an experience, something existential, unexplainable. And God is the ultimate light, the light of all the lights, the light behind all the lights, the source of all lights. How can God be explained to you if you are blind?

Hence Buddha never talked about God. And the pundits and the brahmins would go back to their places spreading rumors and saying that “This man does not answer the question because he does not know; otherwise, why can’t he say simply yes or no? We asked a very simple question, ‘Do you believe in God?’ He could have said yes or no — if he knows then the answer is simple. But he talks in a roundabout way; we ask about God and he talks in parables. He says, ‘How can it be said? How can it be explained?’ The real fact is he does not know. The real fact is that he is an atheist in disguise; he is deceiving people, corrupting people.”

-Dhammapada, Osho

Categorized: Insights

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