Science is the circumference and spirituality is the center.
To me, spirituality has a totally different dimension. It is the ultimate luxury – when you have all and suddenly you see that, although you have all, deep inside there is a vacuum which has to be filled, an emptiness which has to be transformed into a plenitude. One becomes aware of the inner emptiness only when one has everything on the outside. Science can do that miracle. I love science, because it can create the possibility for religion to happen.
Up to now, religion has not happened on the earth. We have talked about religion but it has not happened; it has not touched the hearts of the millions. Only once in a while a person has been able to become enlightened. In a big garden where millions of bushes and trees are, if only once in a while in thousands of years a flower comes to a tree, you will not call it a garden. You will not be thankful to the gardener. You will not say, ‘The gardener is great, because look: after one thousand years, out of millions of trees, one tree has again blossomed with one flower.’ If this happens, it simply shows that it must have happened in spite of the gardener! Somehow he has forgotten about the tree, somehow he has neglected the tree, somehow the tree has escaped his grip.
Man has lived irreligiously, talking about God, certainly – going to the church, to the temple, to the mosque – yet his life shows no flavor of religion. My vision of religion is totally different. It has nothing to do with poverty. I would like the whole earth to become as rich as paradise – richer than paradise – so that people can stop thinking about paradise. Paradise was created by poor people just to console themselves that, ‘Here we are suffering, but it is not for long. Only a few days more, or a few years, and death will come and we will be transported into paradise.’ And what a consolation, that those who are rich here will be thrown into hell!
Jesus says a camel can pass through the eye of a needle, but the rich man cannot pass through the gate of heaven. What consolation! The poor people must have felt very satisfied, contented, that, ‘It is only a question of a few days more: then you will be in hellfire and I will sit in the lap of God, with all the luxuries, with all the riches, with all the joys that I am deprived of here and you are enjoying.’ The idea of paradise seems to be just a revenge.
I would like this earth to be a paradise – and it cannot happen without science. I am not anti-science but science is not all. Science can create only the circumference; the center has to be that of religion. Science is exterior, religion is interior. And I would like men to be rich on both sides: the exterior should be rich and the interior should be rich…
If science goes on saying there is no inner world, then I am certainly against such statements – but that is not being against science, just against these particular statements. These statements are stupid, because the people who are making these statements have not known anything of the inner.
Karl Marx says religion is the opium of the people – and he has never experienced any meditation. His whole life was wasted in the British Museum, thinking, reading, collecting notes, preparing for his great work, Das Kapital. And he was so much into trying to gain more and more knowledge that it happened many times that he would faint in the British Museum! He would have to be carried unconscious to his home. And it was almost an everyday thing that he would have to be forced to leave the museum – because the museum has to close sometime, it cannot remain open for 24 hours.
He had never heard about meditation; he knew only thinking and thinking. But still in a way he is right, that the old religiousness has served as a kind of opium. It has helped poor people to remain poor; it has helped them to remain contented as they are, hoping for the best in the next life. In that way he is right. But he is not right if we take into consideration a Buddha, a Zarathustra, a Lao Tzu – then he is not right. And these are the really religious people, not the masses; the masses know nothing of religion. I would like you to be enriched by Newton, Edison, Eddington, Rutherford, Einstein; and I would like you also to be enriched by Buddha, Krishna, Christ, Mohammed, so that you can become rich in both the dimensions…
Science is good as far as it goes, but it does not go far enough – and it cannot go. I am not saying that it can go and it does not go. No, it cannot go into the interiority of your being. The very methodology of science prevents it from going in. It can go only outwards, it can study only objectively; it cannot go into the subjectivity itself. That is the function of religion.
The society needs science, the society needs religion. And …science should be the first priority. First the outer… then the inner – because the inner is more subtle, more delicate. Science can create the space for real religion to exist on the earth.
Dhammapada: The way of the Buddha Vol 4/courtesy Osho International
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