Osho on difference in prayer and meditation

Question : What is the difference between Prayer and Meditation?
Osho : A lot of difference. A great difference. in fact they are absolutely different things. Their movement is in different directions. There are two types of religions in the world: prayer oriented religions and meditation oriented religions. Christianity, Judaism, Mohammedanism, Hinduism – these are prayer oriented religions. Jainism, Buddhism, Taoism – these are meditation oriented religions.

For a prayer oriented religion the concept of a personal God is needed – to relate to. For meditation oriented religions God is a useless hypothesis; it can be discarded easily into the dustbin. It is not needed. Buddha could attain without any belief in God. The Taoist Lao Tzu never mentions the word God – never! There must be a very great difference – try to understand it. Prayer is a dialogue between two persons: God and you.

You are talking to God, it is a dialogue; it is not a silence. Words continue. You are not talking to another man but you are talking to another being; but that being is imagined also in the image of man. It is said in the Bible: God created man in his own image. The reality seems to be just the opposite: man created God in his own image. You have an imaginary conception of a person there, somewhere. You talk. You confess your sins, you ask his forgiveness. You pray. Good, good for the heart. It helps a little bit.

You feel more unburdened, you feel light. Maybe there is a God, maybe not – that’s not the point. But believing there is a God, you can unburden yourself, you can surrender yourself, it becomes easier for you. The hypothesis is helpful. But in Christianity, in Judaism, in Mohammedanism, nothing exists like MOKSHA. There is a heaven, and hell. Hell for those who have never been related to God in any way but rather were working against him, against his wishes, committing sins; and heaven for those who prayed, who worked for him according to his wishes.

But there is nothing like moksha: absolute freedom. Because even in heaven God will be the ruler; and he is not a democrat, he is absolutely dictatorial, because there is nobody on top of him and he is the creator: he can uncreate, he can create, he can do whatsoever he wants to do. And he seems to be a little whimsical. He forgives sinners. Then the opposite must be happening also – that people who are virtuous but never prayed must be suffering in hell, because people who were not virtuous but prayed are enjoying beautiful women and wine and good things in heaven. Seems to be a little whimsical.

It seems that man has created the hypothesis as a consolation. It seems the whole phenomenon of God arises out of fear not out of knowing, out of guilt, out of the misery man is, not out of understanding. Meditation is not a dialogue, it is silence. There is nobody to relate to, to talk to.

For a meditator prayer is foolish: What are you doing? To whom are you talking? Just the other day I was reading a book – a woman writing letters to God. Vivek looked at it and started laughing; she said, What foolishness! Letters written to God! But that is the mind of prayer.

I told you there are three layers of your being; first: where you are just reason. in reason, dialogue is not possible; it is a debate, always a fight. Then the second layer: of love; dialogue is possible. And then the third layer of being: dialogue again is impossible because there is nobody else. You alone exist in your crystal purity. In absolute silence.

The Bible says: in the beginning there was the Word. It starts from the word. Buddha cannot say that, he cannot agree with that. in the beginning was silence. And in the end also there will be silence. Meditation is silence, it is not a dialogue. People who are reason oriented, head oriented, they become – if they are interested in religion – they become theologians. They write theories about God, they talk about God. If they are not religious, they become anti religious, they become philosophers, atheists, agnostics.

Then the second layer of your being: love, heart. If a man is religious love becomes prayer. If the man is not religious then love becomes poetry, art, painting, music. Then the third layer, the deepest core, beyond which nothing exists, is being. Absolute silence; and absolute aloneness. There;s no difference now between religious and non.religious. At the centre everything becomes one. In that silence one is neither religious nor anti religious, because those are the terms of the reason. In that silence one’s love is neither prayer nor art.

Everything has become one. That silence IS meditation.When people come to me, if I see that they are in their heads then I help them to be related, to move, to fall in love, to become a little foolish, so that they come down from their heads, so that they get down from the throne of the ego a little bit. Because one has to surrender in love. One cannot carry the ego.

If one carries it, love is not possible. If I see that they have lived, they have learnt, they have experienced what love is, then I tell them to fall still deeper into meditation. It is the last fall because there is no abyss more deep than meditation. If you are head oriented – move into prayer, love. But don’t make it a goal, it is not the goal. That’s why Christianity and Mohammedanism don’t reach to the height of Buddhism.

No, they remain with the second layer. (For the third layer something like Buddha, something like Lao Tzu, is needed.) They remain better than ordinary worldly people, but still not absolutely other worldly, they remain in the middle. Good as far as it goes, but not enough. If you cannot love, pray. If you have loved and know what it is, then move into aloneness.

There are two sorts of aloneness; one is loneliness, another is aloneness. If you have not loved, and you move into solitariness, it will be loneliness, you will feel a deep hunger for the other. It will not be aloneness. The other will be there – as absence. You will continuously feel the absence of the other, you will hanker. Maybe that’s why people who have not loved well, they start talking to God, to an imaginary phenomenon – to fill their loneliness, to be occupied with someone. It is a fantasy, it is a dream – good, religious, but still a dream.

One has to go beyond all dreaming. One has to go to the point when one is sure enough that the other is not needed. I am not saying that that type of person will not love. In fact only that type of person can love. But then he loves out of abundance. Then it is not a NEED. On the contrary he is so full, flooded, that he would like to share. Then he is in search of people who would like to unburden him, who would help him unburden his heart.

The greatest lover is one whose need for love has disappeared. Otherwise, there are small lovers, for whom love is a need just like food. They cannot be without food and they cannot be without a woman or without a man. But when you can be without, and you can be as beautiful without as you are with, then the greatest phenomenon happens: out of silence, if a dialogue starts, it is the greatest dialogue.

So these are the two things to remember. If you feel that there is a deep hankering for love, then prayer is the way for you. Let the other be there, talk to him, be with him. The question just before this question was on my saying to you ’I am with you’ – that is for the second layer people, those who are in need of love. If you become the third type of person then I will not say ’I am with you’, I will say ’I am you’. Then there is no point in being with. Then simply I am you, you are me. Then there is no duality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *