People are loving even… even love is nothing but fear: a diplomacy, a strategy, to keep things running smoothly. And that’s why you pray regularly. Morning, evening, you go on praying, hoping that God will hear your prayer. There is nobody to hear your prayers! Your prayer is simply a monologue. You are praying to the empty sky. Nobody is going to reward you for your prayers, remember it.
If you really know what prayer is, prayer itself is its own reward. There is nobody else to reward you. The reward is not there in the future, not in the afterlife. But praying itself is such a beautiful phenomenon that who cares about the future and who bothers about the reward? That is greed, the idea of reward.
Prayer in itself is such a celebration, it brings such great joy and ecstasy, that one prays for the prayer’s sake. One does not pray out of fear and one does not pray out of greed. One prays because one enjoys it. One does not even bother whether there is a God or not.
If you enjoy dance you don’t ask whether there is a God or not. If you enjoy dance, you simply dance! Whether anybody is seeing the dance from the sky or not is not your concern. Whether the stars and the sun and the moon are going to reward you for your dance, you don’t care. The dance is enough of a reward in itself. If you love singing you sing. Whether anybody listens or not is not the point.
So is prayer. It is a dance, it is a song, it is music, it is love. You enjoy it, and there it is finished. Prayer is the means and prayer is the end. The ends and the means are not separate. Only then do you know what prayer is. And prayer is far more important than God.
Patanjali says God is only an excuse to pray. It is like a peg on the wall to hang your coat. If the peg is no there you can hang your coat somewhere else. You can hang it on the door, on the window, anywhere. Patanjali has great insight when he says that God is just a peg, because it will be difficult for you to pray, hence God has been invented. Ordinarily, you think prayer is a means to reach God. Patanjali says God is only a means so that you can pray. But it is only for the beginners: to help them.
God is a device: a device to help you to pray, according to Patanjali, one of the greatest masters of the world. Once you have learned to pray, forget all about God. Prayer itself is enough, more than enough.
Prayer means surrender. Prayer means bowing down to existence. Prayer means gratitude. Prayer means thankfulness. Prayer means silence. Prayer means, “I am happy that I am.” Prayer simply means, “This tremendous gift of life is so much for such an unworthy man like me.” Seeing it, gratitude arises.
You ask me: “I am a God-fearing man, but you say that all fear has to be dropped. Is the fear of God also has to be dropped?”
Yes, absolutely yes. Only then you will know what godliness is, and only then you will know what love is, and only then you will know what being religious means, what it is all about.
– OSHO, The White Lotus