They say philosophy arises out of wonder. It is right, absolutely right. Philosophy arises out of wonder. And religion? – religion arises out of awe. And what is the difference between wonder and awe?
When you are full of wonder, you try to find a clue – how to dissolve that wonder? You try to think about it, figure it out – what it is. Wonder creates a question mark in you and you start struggling with it – so philosophy is a fight with wonder. It arises out of wonder, then it tries to dissolve the wonder, to dissolve the inexpressible, the unexplainable, to find an explanation so the wonder can be dropped. Wonder is felt like a “disease,” a tension. So the philosopher is continuously trying ways and means how to be again at ease. He is trying to find some answer so the questions can be dropped, so the mystery is no longer a mystery. Philosophy is against wonder.
Religion arises out of awe. Awe is also wonder with one different quality: that is, it does not create a question mark in you. Rather, it creates deep love, it creates deep gratitude, it creates humbleness. It creates such a state in your consciousness that you would like to bow down before it. It is not a question to be solved, but a deep mystery to be respected. You would like to kneel down and pray. You would not like to think about it, because it is so vast it is impossible to think about it. You would like to pray, you would like to fall into it in deep love.
Wonder becomes awe when it does not create a question mark in you; awe becomes wonder if it creates a question mark in you. That’s the difference between philosophy and religion, and then the paths go in a diametrically opposite direction. A philosopher goes on thinking and thinking, and a religious person goes on dropping thinking.
God enters into you through awe.
“I always yearn to be here, but why, on seeing you, am I filled with awe?”
That’s how it should be. If you are not filled with awe, then your coming to me is pointless. If you don’t feel like praying, if you don’t feel like bowing down, surrendering, then you have not come to me. Physically you may be here; spiritually we exist far apart.
It happens many times: every day I watch many people who still have a living heart in them and start feeling awe – but they start repressing it. It feels as if it is a kind of weakness and they are not to show it. If they want to cry, they stop their tears. They have come with many questions to ask and suddenly those questions are not there – because in an “awe” mood, questioning stops. They forget their questions. And they are very worried about where their questions have gone, and they start searching hectically inside to find something to cling to – so that awe does not become too overpowering. Sometimes they ask foolish questions, just to ask, so that nobody becomes aware that they have lost their grounding, that they have fallen into something deep, that they have not been strong enough to resist – but then they miss. Then they come to me, and yet they come not.