All religions believe that God created the world and also mankind. But if you are created by someone, you are only a puppet, you don’t have you, row soul. And if you are created by somebody, he can uncreate you at any moment. He neither asked you whether you wanted to be created nor is he going to ask you,” Do you want to be uncreated?”
God is the greatest dictator if you accept the ﬁction that he created the world and also created mankind. If God is a reality, then a man is a slave, a puppet. All the strings are in his hands, even your life. Then there is no question of any enlightenment. Then there is no question of there being any Gautam the Buddha because there is no freedom at all. He pulls the strings, you dance; he pulls the strings, you cry; he pulls the strings, you start murders, suicide, war. You are just a puppet and he is the puppeteer.
Then there is no question of sin or virtue, no question of sinners and saints. Nothing is good, and nothing is bad, because you are only a puppet. A puppet cannot be responsible for its actions. The responsibility belongs to someone who has the freedom to act. Either God can exist or freedom, both cannot exist together. That is the basic implication of Friedrich Nietzsche’s statement: God is dead; therefore, man is free. No theologian, no founder of religions thought about this, that if you accept God as the creator, you are destroying the whole dignity of consciousness, of freedom, of love. You are taking all responsibility from man, and you are taking all his freedom away. You are reducing the whole of existence to just the whim of a strange fellow called God.
But Nietzsche’s statement is bound to be only one side of the coin. He is perfectly right, but only about one side of the coin. He has made a very signiﬁcant and meaningful statement, but he has forgotten one thing, which was bound to happen because his statement is based on rationality, logic and intellect. It is not based on meditation. Man is free but free for what? If there is no God and man is free, that will simply mean man is now capable of doing anything, good or bad; there is nobody to judge him, nobody to forgive him. This freedom will be simply licentiousness. There comes the other side. You remove God and you leave man utterly empty. Of course, you declare his freedom, but to what purpose? How is he going to use his freedom creatively, responsibly? How is he going to avoid freedom being reduced to licentiousness?
Friedrich Nietzsche was not aware of any meditations – that is the other side of the coin. Man is free, but his freedom can only be a joy and a blessing to him if he is rooted in meditation. Remove God – that is perfectly okay, he has been the greatest danger to human freedom – but give man also some meaning and signiﬁcance, some creativity, some receptivity, some path to ﬁnd his eternal existence. Zen is the other side of the coin. Zen does not have any God, that’s its beauty. But it has a tremendous science to transform your consciousness, to bring so much awareness to you that you cannot commit evil. It is not a commandment from outside, it comes from your innermost being. Once you know your centre of being, once you know you are one with the cosmos – and the cosmos has never been created, it has been there always and always, and will be there always and always, from eternity to eternity – once you know your luminous being, your hidden Gautama Buddha, it is impossible to do anything wrong, it is impossible to do anything evil, it is impossible to do any sin.
Friedrich Nietzsche in his last phase of life became almost insane. He was hospitalized, kept in a mad asylum. Such a great giant, what happened to him? He had concluded,” God is dead,” but it is a negative conclusion. He became empty, but his freedom was meaningless. There was no joy in it because it was only freedom FROM God, but for what? Freedom has two sides: from and for. The other side was missing. That drove him insane. Emptiness always drives people insane. You need some grounding, you need some centring, you need some relationship with existence. God is dead, all your relationship with existence was ﬁnished. God is dead, you were left alone without roots. A tree cannot live without roots, nor can you. God was non-existential, but it was a good consolation. It used to ﬁll people’s interior, although it was a lie. But even a lie, repeated thousands and thousands of times for millennia becomes almost a truth.
God has been a great consolation to people in their fear, in their dread, in their awareness of old age and death, and beyond – the unknown darkness. God has been a tremendous consolation, although it was a lie. Lies can console you, you have to understand it. In fact, lies are sweeter than the truth. Gautama Buddha is reported to have said,” Truth is bitter in the beginning, sweet in the end, and lies are sweet in the beginning, bitter in the end” – when they are exposed. Then comes a tremendous bitterness, that you have been deceived by all your parents, by all your teachers, by all your priests, by all your so-called leaders. You have been continuously deceived. That frustration brings up a great distrust in everybody.” Nobody is worthy of trust…” It creates a vacuum.
So Nietzsche was not insane in this last phase of his life, it was the inevitable conclusion of his negative approach. Intellect can only be negative; it can argue and criticize and be sarcastic, but it cannot give you any nourishment. From no negative standpoint can you get any nourishment. So he lost his God, and he lost his consolation. He became free just to be mad. And it is not only Friedrich Nietzsche, so it cannot be said that it was just an accident. Many intellectual giants ﬁnd themselves in mad asylums or commit suicide because nobody can live in negative darkness. One needs light and a positive, afﬁrmative experience of truth. Nietzsche demolished the light and created a vacuum in himself and in others who followed him. If you feel deep down a vacuum, utter emptiness with no meaning, it is because of Friedrich Nietzsche. A whole philosophy has grown in the West: Nietzsche is the founder of this very negative approach to life.