Have You Not Heard The News That God Is Dead?

There is a parable in Friedrich Nietzsche’s ‘Thus spake Zarathustra’…. Zarathustra comes down from the mountains and he meets an old hermit who is praying to god.

Zarathustra laughs and says, “Have you not heard the news that god is dead? To whom are you praying? You surprise me! Have you not heard the news — that god is dead?”

The hermit is puzzled. What nonsense is this man talking?

The hermit is shocked and doesn’t say a single word. Zarathustra looks at him and he says, “It seems I have come a little early; the news has not arrived. And the wonder of wonder is that it is you people who have killed him… and yet the news has not arrived? Man has killed god and the news has not yet reached man. It takes time…”

And Zarathustra is right — somewhere in the unconscious, man has killed god. Not that he has killed god — how can you kill god? — but he has become godless, that is the meaning.

And it is not suddenly this century that has become godless, it has been coming and coming for three, four centuries. For three, four centuries the human unconscious has been preparing the ground for godlessness.

Marx and Freud and all kinds and all sorts of people have been working hard to make man godless. And now when it has happened even man is puzzled, even priests are puzzled — and they have been the murderers. They are puzzled, very much puzzled: what has happened?

Their hands are red with god’s blood, they are the most responsible people, but even they are puzzled because the news has not reached them yet.

*Far Beyond the Stars*
(A Darshan Diary)