Everybody Can Laugh
YOU SAY FEAR IS THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE. HAVE YOU ANY PRACTICAL OR IMPRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS HOW ONE CAN DROP FEAR?
Atta, love is existential; fear is only the absence of love. And the problem with any absence is that you cannot do anything directly about it.
Fear is like darkness. What can you do about darkness directly? You cannot drop it, you cannot throw it out, you cannot bring it in. There is no way to relate with darkness without bringing light in. The way to darkness goes via light. If you want darkness, put the light off; if you don't want darkness, put the light on. But you will have to do something with light, not with darkness at all.
The same is true about love and fear: love is light, fear is darkness. The person who becomes obsessed with fear will never be able to resolve the problem. It is like wrestling with darkness -- you are bound to be exhausted sooner or later, tired and defeated. And the miracle is, defeated by something which is not there at all! And when one is defeated, one certainly feels how powerful the darkness is, how powerful the fear is, how powerful the ignorance is, how powerful the unconscious is. They are not powerful at all -- they don't exist in the first place.
Never fight with the nonexistential. That's where all the ancient religions got lost. Once you start fighting with the nonexistential you are doomed. Your small river of consciousness will be lost in the nonexistential desert -- and it is infinite.
Hence, Atta, the first thing to remember is: don't make a problem out of fear. Love is the question. Something can be done about love immediately; there is no need to wait or postpone. Start loving! And it is a natural gift from God to you, or from the whole, whichever term you like. If you are brought up in a religious way, then God; if you are not brought up in a religious way, then the whole, the universe, the existence.
Remember, love is born with you; it is your intrinsic quality. All that is needed is to give it a way -- to make a passage for it, to let it flow, to allow it to happen. We are all blocking it, holding it back. We are so miserly about love, for the simple reason that we have been taught a certain economics. That economics is perfectly right about the outside world: if you have so much money and you go on giving that money to people, soon you will be a beggar, soon you will have to beg yourself. By giving money you will lose it.
This economics, this arithmetic has entered into our blood, bones and marrow. It is true about the outside world -- nothing is wrong in it -- but it is not true about the inner journey. There, a totally different arithmetic functions: the more you give, the more you have; the less you give, the less you have. If you don't give at all you will lose your natural qualities. They will become stagnant, closed; they will go underground. Finding no expression they will shrink and die.
It is like a musician: if he goes on playing on his guitar or on his flute, more and more music will come. It is not that by playing on the flute he is losing music -- he is gaining.
It is like a dancer: the more you dance, the more efficient you become. It is like painting - - the more you paint, the better the painting.
Once, while Picasso was painting, a critic and friend stopped him in the middle and said, "One question has been bothering me and I cannot wait anymore, I cannot contain it. I want to know: you have painted hundreds of paintings; which is your best painting?"
Picasso said, "This one that I am painting right now."
The critic said, "This one? And what about the others that you have painted before?"
Picasso said, "They are all contained in it. And the next one that I do will be even better than this -- because the more you paint the greater is your skill, the greater is your art."
Such is love, such is joy! Share it, Atta. In the beginning it will come only like dewdrops, because the miserliness has been very long, very ancient. But once even dewdrops of love have been shared, you will soon become capable of sharing the whole oceanic flood of your being -- and you contain infinities. Once you have known the higher mathematics of giving and gaining, you will find that just by giving you gain. Not that something is returned; in the very giving you are becoming richer. Then love starts spreading, radiating. And one day you will be surprised: where is the fear? Even if you want to find it you will not be able to find it at all.
So it is not a question of dropping the fear; nobody has ever been able to drop it. It is only a question of sharing your love, and the fear is dropped on its own accord.
You ask me: "Have you any practical or impractical suggestions...?" Practical suggestions, no -- that is not my business at all. Impractical suggestions, yes -- and many!
The second question:
THERE ARE SO MANY RELIGIONS IN THE WORLD WHICH CAUSE SO MANY DIVISIONS AMONGST PEOPLE, ALTHOUGH ALL RELIGIONS HAVE GOOD THINGS IN THEM.
WHY CAN'T THERE BE A RELIGION WHICH HAS THE GOOD THINGS OF ALL RELIGIONS, WHICH IS ACCEPTED UNIVERSALLY AND WHICH BREAKS DOWN ALL DIVISIONS, THUS CAUSING A WORLD FRATERNITY? KINDLY SHOW THE WAY.
Ashoka Agrawal, the first thing to be understood is: there are many types of people in the world, and they can't belong to one religion. It is inevitable that there will be many religions. To impose one religion on the whole of humanity will be ugly, it will destroy the immense richness that variety brings. Just think of a world where only THE BIBLE exists -- no VEDAS, no UPANISHADS, no KORAN; no DHAMMAPADA, no BHAGAVADGITA, no TAO TE CHING. It will be a very poor world. The world certainly needs a brotherhood, a fraternity, a great love, a universality, but that cannot come by imposing a certain religion. Any religion that you choose will be applicable only to a few people, and the majority will feel imprisoned.
For example, just look around.... Mahavira has a certain appeal, but only to a few people.
I myself would not like the life that he lived. Still I say he lived beautifully, as far as he is concerned. He lived beautifully, authentically, but he is not the person that I would like to follow. He lived naked, fasting for days at a time. To me that seems to be a kind of self- torture.
Animals live naked -- they can, because they have a totally different kind of skin, a thicker skin. And moreover, whenever winter comes their bodies start growing thicker hair. Man is no longer an animal, he has lost that hairy growth on his body. To leave him in the cold, standing naked, is an unnecessary masochistic attitude. It may suit a few people, because people are different in many ways. It must have suited Mahavira -- nobody was imposing the idea on him to live naked. He may have had a certain different kind of body structure, different hormones, hotter blood, a thicker skin.
I am not saying that he should not have lived naked, and I am not saying that there is nothing beautiful in it. If somebody enjoys it, if somebody feels beautiful in it, it is good, but it cannot be made into any universal religion. The whole of humanity shivering in the cold, in great fraternity, chattering their teeth, will not be a very good scene. I cannot support it.
Buddha ate only one time every day. It may suit a few people's bodies; in fact, it cannot suit the majority -- because man has come from the monkeys, that's what scientific research proves. And you can watch the monkeys on the trees: they are all Americans, munching the whole day! To force a monkey to stick to one meal a day will destroy his life. In fact, only lions eat one time a day, because their diet is nonvegetarian. Only nonvegetarians can live on one meal a day. The vegetarian cannot survive, or even if he survives, the survival will be only at the minimum level of his energies. The vegetarian has to eat many times, at least two times and at the most five times. One meal a day is not good for vegetarians, and if you are pure vegetarians, just living on vegetables and fruits, then you will have to eat many more times because larger quantities have to be taken and absorbed. Meat is digested food; the animal has already done the work, but eating vegetables you have to do the whole work of digesting.
Now, it is very strange that Mahavira and Buddha are both in favor of vegetarianism, and still they insist on one meal a day. I think the reason is that they both came from nonvegetarian families, they both belonged to the race of the warriors. They must have become accustomed to eating meat, and so it was easy for them. But if people who have lived for centuries on vegetables try to live on one meal a day, they will be living in a state of undernourishment, malnutrition. And it not only disturbs your body, it disturbs your mental faculties too. You can see it happening all over the world: only very rarely does a vegetarian win a Nobel Prize -- it affects your intelligence. You become a vegetable! If you are uneducated, you are a cabbage, or at the most a cauliflower. A cauliflower is a cabbage with a college education!
People are different, their systems are different. For example, women and men cannot belong to the same system. The women can accumulate more fat, men cannot; that is a biological difference. The woman needs it because when she becomes pregnant and a child is growing in her womb she cannot eat well. She starts vomiting, eating becomes difficult, she feels sick and nauseous. For those emergencies the body accumulates layers of fat. Man has no need to be fat because he is not going to become pregnant; hence man's physiology is different. That's why women can fast very easily.
This is my observation: the Jaina nuns are far more true to their religion than the Jaina monks. The Jaina nuns can fast very easily; they accumulate fat. And what is fasting in fact? When you fast you are eating your own meat; that's why when you fast one kilo of weight disappears every day. Where does it go? You have eaten it! Fasting, in fact, is a nonvegetarian activity -- I don't believe in it! It is eating yourself! The woman can fast more easily; the man cannot -- he does not accumulate so much fat.
Then in different climates, in different geographies, different kinds of things are bound to happen. You cannot have one religion around the earth. Yes, you can have one kind of religiousness, but not one religion.
You can see gathered around me here all kinds of people from all countries, all races -- but we are not a new religion. I am not trying to create one religion; we are just creating a quality: religiousness, meditativeness, prayerfulness, trust, gratitude towards existence.
Yes, on these things humanity can become a great brotherhood, but about details many things are bound to remain different -- and they should remain different. There is no reason to destroy this variety. It will be like when you love roses, so you start growing only roses.
One of my friends is a lover of roses. He has a very big garden. Because he loves roses, in his garden there are only roses -- no other flowers, no other plants. When I went to see his garden I told him, "This is not a garden, this looks like a field. Just as somebody grows wheat, you grow roses. But this is not a garden!"
He was a little bit shocked, but his manager understood it immediately. He said, "You are right; that's my feeling too. For years we have forgotten about the garden. We are selling roses; we are treating roses as a crop."
When you have only roses, the variety, the multidimensionality is lost. The world will be really very poor if you have only Mahaviras or only Christs, or only Buddhas or only Krishnas. Jesus is beautiful with his cross, but so many Jesuses all trying to hang themselves on their crosses won't make a beautiful scene. It will be like a nightmare!
Krishna is beautiful playing on his flute, but how many Krishnas can you allow...? If the whole world is playing the flute you will go mad!
I accept multidimensionality in every field of life.
Ashoka Agrawal, you say: "There are so many religions in the world which cause so many divisions amongst people...." The divisions are not needed; that is human stupidity.
If you love the rose, good; there is no question of fighting with you. I love the lotus and you love the rose, but we both are lovers of flowers. That's the meeting point, that we both love flowers. You love Christ, that is one flower; I love Buddha, that is another flower; somebody else loves Lao Tzu, that is another flower. We are all friends because we love flowers. And I can appreciate your rose, you can appreciate my lotus. There is no need to create any divisions.
The divisions come from man's political mind; it has nothing to do with religions. It is man's politics that brings divisions, conflicts, quarrels, wars, bloodshed. The whole history of humanity is full of calamities created in the name of religion, but not created by religious people.
A Buddha, a Zarathustra, a Chuang Tzu -- these are not the people who create trouble. It is the priests and the politicians. They are a totally different kind of person, a different species, but they hide behind masks. They hide behind religious doctrines, churches, and they start playing their games in a very subtle way. The manyness of religions is not bad, but divisions in the name of religion are ugly. That simply shows man is not religious yet.
You say that "Although all religions have good things in them...."
True, but they also have many bad things in them. Each religion has some good things and some bad things, and the problem is, those good things and those bad things are not separable; you cannot separate them. You CANNOT separate them. You cannot choose just the good and leave the bad; that's impossible. If you choose the good, the bad comes in through the backdoor.
For example, if you choose the idea of fate.... Many religions believe in the idea of fate. It has something good in it because it helps you to relax, it helps you to trust existence, it helps you to be unworried. But then there is something bad in it too: it makes you lazy, lousy. It makes you Indian! It makes you slaves, it makes you accept any humiliation.
For twenty-two centuries India has been in slavery for the simple reason that it believes in fate. Now, how can you separate these two things? If everything happens according to God, it will give you a few good things. You will be able to tolerate, to accept many miseries, sufferings, with equanimity, with a certain tranquility, calmness, quietness. That will give you strength, integrity, a grace, but then you will also become a slave. Anybody can dominate you, anybody can exploit you. And the same is true about every other idea.
For example, Jainas believe that life is dominated by the theory of karma, and not only Jainas but Hindus and Buddhists too. All the three great religions of India believe in the theory of karma -- that whatsoever you are now, you are the by-product of your past karmas. You have something to fulfill. You have to suffer if you have done anything bad and you will be rewarded if you have done anything good.
Now there is the Jaina sect of Acharya Tulsi, Terapanth. It says that because of the theory of karma, one should not interfere in anybody's life. For example, somebody is dying of thirst in a desert, and a Jaina monk from the sect of Acharya Tulsi comes by. If the man begs for water, the follower of Acharya Tulsi has to remain utterly cool, indifferent, because the man is suffering his karma. You should not interfere; interference is bad. If you give him water, then he will have to suffer someday again. You cannot escape from the inevitability of your karma, so why postpone? Let him be finished with it! You go on your way. Let him die, let him suffer. This is a logical consequence of the idea.
Moreover, they say, if you save him, if you give him water and he is saved and tomorrow he commits a murder, then you will also be responsible for that murder; without you the murder would not have happened at all. Then YOU will suffer in your next life for a murder that you have not done, but in a way you have been part of it. So it is better not to interfere for his sake and for your own sake. It is a beautiful theory but it has also a dark side to it. You have heard the saying that every dark cloud has a silver lining. I would like to remind you that every silver lining also has a dark cloud to it.
Yes, Ashoka Agrawal, the religions have good things in them, that is true, but those good things also have bad sides. And a truly religious person will not bother about choosing; he will start living according to his consciousness. He will not follow Jesus, Buddha or Mahavira or Mohammed. To follow is to be political. Only the blind follow, the superstitious people follow, gullible people follow. The people who are intelligent try to understand Buddha, Mahavira, Krishna, but it is just an effort to understand the message, what these people were doing, what they were living. Finally, you have to discover your own inner light.
That's what I call meditation: the moment you have discovered your own inner insight, you follow it. Then you are religious -- neither Hindu nor Mohammedan nor Christian. A religious quality, a fragrance will surround you. You will be more loving, more compassionate. And these will be the qualities: you will be more authentic, more sincere, and you will be able to understand different points, different angles and the different paths leading to the same goal.
Truth is like the sunlit top of Everest: thousands of paths can reach there; there is no need to make one asphalt road. Let people follow their own paths, let them discover. The joy of discovery is far greater than the joy of arrival. Let them discover their path, let them inquire, and let them follow their own insight. Of course they will fall many times, they will go astray; that is part of freedom. That is beautiful; nothing is wrong in it.
You say: "Why can't there be a religion which has the good things of all religions...?"
That is impossible; that will be just a hotchpotch. It will be the same as if you are suffering from an illness and you go to the druggist and tell him, "Make a medicine out of all the good medicines that you have got. All that is good in every medicine, put it into one combination." That combination will kill you! Certainly it will destroy your illness, because it will destroy you too. Your illness needs a certain medicine only; you don't need all the medicines and all that is good in all the medicines.
You ask why one religion cannot be accepted universally. People have so many different minds, different attitudes, different visions, different lifestyles -- why should they live in one uniform way? They should be allowed freedom. Freedom is one of the greatest religious qualities. And if they are allowed freedom, then they are free to choose.
If somebody loves the KORAN I don't think he will be able to love the TAO TE CHING; they are totally different visions. You can recite the KORAN; there is no need even to understand the meaning of it. The very reciting is tremendously beautiful, ecstatic. The KORAN IS really meant to be recited, not understood; there is not much to understand in it.
Many Mohammedan friends, many of my Mohammedan sannyasins go on writing to me, "When are you going to speak on the KORAN?" I cannot really speak on it -- I have thought about it many times -- because there is not much to say about the KORAN. It is a song, it is a shout of joy. What can you say about it? You can dance and sing, you can recite, but nothing can be said about it.
But one can go on commenting for years on the TAO TE CHING; it is inexhaustible. But you cannot sing it; there is no song in it. For those people who have a musical ear, the KORAN will be the right thing. For those people who have a philosophical bent, the TAO TE CHING will be of immense value. But to reduce the whole of humanity to one type is not a good idea.
Ashoka Agrawal, man can become a family without destroying the variety. There is no need to destroy the different angles of seeing; they all enhance existence. The birds sing differently, the flowers bloom differently, the trees have different colors, shades, different leaves. Every river has its own song, every mountain has its own poetry, and so is the case with every individual.
To me, each individual is far more valuable than society as a whole. Let me say it in this way: the individual is the goal, not the universal. The universal is only an abstract idea.
Have you ever seen the universal? Have you ever met the universal? Have you ever said to the universal, "Hello! How are you?" You will always meet the individual. The individual is the real; the universal is only an abstraction, an idea.
Don't be too interested in ideas; they don't exist. Remain more concrete, more realistic.
Each individual has uniqueness, and I respect that uniqueness, and it is his freedom, whatsoever he chooses. And it is nobody else's business to give you a religion. It is not even your parents' business, or the priests', or the society's, or the state's. It is nobody's business to give you your religion. Everybody should be allowed to find his own religion.
That will be the real state of fraternity. We have to respect the other with all his uniqueness. And we have to say to the other, "If it is good for you, you follow it; it is not good for me so I am going on another route. And if by chance we meet somewhere, it will be beautiful. I will share my journey with you, and you will share your journey with me, and we both will be enriched in that way."
The third question:
I LOVE IT WHEN YOU CALL A SPADE A SPADE -- OR THE POPE A POLACK. I REALIZE THE RELIGION OF MY CHILDHOOD HAUNTS ME STILL, WHEN I FEEL RELIEF IN LAUGHING AT THE POPE AND ALL HE REPRESENTS. THEN SOON MY LAUGHTER CHANGES TO ANGER AT HOW ORGANIZED RELIGION HAS EXPLOITED MY FRIENDS, MY FAMILY AND MYSELF.
WHAT TO DO WITH THIS FEELING OF OUTRAGE?
Anand Mary, it is natural. Humanity has been dominated by the priests and the politicians for so long that the people who are able to understand are bound to feel enraged, angry.
They would like to destroy this whole stupidity that has prevailed all through human history. But just by being enraged, you are not going to help. The past is no more; nothing can be done about it. The future is not yet; nothing can be done about it either.
All that we have got is the present, this moment. This very moment is all that is there!
And my feeling is, Anand Mary, that when you laugh, your laughter is not total.
Something remains locked up within you, something remains unexpressed, repressed.
You are not going totally into the laughter; you are holding back something unknowingly, unconsciously. But now become conscious. You must be holding something; that which you are holding becomes anger. If you totally allow the laughter, the anger will disappear.
It is the same as I was saying a few moments ago: when there is love, fear disappears; when there is laughter, anger disappears. Anger is because you are not allowing the laughter totally. It may be just because of your conditionings. We have so much conditioning that whatsoever we do is only half-hearted, fragmentary, and the remaining part remains imprisoned and wants to come out. That creates anger.
It is not a question of your feeling angry against organized religions. They have been there, but now you are out of it. Why remain so related? Now you are a sannyasin, you are finished with your childhood religion that has been given to you. Now you have found your own kind of religiousness. You have found that which fits with you, that which is natural to you.
Allow your laughter to be total.
A total laughter is a rare phenomenon. When each cell of your body laughs, when each fiber of your being pulsates with joy, then it brings a great relaxation. There are a few activities which are immensely valuable; laughter is one of those activities. Singing and dancing, are also of the same quality, but laughter is the quickest. Dancing you will have to learn; it may take years. Singing is a talent; it may not be possible for you. Everybody can sing, but to sing a beautiful song, talent is needed. You can sing and drive your neighbors crazy!
Once, in the middle of the night, a neighbor knocked on Mulla Nasruddin's door. Mulla staggered out of his bed, opened the door and asked, "What is the matter?"
The man said, "Stop singing, otherwise I will go mad!"
Mulla said, "What are you talking about? I stopped one hour ago!"
That man had already gone mad. He could still hear that Mulla singing.
Everybody can sing in that way. That's why people sing and hum in their bathrooms -- except me! I have never managed to hum or sing in the bathroom. I have tried, but utterly failed, for the simple reason that I am not repressing anything. If I want to sing I will sing anywhere, I will not care whether it is the bathroom or not. If I want to sing I will sing in the marketplace; whatsoever happens to others, that is their problem!
Dancing, singing, laughing -- of these three, laughter is the most simple, the most natural and the most spontaneous phenomenon. You don't want to learn, you don't need to learn - - it is a natural gift. Everybody can laugh.
And what happens when you laugh totally? What happens when you dance totally? The dancer disappears in a total dance. That's my definition of the total dance: the dancer disappears, dissolves; only the dancing remains. When there is only dancing and no dancer, this is the ultimate of meditation -- the taste of nectar, bliss, God, truth, ecstasy, freedom, freedom from the ego, freedom from the doer.
And when there is no ego, no doer, and the dance is going on and there is no dancer, a great witnessing arises, a great awareness like a cloud of light surrounding you. You are watching it, you can see it happen. You are not the doer; it is happening on its own. God has taken possession of you. That's exactly the meaning of possession: when the ego is no longer there, God immediately enters and takes possession of you. You become a vehicle, a passage, a medium, a hollow bamboo, and on the lips of the whole the hollow bamboo becomes a flute.
In laughter it happens more easily because it needs no talent, no learning, no discipline -- unless you are a born donkey, and that's another matter. Laughter is simple -- but let it be total. It has been crippled. Society has stopped you from going totally into it. If you go into a total laughter people think it is hysterical. It is not, it is historical!
Anand Mary, a few jokes for you -- and let it be a total laughter!
A businessman was about to enter a hotel bar after a heavy day at the office when he was stopped by a nun who delivered him a lecture on the evils of alcohol, assuring him that drink was the most certain path to hell.
"Sister," he interrupted at last, "I am a most temperate man and only have one drink every few days to relax me. One drink never hurt anyone. Even Jesus had the odd glass of wine! Besides, how can you condemn something you have never experienced? You should try just one drink yourself, just so you know what you are talking about!"
The nun protested indignantly at this suggestion, but in the ensuing discussion found it more and more difficult to rebuke the logic of the executive. "Okay," she said in the end, "you have convinced me. I will try a small drink of whiskey -- may God forgive me! But you better bring it out to me in a teacup in case anyone sees me."
The businessman agreed happily and entered the hotel. "A pint of beer, please," he called to the barman, "and one Scotch, in a teacup, if you don't mind."
The barman looked up with a frown. "Don't tell me that bloody nun is still out there!"
A man visiting a whorehouse was astonished at the quality of the girl he was assigned.
He said, "You look so beautiful and have such fine manners. You actually look like you come from a very fine, wealthy family."
"Actually, I do!" she said, "My family is Catholic and they are aristocrats."
He then noted how intelligent she was and she told him she had graduated cum laude from Vassar. He noted then that she must have traveled worldwide because of her cultured ways. And she said that indeed she had traveled the world many times.
Thereupon he said, "Well how in the world did you ever come to work in a place like this?"
She replied, "Just lucky, I guess!"
There was once a young man whose mind was filled with many burning questions about life. He learned of a wise old Catholic sage who lived on a high mountain, and decided to undertake the arduous journey.
After many months of caravans, hiking and climbing, he came upon the hermit sitting outside a small cave as still and peaceful as any statue.
The seeker knelt in front of him, bowed his head respectfully, and humbly asked, "Why am I here?"
"Why indeed!" grumbled the old man. "I told them to send up a girl!"
Enough for today.
Come, Come, Yet Again Come