When the bridegroom shall be taken away
AND THE PHARISEES FAST OFT, BUT THY DISCIPLES FAST NOT?
BRIDECHAMBER MOURN, AS LONG AS THE BRIDEGROOM IS WITH THEM? BUT THE DAYS WILL COME, WHEN THE BRIDEGROOM SHALL BE TAKEN FROM THEM, AND THEN SHALL THEY FAST.
GARMENT,FOR THAT WHICH IS PUT IN TO FILL IT UP TAKETH FROM THE GARMENT, AND THE RENT IS MADE WORSE.
BOTTLES BREAK,AND THE WINE RUNNETH OUT, AND THE BOTTLES PERISH: BUT THEY PUT NEW WINE INTO NEW BOTTLES, AND BOTH ARE PRESERVED.
RELIGION CAN BE HEALTHY - as healthy as a new born babe, as healthy as the songs of the birds in the morning, as healthy as a newly opening lotus. Or religion can be ill, diseased, dying - just like an old man: shrinking, sad, moving.into death.
When religion is young, it has a fragrance - the fragrance of life, It has a song, it has a mystery around it. It has the quality of dance, joy, delight. It is a celebration. When religion is young, alive, fresh, religion is always a celebration.
It is a feast. It is life-enhancing, life-affirmative.
When religion is old, dying, or already dead - just a stinking corpse - then it is renunciation; then it is not celebration. Then it is anti-life, then it is life-negating.
Then it leaves the world, it leaves all that is alive. It starts being suicidal - it shrinks.
Life expands, death is a shrinkage. When you are young, you are flowing in all directions. When you are old, you are frozen. You no longer flow. You only grumble: you become hard, the flexibility is lost.
When religion is young, alive, it is ordinary. It has nothing in it to fulfill the ego - - it is very ordinary. In fact, in its very ordinariness, it is extraordinary. It is superb in being just ordinary. Life is enough when religion is young; no other God is needed. Then life is God, life is divine.
When religion becomes old and ill.... Everything becomes old and ill, whatsoever is born has to die. Even a religion is born one day, lives for a while and then dies.
But followers go on clinging to the dead body. Then the dead body kills the followers also: it becomes a source of illness, neurosis: it becomes an abnormality, a cancerous growth. When religion becomes ill or dead, it kills you; it is poisonous. This has to be understood from many directions.
Firstly, people are more willing to be in a dead religion than to be in an alive one, because you have been taught to be afraid of life, of love, of happiness. Every child is brought up in the world with a conditioning: with a feeling that there is something wrong in being happy. A very vague feeling, but it is there. It influences your whole life, you think that there is something wrong in being happy. So whenever you feel happy, you feel guilty - as if you have been committing some wrong, as if you have been sinning.
Only sinners seem to be happy, saints seem to be very sad. So whenever you are sad, everything is okay. You never feel guilty if you are sad - have you observed it? But if you are very happy, suddenly you try to hide it; nobody should know it. Why has this happened to the human mind?
Every child is taught to be serious, somber, to be long faced. Every child is taught not to jump, not to run, not to shriek, not to be too delighted, not to laugh loudly.
"Sit quietly" - as if there is something wrong in energy expressing itself.
Whenever the child is happy the family, the people around, all start teaching him, as if something has gone wrong. And when the child is not happy, when he is unhappy, everybody sympathizes with him.
When the child is ill, everybody takes care of him; when he is healthy, everybody goes on stopping him: "Don't do this, don't do that." When the child is Lying on the bed ill, the father comes, the mother comes, the relatives come. They are all very careful about him. By and by he starts learning that there is something basically wrong in energy, in happiness, in joy. In dancing, running around, shrieking with delight, there is something basically wrong. He gets the hint.
And there is something basically good in being sad, ill. Whenever he is sad, he is appreciated, sympathized with. Whenever he is healthy, everybody seems to be against him; the whole world is against him. This creates a guilt, a deep guilt in the child, and that guilt follows him his whole life.
If you go to see a saint and you see him laughing loudly, you will be shocked.
You will be shocked - a saint, and laughing so loudly? A saint should be sad; you have a particular idea about the saint. It is okay to laugh in the pub, to laugh in the hotel - gamblers can do that - but to laugh in church? No, it is not allowed. One has to become serious when one goes to church; one has to become almost corpse-like.
Because of this training.... And the training has a vicious circle about it: you were trained by your parents, your parents were trained by their parents. Somewhere in the past, hidden deeply in unknown history, something went wrong.
It may be that one who is happy cannot be forced to work because happiness is a play. Only sad people can be forced to work. That's why, when you work, you become sad; when you are on duty, you become sad. A holiday has a different quality to it. You can laugh, you can enjoy.
Life was difficult in the past, man was in a constant struggle with nature. To survive was the only aim, and everybody had to work hard. If you are happy, you would like to dance not work; if you are happy, you would like to sing, play a flute, and not go hunting. If you are happy, who bothers about duty and about the office? If you are happy you would like to rest and relax. That was dangerous.
That's why happiness was condemned, laziness was condemned, rest was condemned. It has been taught, it is deep in your blood. that work is the goal of life. A good man is always working; a bad man seems to be always on holiday.
Mulla Nasruddin has not worked for a long time, for years. One day he was sitting by my side. The day was very sunny and he said, "If I had been working somewhere, I would have taken a holiday today." And he has not been working for many days, for years! He is missing work because he cannot take a holiday.
From where to take a holiday? He remembers the working only when it comes to taking a holiday.
The whole human mind has been trained for work. That's why duty has been praised, playfulness condemned; business praised, gambling condemned. A gambler is playful; a businessman is serious. The businessman is respected; a gambler, simply condemned. He is thought to be below humanity.
Religion is a totally different dimension. There is every possibility that a gambler may enter in it, but a businessman is debarred. A drunkard may enter into religion. I am not saying that you should become drunkards; I am just emphasizing the quality of playfulness, the quality that can enjoy and be, and is not worried about results. But a very serious man is debarred by his own seriousness.
Jesus created trouble for himself. He was a religious man - healthy, young, vibrant with life. Life was his God. In the gospels, many times you come across scenes that depict him as sitting at the dining table - eating, drinking. How could the Jews and the people, his people, believe that he was religious? Fasting should be done and he was always feasting, he was always creating a feast around him. Wherever he moved he created happiness. What type of religious man was he?
His own relatives thought that he was a little beside himself, his own relatives thought that he was a little mad. And the society in which he lived thought that he was a glutton, a drunkard - he could be a sinner, but he could not be a saint.
That's why he was crucified outside the town. Jews had it as a law, they used to crucify in two ways: either in town or outside the town. When a person who belonged to the society had done something wrong, then he was crucified in the town. But if somebody who had done wrong was, at the same time, an outsider, to symbolize the fact that he didn't belong to society, he was an outcast, he was crucified outside the town.
Jesus was crucified outside the town. Not only that: to emphasize the fact, two very dangerous criminals were crucified with him. On either side: two dangerous criminals. Right between these two he was crucified, just to emphasize the fact, to hit it hard in people's minds, that he was just a criminal, a dangerous man - not at all respectable, an outcast. He had to be cut down like a worm, not like a man. What had he done? What sin had he committed? The sin of being happy.
That's how I am condemned. People would have liked me if I was a sad man; they would have liked me if I was fasting and killing my body. They would have liked me if I was teaching to you some type of masochism - to be cruel to yourself. They would have liked me, they would have praised me like anything; they would have called me an avatar.
But I teach you to be alive, I teach you to be happy. I give you only one gospel:
the gospel of joy and love. That is a crime. That is creating a dangerous situation, that is corrupting people.
Jesus committed the crime of being happy. That was his only crime, nothing else.
Christians have been trying to change his face. They say he never laughed. Can you imagine a man who is always seen at dining tables, eating well, drinking - and not laughing? Impossible! But Christians have to create a respectable Christ, a Jesus who is not a criminal. They have painted his face. You can't find any picture of Jesus depicted by Christians, any statue of Jesus created by Christians, which is real or true. It is absolutely unreal. The man has been betrayed.
Just the other night I was reading a poem. I liked it. I would like you to listen to it. It is a poem by Adrian Mitchell.
The Liberated Christ Gives An Interview I would have walked on the water But I wasn't fully insured.
And the B.M.A. sent a writ my way With the very first leper I cured.
I would've preached a golden sermon But I didn't like the look of the mount.
And I would've fed fifty thousand But the press wasn't there to count.
And the businessmen in the temple Had a team of coppers on the door And if I'd spent a year in the desert I would've lost my pension for sure.
I would've turned the water into wine But they weren't giving licenses.
And I would have died and been crucified But like - you know how it is.
I am going to shave off my beard and cut my hair Buy myself some bullet-proof underwear I am the liberated Christ And I have got no blood to spare.
Christians have made him totally different. He was not like that. He was a rebellious man, an extraordinary revolutionary. And he lived it, he lived his rebellion. He was not a theoretician: he lived it, he died for it. He loved life so much that he was ready to die for it. But he was not ready to be anti-life. That was his crime.
Even with John the Baptist and his disciples there was trouble. John the Baptist was an old, traditional prophet. His disciples were ascetics: fasting, praying.
They were anti-life. There was conflict between Jesus and the disciples of John the Baptist. These sutras are about that conflict.
THEN CAME TO HIM THE DISCIPLES OF JOHN THE BAPTIST, SAYING, WHY DO WE AND THE PHARISEES FAST OFT, BUT THY DISCIPLES FAST NOT?
Why has fasting become so important? Why has brahmacharya, celibacy, become so important?
There are two things on which life depends: food and sex. If you are anti-life you will be against both food and sex, because they are the very base of life. Through food, you live: through sex, the coming generations will live.
If you fast, you will die. If you become a celibate, you cut the passage for the future generations to come. If celibacy and fasting become absolute, life will disappear from earth. Those who are against life - they have praised fasting as a method, celibacy as a goal.
The question is relevant: "Why do we, the disciples of the Baptist, fast often, and the rabbis and the Pharisees do the same, but your disciples fast not?"
People come to me also. They say, "Why don't you teach people to fast? " I am always surprised. Why are people so much concerned with food? If you study Gandhi's life, his whole life he is concerned with food: food and stomach. Eating and enema - these are continuously the two basic problems. Why is he so afraid of food?
With food, a fear arises. The fear is of sex. If you eat well, sex energy will be created. And if you don't know how this energy can move upwards in your being, it will start moving downwards. If you don't know how this energy can move like fire, it will move like water. So with food, the fear of sex arises.
Go and see. In India there are many saints, particularly Jains. Jains have a great number of saints who are continuously fasting. The fear is of sex, because if they eat well, energy is created. And if energy is there, what will you do with it? You cannot laugh, you cannot dance, you cannot love. What will you do with that energy? That energy will become a heavy load on you. It is better not to create it.
Fasting is trying not to create energy. You live on a starvation level so a minimum of energy is created and that is used by your day-to-day work. You never have any to spare. Even for a good laugh, you will need energy; for dancing, you will need energy. So live at the minimum - because if energy is at the maximum, then joy will burst forth.
If you don't give sufficient water to a tree, if you don't give sufficient manure, food, to a tree, the tree may remain, but flowers will not come. Flowers come only when the tree has energy to spare. Flowers are a luxury: when the tree has enough - more than enough - and it wants to share, then flowers come and the fragrance is released.
That is how the tree enjoys its energy. It has too much of it; it would like to share it with the world. But when you don't have enough, how can you share? The tree may live, but it will not be really green. It will be almost dying - always on the verge of death.
People have learned the trick: that if you fast, you can live a minimal life. Then there is less danger. Anger will not be possible, because anger needs energy; love will not be possible, love needs energy; joy will not be possible, joy needs energy._ Life is a play of energy; everything needs energy. So if you live at the minimum, you are just barely alive. Death is always at hand.
Remember, the kingdom of God is at hand only when you live maximally, when you live an optimal life, when you live at the peak. Then the kingdom of God is at hand.
Those who are living at the minimum are suicidal people. They are not courageous enough, otherwise they would commit suicide in a second. They are cowards, committing suicide slowly, poisoning themselves very slowly. They will live, and they will not live at all.
John the Baptist and his disciples were ascetics, they lived at the minimum. Jesus was thought by his brother-disciples, because he was also a disciple of John the Baptist - he was thought to be a traitor. He had betrayed the master because he started moving in a totally different dimension. He became the source of an alive religion. He started celebrating.
That real Jesus is completely lost in the desert of Christian theology. He is completely lost. In the rubbish that Christian theology goes on producing in great quantity, the real gospel is completely lost and forgotten. The message of the man was to delight in life, because only that can be a prayer of gratefulness to God. Life should be a feast and not a fast.
WHY DO WE AND THE PHARISEES FAST OFT, BUT THY DISCIPLES FAST NOT?
AND JESUS SAID UNTO THEM, CAN THE CHILDREN OF THE BRIDECHAMBER MOURN, AS LONG AS THE BRIDEGROOM IS WITH THEM? BUT THE DAYS WILL COME, WHEN THE BRIDEGROOM SHALL BE TAKEN FROM THEM, AND THEN SHALL THEY FAST.
It is a very pregnant sutra. He's saying: "When the bridegroom is there, can the children of the bridechamber mourn?" That will look absolutely foolish, absurd, neurotic when the bridegroom is in the house, there is no question of mourning and fasting and being sad. The children of the bridechamber will dance, feast and enjoy: the bridegroom is with them.
BUT THE DAYS WILL COME, WHEN THE BRIDEGROOM SHALL BE TAKEN AWAY FROM THEM, AND THEN SHALL THEY FAST.
Those days have come. Those days have been on the earth now for a long time, almost two thousand years. Churches are mourning: the bridegroom is no longer there. Popes are sad, bishops are not able to laugh. Their faces are almost dead:
life frozen and stuck, flexibility gone. They simply go on repeating mechanically what Jesus has said.
Jesus is saying that while the religion is alive, there is no question of fasting. It is the time to feast and be grateful, and be thankful that the bridegroom is with you. It is the time to dance and sing - and go mad in sheer delight! Yes, the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken away, Jesus will no longer be there.
Then you can mourn and fast at your ease. Jesus is saying, "Because I am here, how can they be sad? When I am here, why should they fast? This is the time to rejoice!"
Jesus says, again and again: "Rejoice! " He never says renounce, he says rejoice.
The world is yours if you rejoice; the whole is yours if you are happy.
The saying is true which says: "Laugh and the whole world laughs with you.
Weep and you weep alone." In deep laughter, suddenly trees and birds and animals, and the sky and the earth, join together with you. It is an invitation, an opening. When you cry, moan, you are closed. Then you are not available to the sea and the sands, and the sea and the sands are not available to you. You have become a nomad: windowless, doorless - everything closed in.
A sad man is closed, completely closed in himself. His being is not expanding; his being is not like a river flowing towards the sea. He is a dead pool that goes nowhere. The movement, and the process of life, has stopped.
JESUS SAID UNTO THEM, CAN THE CHILDREN OF THE BRIDECHAMBER MOURN, AS LONG AS THE BRIDEGROOM IS WITH THEM? While the religion is alive and young, don't miss the chance, because the days when the bridegroom will not be with you will be long. Then you can mourn and fast and do whatsoever you like.
But this is the trouble: when Jesus is there, people kill him; and when he is gone, they worship him. When Buddha is there, people throw stones at him; when he is gone, he is worshipped. This has always been so. Human stupidity is tremendous!
When Jesus is gone.... A totally different type of religion is created at his death, diametrically opposite to his being, because those who create the religion when Jesus is gone are the sad people. They are head-people, hung-up in the head.
They create the religion: they gather together, they call conferences, they decide what Jesus was. They paint/repaint: the original face is completely lost. They take charge. When Jesus was there, these same people would never come close to him because he was not respectable enough.
What a misfortune - that when Jesus is alive he is not respectable enough for these pundits, Pharisees, rabbis, to come and listen to him. They will not come, he is below them. They already know too much. But when the smell is gone, they immediately come to fill the vacuum, to fill the place that Jesus has left, because now they can discuss what Jesus meant and what he never meant. Now they can decide the whole character of Jesus. That character is going to be a caricature, it is going to be absolutely false, because these are the people who cannot understand him: the men of knowledge.
The man of knowledge cannot understand Jesus. He can understand only scriptures, the dead word. Jesus is the word become flesh. It is alive, throbbing, living.
The man of knowledge is expert only in post-mortem. He can dissect the dead body, and then he creates something which is absolutely, diametrically opposite to the real man who was there. These people create Christianity, Jainism, Buddhism. Buddha was not the originator of Buddhism, and Christ was not the originator of Christianity.
Christianity was created by the same type of people who crucified Jesus - the same type. They may not be exactly the same people, but they are the same type.
Those who crucified him were the priests, and those who created Christianity were also the priests.
It makes no difference whether the priest is a Jew or a Christian. These are only labels; it makes no difference. The priest is always against the alive religious man, he is always for the dead, because the dead can be manipulated by him.
The alive Jesus won't listen to the rabbi. The rabbi is afraid of the alive Jesus; he will never cross his path, he will try to avoid him. But when he is dead, the rabbis will gather together. They will create a church on his corpse.
That's what Jesus says:
CAN THE CHILDREN OF THE BRIDECHAMBER MOURN, AS LONG AS THE BRIDEGROOM IS WITH THEM? BUT THE DAYS WILL COME, WHEN THE BRIDEGROOM SHALL BE TAKEN AWAY FROM THEM, AND THEN SHALL THEY FAST.
"When I am dead," Jesus says, "when the freshness of religion is gone," Jesus says, "then people will fast, they will mourn. But right now, fasting is irrelevant."
So remember this: when a religion is feasting, it is alive. Join it! But when a religion is fasting, escape from it as fast as you can, because it is not only dead: it will make you dead if you allow yourself to be close to it.
NO MAN PUTTETH A PIECE OF NEW CLOTH UNTO AN OLD GARMENT, FOR THAT WHICH IS PUT IN TO FILL IT UP TAKETH FROM THE GARMENT, AND THE RENT IS MADE WORSE.
Jesus says, "The traditional religion, the old religion, cannot celebrate."
Celebration is new. Every moment it is new, it is never old. NO MAN PUTTETH A PIECE OF NEW CLOTH UNTO AN OLD GARMENT....
A new, fresh, young religion never fits with the tradition. It will fit someday when the newness of it has gone, and it has become a tradition itself, a dead past.
Religion, alive, is a presence. It is in the present. A tradition is just a memory.
Can you feel the difference distinctly? It has to be felt.
You love a woman. The woman is there, you are there - love is flowing between you two. It is a presence: something indefinable surrounds you, something which you cannot catch hold of, something immaterial, something spiritual.
Something of the other world has descended around you. You live in a totally different type of world. The moment is no more a part of this world: you are transcended, transferred to some unknown dimension.
But then, the woman has gone, the love has gone. Years have passed. Now it is just a memory. Sometimes you can ruminate about: you can close your eyes and again see that moment of bliss. But now it is dusty, much dust has gathered upon it. Now it is no longer alive. You can feel it, but now that feeling is only a feeling through the mind - it is not immediate.
When the love was there, it was immediate. It was something you could have touched, something that was there surrounding you. It was more alive than your own body, it was more vital than your own mind. But now it is just a memory.
A flower: alive in the morning, welcoming the sun, dancing in the breeze. By the evening, the petals have withered, the fragrance is gone. A memory of something past. You cannot live it, you can only think about it.
That thinking can create a clinging to the past. That's how tradition is born.
Buddha lived two thousand five hundred years ago; Jesus, two thousand years ago; Krishna, maybe five thousand years ago. Something happened in the moment Jesus was here on the earth. Now it is only a memory: the flower is gone, the fragrance gone. Only the emptiness is left. And you go on worshipping that emptiness; you create temples around it, churches around it. You worship that emptiness. It is just a memory.
What type of foolishness has settled in the human heart? When the flower is there, you avoid; and when only the emptiness is left, then you worship. You are afraid of real religion. That's why you become a Hindu, a Mohammedan, a Christian. This is a trick of the mind, a deception. This is a way to avoid religion, because religion will transform you. Religion will destroy you as you are, and religion will give a new birth to you. Something unknown will come into existence through religion and you are afraid of that - of dying. of being reborn.
So you belong to old traditions.
Jesus says: NO MAN PUTTETH A PIECE OF NEW CLOTH UNTO AN OLD GARMENT. The traditions are old, like old garments. Celebration is always new, it is never old. It is herenow. Religions which are dead go on fasting, they are ascetic. Religions which are new - they are celebrating, they have a type of spiritual hedonism around them.
Have you read Kazantzakis' ZORBA THE GREEK: Read it! Jesus must have had something of the quality of Zorba the Greek - a tremendous capacity to enjoy life, an infinite trust in life, a deep attunement with the present. Kazantzakis'
novel, ZORBA THE GREEK, has some of the quality of Jesus in it.
Of course, the pope in the Vatican will be very much offended if he comes to know that I say Jesus has the quality of Zorba the Greek. But I say it. He has; I can't help it. A spiritual hedonism.
Allow me to coin the term'spiritual hedonism', because ordinarily you think of hedonism as very earthy. "Eat, drink, be merry" - that is earthy hedonism. In spiritual hedonism that is there, and more also. "Eat, drink, be merry" is there - plus God. Eat, drink and be merry in the name of the holy, in the name of your God, your Father who is in heaven.
Eat, drink, be merry - make them your prayer. Let your eating and drinking and merrying be a sort of ritual, a sort of prayer - a gesture of happiness that "I am okay, and I am happy that you have given birth to me. I am happy that I am, and my whole thankfulness goes to you."
A spiritual hedonism is always there when religion is alive. When the religion becomes dead, hedonism disappears completely and the religion becomes antagonistic to everything that man can enjoy. Then religion goes on seeking ways and means of how to be sad, how to be more and more sorrowful, how to kill all avenues of delight and joy. Then it becomes ascetic.
NEITHER DO MEN PUT NEW WINE INTO OLD BOTTLES: ELSE THE BOTTLES BREAK, AND THE WINE RUNNETH OUT, AND THE BOTTLES PERILS: BUT THEY PUT NEW WINE INTO NEW BOTTLES, AND BOTH ARE PRESERVED.
Only a new religion - just born, fresh, original - can celebrate. Then celebration fits with it. It can love, can trust, can enjoy.
NEITHER DO MEN PUT NEW WINE INTO OLD BOTTLES.... A very enigmatic answer. They had asked, "Why don't your disciples fast?" and jesus answered in a very indirect way. There are things which can only be said in an indirect way.
You cannot indicate them directly.
I was staying with a friend. He has a beautiful child, a young boy - just eight or nine years old. The child was playing outside in the garden and I watched him.
He was running after butterflies, collecting flowers, rolling on the grass and enjoying the wetness of the grass and the dewdrops. The gardener was cutting the hedge and the freshly cut hedge was giving a beautiful fragrance to the whole garden. The boy was jumping and dancing and running around in sheer delight.
Then he came inside. The mother asked, "Where have you been?"
He said, "Out."
"What have you been doing? " He said, "Nothing."
Then I called him and I said, "That's not correct. You have been doing so many things. And you say you have been doing nothing?"
He said, "That's why I say'nothing'. Those things cannot be said. The fragrance...."
Yes, I understood his point. The fragrance that was filling his nostrils - how can you say it? And when he was rolling on the grass: the touch of the grass, the dewdrops clinging to his body; a subtle coldness, a freshness. How can you say it? And running after butterflies.... What happens in the mind of a child when he runs after butterflies? How can it be said? And the sun, and the showering of light - how can you say what happens in the heart?
Yes, I understood his point. He avoided. He said, "Out." And when his mother insisted, "What were you doing?" he said, "Nothing." He was doing so many things that there was no other way to say it. Only'nothing' can cover it. And only'out' - a blanket word that covers many things. Out: the whole world is included. Out: the sun, the trees, the butterflies, the grass, the dewdrops. These are the outer things. And what was happening inside the child? The sheer delight, for no visible reason. Just happiness. How to say it?
When Jesus was asked, "Why do your disciples fast not? " - how to say it? He says, CAN THE CHILDREN OF THE BRIDECHAMBER MOURN, AS LONG AS THE BRIDEGROOM IS WITH THEM? He answers by another question:
... BUT THE DAYS WILL COME, WHEN THE BRIDEGROOM WILL BE TAKEN FROM THEM, AND THEN SHALL THEY FAST.
NO MAN PUTTETH A PIECE OF NEW CLOTH UNTO AN OLD GARMENT, FOR THAT WHICH IS PUT IN TO FILL IT UP TAKETH FROM THE GARMENT, AND THE RENT IS MADE WORSE.
NEITHER DO MEN PUT NEW WINE INTO OLD BOTTLES ELSE THE BOTTLES BREAK AND THE WINE RUNNETH OUT, AND THE BOTTLES PERISH: BUT THEY PUT NEW WINE INTO NEW BOTTLES, AND BOTH ARE PRESERVED.
A very indirect answer, but it gives you the right clue.
There are things which cannot be said directly. They are so vital that you have to go around them. They are like live wires. You cannot touch them directly; it will be dangerous. Hence, Jesus goes on talking in parables.
Once Adolf Hitler said, "I cannot see why man should not be as cruel as nature."
Why should man not be as cruel as nature? And in a way, man has been as cruel as nature, or even more. Sometimes you are cruel with others; sometimes you are cruel with yourself. These are the ordinary categories into which the whole of humanity can be divided. Rarely does a man come who is neither cruel to others nor to himself. That is the man I call the man of God, the Godman.
It is very easy to change from one extreme to another. Ordinarily, people are cruel to others: violent, aggressive. Then that violence towards others, that cruelty towards others, has to be paid for deeply, because when you are violent to others, they will be violent to you. You cannot go on being aggressive to others, the violence will return back. It is dangerous, it is costly - even an Adolf Hitler or a Napoleon has to pay for it. They die a death of sheer violence which is returning back to them, falling upon them.
You spit in the sky and it falls on you; you dig a ditch for others and someday you fall into it yourself. Cunning, calculating minds understand the fact that to be violent with others is very costly and dangerous, but they want to be violent and they want to be cruel. Cruelty is deep down in their bones, in their animality, so what to do?
The best and the most diplomatic way is to be violent with yourself. Then there will be no revenge taken. So the ordinary man is violent towards others, and your so-called saints are violent towards themselves. They are simply more calculating. They are cowards, escapists. But they are violent towards themselves.
Do you know that there was a sect of Christians - they still exist; they are not so prominent now, but they still exist - who used to flagellate themselves every morning, beat their own bodies? Blood started flowing - that was their prayer.
As if God was hungry for their blood, as if God was thirsty for their blood. What type of God did they have in mind? Some murderer? Some murderous power?
No, they were sacrificing themselves. They were trying to show God: "Look, we are not happy, we are very unhappy. Have mercy on us." That was their prayer:
"We are so sad. Look, blood is flowing. We are in such deep misery. Have mercy on us." But I tell you, God's mercy is available only to those who are happy.
Jesus says one of the most enigmatic sentences: "If you have, more will be given to you. And if you don't have, even that should be taken away from you."
Nobody has said it in that way. Jesus is simply incomparable: "If you don't have anything, even that should be taken away from you. And if you really have something, more will be given to you."
It looks very anti-communistic! But it is tremendously true, absolutely true.
When you are happy, more happiness becomes available; when you are unhappy, more unhappiness becomes available. When you are happy, you get more: doors open, God's mercy is on you. He loves those who dance, those who come to Him singing. But those who come to Him with complaints - with sad faces, blood flowing - they cannot be loved. They have not even been able to love themselves - how can God love them? They have missed. They could not love themselves, how could God love them? Remember this: if you cannot love yourself, nobody can love you. Forget about God - even ordinary human beings will not love you.
First you should love yourself. Only then, others love you. And you should love yourself so infinitely, so totally, that not even a little bit of hatred towards yourself is left. Only then does God's love and mercy become available.
He loves tremendously those who love themselves. He is a lover of lovers. His grace descends on you when you are dancing and not standing in the posture of a martyr. That is one of the ugliest postures one can take. Never try to become a martyr! But look - Jesus is something totally different, but Christians have been martyrs, flagellating themselves.
In Russia, there was a Christian community - -a big community before the revolution - who used to cut their genital organs as a sacrifice to God. What type of sacrifice is this? What are they saying? They are saying, "God, look! We have cut our genital organs as a symbolic act, to show that we are no longer interested in life, in love, in happiness. We are no longer interested in any ecstasy." And they would fast, they would pray.
God loves life, He creates life every moment. God is not against life: He is the innermost core of life, He loves life.
You have an expression in English: "To live your life out." I would like to change it a little. I would like to say:
"To love your life out." Don't just live your life out, that is very poor. Love your life out. Be a flame, and burn from both ends. If you can burn from both ends even for a single moment, and flow in love in all directions, you have immediately entered into the divine. This I call spiritual hedonism. Jesus is a spiritual hedonist.
Always watch your attitudes, because there is every possibility that the ascetic may be hidden within you. And always watch your attitudes because, from the awareness of those attitudes, clues will come to you which will open many doors.
For example, if somebody is sad, in pain, suffering, sympathy is very easy; you are full of sympathy. But if somebody is happy, in great pleasure, what happens?
You cannot sympathize with someone who is happy. You feel jealous: maybe the person has won the lottery, and you feel very jealous. Then his wife dies, he is robbed, the lottery is gone, and you are so full of sympathy. What is happening?
Why are you so sympathetic towards sadness?
You must get a certain hidden pleasure from it. You are violent. You are never sympathetic with somebody's happiness, and you are always sympathetic with anybody's unhappiness. You must get some hidden pleasure from it.
When somebody is unhappy, deep down you feel very good that it has happened to him - "not to me". You have the upper hand. You can be sympathetic, it costs nothing.
But can you dance with somebody who is happy? Can you be really happy in somebody's happiness? Many times you have been sad in people's sadnesses, but can you be really happy when people are happy? Yes, you can pretend, but you know. You smile and you say, "Good. God has been merciful to you," but deep down you are jealous.
You can be in sympathy with happiness only if you yourself know how to be happy. You don't know - you are miserable, a miserable lot. Whenever somebody is comparatively in more misery than you, you feel a little happy. He is in even darker depths. You feel better. At least you are a little happier than that man.
But whenever somebody is happy, you feel that you are at the depths; he is at the peak. You feel jealous. Jealousy will never go unless you become really happy.
Your sympathy is false, your sympathy is immoral, because, deep down, it has pleasure in it - in somebody else's misery.
Remember these things: a religious person is one who is so happy that he will never be able to feel jealous. He is so happy, he lacks nothing. I cannot see how I can be jealous of anybody. Impossible. I am so happy that more is not possible.
And if more is not possible, then how can you be jealous?
People try not to be jealous. That is not possible. Be happy and you will be nonjealous. Be happy and you will be nonambitious; be happy and the ego will disappear. The ego can exist only in deep unhappiness and misery. It is a dweller in hell; it abides only in hell.
Go and watch your own life. When you say'God', what do you mean? Do you know any other God than the green trees and the red flowers... and the clouds floating in the sky... and the sunlight... and the moon in the night and the silent stars...? Do you know any other God? And the heart within, and the hearts without - do you know any other God?
The whole is God, the only God. But the religious, the so-called religious, have created a God against life. They say, "Renounce life. Only then can you attain to God."
Jesus says, "Live life as a prayer." Love life as God's own. Love life! Move into life deeper and deeper, and at the deepest core, suddenly one day you will find God.
He is beating in every heart and He is flowering in every flower and He is hidden in every stone.
Religions have done a horrible thing, they have created a horrible mess. They have put everything upside down.
When Ho-Chi-Minh was alive, he used to say to every American visitor: "Tell me, is the Statue of Liberty still standing in America? Don't be shy." He used to say, "Please tell me, because I am suspicious. Even if it is standing, it must be standing on its head."
All the churches are standing on their heads, and all the so-called religions are upside down. God is not important.
If God is against life, God is just a concept, just an abstraction - an empty word.
It has no flesh in it: it has no blood in it; it has no warmth in it. It is just a cold, abstract concept.
Pascal, one of the greatest thinkers of the West, had a dream once. In the dream he received a message. He woke up - the dream was so deeply stirring. He got up immediately and wrote in his notebook the message he had received. He read the message in the morning. It was of tremendous import. He sewed it in his coat; for his whole life it was sewed in his coat. Many times, when he was walking on the road or talking to somebody, he would just look, then close his coat again. It was a very simple sentence: "I don't want the God of philosophers; I want the God of David, Abraham, Jacob" - the God of life, not of philosophy; the God of the ordinary man, not of the extraordinary egoists.
The God of Jacob, Abraham, David - the God of those who love life and live life - is the real God. A God who is against life is a counterfeit, any temple that is against life is a counterfeit. Beware of it. The temple that enshrines life itself as God is the only true temple.
Jesus replied rightly, and if you can see life as God, then you are always in the bridechamber. Then the bridegroom is always and always and always there. If you can see life as God, then the bridegroom will never leave you.
That God expressed himself through Jesus; that God expressed himself through Krishna. He danced through Krishna, he played on the flute through Krishna.
That God sometimes penetrates and comes to the marketplace, but you don't recognize him because you have a counterfeit God.
I have heard, once it happened that a man took his grandmother to a great art exhibition. There, for the first time, she saw a real painting, an authentic painting, of Vincent Van Gogh. She looked at the painting and laughed.
The man asked, "Why are you laughing? Do you like the painting? " She said, "This is a copy. For almost twenty years I have had a calendar hanging on my wall, and this is just a copy of it."
The calendar was a copy of this painting - this was the true, authentic painting - but she laughed and said, "Why are these ordinary things being shown here?
This painting has been hanging in my room for twenty years."
If you are too influenced by the counterfeit, you will miss the real. If your eyes become too filled with the counterfeit, when the real encounters you, you may not even be able to recognize it.
God is life, and there is no other God. God is you, me and all, and there is no other God. Celebrate, rejoice that God is there in everything. Every pebble and every leaf is full of God, every drop of water is full of God. When you are thirsty, God is thirsty within you. And when you drink cold water, it is God flowing within your being; it is God who will quench your thirst. the thirst is God, the quenching is God, the water that quenches is God. All is God.
What to renounce? For what reason should you fast? Celebrate and dance! A real religion is celebration; a false religion is renunciation.