The first question:
FIRST: I AM NOT for socialism, because to me freedom is the ultimate value; nothing is higher than that. And socialism is basically against freedom - it has to be, it is inevitable, because the very effort of socialism is to bring something unnatural into existence.
Men are not equal, they are unique. How can they be equal? All are not poets and all are not painters. Every person has unique talents to him. There are people who can create music and there are people who can create money. Man needs absolute freedom to be himself Socialism is dictatorship of the state; it is a forced economic structure. It tries to equalize people who are not equal; it cuts them in the same size, and they have different sizes. Naturally to few people, to very few people it will fit, but to the majority it will be a crippling phenomenon, paralyzing, destructive.
I appreciate freedom in every sphere of life so that everybody is allowed to be himself The society is not the end but only a means; the end is the individual. Individual has a greater value than the social organization. THE society exists for the individual, not vice versa. Hence I believe in LAISSEZ-FAIRE.
Capitalism is the most natural economic structure; it has not been forced, it has grown. It has not been imposed, it has come on its own. Certainly I would like poverty to be eradicated from the world - it is ugly - but socialism cannot do it. It has failed in Russia, in China; in every country it HAS failed to eradicate poverty. Yes, it HAS succeeded in one thing: it HAS made everybody equally poor; it HAS distributed poverty.
And man is so foolish that if everybody else is also as much poor as you are you feel more at ease; you don't feel jealous. The whole idea of socialism has arisen out of jealousy. It has nothing to do with understanding man, his psychology, his growth, his ultimate flowering; it is rooted in jealousy.
Few people become rich; those few people are targets of everybody else's jealousy - they have to be pulled down. Not that you will become richer by pulling them down; you may become even more poor than before because those few people know how to create money. If they are destroyed you will lose all capacity to create richness.
That's what has happened in Russia: the rich people have disappeared, but that has not made the whole society rich; everybody has become equally poor. Of course people feel happier in that way because there is nobody who is richer than them. Everybody is equally poor, all are beggars; it feels good. Somebody rising higher than you, and your ego is hurt.
People talk about equality, but something fundamental has to be understood: men are not psychologically equal. What can be done about it? Albert Einstein is not equal to any Tom, Harry, dick - he is not! You can sooner or later start equalizing people as far as intelligence is concerned; Shakespeare, Milton, Shelley are not equal to other people; they have a dimension of their own.
One thing I agree: that there should be freedom for everybody, and EQUAL freedom for everybody, to be himself To put it more precisely: freedom means that everybody is free to be unequal! Equality and freedom cannot go together, they cannot coexist. If you choose equality, freedom has to be sacrificed and with freedom all is sacrificed. Religion is sacrificed; genius, the very possibility of genius, is sacrificed; man's higher qualities are sacrificed. Everybody has to fit with the lowest denominator, only then you can be equal.
It is like you are going to climb a mountain - if all have to be equal, then the person who is the laziest will become the criterion; everybody has to move according to the laziest. The first will not be the criterion but the last. This will be a great calamity. If the last becomes the decisive factor, then what about those who are like Everest?
And my observation is that every individual is born with some specific talent, some specific genius to himself He may not be a poet like Shelley or Rabindranath, he may not be a painter like Picasso or Nandalal, he may not be a musician Like Beethoven or Ravi Shankar, but he must have something.
That something has to be discovered. He has to be helped that he can discover what he has brought to the world as a gift from God.
Nobody comes without a gift; everybody brings a certain potential. But the idea of equality is dangerous, because the rose has to be the rose and the marigold has to be the marigold and the lotus has to be the lotus. If you start trying to make them equal then you will destroy all; the roses, the lotuses, the marigolds, all will be destroyed. You can succeed in creating plastic flowers which will be exactly equal to each other, but they will be dead.
And that is what is going to happen if socialism becomes our way of life in the whole world: man will be reduced into a commodity, he will be reduced into a machine. Machines are equal. You can have millions of Ford cars exactly equal to each other. They go on coming through the assembly line, absolutely the same as the other. But man is not a machine, and to reduce man to be a machine will be destroying humanity from the earth.
Do you think in Soviet Russia Gautam Buddha is possible, Jesus Christ is possible, Lao Tzu is possible? And what to say about Buddha, Jesus and Lao Tzu? I ask you: is even Karl Marx possible? Even Karl Marx is not possible, because Karl Marx has an intelligence of his own and he will not be tolerated. He is not an ordinary person; certainly he is not a part of the so-called proletariat. He was part of the most refined bourgeoisie.
His whole life he never worked. From morning to evening he was sitting in the British Museum studying. In fact, British Museum has never come again across another scholar of the same caliber.
He was so much intrigued with his studies, so much fascinated, that when the closing time will come he had to be forcibly thrown out every day, because he will insist, "Just wait a little more - let me finish this book! Don't disturb me! What does it matter if you close the museum half an hour late? If I don't do this work, tomorrow I may have completely lost the track of it. Let me finish it!" He had to be forced, physically forced And it happened many times that he was found almost in a state of coma; studying continuously he will become so dizzy he will fall unconscious, he will fall in a swoon, and he had to be carried on a stretcher to his home.
Now this man is no more possible. In the first place British Museum is not possible in Russia.
I have heard:
An American journalist - must be somebody like Gotz Hagmuller - was visiting Russia. He asked a professor... thinking that a professor will answer him intelligently, but whatsoever he asked the professor always started his answer, "Yes, just the other day I read in PRAVDA..."
The Russian word PRAVDA means the truth. What irony! It should mean the lie! The PRAVDA is the most Lying newspaper in the world, but it means the truth.
He will always start. "T have read in the PRAVDA...
Disgusted, the journalist finally asked, "Have you not got any opinion of your own?"
The professor said, "Yes, I have got my own opinions, but I don't believe in them!"
In Russia there is no freedom of thought, because freedom of thought means the beginning of inequality. Freedom of thought means man is not a machine, and then two men cannot be equal.
The idea of equality is absolutely unpsychological. I can accept it only in one sense: that everybody should be given equal opportunity to be himself - and that means to be unequal. You have to understand this paradox: everybody has to be given equal opportunity and freedom to be himself, and that simply means everybody has to be given equality to be unequal.
The poverty can be destroyed - there is no need for socialism - the poverty can be destroyed only by a higher capitalist system. Karl Marx has predicted that the first country to go communist or socialist will be America; his prediction proved absolutely wrong. He had never thought that a country like Russia or China is ever going to become communist; Russia and China are economically very backward. In the days of Karl Marx, Russia was living in the world of feudalism; even capitalism has not happened there.
If Karl Marx comes back he will be absolutely unable to understand how it happened that Russia became the first communist country, the first socialist society. He was hoping America will become the first communist country. Why he was hoping that? - because if capitalism grows and reaches to a peak of producing wealth to the maximum, poverty will disappear naturally, because when wealth is too much nobody wants to hoard it. You don't hoard air - it is available. It is freely available, it is so much there. You don't hoard anything which is not in scarcity.
People are money-minded, greedy, because money is scarce. If you don't hoard it, if you don't cling to it, somebody else will snatch it away from you. Before somebody else does it you have to do it. Otherwise you will be a loser. And the only way to destroy poverty is to create so much wealth that greed becomes irrelevant. When wealth is enough, the poverty will disappear. Of course there will be still people who will have more wealth and people who will have less wealth, but that is natural and nothing is wrong in it. Somebody will be more intelligent and somebody less intelligent, and somebody will be more healthy and somebody less healthy, but we can create a society where everybody can attain to his maximum. Even then inequality is bound to remain, and there is no need to destroy that because that creates variety. and variety brings richness. It is good that people are not equal.
Poverty should go, but the only way for it to go is to produce more wealth, to industrialize society more scientifically, to bring more and more technology, and with a deep understanding of nature so your technology and industry don't destroy nature. They should become part of ecology, they should not go against it. That is the highest scientific development. It cannot happen through socialism; it can happen only through capitalism.
The word "capitalism" has become very derogatory, but I am not worried about that. I believe in capitalism and not in socialism, because to me capitalism is the only hope for freedom, for growth, for individual uniqueness. It is a respect for the individual; socialism is disrespectful of the individual.
Socialism does not believe in the soul of man; it cannot believe because if you believe in the soul of man then you cannot behave as if man is a machine. You have to give respect to the uniqueness of every individual. Not to give that respect means committing suicide.
The second thing you ask: IF ONE OF THE LISTENERS IS A PRACTICING CATHOLIC, WHAT STORY WOULD YOU HAVE FOR HIM?
It is good to be a Christ, it is ugly to be a Christian - Catholic or Protestant, it doesn't matter. It is good to be a Buddha, but ugly to be a Buddhist. When you can be a Christ, why settle for less?
When Christ-consciousness can flower in you, when you can become a Buddha in your own right, when you can experience what Buddha and Christ have experienced, then why just be a follower, an imitator, a carbon copy? I am against carbon copies.
My effort here is to help you to discover your original face, so whether you are a practicing Catholic or a Protestant or a Hindu or a Mohammedan, it is all wrong. Love Christ, but don't be a Christian.
Love is a totally different phenomenon. If you become a Christian you are addicted with Christ, you become dependent on Christ. If you are a Christian you are bound to be anti-Buddha, anti-Mahavira, anti-Lao Tzu, anti-Zarathustra, anti-Patanjali.Just choosing Christ and becoming anti to all the other great awakened individuals who have walked on the earth is becoming poor, unnecessarily poor.
When you can claim the whole heritage of humanity, when all the Buddhas, all the awakened ones can enrich your being, why narrow down your consciousness? Why become focused and obsessed with Christ or Buddha or Mahavira or Krishna?
A Catholic means he is obsessed with Christ, a Hindu means he is obsessed with Krishna, a Jain means he is obsessed with Mahavira, and obsession is a psychological disease One should be open, one should be available, to the stars, to the sun, to the moon, to the wind, to the flowers, to the birds. One should be available to all, because this whole belongs to us.
Love Christ, because love is not excluding others; love is an inclusive phenomenon. If you love Christ you have to love Buddha too, because that is another aspect of being a Christ. If you love Christ you have to love Mahavira too, because that is again another aspect of the same fulfillment.
Buddha, Christ, Mahavira, Mohammed, Bahauddin, Kabir, Nanak - different aspects of the truth.
Truth is multidimensional. Why choose one dimension? Why become linear? Why be so miserly, even in your spiritual love? Why not be open and available, vulnerable to all, so they can all dance in your being?
I would like my sannyasins to be lovers of all. Enjoy all kinds of flowers! Don t become addicted with the rose, because the lotus has its beauty just as the rose has its beauty. And where is the problem?
Cannot you enjoy the rose and the lotus together? Just one thing has to be understood: if you love beauty you can enjoy all, if you love truth you can enjoy all the awakened ones.
But a practicing Catholic does not love truth - he believes. No believer is a seeker of truth; all believers are non-seekers. They have already believed without inquiring, without going in the exploration, without adventuring into the unknown territory. They have already become prejudiced.
And what do you mean by "a practicing Catholic"? What you can practice in the name of Catholicism? Whatsoever you do will be nothing but an effort of conditioning yourself according to your belief It will be a state of autohypnosis, and autohypnosis is not going to help you to become awakened.
Religion is not a question of practicing at all. If you practice you will miss religion and its beauty.
Religion is the experience of a spontaneously flowing consciousness. Practicing means imposing something upon yourself, cultivating a character. Religion has nothing to do with cultivating a character. It is an inquiry into "Who am l?" It is going inwards, reaching to the very rock bottom of your being, to the ground of your being, discovering your center. And from that discovery an explosion happens and your old character simply disappears like a nightmare, and a new quality arises in you. You are more alive, more rejoicing, more full of love, more full of celebration. And this state of celebration makes you aware that existence is not dead. Because you are alive you can contact the living sources of God is not a person but only the experience that the whole existence is an alive phenomenon; it is not matter alone. It is throbbing with life! It is overflowing with life; that it has a heartbeat. The moment you know that the universe has a heartbeat you have discovered God. But first, please, discover your own heartbeat, discover your own center.
Religion is not a question of practicing, it is a question of discovering. It is not a question of belief.
Beliefs are all against truth; they make your mind prejudiced. Belief means you don't know, still you pretend to know. Belief is a lie, it is hypocrisy.
So whether somebody is a practicing Catholic or a Hindu or a Mohammedan, all practicing people are dangerous. They are false, pseudo; they are not authentic, they are not real. The real person is a seeker.
And the third thing you ask: IF ONE OF THE LISTENERS IS A POTENTIAL SEEKER, WHAT MESSAGE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR HIM?
My whole message is ONLY for him, the potential seeker. These are the qualities of a seeker. First:
he will not be a Christian, a Hindu, a Mohammedan, a communist; he will not be an atheist or a theist. To seek, this basic requirement has to be fulfilled: you have to put aside all your beliefs, because if you carry your beliefs then your beliefs will distort your vision. Beliefs are like colored glasses: they will make the whole existence of the same color as your glasses. It will not be the true color of existence; it will be imparted by your glasses. You have to put aside all your glasses. You have to contact reality directly, immediately. There should be no idea between you and existence, no A PRIORI conclusion.
A real seeker has to be in the state that Dionysius calls AGNOSIA - a state of not-knowing. Socrates said at the very end of his life, "I know only one thing, that I know nothing." This is the state of a true seeker.
In the East we call this state meditation: no belief, no thought, no desire, no prejudice, no conditioning - in fact, no mind at all. A state of no-mind is meditation. When you can look without any mind interfering, distorting, interpreting, then you see the truth. The truth is already all around; just you have to put your mind aside.
The seeker has to fulfill only one basic thing: he has to drop his mind. The moment the mind is dropped, a great silence arises - because the mind carries your whole past; all the memories of the past go on hankering for your attention, they go on crowding upon you, they don't leave any space within you.
And the mind also means future. Out of the past you start fantasizing about the future. It is a projection out of the past. You have lived a certain life in the past: there have been a few moments of joy and many many dark nights. You would not like to have those dark nights; you would have your future to be full of those joyous moments. So you sort out from your past: you choose few things and you project them in the future, and you choose a few other things and you try to avoid them in the future. Your future is only nothing but a refined past - a little bit modified here and there, but it is still the past because that's all that you know.
And one thing very significant to be remembered: those few moments of joy that you had in the past were basically part of those long dark nights, so if you choose those moments those dark nights will come automatically; you cannot avoid them. The silver linings in the dark clouds cannot be chosen separately from the dark clouds. In the dark night you see the sky full of stars; in the day those stars disappear. Do you think they evaporate? They are still there, but the context is missing. They need darkness; only then you can see them. In the night, you will be able to see them again. Darker the night, the more shining are the stars.
In life everything is intertwined with each other. Your pleasures are intertwined with your pains, your ecstasies mixed inevitably, inseparably with your agonies. So your whole idea of the future is sheer nonsense. You cannot manage it, nobody has ever been able to manage it, because you are trying to do something which cannot be done in the very nature of things. It will be simply a repetition of your past.
Whatsoever you desire is not going to make any difference. It will be again and again a repetition of your past, the same past, maybe a little bit different, but not because of your expectations - a little bit different because life goes on changing, people go on changing, existence goes on changing. So there will be few differences but not basic differences, only in the non-essential parts. Essentially it will be the same tragedy.
Dropping the mind means dropping the past, and with it of course the future disappears. Dropping the mind means you are suddenly awakened into the present, and the present is the only reality there is. Past is non-existential, so is future. Past is no more, future is not yet, only the present is. It is always now - only the now exists. And the meditator starts merging and melting with the now.
And that's what silence is. It can be conveyed, Gotz Hagmuller, to your radio listeners. Just these pauses... these wordless moments... when you start feeling the now, the here... when suddenly you become aware that five thousand people are sitting here, but as if there is nobody at all. The Buddha Hall is absolutely empty.
When we are in the present... silence descends. You can hear the birds chirping, but they don't disturb the silence - they enhance it, they beautify it.
Take my message to your people. First: freedom is the ultimate goal and socialism goes against it, hence I favor a state of laissez-faire. Secondly: nobody can practice religion. Religion really means your spontaneity, your nature. You cannot practice it, you have to allow it. You have to remove all the barriers that prevent the flow of your nature. It is like a stream prevented by rocks: remove the rocks. There is no question of practicing; it is already there. It is your nature! When the hindrances are no more there you start flowing, just like a river moving towards the ocean.
Each consciousness moving towards God, towards the ultimate ocean, is religious. Religion is neither Christian nor Hindu nor Mohammedan. These are all political games played in the name of religion. A religious person is simply religious, natural, spontaneous, living out of his own light.
Buddha said to his disciples, and this was his last message on the earth: "Be a light unto yourself" - live according to your own light, not following and practicing somebody else's light, because that will make you only a carbon copy, and howsoever beautiful the carbon copy is it is still a carbon copy.
Discover your originality, and it cannot be done by practicing. Practicing means imposing some ideas from others, trying to act as others would like you to act. Act as you would like to act. Take the risk - it is dangerous.
To be religious is to live in danger - it is not security. To live in religion means constantly exploring the unknown and ultimately the unknowable.
And thirdly: be a seeker, never be a believer. If you cannot say, "I know God," please don't say, "I believe in God," because that is falsifying. That is even not being true about God, not even being sincere with God. With whom you are going to be sincere then? If you don't know, say, "I don't know." At least that is true. Don't pretend that you know because pretensions are dangerous. They will deceive others and they can deceive yourself too.
And only a seeker can become a meditator. Meditation means absolute silence. It is only in silence that one comes to know, one comes to love, one comes to dance in tune with existence.
The second question:
IT IS A VERY DIFFICULT QUESTION to answer. In the first place I am not trying to do anything; the very word "trying" does not fit with me. If somebody asks you, "Are you trying to love this woman?"
what you will say, Govind Narayan? TRYING TO love? Either love is or love is not. Trying to love simply means you don't love, hence you are trying. But what can you manage by trying? Empty gestures. You may say to the woman "I love you" thousand and one times in thousand and one ways, but deep down you will know that it is only an effort; your heart will not be with it.
I am not trying to do anything, I am just being myself Then whatsoever is happening is happening - it is a happening. What is happening here, remember, it is not being done by me. You cannot make me responsible for whatsoever is happening here - I am not responsible at all! It is happening, certainly, but neither I am doing anything nor my sannyasins are doing anything. But in this non- doing something transpires.
But Govind Narayan is not a sannyasin; he must be a casual visitor, hence the question has arisen to him. And he will not understand what I am saying, but he may understand this:
TU JISM KE KHUSHRANG LIBASON PAI HAI NAJAN TU JISM KE KHUSHRANG TU JISM KE KHUSHRANG LIBASON PAI HAI NAJAN MAIN RUH KO MOHTAJE KAFAN DEKH RAHA HUIN KYA PUCHHTE HO HAL MERE KAROBAR KA AAINE BECHTA HUN MAIN ANDHON KE SHAHAR MAIN.
TU JISM KE KHUSHRANG LIBASON PAI HAI NAJAN MAIN RUH KO MOHTAJE KAFAN DEKH RAHA HUIN KYA PUCHHTE HO HAL MERE KAROBAR KA AAINE BECHTA HUN MAIN ANDHON KE SHAHAR MAIN.
Roughly it can be translated:
Don't ask me, sir, what I am doing here.
You are proud of the dreamlike psychedelic colors of the body and the mind, but I can see death knocking at your doors.
You are lost in a dreamworld, and I can see death approaching every moment closer and closer.
Don't ask me, sir, about my business here.
I sell mirrors in the city of the blind!
AAINE BECHTA HUN MAIN ANDHON KE SHAHAR MAIN.
I sell mirrors in the city of the blind!
And this is certainly a city of the blind! This whole earth is full of blind people - blind because they cannot see death approaching, blind because they cannot see that life is evaporating every moment, blind because they cannot see the momentariness of all that they are accumulating, blind because they don't know from where they come, why they come, to where they are destined, blind because they are not even aware who resides at the innermost core of their being.
When Alexander the Great came to India... and he came at a very right, ripe moment... Buddha had left his body only three hundred years before; his vibe was still alive. People were still filled with the joy, with the silence that they have experienced in Buddha. He had gone, the flower has disappeared, but the fragrance was still in the air, still lingering. It lingered on at least for five hundred years.
Alexander was very much surprised; he had never felt such quality. He came across many people he had never come across in his whole life. They were strange - they talked a strange language, they lived a strange life. He was mystified.
He met a naked fakir and he was so much impressed by the man's beauty, his grace, his silence, his bliss, that suddenly he felt his own poverty. And he was the conqueror of that time, the conqueror of the then known world, the greatest conqueror ever. And he felt his beggarliness before this naked beggar, because he could see he was empty. And this naked man was overflowing with meaning, with joy, with splendor.
Alexander begged from this beggar that, "Give me some gift that can be of help to me!"
The beggar pulled out a small mirror - so goes the story - from his bag, and gave the mirror to Alexander the Great. Seeing that it is just an ordinary mirror, and very cheap too, Alexander said, "Do you think this is such a great gift? From a man like you I was expecting something really miraculous!"
And the naked fakir laughed and he said, "It is more than you could have ever expected. Keep it safe for the day when the question arises in you 'Who am I?' and then look into it."
Alexander could not resist the temptation. That very night when he was alone, he looked into the mirror and he was surprised: he saw his original face.
This must be a story, because no mirror can show you your original face - unless that mirror means meditation. Meditation can show you your original face. The story simply says that the beggar gave him the secret of meditation; it is a metaphorical way of saying. Meditation is a mirror. All the mirrors can only show the physical face, but meditation can show you your spiritual face.
And that's what I am doing here:
AAINE BECHTA HUN MAIN ANDHON KE SHAHAR MAIN.
I am selling mirrors in the city of the blind.
And it is really a city of blind people, mad people, dead people; all kinds of strange people have gathered on the earth. It seems the earth must be a dumping place of the universe because scientists say at least there are fifty thousand planets on which life exists, so they must need some place to dump. They must be using earth as a dumping place - because it is so full of mad people, so full of dead people, so full of mediocres, stupids...
A couple of jazz musicians, real gone, were watching a crater erupt.
"Man," cried one, "dig that crazy cigarette lighter!"
A young woman who had been completely broke for many weeks found a ten-dollar bill in the gutter.
Overjoyed, she rushed into the nearest supermarket and spent it all on groceries. As she was walking out with her parcel she collided with a drunk and landed on the pavement amidst a mess of milk, coffee powder, broken eggs and tomato sauce.
Seeing her dream of a feast shattered, she burst into tears and began sobbing bitterly. The drunk staggered to his feet and gazed in fascinated silence at two eggs floating in a pool of tomato sauce.
Then he looked at the woman and spluttered, "Don't worry, lady, it would not have lived anyway - its eyes were too far apart!"
A drunk was staggering down the road in the middle of the day, obviously much the worse for wear, and almost collided with a Catholic priest who was on his way to visit an elderly parishioner.
"'Scuse me, Rev'rend," slurred the drunk, "but can you direct me to Alcoholics Anonymous?"
The priest's contemptuous expression brightened visibly and he shook the drunk warmly by the hand. "My son," he intoned, "I am pleased to see that even in your intoxicated state you can see the error of your ways, and have had the good sense to go and join Alcoholics Anonymous."
"Join? The hell!" said the drunk. "I am going to resign!"
A young boy was chasing crows away from some young plants in a field, shouting, "Fuck off! Fuck off!"
A priest was walking by, called the boy over and remonstrated with him for the use of bad language.
"Remember," he pontificated, "God is everywhere and hears every word you utter. Do not offend his ears with such language! Besides, if you shout, 'Shoo, shoo!' loudly enough, they will fuck off just as quickly!"
The third question:
IT MUST BE TRUE, because a man like Zarathustra comes in the world with great insight. He must have seen the world immediately - he must have seen the whole crazy scene! It depends how much intelligence you have got. Few people take their whole life to realize that they have been living in a madhouse. He must have seen at the first moment that "This is a crazy place I am entering into!"
And it is not only Zarathustra - every child, the moment the child becomes capable of focusing properly, he starts smiling, because he is then able to see what his father looks like!
A recent story tells about a baby who was giggling and laughing minutes after he was born. The obstetrician noticed he had unusual muscle control, his tiny left fist being tightly clenched. When the doctor pried it open he found a contraceptive pill.
Zarathustra must have laughed! Whether he laughed or not... I am not concerned about history, but to me his laughter is very significant. The world is in such a mess! Ordinarily children are born crying - that too is their judgment! They are saying, "My God! So this is the world I am born into?"
Zarathustra has a different attitude, from the other extreme - he laughed. He must have been a man like me, hence I have very deep love for Zarathustra.
A rabbi and a Hindu monk, who was obviously a teetotaler, happened to be seated together in the dining car of a train. When the rabbi ordered a martini, the Hindu monk was shocked.
"I would rather commit adultery!" he scoffed.
"I didn't know they gave you a choice here," replied the rabbi.
The army recruit from the country was being given his physical examination. "Well, that's everything but the urine test," said the doctor. "I want a specimen of yours in one of those little bottles on that shelf down at the other end of the room."
"What did you say, Doc?" asked the young man.
"Just urinate in one of those little bottles down there," repeated the doctor.
The recruit still looked doubtful. "Do you mean all the way from here?" he asked.
A rambling man thought up a new scheme for winning sympathy. He rang the doorbell, then got down on his knees and started nibbling on the grass. "What are you doing there?" asked the lady when she opened the door.
The tramp rose weakly to his feet, clutched his stomach in mock pain and moaned, "Ma'am, I am so hungry I just had to take to eating grass."
"Why, you poor man, stop eating that dry old grass!" cried the woman sympathetically. "Go around in the back where the grass is greener and longer!"
A man won a turkey in a raffle and brought it home, but his wife was annoyed. "Who wants the bother of plucking it?" she said in a huff.
"If that's the way you feel," he replied, "I will pluck it and cook it myself."
So he busied himself plucking it and when he was finally through he trussed it and put it in the oven.
But he forgot to light the gas. After washing up he settled down to read. Half an hour later he heard a muffled voice say, "What are you going to do about it?"
Without taking his eyes off the newspaper he said, "Do about what?"
The voice answered, "I am getting cold. Either put my feathers back or light the gas!"
If Zarathustra laughed, what is wrong in it? He must have seen the whole stupidity, that he has to live with these people, and he started with a laughter.
The noted agnostic lecturer, Robert G. Ingersoll, said once: "No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion."
He is wrong - Zarathustra did. Of course, about ninety-nine percent religions Ingersoll is right; his statement is significant. He says, "No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion." It is true about Jesus, about Buddha, about Mohammed, about Krishna - it is absolutely true; these people don't seem to have any sense of humor - except about Zarathustra. Maybe Ingersoll had never heard about Zarathustra.
He is the only man known who started his life with laughter - must have had an immense sense of humor. To begin your life with laughter is not an easy matter. He must have prepared for it for many lives; he must have come ready.
Christians say Jesus never laughed in his whole life; maybe they are right. I don't want to believe it because that means a great condemnation of Jesus, but if Christians say, then, of course, who I am to disagree with them? They are the authoritative people, at least about Jesus - they own Jesus!
Protestant Church in Germany has banned my books in the churches, in the churches' libraries.
It has been given to all the priests, to all the churches, that my name, even my name, should not be mentioned in any sermon. Nothing should be quoted from my books, even to refute it, because people become interested!
This may be one of the reasons why Jesus has succeeded to change almost half the humanity to Christianity, because people are sad. Zarathustra has not found many followers, you know? His followers are only confined in Bombay - just only few thousand. Why Zarathustra has failed? Maybe that laughter is the cause: he has the sense of humor.
People are serious, sad, miserable, hence the cross of Jesus seems to be very appealing, because their life is also on the cross. They can understand Jesus and his agony - they are passing through it. Their whole life is nothing but carrying a cross. They can find a deep affinity with Jesus, his crucifixion - they are also crucified. But what affinity they can find with Zarathustra? Why Zarathustra failed?
Buddhists have found millions of followers; the whole Asia is Buddhist. Christians have found millions of followers; half the earth is Christian. Mohammedans are next to Christians - and Mohammed has no sense of humor at all. With a sword in his hand he is very serious, really serious. He is much concerned about your welfare - if you don't listen him he is ready to fight with you, but he is determined to convince you because he is determined to save your soul. Even if he has to use the sword he has to save you. How can he allow you to fall into hell? It is for your own sake.
Zarathustra is the only person who has not been able to find followers. I can see the point: with a sense of humor, who is going to listen to you?
I am trying again something like Zarathustra. My effort here is to prove Ingersoll wrong. I am trying to found a religion based totally on the sense of humor!
Shakespeare and others have punningly described the foolish pretender to philosophy as foolosopher. By the same wordplay the philosophy of foolosophers is called foolosophy.
Bertrand Russell was always critical of foolosophers, for their lack of both common sense and a sense of humor. He tells how he was once near death with pneumonia delirious for three weeks.
After he revived, the doctor said to him, "When you were ill you behaved like a true philosopher:
every time you came to yourself you made a joke."
Russell wrote afterward, "I never had a compliment that pleased me more."
He himself was a serious man. In his delirious state he must have forgotten all his philosophy and seriousness, must have become more relaxed, must have forgotten that he is a philosopher and he has to be serious - must have joked.
To me sense of humor should be the foundation stone of the future religiousness of man. There is no need to be so serious. Man is the only animal who has the sense of humor. You have never seen buffaloes laughing, or the donkeys. Only the man can have the feel of the ridiculous, of the absurd. It needs great intelligence to have sense of humor; on the lower planes it does not exist.
and even all human beings don't have it; those who exist on lower planes of intelligence are bound to be serious - serious like the donkeys. Donkeys are very serious people, always thinking about serious things, it seems, much disturbed with all the problems of the world.
I have watched donkeys very closely; from my very childhood I have been very much interested in donkeys. If Pavlov could find many things about man by studying dogs, if Skinner can find many things about man by studying white rats, if Delgado can find many things about man by studying monkeys, I feel why these people have missed the donkey? He comes closest to human beings - a serious philosopher, a pundit, a scholar, a theologian! Who has ever heard a donkey laughing?
Zarathustra seems to be of the highest caliber, of the most refined intelligence At the first sight of the world he laughed He could not contain himself, he could not resist the temptation Seeing where he has landed.
The old professor of philosophy who was retiring addressed his class: "Men, I have two confessions to make before I go," he said "The first is that half of what I have taught you is not true The second is that I have no idea which half it is!"
A pious old gentleman heard a tough kid on the street swearing at his playmate "Don't you know," he admonished the youngster, "it is wrong to use such four-letter words? God will punish you."
The youngster looked at the man with scorn. "God can't hear me," he said. "He's way up in heaven."
"Young man, God is everywhere."
"Is he over in my house?"
"He certainly is."
"Is he in my yard?"
"You're crazy - we haven't got a yard!"
Children are far more clear: you cannot befool them so easily. And at the first moment when the child opens his eyes his clarity is absolute. No priest has come in, no politician has corrupted him yet. He has not been conditioned by Catholics and Protestants and Hindus and Mohammedans.
He has not been told all kinds of lies and beliefs and superstitions. His eyes are clear, he can see through and through.
Zarathustra did the right thing - that he laughed.
Once Diogenes asked alms from a man with a philosophic bent of mind. "Before I give you a DRACHMA," said the man, "convince me why I should do so."
"If I thought you were amenable to reason," Diogenes told him, "I would recommend that you go and hang yourself."
Who is amenable to reason? It is an irrational world, and Diogenes is right. the man was asking, "Convince me - why should I give you anything? Why? Diogenes answer is right that: "If I thought that you can understand reason, then the only thing I would suggest for you will be go and hang yourself, because what you are doing in this irrational world? Such a reasonable man!"
The laughter of Zarathustra looks irrational, but it is not irrational. Seeing the irrationality all around he must have been perceptive, very perceptive.
The story is strange. There are many miracles talked about people like Jesus, Buddha, Mahavira, Krishna, but they are almost the same. The miracle of walking on water is repeated in thousands of stones; it is nothing special to Jesus. The miracle of curing the people from their incurable diseases is nothing new to Jesus. It is the same miracle being done by so many people around the world, in every tradition, in every religion. Even the miracle of raising the dead is not new; that too is a common miracle attributed to many people.
But this miracle of Zarathustra is simply unique; no other person has been attributed with this miracle.
Nobody has ever thought about it. And it is far more significant than raising the dead, because raising the dead is not going to help. Lazarus has to die finally, has to die sooner or later, so what does it matter - this week or the next week? He may have lived few years more - so what? Curing a man from his illness does not matter much, because still death will come, other diseases will come. Even if he starts seeing - he was blind before - what does it matter? So many millions of people have eyes - what has happened to them?
In fact, there is a Sufi story about Jesus, not related by the Christians in their scriptures They must have all avoided it The Bible is not exactly true; much has been edited out of it Anything that was going to create a trouble for the theologians, for the priests, for the popes, has been edited out, left out But there are always few people who will not miss such an opportunity; they will collect all those rejected parts - because they are far more important than the accepted ones.
This story is a rejected story by the Christians, but the Sufis have preserved it, and they have done a great service to humanity.
Jesus enters a town and he comes across a man who is lying in the gutter shouting ugly words, completely drunk. Jesus comes close to him to help him, looks at his face and recognizes that this man is well-known to him. He was very ill, Jesus saved him, dragged him almost from the door of death.
He shook the drunk and asked him, "Do you recognize me?"
He said, "Yes, I recognize you perfectly well. You are the man who created the trouble! I was going to die - why you saved me? And now why you have come again? Are you gong to do something more?"
Jesus could not believe the way the man was behaving, as if Jesus has done something wrong to him. Jesus said, "Why you are so angry?"
The man says, "I am angry because I was going to die and the whole thing was going to be finished, and you saved me! Now I don't know what to do with my life. You see, I am lying down in the gutter - you are responsible! Now I am simply trying to forget myself and my problems and my anxieties by drinking as much as I can. And I know it is poison, but what else to do? Why you saved me? I have been looking for you - it is good that you have come by yourself Answer me!"
And Jesus could not answer him. The man is asking a relevant question: "Why you saved me? For what? For this gutter? For drinking and trying to forget my miseries?"
Jesus moved, very humiliated, shocked.
He saw another man who was running after a prostitute He prevented the man - he forgot the first man - just old habits! He prevented the second man and said, "What are you doing? Has God given you the eyes just to lust after women? Even to THINK of lust is sin - you will suffer in hell!"
And the man said, "Stop all this nonsense! It is YOU who cured me of my blindness! I was perfectly happy with my blindness because I had never seen a woman, so I was never disturbed I never cared who is passing, man or woman, it was all the same It is you who cured me Now what should I do with these eyes? These eyes feel attracted towards beauty And remember, at the last moment on the day of judgment, I will point you - that you are responsible I was an innocent blind man. You gave me eyes, and I had not asked even! I was just sitting, you came and touched my eyes and you cured me! You did not even ask me!"
Jesus was now really shocked. He didn't go into the town. he left the town. When he was coming out he saw a man preparing to hang himself by a tree. Again he forgot - old habits die hard! He reached to the man and said, "What are you doing?"
And this man was nobody else but Lazarus! He said, "So you have come again! Get lost! I am committing suicide - enough is enough! And how you came to know? Last time my sisters invited you, Martha and Mary, they invited you. And I was dead - at last I was dead, resting at peace, and you came and resurrected me A.nd now again you are back! You won't allow me any peace? How long I have to live, and why should I live? What is the point of it all?"
All these miracles are meaningless, but Zarathustra's miracle of laughing at the moment of his birth is really significant.
A great Zen Master lay critically ill. As his doctor prepared to leave he said cheerfully, "I will see you in the morning."
Although the dying Master knew his hours were numbered, he could not resist quipping, "Of course.
But will I see you?"