The distinction is very old, but absolutely meaningless - - the distinction between playfulness and reverence.
They are not two separate things.
If playfulness goes to its deepest core, there is a reverence arising out of it spontaneously. It is not a contradiction to it. But because all the traditions in the past have made them contradictory, the human mind has become accustomed to thinking in terms of them being two different things, with a gap which is almost unbridgeable.
Playfulness is condemned by the past heritage of man, and respect for the divine is praised. It is the same problem in different words which I have synthesized in Zorba the Buddha.
Zorba is playfulness.
Buddha is reverence.
They have been kept separate for centuries, and that has harmed both. All that is divine became too serious. It lost the human touch. It became stone dead. It is not a coincidence that all the gods finally turned into stone statues. Respect cannot allow them to be alive, give them the guts to be alive - you may find difficulties in respecting the divine.
To be alive means to have a sense of humor, to have a deep loving quality, to have playfulness.
We have made respect so contrary to life that the people we respect, we almost kill. We don't allow them to be human - if they are human they lose their respectability. So our saints are almost dead; only then can we give them respect, which we think is divine. But it is not respect for the divine, it is respect for the dead.
I am absolutely against all life-negative attitudes - and respect for the divine has been life-negative.
To make it life-affirmative, playfulness, a sense of humor, love, and respect have all to be joined together.
This is the great alchemy I am working at, which will produce Zorba the Buddha.
It is almost inconceivable in terms of the past.
The ambassador of Ceylon to America wrote a letter to me, saying that we should not call our discos "Zorba the Buddha," because "it is insulting to Buddha."
I replied to him, "It is not insulting, it is bringing life back to the Buddha. You have made him a stone statue - we want him to be back in a human form, and Zorba is the most beautiful human form. And we don't see that being alive like Zorba - playful, joyous about the small things of life - is against Buddha." It is really the foundation of an authentic buddha.
But we have been conditioned to insult life. It seems to be a strategy, so that our whole respect goes to fictitious gods. Life should not receive our respect; it is too mundane, too ordinary. Respect should be kept only for something beyond life. But beyond life there is only death.
The people who love Zorba, the atheists particularly, are also against me, saying that I am joining Buddha with Zorba and destroying Zorba, because they cannot coexist. Buddha will not allow Zorba's playfulness, his nonseriousness, his music, his dance, his love. Buddha cannot allow them, because Buddha himself cannot dance, cannot love, cannot sing, cannot play on a musical instrument, cannot enjoy anything.
So the atheist association of America wrote to me - that I am trying to do the impossible. Buddha is going to destroy Zorba, "and we don't want Zorba to be killed." The Buddhists are afraid that Zorba will kill the Buddha; the atheists are afraid that Buddha will kill the Zorba - because this is how our whole mind is conditioned. And I want to have a breakthrough of all this conditioning, to come out of it and be respectful to life.
Reverence for life is the only respect for the divine, because there is nothing more divine than life itself.
Anything other than life is going to be dead, and there is no point in being respectful to the dead. It is dangerous, because your respect is going to kill your own livingness, your own qualities of life. At least it is going to poison them: you will feel a certain condemnation of yourself. If your respect is for the dead, then you cannot be fully alive.
So let me make it clear to you: don't call it "respect for the divine." It will be better to call it "reverence for life." And then there is no problem. Then playfulness is part of being alive; it is the overflowing energy of life. It can become a dance, it can become a song, it can become any kind of creativity.
I wrote to both the ambassador of Ceylon to America and the atheist association of America, saying that it looks contradictory because of their conditionings - and that I want to destroy those conditionings; hence specifically I have chosen Zorba and Buddha, two polarities, and have put them together. And I want the New Man to live both together, without any contradiction.
Once we stop thinking of respect for the divine and start thinking of respect for life, reverence for life, then the bridge becomes immediately possible. Then playfulness, then livingness, and all that is implied in life - very small moments of joy - suddenly take on a spiritual meaning too.
Nobody has ever tried to give them any spiritual meaning. In fact, all the religions have joined in the conspiracy to condemn living moments in life and have made ideals which are lifeless. The more a person becomes lifeless, joyless, forgets laughing, forgets everything that life consists of - this is called the great renunciation - the more he becomes respectable as a saint.
He is almost in his grave, not in his body.
He has condemned his body.
He has condemned his senses.
Even the fragrance of a flower he has renounced. The beauty of a sunset he has renounced. The joy of being with friends, eating with friends or just chitchatting with friends he has renounced. He has no friends; he has only people who respect him. And there is a great distance between him and the people who respect him - and the distance is from life.
So the whole past is full of life worshipping death, and life trying to achieve respectability at the cost of losing livingness. This has destroyed all of human nature, its harmony; and it has created a dichotomy between the soul and the body, between this world and that world.
There is only one world: this world.
And when you go deep into it, you find that world hidden in this world. There is no contradiction between this and that. This is the circumference, and that is the center. And to get to that, you have to dive deep into this.
"This" means Zorba.
And "that" means Buddha.
Zorba is the circumference - Buddha is the center. But no circumference is possible without a center, and no point can be called a center without a circumference. We find no difficulty in geometry, but in life's geometry we have created a contradiction between the center and the circumference.
The mundane life is the circumference. It has to be enjoyed so deeply that you start finding in it the sacred, the divine. The divine is nothing but the depth of diving into this moment, into this world, into this life, into this body.
Perhaps this is the greatest problem that man has to resolve. Without resolving it he can never be healthy, he can never be whole. As a Zorba he is half, just circumference - unaware of the center, not only unaware but almost denying the center.
And the person who reaches to the center is forced to deny the circumference; otherwise he is not respectable. We tend to ask him, "Then what is the difference between us and you?" No buddha has been courageous enough to say, "The difference is in the depth, the difference is not in activities."
You love - I love. But your love remains superficial, only on the circumference. And my love reaches to the very center.
You taste food - I taste food. But your taste is superficial. When I taste food, it has a depth.
What I am saying, nobody has dared to say.
Against the whole conditioning of humanity, even the buddhas have not been courageous enough to risk their respectability.
Perhaps I am the first man who has risked all respectability - because to me respectability is nothing but subtle ego. I would rather be notorious than be divided, than be respected by people who can only respect the dead part, the deadness in a living man.
This has created a kind of schizophrenia, from which the whole humanity is suffering. And because the whole humanity is suffering from the same disease, we tend not to see it.
If one person suffers from a disease, we can immediately pick him out because everybody else is not suffering from it. But when everybody without exception is suffering, then it becomes difficult to call it a disease; it seems to be just part of nature.
Schizophrenia has gone deep into your very blood, bones, marrow. That's why we see a contradiction between the mundane and the divine, between playfulness and respect for the divine.
It is a created contradiction, so we don't need to synthesize them. In fact, in reality they are one, but we don't allow them to be one.
If somebody is in deep love with this life, we condemn him as a Zorba. He does not get the same respect as Buddha gets. There have been very beautiful people in the same category as Zorba, but humanity has not respected them; they have been condemned.
In India there has been an ancient tradition, founded by a certain man named Brihaspati. He must have been a great teacher, so even his enemies have called him Acharya Brihaspati. But they have destroyed all his writings, burned all his writings.
While he was alive, his philosophy was known as charuvak. Charuvak means sweet words. Perhaps he has spoken the sweetest words - which have been burnt - because he is no ordinary Zorba; he is one of the greatest philosophers India has produced. So his philosophy was known, when he was alive, as charuvak - sweet words, the sweetest philosophy possible, because he said to enjoy every moment of life, that there is no other world.
Now we have no idea of his actual statements. All that we have are his distorted statements in the scriptures of those who have burned his books; in the books of his enemies, just to condemn him, to criticize him. It is not reliable, but still they must have some connection even though they may be distorted.
For example they distorted... instead of calling his philosophy charuvak, they started calling his philosophy charvak. And those two words are totally different. Charuvak means sweet words; and charvak means one who overeats - just a philosophy of "eat, drink and be merry." They changed the name, only a slight change, but it simply destroys the whole beauty. And whatever statements we have about this man are found in their books, which are certainly not exact.
They have distorted them, just to condemn them. For example, he must have said that there is no other world - in the same sense that I am saying there is no other world. That world is only a fiction, and for a fiction, this world - which is a reality - has to be sacrificed. And then a man is given respectability. He is accepted as the awakened one, as a great prophet, as a great saint - as God incarnated.
To fulfill our expectation, many people have lived almost not in bodies but in corpses. We have made such a strange demand, and they were not courageous enough to deny us. Those who denied - for example, Brihaspati - his books were burnt.
In the critics' books they quote Brihaspati as saying that you can enjoy this life even if you have to borrow money, because there is no other life; so don't be worried that you will have to pay after life or that you are committing a sin.
Now, this I certainly think is a distortion of the same fact that I am saying - that there is no other world. He must have said there is no other world. He must have said to enjoy this world as much as possible - there is no sin. But this seems to be a distortion. The critics have put the words into his mouth that you can drink as much ghee as you like, even if you have to borrow money, because there is no other life. Everybody dies, simply dies, so nobody is going to ask after life if you were a sinner or a saint. The only difference is herenow, whether you are enjoying or not.
This seems to be not exactly what Brihaspati may have said. But it can give the indication that the man must have said that there is no other life, that this is the only life there is. And it continues on; there is no death, there is no god that you have to follow or worship or pray to. The only prayer is that you live a life of joy. Other than that there is no prayer.
So although his name is mentioned in the VEDAS as Acharya Brihaspati - master, a great master, Brihaspati - not a single book of the man has survived. And he must have had a great following.
Down the ages there may have been many people writing on the same lines, but all their books have been burnt.
In Greece there was Epicurus - the same kind of man. They mention his name as one of the philosophers, but they don't give any importance to him over Aristotle, Plato and other Greek philosophers. He needs to be on the top, because he was trying, twenty-five centuries back, exactly what I am saying.
He lived in a small commune which was known as the garden of Epicurus where everything was uninhibitedly enjoyed. There was no marriage; there was nothing which was sin, there was nothing which was virtue. All was about living as totally as possible. And they lived in a forest immensely joyfully - having nothing much.
Epicurus is the first man to have created a commune, and to have created a commune of Zorbas.
But nothing in Greek history is mentioned about the commune in detail - exactly what they were doing, what was their basic philosophy. It has been prevented by the religious traditions, by so- called respectability, civilization, culture - because Epicurus seems to be rebellious.
And these people like Brihaspati and Epicurus can already be called "Zorba the Buddhas."
So what I am saying is not something of a synthesis, it is something which is very natural. We have divided nature into two parts; and both have become dead, because the Zorba will remain superficial, and the Buddha will become too serious and too dead. He will not be superficial, but he will be dead. So what is the point of attaining depth if it becomes death?
Life should attain depth, and reverence for life should be the only religion in the world. Then there is no division, and man can be healed.
This is a great challenge for the coming humanity.
That's why I go on insisting that we should discontinue with the past - it was completely sick.
Man has lived a very sick life because he created a very sick philosophy, and he followed it very seriously. We should discontinue with that sickness, howsoever respectable and howsoever ancient, and rediscover man's totality. And that can be done only when we join playfulness with reverence, when playfulness becomes a deep reverence; and when reverence does not lead you to die, to renounce, but leads you to rejoice, to dance, to celebrate.
There are no contradictions - only apparently so.
Logically you can find hundreds of contradictions; but I am not speaking logically. Once that is understood you can see that all contradictions disappear. They are created by a certain system of logic, and if you have the glasses of that logic on your eyes, you will see contradictions.
I am not speaking logically.
I have no respect for logic.
I have respect for life.
And life is vast enough to have contradictions as complementaries. Life cannot exist without contradictions.
Logic is dead. It can exist very clinically, without contradictions. But it is a dead system - it is just a man-made system; it does not breathe.
So there is a way to speak logically, which the philosophers have been doing down the ages. Their whole effort was not to get into any contradiction, into any inconsistency. Avoiding contradictions, avoiding inconsistencies, they have forgotten one thing - that their philosophy becomes dead. It remains logical, but it is no longer part of a living organism.
My reverence is for life.
And life needs the tension of contradictions; otherwise it falls flat. It needs man and woman - they are opposite polarities; they contradict each other in every possible way. That is their constant struggle, but that is also their constant attraction - their difference in everything.
Now, nobody can say why life needs man and woman. It is possible to conceive just one sex - either man or woman. Nature will have to make a few adjustments for procreation, for reproduction - but life will disappear, it will lose its joy. It will become very pale and flat, colorless.
Nature is always between two polar opposites - the greater the tension, the more life.
So looked at logically, there is a contradiction. Looked at existentially, there is only complementary opposition - but it helps to make life more playful.
You can play cards alone; there are games which can be played alone. And I saw in American jails - people have nothing to do, they are just playing alone with cards. But you don't see any joy on their faces, because the other party is missing. There is no challenge, no adventure; they are simply deceiving themselves. In fact their game is not a game but just a deception. No one is defeated, no one wins; so there is no joy of victory, there is no pain of defeat. The game is flat.
For twelve days I was continuously watching: in every jail so many prisoners were doing only one thing - just playing cards, because there was no other work and somehow they had to pass the time.
And they are caged in different cells - so this is good, you don't even need a partner. But you don't see any changes in their faces.
I was watching: while they were spreading their cards and finishing a game, I didn't see any change on their faces. There cannot be, because there is no tension, no adventure. They can even deceive themselves in playing, but they know it. They can always be victorious but they know that they have cheated. But whom are they cheating?
Life needs a certain tension to remain colorful. It needs a certain hide and seek - at least it always needs a polarity. That's why, if you don't look at my statements from a logical standpoint, you will not find any contradictions; you will find only living complementaries. But if you look through logic then it is not my fault, because I am not speaking logically.
I am devoted to existence, not to any logic.
And I want to be authentic and true to existence itself, not to any system of logic.
That creates confusion in many people, but it should not create confusion in my people. And certainly they try to explain to other people that there are no contradictions. But they don't know exactly why people see contradictions. They also see it, but they cannot accept it because then that seems as if they are being defeated by others.
They should acknowledge that, seen through logic there are contradictions, because there are contradictions in life and existence. Put the logic aside and all contradictions disappear; they become complementaries and life becomes real play.
Then they need not simplify, they need not try to change my words; they need not somehow convince the other that there is no contradiction. They should be clear about it: "Looked at logically there are contradictions; we don't deny it. All that we ask is, please don't look logically, because that is not the right way to understand this man."
"He is not speaking logically, he is speaking truthfully. So if there is contradiction in life, that will be reflected in his words. And he has no obligation to any system of logic. He is obliged to express existence as closely as possible." Then you will not feel in a difficulty.
There is no need to defend me.
You cannot; there is no need. You can simply make the situation clear, that logically there are contradictions. But to look logically at a man who is not speaking logically is fundamentally wrong - when he is saying himself to look existentially. And then all contradictions appear to be helping each other; so much so that one cannot exist without the other.
You can see that difficulty even when people try to create fiction - if they want it to have some quality of life. For example, they created God, which is a fiction - but immediately they needed a devil; otherwise God would be meaningless. He needs an opposite polarity, and both are struggling.
It is a fiction - there is no God, there is no devil - but because they had to create God, they could not avoid the devil. No religion that has accepted God has been able to avoid the devil. Religions that have not accepted God, have avoided the devil completely.
There is no devil in Jainism because there is no God. The devil comes in just to make God a reality - at least in appearance. He gives God life; without him, God is meaningless.
And then there is tension and struggle between the two forces - the forces of the divine and the forces of evil. And nobody can win, because that will be the end of the game. They can only continue to struggle, but never at any point of time can any one of them win. Otherwise it would have been simple for God to finish the devil, rather than allowing him to corrupt the minds of millions of people and make them do things which they don't want to do, and for which they will have to suffer in hell.
Why not destroy this devil - just a single person - and all sin disappears from the world; everybody becomes a saint because there is nobody to tempt him. It is strange that God goes on allowing the devil to influence people. And the devil is more influential than God himself, because there is a majority of sinners, and rarely... a very small minority of saints. So God does not seem to be as convincing as the devil.
But God cannot kill the devil, because in killing the devil he will be committing suicide. He cannot destroy sinners, because in destroying the sinners, he will be destroying the saints. He cannot destroy hell, because in destroying hell, he will be destroying heaven.
These are contradictions. Although both are fictions, because religious people wanted them to be taken as truth, they had to make the polar opposite. And they both have to remain together, and they will always be together.
Existence, looked at directly, has no contradictions. There are polar opposites which make tension and challenge and adventure, and give color and depth to things, to small things.
And because I am speaking, not as a philosopher but as a mystic, nobody can object to my contradictions. All the mystics have been contradictory. They have to be, because they are not concerned with logic but with truth - and truth is whatever it is. They will say it.
So there is no need to defend me. Otherwise even my people will feel angry at me, that I unnecessarily create trouble for them: I contradict, and they have to face people who show the contradiction. And because the minds of both are based on the same logic, they find it difficult:
What to do? - the contradiction is there. They also look with the same eyes as the others are looking.
They have to change their way of looking.
Then only are they really my people.
Then they will not be defending, they will simply say, "If you want to look at his statements through logic you will find thousands of contradictions. It is up to you: if you don't want contradictions, don't look through logic."
There is no need for argument at all.
It is absolutely simple.
It has not been possible in the past, or only with very few individuals. With the majority of humanity it has not been possible - the coexistence of Zorba and Buddha in one being. But the difficulty is not in Zorba and Buddha, in being a materialist and a spiritualist simultaneously: the difficulty is in our idea of what is spiritual and what is material.
We go with the division from the very beginning - we start with the split. Then the problem arises:
Can Zorba survive Buddha? Can Buddha survive Zorba or remain juicy? We begin with the split.
If you begin with the split and you accept the idea of division, certainly it will be very difficult for Buddha to be juicy, because he will fall from your respectability. You will not accept him as a Buddha.
It will be difficult for Zorba to be with Buddha, because your idea of Buddha is too serious - and Zorba is not serious.
You start with a certain idea, and then there is difficulty. It is created by you. Start living both together. In fact you are living both together without being aware of it. You are a spiritual being, and you have a material body; and both are functioning in deep synchronicity, without any conflict.
Do you see there is any conflict between your body and your soul? You can't even see where the body ends and the soul begins. They are one whole. Your awareness, your meditation, your physical health, your physical well-being - what is the conflict between them?
Your meditation and your enjoying music - why should it be a problem? Your meditation will make you capable of enjoying music more than an ordinary man who has no idea of meditation. And your experience of music and its depth will help to make your meditation more juicy, more musical, not so dry, not so dead - more alive.
Where is the contradiction?
Why should there be any contradiction?
Your love and your spiritual growth are the same process. It is just like you cannot walk with one leg alone; you need two legs to walk. There is no conflict. Both legs function in a deep synchronicity.
And that twoness is all over you. Both my hands are making one gesture. They are not making two gestures, they are making one gesture. Although the hands are two, the gesture is one - and there is no conflict. And both of your hands are connected with the two sides of your brain, and while both hands are making one gesture, both sides of the brain are speaking; it is not just one side.
Man should be aware that many musical instruments can play together, and they will create one music; it will be an orchestra.
So there will be no question that Zorba cannot survive Buddha. It is Zorba who is becoming Buddha.
The Buddha is not somebody else; it is Zorba, finding not only joy in small things of life, but also joy in his own being. That's all that a Buddha is. And there is no contradiction.
If I enjoy being silent, I enjoy speaking too, because whatever happens in silence needs to be given and shared in words - however difficult it may be. But my silence and my words are just two wings.
If a man is dumb and deaf, do you think he will be in silence? Logically it would seem he will be in silence - that's why I say logic is not relevant to life. The man who is dumb and deaf will not be in silence, because he has not known sound. Without knowing sound you cannot know silence. That is the basic complementary which looks contradictory in logic.
When silence becomes sound, it is expression. When sound becomes silent, it is the gathering of the juice. When silence becomes sound, it is sharing. But they are both together, in a different way.
People think that blind people must be living in darkness. That is logically right, existentially wrong.
The man who has not seen light cannot see darkness. It is impossible. And if a man can see darkness, he is not blind. How can he see darkness? Seeing needs eyes.
So the blind man does not have any idea of darkness because he cannot see light. When you close your eyes you certainly see darkness because you are aware of light. But the blind man has never opened his eyes and has never seen light; so he lives in a third space which cannot be named because there is no word for him. Seeing is nonexistential to him: he simply does not see, neither light nor darkness.
What I am indicating is that where you see a duality between body and soul, between Zorba and Buddha, your question is: Can Zorba survive Buddha? Can Buddha remain juicy?
In fact only a Zorba can be a Buddha, and only a Buddha can be a Zorba. Zorba alone, without being a Buddha, is very superficial. Buddha alone, without being a Zorba, has depth, but no life.
Together there will be depth, and there will be playfulness - and life and love and celebration.
So you need not be afraid of meditation; it will not kill your experience of rasa, it will enhance it.
And your experience of rasa, juice, will enhance your meditativeness. Never be afraid of opposites.
Don't choose one; that's where man has got into trouble. Choose both together and you will remain whole.
Perhaps people will not see Buddha in you - so what? Who cares whether people recognize the Buddha or not? Certainly a Buddha cannot care; he is not worried about recognition. Perhaps it will be difficult for people because they have always accepted a Buddha who has killed his Zorba, who is almost a murderer of half his being.
They have accepted, they have respected him. They cannot accept and they cannot respect... at least for the time being, till it becomes a universal phenomenon. It will not fit with their old categories.
But you need not be worried. The worry is also coming from the old categories; somehow they are hanging in the mind: "If I become a meditator, perhaps it will destroy my rasa. All my juice will be finished; then I cannot love, then I cannot paint, then I cannot play music, then I cannot enjoy a joke."
This is sheer stupidity: the Buddha becomes more and more sensitive.
Meditative awareness does not kill your experience of juice, rasa, it deepens it - although it is going to be difficult for the world to accept. But there is no need for any recognition. If you are fulfilled and whole, that's what is needed. And if both are there - the Zorba and Buddha, the experience of rasa and the experience of meditation together - they will be just like darkness and light.
Don't choose between darkness and light, because choosing one is dangerous. If you choose light, you cannot close your eyes; your eyes cannot have a rest. You will drive yourself mad because your eyes continuously need to open and close. That is a moment of rest, cleansing. Any dust coming onto your eyes is wiped away. Your eyelids are functioning like wipers, always bringing liquid to the eyes and cleaning them, continuously keeping them clean so you can see with clarity.
If your eyelids are taken away, soon you will be blind because your eyes will get dry, they will shrink.
They will be covered with dust, they will lose all juice and life. And they are the most delicate part of your body. So your body is very protective. If you choose darkness, then you cannot open your eyes; then you are choosing blindness.
And that's how it has always been.
People have been choosing.
I teach choicelessness.
And choicelessness means both together, both the opposites together; we are not going to choose one.
In the UPANISHADS there is a prayer, the most famous prayer, but absolutely wrong. The prayer is:
"Lead me from darkness to light." That means, "Lead me from Zorba to Buddha, lead me from death to life, lead me from untruth to truth." It looks very innocent - it is not so.
If you have understood what I am saying, it is a very dangerous prayer. It is choice: choosing between darkness and light, it chooses light. But you need both. Light alone will drive you insane.
You need the silence of darkness, the rest of darkness too.
Light is a tension, it is tiring. Darkness is nourishment, it is rejuvenating.
You cannot choose. Whoever wrote that prayer - which is the most famous prayer in Hinduism - is utterly wrong because he is making choices. He is choosing life against death. That is not possible.
Life and death are in a dynamic relationship. Death is a rest and a renewal; life alone will become really boredom. Death is something closer to sleep, a deeper sleep which one needs between two lives, so the old life is completely erased, and you are clean again to be reborn, renewed, fresh. If you choose only life you will be only getting older and older and older - and bored. And if there is no death, it will be terrible.
You would like to die at a certain point because you have experienced everything that life can give.
Now how long can you go on repeating the same thing? - a hundred years, two hundred years, three hundred years, a thousand years... but a day is bound to come when you will wish, "Give me death! I don't want life anymore because I want to rest."
And untruth and truth - they are not to be chosen. Untruth and truth, both are needed together, because the untruth makes you aware of the truth. The untruth also has a function to fulfill: without knowing the false, you will never know the true. You have to be capable of knowing both - and the man of awareness knows both.
He knows what is untrue and what is true. It is not that he knows only the truth - awareness simply makes him aware of the distinction between the untruth and the truth. But he knows both, and he knows the essential relationship between the two - that they are as related as life and death, as light and darkness, and they cannot be separated.
Don't ask for one thing - remain choiceless.
And choicelessness will bring the Zorba to Buddhahood, without destroying the Zorba and without taking the juice out of Buddha.
And the world will be immensely enriched by people who have the depth of a Buddha and also the playfulness of a Zorba.