Kahlil Gibran sometimes touches almost the center of your being. But sometimes he misses the target completely. And those who understand only poetry will not be able to make the distinction when he is on the sunlit peaks and when he is just like you in the darkness of the valleys.
Yes, even when he is with you in the darkness of the valleys, he is a great poet. He can manage to make statements which sound very profound. But they are absolutely empty. Today's statements belong to that category - beautiful poetry but utterly contentless.
My commentaries on Kahlil Gibran are going to be the beginning of a new sort of commentary. There are almost one thousand commentaries on SRIMAD BHAGAVADGITA, the Hindu holy scripture.
They all differ from each other. And so is the case with other scriptures - like Badarayana's BRAHMASUTRAS. They have been commented upon for centuries.
But there is not a single commentary in the whole world which finds statements which are not right or which are superficial. They are the commentaries of followers, and followers are always blind.
They think everything that is written in SRIMAD BHAGAVADGITA has to be right.
Therefore I am saying this is the beginning of a new way of commentary. I am not a follower of anybody. When I see the truth, I am ready to die for it. It does not matter from whom it comes - from Raidas, a shoemaker; or Badarayana, a great seer, perhaps the greatest Hindu who has some truth in him - if I see that what is being said is superficial, I am not going hide it from you. And if I see there is something which is false, I am going to expose it to you.
All the old commentaries are false in a way. Everything is right - the idea seems to be, "How can Badarayana be wrong?" So the commentators have been trying to manipulate words, to give them new meanings, new colors, just to protect the idea that Badarayana is consistently true.
I cannot do that. I may agree with anyone if truth is there. And I will disagree with anyone. However ancient and however respected, I am going to disagree, because to me it is not a question of the man who has written the book. It is a question of being always with truth and never allowing untruth just for the sake of consistency.
Kahlil Gibran cannot be consistent, because he is a great poet - but only a poet; he is not a mystic.
He has not seen the reality in its totality. He has not experienced himself, his own individuality.
But he is a magician as far as words are concerned. Even in these statements, his magic is profound.
But the meaning is missing.
THEN A WOMAN SAID, SPEAK TO US OF JOY AND SORROW.
AND HE ANSWERED:
YOUR JOY IS YOUR SORROW UNMASKED.
AND THE SELFSAME WELL FROM WHICH YOUR LAUGHTER RISES WAS OFTENTIMES FILLED WITH YOUR TEARS.
There is beauty in the words, poetry in the expression, but there is no profundity of meaning. This statement is true only for those who are fast asleep and unconscious. The statement is not true; it simply shows your sleepiness, your unconsciousness.
As far as the unconscious man is concerned, his joy is nothing but his sorrow unmasked because the unconscious man lives in contradictions. His joy and his sorrow are only two sides of the same coin. His laughter and his tears are not intrinsically different, they come from the selfsame well....
In one of the very important statements of Friedrich Nietzsche... and it is well to remember Friedrich Nietzsche at this moment because Kahlil Gibran was impressed by Friedrich Nietzsche more than by anybody else. In fact, he wrote the book, THE PROPHET under the influence of Friedrich Nietzsche's book, THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA.
Friedrich Nietzsche, in ZARATHUSTRA says: "I laugh because I am afraid if I don't laugh, I may start weeping. My laughter is nothing but a strategy to hide my tears."
Have you observed that people who are very fat seem to be always more smiling, happy, joyous?
What could be the reason? Fatness cannot create joy. But the reason is, the fat person goes on becoming more and more ugly and his eyes are full of tears. He knows his ugliness, he knows that he has missed the opportunity to be beautiful. To hide the fact, he smiles more, laughs more, appears always joyful. He may not be aware of the phenomenon because whatever unconscious people are doing, they don't know why they are doing it.
Just to emphasize the fact, I would like to remind you that Jews have the best and the most beautiful jokes in the world. And they are the people who have suffered the most. I have been in search for years to find a single Indian joke but I have not been successful; all the jokes are borrowed from somewhere else. Their origins are not India. Most of them come from the Jews.
It looks very strange: the race that has suffered so much for almost four thousand years, has been tortured in every possible way, has lived without a country, has been butchered, massacred, in millions... and yet they have the most refined jokes. The psychology behind it is that they want to hide their wounds. They want to forget their misery, their torture.
I have heard from one of my sannyasins who was in a concentration camp of Adolf Hitler in Germany.
The war ended and just by chance, he survived. He told me... he is not a Jew. But when there are millions of people burned in gas chambers, who cares who you are? He used to live with a Jewish family, and he was also caught. He denied that he was a Jew, but who was there to listen?
He told me, "The strangest phenomenon that I saw in the concentration camp - where thousands of Jews were reduced, humiliated, in such ugly ways as it has never been done before. First all their belongings would be taken; even a wristwatch was not allowed. Their clothes were taken. They had to stand naked - men and women and children, in long queues - to be medically examined, for hours. Still, they were joking and laughing. They were telling jokes to one another."
They knew their time to die had come. Tomorrow had never been more uncertain. Even when they were entering the gas chambers... and they knew that whoever had entered those chambers had never come back. They had seen thousands of people entering the gas chamber and within minutes, the chimneys of the gas chamber were releasing smoke. All those people had been killed through technology so quickly.
Just five minutes before entering the same chamber - and they knew that it was the last time they would see the beautiful world, the trees, the flowers, the people, their children, their wife, their mother, their old father - still they were telling jokes.
He was puzzled. He could not understand because he is a Hindu. He had gone to Germany to study. Just by chance, a rich Jewish family became interested in him - and he was a man of genius - and they asked him, "Don't stay anywhere else. Be our guest." This is how he was caught.
But even more than the gas chamber and the concentration camp and all kinds of humiliations, the most puzzling thing for him was, "What kind of people are these Jews? Is this a time to laugh?"
India has no jokes of its own for a certain reason. It has never suffered the way Jews have suffered.
For another reason, its religion teaches it to accept suffering as a punishment from God, because of your past evil acts. "Be patient, accept it. And you will be well rewarded after death."
But the Jews don't have any after-death. This is the only life they know. This is the only earth they know. These are the only people, the only trees, the only sun and moon they know. And they have been continuously tortured.
First they were tortured in Egypt as slaves. Moses must be honored as one of the greatest revolutionaries of the world; he provoked them to revolt. It was very difficult, because they had become accustomed to the misery. Have you seen all those great pyramids? They were created, not by Egyptians - yes, they were created for Egyptian kings and queens, but they were created by Jewish slaves.
Even science is unable to understand how such huge blocks of stone... even today we don't have cranes to put them on top of a highrise pyramid. How did the Egyptians manage four thousand years ago? The credit does not belong to Egyptians. On the contrary, those pyramids are standing as a condemnation of the Egyptian kings and queens. They are their graves, but before a grave for a king or a queen was finished, thousands of Jews had died in making the grave, the pyramid.
Egyptian soldiers were following when the Jews were carrying those huge stones on their shoulders.
And the burden was such that many would simply die because of the burden, would be crushed under the stone, under the rock. His dead body would be thrown by the side of the road and another Jew would be put in his place to carry the stone. Even if a thousand lives were needed to put the stone on top of the pyramid, it was perfectly okay. And on both sides, Egyptian soldiers were continuously beating people: "You are lazy! It is not because of the weight of the rock that you are so slow, you are simply lazy!" Many would die because of the beatings. They were treated in a far worse way than even animals have ever been treated.
Since those days, Moses had somehow managed to convince them that "You are God's chosen people, and I have come to liberate you." I know it was a fiction, but it was certainly needed because those Jews had lost completely the dignity of being human beings. Somebody had to convince them: "You are human beings - not only human beings but the most superior human beings, the very chosen people of God. Just follow me out of Egypt and I will show you that God has prepared a beautiful land for you, Israel."
This was all beautiful fiction. But it worked, the Jews went out of Egypt. There was no Israel anywhere. For forty years, they wandered in the Middle East, the vast desert, without food, without water - like beggars. And they were asking again and again, "Where is Israel? And how long is it going to take?"
My own insight is that, tired and weary, finally Moses reached the place that he showed to them - "This is Israel." It was a barren land. In forty years, almost ninety percent of the original people who had left Egypt had died. Forty years is a long time. And when you are in misery, it becomes even longer.
Time is very elastic. When you are blissful it becomes very small: sitting with your friend, hours pass and it seems only minutes have passed. But hungry, thirsty, desert all around as far as human eyes could see - no Garden of Eden. It was certain that people would die.
When Moses reached the place that he named Israel, he was surrounded by almost all new people, who had been born on the way. And there was such a gap. The generation gap that you talk about today was first felt by Moses and his people. Those new people had no idea who this fellow Moses was. There was no possibility of communication.
Hence, Moses had to leave the land with the new generation, with an excuse: "I am going to find one of our tribes which has lost its way somewhere in the desert." It was true. One tribe of the Jews had lost its way and reached Kashmir - and Kashmir looks closer to God's garden than Israel, so they settled there, thinking that they had reached and all the others had lost their way in the desert.
Moses found them just at the very end of his life. He died in Kashmir. I have been to his grave...
because there are only two graves in India - one of Moses and another of Jesus - on which the inscriptions are in Hebrew. And both graves are in one place, in Pahalgam in Kashmir. The word pahalgam means, "the village of the shepherd." Because Jesus used to say, "I am the shepherd and you are the sheep. Follow me: I will take you to your real home, your real land."
Pahalgam, in Kashmiri, means "the village of the shepherd." It is strange that Moses and Jesus should die in India, where there are no Jews. Both were Jews. Remember, Jesus had never heard the word "Christian." He had never known that he would be known as "Jesus Christ," because in Hebrew, there is no such word as "Christ." He used to call himself "the messiah."
Christ is the Greek translation of the word Messiah. And of course, the followers became known as Christians. Otherwise, Jesus was born a Jew, lived a Jew, died a Jew. Two great Jews... strange mysteries of existence... had to come to a land where there were no other Jews. And it was good; otherwise they would have been crucified.
Jews cannot forgive Moses because he deceived them - although he was the man who made them free of a long, long slavery. But he landed in a rotten place and then escaped. Seeing the situation, that after forty years this is the outcome... and he was so tired, naturally.
And they have not been able to forgive Jesus either because it is in his name that the greatest and the richest business has been founded - Christianity. How can Jews forgive? Their own son has founded the greatest establishment, and it is in the hands of others.
Since those days, Jews have been in trouble. Israel is surrounded now by Mohammedans. Fourteen centuries before, it was surrounded by robbers whose whole business was to kill and rob... because the earth yields nothing to eat. Caravans passing through the desert were robbed, killed - that was the only business of the desert people. First they tortured Jews as much as possible, and then came the Mohammedans. Mohammed transformed those same nomads into the religion of Islam.
After Mohammed, Israel has been surrounded. It is a small island in a vast ocean of Mohammedans.
They have been torturing - they tortured them so much, and finally took over their land. They even changed the name of Israel. Before 1947, its name was Palestine, it was a Mohammedan country.
And now, the ugliest politicians of America and Britain, after the second world war have managed - because they were occupying Palestine - to give the Jews back their land. And the Jews thought this was Christian generosity - it was not. The truth is... although nobody says it, the truth is that the American politicians again put them into the same situation, where they will be tortured by Mohammedans continuously. Israel cannot exist.
And now it has become a problem of prestige. They have poured all their money into Israel, they have come from all over the world to live in their own land. And the Mohammedans are forcing them to go back - "It is not your country."
The American cunningness has never reached higher than that. In such a sweet manner, they persuaded the Jews - who themselves were asking, "We need a land, our own country." Now they are dependent on America. Israel is not a sovereign country - can never be. If America stops giving them arms, the next day they will be massacred. So this is good business and good politics.
America got rid of its own Jews. It is a fanatic Christian mind, but they found a very clever way of getting rid of Jews without killing them.
Adolf Hitler killed six million Jews but he was at least straightforward. America has put all the Jews, for centuries to come, in the position to be continuously in a gas chamber. And any day America can decide that "We cannot waste more arms. We have helped enough." And they are not helping for free; the American Jews are paying. They are the greatest customers for all the old, rotten weapons which cannot be used by America. They are being sold to the Jews. And they will remain in constant need, and in constant paranoia.
Still, they laugh the best. They go on finding beautiful jokes. The psychology is simple: their whole being is full of tears and they don't want it to be exposed to the world. Any excuse to laugh is enough for them. That's why I say Kahlil Gibran's statement is superficial.
This contradiction between laughter and tears, between joy and sorrow is just a part of the mind.
Mind cannot live without contradictions.
But Kahlil Gibran knows nothing beyond the mind. Once in a while, he has glimpses of the heart which is only a mid-way stopover. It is not your true being. Of course, it is better than the mind but don't be deceived by it, because it is also part of the same body as mind is. Your mind and your heart both will die with the death of the mind.
Find out that which is not going to die - then you will know there is no contradiction. When a Gautam Buddha smiles, he is not hiding tears. In fact, if a Gautam Buddha weeps, sheds tears, you will find in those tears also the same laughter, the same smile, the same fragrance. They are not out of sorrow. Neither are they hiding sorrow nor are they arising out of sorrow; they are arising out of overflowing joy.
The laughter is joy, and the tears are also joy for a man who has known the beyond, for the man who is enlightened.
And how else can it be? Kahlil Gibran is asking, "This is the only way it can be. How else it can be?"
THE DEEPER THAT SORROW CARVES INTO YOUR BEING, THE MORE JOY YOU CAN CONTAIN.
This is absurd, absolutely wrong.
Kahlil Gibran lived his whole life in America. Although he was born in Lebanon, he lived in America.
It is one of the calamities of history that only the East knows the secret of meditation; the West has no awareness of it.
If Kahlil Gibran had been in the East, he would have touched the same heights of consciousness as any Lao Tzu, as any Bodhidharma. And he was more articulate than Gautam Buddha or Mahavira.
If he had touched all those heights and remained on them, he would have been the greatest man on the earth, because neither Buddha has that poetry nor anybody else. But they know the truth.
He is saying, and how else can it be? It has been!
I say unto you: and it can be! And it can be to everyone who is ready to seek and search. It is not a question of being a poet. Poetry is a talent, just like painting is a talent or sculpture is a talent. But to know yourself is your fundamental right - the only fundamental right which cannot be interfered with by any government, by any atomic energy, by any nuclear weapons. They can destroy you, but they cannot destroy your beyond. Your beyond is part of the whole existence. And there is no contradiction, ever. In the words of Gautam Buddha, he says: "Take the water of the ocean anywhere and the taste is the same, always the same."
Because Kahlil Gibran does not know anything about meditation, he thinks that the deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. If you are unaware of the possibilities of meditation, you will find it difficult to disagree with him. But I disagree at this point, and disagree absolutely. There is no question of any compromise or negotiations - he's wrong. He does not know that there is a place in your being which is not reached through deepening your sorrow but which is reached by silencing your mind, by filling your heart with love.
Then only - in that silence, in that love-filled silence - blossom the flowers of eternal joy, life, beauty.
You reach the realization of your potential. Then you are not afraid of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, and you are not afraid of Adolf Hitler's gas chambers, and you are not afraid of Ronald Reagan's nuclear weapons. Because they can only take away that which is not yours.
They cannot destroy anything which is really yours. Your body, mind, your heart - all have been given to you by your parents, by other bodies. What is not given by your parents is your being, which has its own history of being in many bodies, having many minds and many hearts, and will have its own history. Even if this planet is destroyed by these idiots who are in power, your being will be on some other planet. There are fifty thousand planets in the world where life exists.
The man of meditation is absolutely fearless.
IS NOT THE CUP THAT HOLDS YOUR WINE THE VERY CUP THAT WAS BURNED IN THE POTTER'S OVEN?
Beautiful words. It hurts to criticize Kahlil Gibran but I am helpless. Do you see the fallacy? He is saying: is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven? The cup was burned in the potter's oven, not you. So in what way can the sorrow of the cup being burned in the potter's oven create a depth in you which can contain joy?
You will have to be burned in the potter's oven, not a cup. What relation is there? The cup can be broken - you will not be broken. The cup can be thrown away - you will not be thrown away. You are not the cup. And strange, that you are trying to attain joy because of the misery and pain of the cup!
But nobody wants to go through fire. And meditation is certainly going through fire, because it has to burn your rubbish, which is filled into your head. It will have to cleanse your heart, with which you are clinging as if it is your treasure. It will have to make you nude, because the clothes that you are wearing are nothing but your misery and pain, anxiety and anguish.
Passing through the fire of meditation, everything that is not your authentic reality, everything that is borrowed, will be burned. Then what remains is the most essential, the immortal. Even death cannot destroy it. But nobody wants to go through the fire.
I am reminded of something which the police commissioner should know. The Hindu reincarnation of God, Rama, was fighting against his enemy Ramana, because Ramana had stolen his beautiful wife, Sita, and kept her imprisoned in a beautiful garden.
He did not misbehave with her. With all respect due, all her needs were fulfilled and she was treated as a queen - she was a queen. The fight was with Rama, not with Sita.
After three years of continuous war, Rama conquered the enemy. Sita was released... and you come across one of the most ugly scenes in the Hindu scriptures. Because the first question Rama asked is a question any male chauvinist will ask: "Are you still pure? And if you are pure, you will have to pass a fire test. You will have to go through fire, and if you come alive out of the fire, I will accept you. If you don't come out alive, the question of acceptance does not arise."
But I say this is one of the ugliest scenes in this most-loved Hindu scripture, RAMAYANA, the story of Rama - because he is asking about the purity of Sita; he's not giving any proof of his purity. And it is a well-known fact: a woman can remain celibate very easily because she has every month, a periodic release of her sexual energy. But man is in difficulty, he does not have the same kind of release. His sexual energy goes on accumulating and goes on becoming more and more burdensome. It has to be released.
If he was really a man of understanding... Hindus think he is the incarnation of God. I am saying only if he was a man of understanding he would have followed Sita, hand in hand through the fire, to give her the proof of his purity.
But it is a male chauvinist society and all your religions are male chauvinist - they are created by men and they are dominated by men. And the innocent Sita does not even ask, "And what about you? Just as I have been three years away from you, you have been three years away from me. We are in the same position. In fact, I was imprisoned and the man who imprisoned me, your enemy, is one of the most-learned men India has known.
"He has not even touched my body. And I have been treated as a queen. He gave me his best garden, his best palace to live in. But you were free - what about your purity?"
No, Sita did not ask that. That is her humbleness, that is her beauty and grace. Rama has fallen far below Sita. She passed through the fire without any question.
I am saying this so that the police commissioner should know why I criticize other religions - because they are my past too; the whole past of man is my past. I am entitled to look back and see where man has gone wrong, and no third-rate government servant is going to prevent me.
And even after giving the fire test, when Rama came back with Sita to his capital in Ayodhya, he again behaved brutally. A washerman's wife did not come home in the night. And when in the morning she came home, the washerman said, "Get lost! I am not a Rama to accept a wife who has been three years in the hands of the enemies."
It was reported to Rama, that "A washerman has criticized you." Sita has given the proof before thousands of eyewitnesses, but just a washerman's criticism... and she's pregnant now, but Rama throws her into the forest, into a commune of brahmin students. And this has been told for centuries to this country - "What a great sacrifice he made!"
I am amazed. Is this sacrifice? or just a greed for the kingdom? Is this sacrifice? or just a greed for respectability? He is a coward! He neither followed her into the fire nor he followed her to the forest.
He could have said, "If the people of my capital are suspicious of me, I renounce this kingdom but I cannot renounce a woman who has passed a fire test before thousands of eyewitnesses."
He is greedy for the kingdom, he is greedy for respectability. And who is sacrificed? Sita is sacrificed.
And people are being told, "Look at the great sacrifice Rama made."
To sacrifice anybody else is very easy. If he had sacrificed himself, the kingdom, the respectability, I would have loved him as one of the great men, a great soul. But if someone says to me that knowing all the facts, I should accept him as a reincarnation of God, I refuse. He is not even a human being.
He's subhuman, just a politician.
And you say to me that I should not criticize? I criticize because I want to purify the path for humanity, for the future. Otherwise, we will go on repeating the same idiotic ideas.
I am not against anybody. I am simply concerned that the new man should not be burdened with the rotten past. My criticism is not basically of the past, my criticism is in favor of the new man - to prepare the ground for the new humanity. Nobody can prevent me.
AND IS NOT THE LUTE THAT SOOTHES YOUR SPIRIT THE VERY WOOD THAT WAS HOLLOWED WITH KNIVES?
Because he has no understanding and is not capable to say, "I do not know the answer to your question...." That would have been far greater, if Almustafa had said to the woman, "Your question - you will have to seek someone else for its answer, I don't know." But he is trying to hide his ignorance with beautiful poetry.
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit the very wood that was hollowed with knives? The lute is hollowed with knives - not your heart, not your being. So if it soothes... it is not a spiritual growth. It does not soothe your spirit, as he says; it soothes only your head. And not because of the knives, not because of the pain that the lute has to go through. How are you connected with lutes and with cups?
I am simply amazed that even a man like Kahlil Gibran is not aware of what he is saying, and nobody has ever objected to it. Because if Kahlil Gibran is not aware, what to say of the people who are reading Kahlil Gibran all over the world? His beauty, his beautiful poetry - and they are hypnotized by it.
But nothing can hypnotize me. And I don't make any distinction: if I see something is wrong with Rama, I am going to hammer him. If I see something is wrong with Jesus, I am not going just to remain silent so that Christians are not annoyed with me, so that my communes are not destroyed, so that my sannyasins are not being prevented, so that I am not harassed, tortured in every possible way, punished for no crime at all.
And the doors of all the countries are closed, I cannot enter. I am not coming with a army... but don't force me, because I can manage to come with an army too. And armies don't need visas.
Kahlil Gibran was never a disciple. Hence, he has no understanding of many things which only disciples can have. He was never a master so he is not aware of the total truth. He was never a mystic. He was only a great poet. And I have chosen him for my commentaries so that I can show you - don't be deceived by beautiful words. Always look inside, whether they contain anything. Don't be bothered by the containers - the containers can be very beautiful, very aesthetic, and inside?
There is nothing but darkness and emptiness.
And Kahlil Gibran is the right person to choose, because sometimes he flies like an eagle across the sun and sometimes he is just sitting in his nest. But you will not be able to make the distinction. And my effort is to make you aware so that even the greatest poet cannot deceive you, even the greatest name cannot make you afraid - "How to say that Mahavira can be wrong, or Gautam Buddha can have missed the point?"
WHEN YOU ARE JOYOUS, LOOK DEEP INTO YOUR HEART, AND YOU SHALL FIND IT IS ONLY THAT WHICH HAS GIVEN YOU SORROW THAT IS GIVING YOU JOY.
This is too ordinary. It would have been good if he had not said it, it is below him. Everybody knows it - that it is the same thing that gives you joy but when you lose it, it gives you sorrow. What great discovery is there?
WHEN YOU ARE SORROWFUL, LOOK AGAIN IN YOUR HEART...
There is no need to look again and again into heart. These are such obvious facts:
AND YOU SHALL SEE THAT IN TRUTH YOU ARE WEEPING FOR THAT WHICH HAS BEEN YOUR YOUR DELIGHT.
I say unto you, never look into the heart unnecessarily! Because that may become your habit, so anything stupid and you start looking into the heart. For such superficial things, even just an ordinary mind, a retarded mind is enough. So look into your retardedness - if you need; otherwise without looking... these things are so superficial, but if you feel that you have to look in, then look in your retarded mind. Leave the heart for those moments when your mind is impotent, when even the greatest mind is helpless. Then, and only then, look into your heart.
Here, Kahlil Gibran makes looking into your heart just like whenever you feel nervous, you look into your pocket for a cigarette so that you can start smoking and get engaged in smoking and forget the problem, and the anxiety and the nervousness. People are smoking because of their nervousness.
The heart is a sacred shrine. Knock on the doors of the heart only in moments when your mind feels that it is beyond its capacity.
But not a single time does he mention, "Look into your being." He is not even aware of it, that all profound truths and secrets are not contained in the heart. There will come a moment when even the heart cannot help you. Then Kahlil Gibran has no answer for you. But I have an answer:
Then, go beyond the heart. Look into your own being.
But these should be very rare occasions. They should not be made habitual: that which is giving you sorrow, that which is giving you joy....
WHEN YOU ARE SORROWFUL, LOOK AGAIN IN YOUR HEART, AND YOU SHALL SEE THAT IN TRUTH YOU ARE WEEPING FOR THAT WHICH HAS BEEN YOUR DELIGHT.
SOME OF YOU SAY, "JOY IS GREATER THAN SORROW," AND OTHERS SAY, "NAY, SORROW IS THE GREATER."
Yes, there are only two kinds of philosophies in the world. There are pagan philosophers, who have disappeared from the world. They say, "Eat drink and be merry, because joy is greater than sorrow.
Let your life be a constant pleasure, women and wine, and there is no other truth. Don't waste your time."
But these pagan philosophers have disappeared, because all the priests of the world are against them. If they are right, then who is going to listen to the priests in the temples, in the mosques, in the churches? Just go into a church and see, and you will be surrounded by sorrow. Poor Jesus Christ hanging on the cross - certainly you cannot dance in a church. It will be so out of place. You cannot sing a song of love in a church, you cannot have a belly laughter in a church. The church is almost a graveyard. Sit there as if you are dead, sad, sorrowful. This is thought to be religion.
That's why you don't see your saints smiling. You will be surprised if you find your saint, whom you have been worshipping, playing cards. You will say, "My god, and I used to think that this man is a great saint." But I don't see any contradiction. Why can't a great saint play cards? Yes, he will play cards without cheating, that I understand.... But you will not allow your saints to dance.
But I say unto you: unless a saint is able to dance, he knows nothing. He is just a corpse, who died long before. Don't go near such people because they can be infectious. They may be carrying many diseases - sadness is a disease, sorrowfulness is a disease.
You will never become young if you cannot laugh, if you cannot love, if you cannot dance, if you cannot sing.
I was in a city and a small boy, maybe ten years old, was being initiated as a Jaina monk. Now, Jaina monks are the sickest people in the whole world. I asked the parents of the child, "Are you mad?
You are still producing children and you are feeling very glad and very proud that your ten-year-old young boy is going to become a Jaina monk. But do you understand the implications? You have taken away from your boy, his youth. From ten years, he has simply taken a quantum leap; he will be seventy years old. Sixty years you have taken from his life.
"He will never be able to love. He will never be able to see the beauty of existence. He will never be young. You are making him old! You are all murderers and you are feeling very proud. And because of your pride, that innocent boy is ready, without understanding anything of what he is going to do, to become a monk."
But they were angry at me. They told me that I should leave their temple. I said, "This is not a temple. I am going to inform the police that a few people are killing a young boy of ten years and they should be stopped. Let him grow. Let him find his own sky, and if one day he finds something more beautiful, something more youthful, something more nourishing, something that brings a song to his lips and a dance to his feet, then he will be a saint."
But people are so blind, so utterly blind - they cannot see simple facts of life. All these religions say: "Nay, sorrow is greater," because your tears will wash away your crimes. What crimes have you committed?
It was a constant problem with my father - he would tell me, "Now you are not a child. You should start going to the temple, you should start worshipping. You should start prayers."
But I said, "For what?"
He said, "Just to wash all your crimes away."
I said, "This is strange. I have not committed any crime, still I have to wash?"
I told him: In a small school, before small children, a Christian priest was telling them that if you live without any sin, if you drop and renounce all that is against religion, you will be immensely rewarded in the other world. And then he asked the boys, "What is the way to enter into the kingdom of God?"
A small boy stood up. He said, "First commit sins."
He said, "What? I have been wasting my whole time telling you, ???Renounce sins'!"
"But," the boy said, "I have not committed any sin. How can I renounce something which I don't have? First let me commit all the sins. Please teach us how to sin. When we have sinned enough, we will renounce them and enter into the kingdom of God."
That was the last time. My father said, "I am finished. You don't harass me."
I said, "Strange... YOU harass me! I have never told you to go to any temple. I don't care about what happens after death. My own concern is, what is happening now? And if you have committed a crime, sins, it is your problem. You should go to the temple, you should pray, but let me live my life.
And if I feel that this is a wrong life, I will renounce."
Thirty years, forty years must have passed since this dialogue with my father but I have not found yet that life is a crime or a sin. The longer I have lived, the deeper I have lived, I have found that those people are unfortunate who have renounced life. Because the kingdom of God is not in renouncing life but in rejoicing life, uncovering... just like you peel an onion. Go on peeling and you will find, in the end, pure emptiness in your hand because the onion is nothing but layers upon layers, layers upon layers - so is life. Go on peeling it. Go on living it deeper and deeper and deeper, and finally you will have the emptiness Buddha calls the ultimate truth in your hands. You have already entered into the kingdom of God.
BUT I SAY UNTO YOU, THEY ARE INSEPARABLE.
Again he comes to the same viewpoint, that joy and sorrow are inseparable. So neither joy is greater nor sorrow is greater; they are inseparable.
And it is true for the blind, for the sleepy, for the unconscious. But those who are alert just a little bit can transcend both. They are inseparable - so the moment you transcend sorrow, you also transcend joy. In their transcendence is silence, is peace, is blissfulness, is benediction.
Kahlil Gibran has the capacity to transcend this superficial, intellectual understanding - because there are moments when he rises above it - but he goes on falling back.
TOGETHER THEY COME, AND WHEN ONE SITS ALONE WITH YOU AT YOUR BOARD, REMEMBER THAT THE OTHER IS ASLEEP UPON YOUR BED.
He's right as far as the ordinary, asleep humanity is concerned. But he is not right as far as a Gautam Buddha is concerned or a Mahavira is concerned or I am concerned.
VERILY YOU ARE SUSPENDED LIKE SCALES BETWEEN YOUR SORROW AND YOUR JOY.
ONLY WHEN YOU ARE EMPTY ARE YOU AT STANDSTILL AND BALANCED.
WHEN THE TREASURE-KEEPER LIFTS YOU TO WEIGH HIS GOLD AND SILVER, NEEDS MUST YOUR JOY OR YOUR SORROW RISE OR FALL.
I say to you that mind can be balanced - if your sorrow and your joy are balanced, you will find yourself at a standstill - but this is not the dance I am talking about. This is not the ecstasy I am talking about. This standstill is a kind of death. You have not transcended - it is just that the scales are balanced.
AND WHEN THE TREASURE-KEEPER LIFTS YOU TO WEIGH HIS GOLD AND SILVER, NEEDS MUST YOUR JOY OR YOUR SORROW RISE OR FALL - and I say to you, this is absolute nonsense. It will happen if you are at a standstill, just because of the balance - fifty percent joy, fifty percent sorrow. Naturally, you are neither joyful nor sorrowful.
You will feel a kind of indifference, a dullness.
This dullness is not spiritual. You will find such dull people all around. They look utterly bored.
Because even if they are sorrowful at least something is happening; even if their eyes are full of tears, they show a sign of life. Or if they are joyful, smiling, laughing - although it is all superficial, it is better than being at a standstill.
Whenever you are at a standstill, you have accepted that life is nothing but boredom. That's what Jean Paul Sartre says, "Life is boredom." He must have come to a standstill. It has nothing to do with life, it has something to do with his inner balance between joy and sorrow. If you feel bored, it is time that you should start moving. It means you have stopped; you are no more breathing, your heart is no more beating.
If you want to remain superficial then choose anything - either joy or sorrow, because whatever you choose, you have chosen the other too. Today you may be joyful, tomorrow you will be sorrowful, because life always keeps balance. But it has nothing to do with spiritual growth.
Spiritual growth is going beyond joy and beyond sorrow. In other words, spiritual growth means going beyond all contradictions.
Only in that space which is non-contradictory, non-dual, do you experience the truth, the god that is hidden inside you. It is very close. Just a little intelligence....
But you will be surprised: not a single religion has emphasized the fact that intelligence has anything to do with religion. I have been wasting my eyesight, looking into all kinds of rubbish from all over the world but I have not found a single place in any holy scripture which says that intelligence is the most important religious quality. They all say belief, faith, is the most fundamental quality. And both are against intelligence.