Zorba the buddha - man of the future

Fri, 4 June 1987 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
The Rebel
Chapter #:
pm in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
Archive Code:
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Question 1



Maneesha, my rebel, my new man, is Zorba the Buddha. Mankind has lived believing either in the reality of the soul and the illusoriness of matter, or in the reality of matter and the illusoriness of the soul.

You can divide the humanity of the past into the spiritualists and the materialists. But nobody has bothered to look at the reality of man. He is both together. He is neither just spirituality - he is not just consciousness - nor is he just matter. He is a tremendous harmony between matter and consciousness.

Or perhaps matter and consciousness are not two things, but only two aspects of one reality: matter is the outside of consciousness, and consciousness is the interiority of matter. But there has not been a single philosopher, sage, or religious mystic in the past who has declared this unity; they were all in favor of dividing man, calling one side real and the other side unreal. This has created an atmosphere of schizophrenia all over the earth.

You cannot live just as a body. That's what Jesus means when he says, "Man cannot live by bread alone" - but this is only half the truth. You cannot live just as consciousness alone, you cannot live without bread either. You have two dimensions of your being, and both the dimensions have to be fulfilled, given equal opportunity for growth. But the past has been either in favor of one and against the other, or in favor of the other and against the first one.

Man as a totality has not been accepted. This has created misery, anguish, and a tremendous darkness; a night that has lasted for thousands of years, that seems to have no end. If you listen to the body, you condemn yourself; if you don't listen to the body, you suffer - you are hungry, you are poor, you are thirsty. If you listen to consciousness only, your growth will be lopsided: your consciousness will grow but your body will shrink, and the balance will be lost. And in the balance is your health, in the balance is your wholeness, in the balance is your joy, your song, your dance.

The West has chosen to listen to the body, and has become completely deaf as far as the reality of consciousness is concerned. The ultimate result is great science, great technology, an affluent society, a richness of things mundane, worldly. And amidst all this abundance, a poor man without a soul, completely lost - not knowing who he is, not knowing why he is, feeling almost an accident or a freak of nature.

Unless consciousness grows with the richness of the material world, the body - matter - becomes too heavy and the soul becomes too weak. You are too much burdened by your own inventions, your own discoveries. Rather than creating a beautiful life for you, they create a life which is felt by all the intelligentsia of the West as not worth living.

The East has chosen consciousness and has condemned matter and everything material, the body included, as maya, as illusory, as a mirage in a desert which only appears but has no reality in itself.

The East has created a Gautam Buddha, a Mahavira, a Patanjali, a Kabir, a Farid, a Raidas - a long line of people with great consciousness, with great awareness. But it has also created millions of poor people, hungry, starving, dying like dogs - with not enough food, no pure water to drink, not enough clothes, not enough shelters.

A strange situation.... In the West every six months they have to drown billions and billions of dollars' worth of milk products and other foodstuff in the ocean, because it is surplus. They don't want to overload their warehouses, they don't want to lower their prices and destroy their economic structure.

On the one hand, in Ethiopia one thousand people were dying every day, and at the same time the European Common Market was destroying so much food that the cost of destroying it was millions of dollars. That is not the cost of the food; it is the cost of taking it to the ocean, and throwing it into the ocean. Who is responsible for this situation?

The richest man in the West is searching for his soul and finding himself hollow, without any love, only lust; without any prayer, only parrot-like words that he has been taught in the Sunday schools.

He has no religiousness, no feeling for other human beings, no reverence for life, for birds, for trees, for animals - destruction is so easy.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki would not have happened if man were not thought to be just matter. So many nuclear weapons would not have been piled up if man had been thought to be a hidden God, a hidden splendor; not to be destroyed but to be discovered, not to be destroyed but to be brought into the light - a temple of God. But if man is just matter, just chemistry, physics, a skeleton covered with skin, then with death everything dies, nothing remains. That's why it becomes possible for an Adolf Hitler to kill six million people, without a hitch. If all people are just matter, there is no question of even thinking twice.

The West has lost its soul, its interiority. Surrounded by meaninglessness, boredom, anguish, it is not finding itself. All the success of science is proving of no use, because the house is full of everything, but the master of the house is missing.

Here, in the East, the master is alive but the house is empty. It is difficult to rejoice with hungry stomachs, with sick bodies, with death surrounding you; it is impossible to meditate. So, unnecessarily, we have been losers.

All our saints, and all our philosophers, spiritualists and materialists both, are responsible for this immense crime against man.

Zorba the Buddha is the answer. It is the synthesis of matter and soul. It is a declaration that there is no conflict between matter and consciousness, that we can be rich on both sides. We can have everything that the world can provide, that science and technology can produce, and we can still have everything that a Buddha, a Kabir, a Nanak finds in his inner being - the flowers of ecstasy, the fragrance of godliness, the wings of ultimate freedom.

Zorba the Buddha is the new man, is the rebel.

His rebellion consists of destroying the schizophrenia of man, destroying the dividedness - destroying spirituality as against materialism, and destroying materialism as against spirituality.

It is a manifesto that body and soul are together: that existence is full of spirituality, that even mountains are alive, that even trees are sensitive, that the whole existence is both - or perhaps just one energy expressing itself in two ways, as matter and as consciousness. When energy is purified, it expresses itself as consciousness; when energy is crude, unpurified, dense, it appears as matter.

But the whole existence is nothing but an energy field.

This is my experience, it is not my philosophy. And this is supported by modern physics and its researches: existence is energy.

We can allow man to have both the worlds together. He need not renounce this world to get the other world, neither has he to deny the other world to enjoy this world. In fact, to have only one world while you are capable of having both is to be unnecessarily poor.

Zorba the Buddha is the richest possibility. He will live his nature to its utmost and he will sing songs of this earth. He will not betray the earth, and he will not betray the sky either. He will claim all that this earth has - all the flowers, all the pleasures - and he will also claim all the stars of the sky. He will claim the whole existence as his home.

The man of the past was poor because he divided existence. The new man, my rebel, Zorba the Buddha, claims the whole world as his home. All that it contains is for us, and we have to use it in every possible way - without any guilt, without any conflict, without any choice. Choicelessly enjoy all that matter is capable of, and rejoice in all that consciousness is capable of.

Be a Zorba, but don't stop there.

Go on moving towards being a Buddha.

Zorba is half, Buddha is half.

There is an ancient story. In a forest nearby to a city there lived two beggars. Naturally they were enemies to each other, as all professionals are - two doctors, two professors, two saints. One was blind and one was lame, and both were very competitive; the whole day they were competing with each other in the city.

But one night their huts caught fire, because the whole forest was on fire. The blind man could run out, but he could not see where to run, he could not see where the fire had not yet spread. The lame man could see that there are still possibilities of getting out of this fire, but he could not run out. The fire was too fast, wild, so the lame man could only see his death coming.

They both realized that they needed each other. The lame man had a sudden realization, "The other man can run, the blind man can run, and I can see." They forgot all their competition. In such a critical moment, when both were facing death, each necessarily forgot all stupid enmities.

They created a great synthesis; they agreed that the blind man would carry the lame man on his shoulders, and they would function as one man - the lame man could see, and the blind man could run. They saved their lives. And because they saved each other's lives they became friends; for the first time they dropped their antagonism.

Zorba is blind - he cannot see, but he can dance, he can sing, he can rejoice. The Buddha can see, but he can only see. He is pure eyes, just clarity and perception, but he cannot dance; he is crippled, he cannot sing, he cannot rejoice.

It is time. The world is a wildfire; everybody's life is in danger. The meeting of Zorba and Buddha can save the whole humanity. Their meeting is the only hope.

Buddha can contribute consciousness, clarity, eyes to see beyond, eyes to see that which is almost invisible. Zorba can give his whole being to Buddha's vision - and let it not remain just a dry vision, but make it a dancing, rejoicing, ecstatic way of life.

The ambassador of Sri Lanka wrote a letter to me saying that I should stop using the words "Zorba the Buddha"... because Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country, and he said, "It hurts our religious feelings that you are mixing strange people, Zorba and Buddha."

I wrote to him, "Perhaps you don't understand that Buddha is nobody's personal property, and Buddha is not necessarily the Gautam Buddha who you have been worshipping for thousands of years in your temples. Buddha simply means 'the awakened one.' It is an adjective; it is not a personal name. Jesus can be called the buddha; Mahavira was called, in Jaina scriptures, the buddha; Lao Tzu can be called a buddha - anybody who is enlightened is a buddha. The word buddha simply means 'the awakened one.'

"Now, awakening is nobody's property; everybody who can sleep can also awaken. It is just a natural, logical, corollary - if you are capable of sleeping, you are capable of waking up. Zorba is asleep; hence he has the capacity to be awake. So please don't get unnecessarily enraged, angry.

I am not talking about your Gautam Buddha; I am talking about the pure quality of awakening. I am using it only as a symbol.

"Zorba the Buddha simply means a new name for a new human being, a new name for a new age, a new name for a new beginning."

He has not replied. Even people who are holding posts of ambassadors are so utterly ignorant, so stupid. He thought that he was writing a very significant letter to me, without even understanding the meaning of the Buddha. Buddha was not the name of Gautama. His name was Gautam Siddhartha.

Buddha was not his name - the name given by his parents was Gautam Siddharth. Siddharth was his name, Gautama was his family name. He is called Buddha because he became awakened; otherwise he was also a Zorba. Anybody who is not awakened is a Zorba.

Zorba is a fictitious character, a man who believed in the pleasures of the body, in the pleasures of the senses. He enjoyed life to the fullest, without bothering about what is going to happen to him in the next life, whether he will enter into heaven or be thrown into hell. He was a poor servant; his boss was very rich, but very serious, long faced - very British.

One full-moon night... I have not been able to forget what he said to his boss. Zorba was in his cabin. He went outside, with his guitar - he was going to dance on the beach - and he invited the boss. He said, "Boss, only one thing is wrong with you - you think too much. Just come on! This is not the time for thinking; the moon is full, and the whole ocean is dancing. Don't miss this challenge."

He dragged the boss by his arm. His boss tried not to go with him, because Zorba was absolutely mad, he used to dance on the beach every night! The boss was feeling embarrassed.... What if somebody comes and sees that he is also standing with Zorba? And Zorba was not only inviting his boss to stand by; he was inviting him to start dancing!

Seeing the full-moon night and the ocean dancing, and the waves, and Zorba singing with his guitar, suddenly the boss started feeling an energy in his legs that he had never felt before. Encouraged and persuaded, he finally joined the dance; at first reluctantly, glancing all around, but there was nobody on the beach in the middle of the night. Then he forgot all about the world, and started. He became one with Zorba the dancer, and the ocean the dancer, and the moon the dancer. Everything became lost. It all became a dance.

Zorba is a fictitious character, and Buddha is an adjective for anyone who drops his sleep and becomes awake. No Buddhist need feel hurt.

I am giving Buddha energy to dance, and I am giving Zorba eyes to see beyond the skies to faraway destinies of existence and evolution.

My rebel is nobody other than Zorba the Buddha.

Question 2:



Satyadharma, the question is not how this rebellion can catch like a wildfire. The question is for you to catch the flame, for you to become a rebel. Don't be worried about how the world should catch the rebellious spirit. You are the world, every individual is the world.

It happened that Akbar, one of the great emperors of India, had made a beautiful pond. He was bringing the most beautiful swans from the highest lake in the world, Mansarovar, in the Himalayas.

The greatest, the whitest and the most beautiful swans are born only on that lake. For his palace garden he had made a very vast pond, so those big swans wouldn't feel imprisoned. The pond was almost a lake, big enough so that they could enjoy their freedom. He was standing and watching the completion of the pond; the pond was made completely of pure white marble.

His prime minister said, "The information has reached us that tomorrow the swans are coming. As a welcome for them, we should fill the pond not with water but with milk. Later on, of course, we will have to change it to water; but for the welcome, for the first day...."

Akbar said, "But from where to get so much milk?"

The prime minister said, "That's easy. We just have to inform the whole capital that the emperor's garden is receiving swans. And as a welcome to these swans from the Himalayas, he wants their pond, at least for the first day, to be filled with milk. Everybody in the city is requested to bring a bucket of milk."

The capital was large, and if everybody brought one bucket of milk the pond was certainly going to be filled with milk. And who was not going to fulfill the request? In fact it was a joy to join the emperor in welcoming the swans coming from the Himalayas - such a rare variety.

Hindus have always worshipped swans for a certain great capacity that they have: if you mix water and milk - perhaps it is a mythological idea - the swan is capable of drinking just the milk and leaving the water. If water and milk are mixed it is almost impossible to separate them, but the swan has that capacity. This must be mythology - certainly it is mythology - but it has great significance. It means the man who can separate the unreal from the real, the mortal from the immortal, the mundane from the sacred; the man who can separate sleep from awakening... he is also called PARAMHANSA, "the great swan."

The emperor was very happy. But the next day there was a great surprise for the whole palace, because the whole pond was full of water. Everybody in the city had thought, "Just one bucket of water when there will be millions of buckets of milk - who can detect it? You just have to go a little early, when it is dark." So everybody went a little early when it was dark, and everybody poured in water, hoping that everybody else was pouring in milk. Not a single man in the whole capital poured in milk.

You simply think about yourself - your bucket should be full of milk. Don't bother about others.

Everybody has to think about himself. If he is to save his organic unity - his joy in the world and his ecstasy of consciousness, together - he has to become part of the great rebellion I am talking about. This rebellion is going to be the religion of the future. But each individual has to take the responsibility on his own shoulders.

Just think about yourself - that's enough. And if you become aflame, if people see both Zorba and Buddha in you, you will create a great challenge around yourself for everybody. If you can become so rich on the outside and on the inside, so rich that you can have roots deep in the earth and wings flying in the sky, so rich that you can master matter and consciousness both together, then it will be an invitation, a challenge, and an exciting journey for anybody who comes in contact with you.

Rebellion is always contagious; it is a wildfire. But you should have the flame. Then wherever you move, you will be setting people on fire - people will become aflame with a new light, with a new vision, with a new idea, a new conception of man and his future.

An astronaut landed on Mars and came across a beautiful Martian woman stirring a pot over a flaming fire. "What are you doing?" he asked.

"Making babies," she replied.

"That is not how we do it on Earth," he told her.

"How is it done there?" she asked.

"I can't explain, but I can show you how - may I?"

"Sure," she said, and he proceeded to show her how it is done. When they had finished she asked, "Where are the babies?"

"Oh," he told her, "they don't come for another nine months."

"So," she replied, "why did you stop stirring? Go on stirring, that's how we do it. Until the babies come - go on stirring."

You are asking how this fire can become a wildfire around the earth. Just go on stirring!

Question 3:




Marcia, if you are really addicted to me then there is no fear. This is an addiction that knows no distances, either in time or in space; wherever you are, you will remain addicted to me. Perhaps when you are far away, your longing for me will be deeper, more intense. And you cannot be away for a long time, because I am not only your master but your home, too.

It is good, once in a while, to go away from the home just to realize how sweet the home is. Living at home, being with me, becomes almost a natural thing; one starts taking things for granted. Hence it is always good once in a while to go away, to intensify your desire and your longing and your passion.

Your addiction will not fade away - there is no antidote to it. There are many doctors here; I have been consulting all of them, "Do you know any antidote for this addiction?" They just say, "There is no antidote right now, and there is no possibility in the future either."

To be in love with a master is to be in love at the highest and purest level - it is no ordinary love.

Nothing can be higher than that. It is something divine. The greatest lotus flower... once you are addicted to it, you become a lotus-eater! Then nothing satisfies; then the home goes on calling you continuously.

Paddy fell two stories from a building scaffold.

"Did the fall hurt you?" asked his friend.

Paddy felt his aching bones, "It was not the fall that hurt me," he said, "it was the sudden stop."

So there is no fear in falling in love - just don't stop suddenly, go on falling! Never stop; it is the stop that really hurts.

People live under a very deep misconception that falling hurts. Paddy has revealed a great truth, that it is the stopping that hurts. Falling was perfectly good - one was almost enjoying a flight in the sky.

Soon you will be back here....

Things were quiet at the Poona police station.

"What a dull week - no burglaries, no fights, no sex orgies, no naked women! If this keeps up, we will be out of a job," said Officer Singh.

"Don't be a pessimist, Singh," said the commissioner. "I still have faith in human nature. Something is bound to happen - Marcia is going to be back again."

Don't be worried, Marcia, just go to have an experience of missing me; that too is very sweet. It is almost like an appetizer. And when you are away, you will remember what I am saying.

The old woman comes to the small town. She goes to the rabbi and complains that her husband has accused her of being ugly. The rabbi states that it is a serious allegation, and he must consult the book of the great sages. The rabbi takes the book, places it on a stand, opens it, takes out his spectacles, puts them on, looks at the woman, and pronounces firmly, "Your husband is right."

When you are far away, you will know that your master is right; there is no need to consult any rabbi.

Just for the journey: A young American couple who were touring England went to Canterbury Cathedral, where they could not resist making love on one of the historic marble tombstones. The next day the girl complained of back pain and went to see a local doctor. After the doctor examined her, he told her that he could find nothing wrong.

"But by the way," he asked, "how old are you?"

"Twenty-four," she answered. "Why?"

"Well," said the doctor, "it says on your ass that you died in 1787."

Okay, Maneesha?

Yes, Beloved Master.

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