Chapter 21: Of the Compassionate
Just the opposite happens when you are blissful, you want everybody else to be blissful, too; because your blissfulness becomes multiplied by everybody else being blissful too. Harming anybody becomes simply impossible. It is not a discipline, it is not a vow that you have taken in a temple according to any religion; it is a simple outcome of your own blissfulness; that you cannot harm. You know life enjoys itself in being blissful, how can you destroy any other life? Just as you enjoy, every form of life wants to enjoy.
Certainly, if everything around you is dancing and ecstatic, it is going to make your own ecstasy far richer. The reward is here, now. Harming others becomes impossible, because it is harming your own joy. And helping people to be blissful is not to be a service to them, but a service to yourself, because their joy is going to enhance your joy. The more people are blissful in the world, the more there is an atmosphere of celebration. In that atmosphere you can dance more easily, you can sing more easily. This is a great contribution of Zarathustra.
Therefore I wash my hand when it has helped a sufferer, therefore I wipe my soul clean as well.
For I saw the sufferer suffer, and because I saw it I was ashamed on account of his shame; and when I helped him, then I sorely injured his pride.
He is always original in seeing things. The same things have been seen by millions of people, but Zarathustra finds an angle which is absolutely virgin. He is saying, “Whenever I help somebody who is suffering, I know I am hurting his pride, I know he is feeling shame that he is suffering. Because of his shame I feel ashamed, and because I have helped him I have sorely injured his pride.”
Rather than expecting to have pleasures in heaven because I have helped somebody who is suffering - opening an account in paradise, counting on one’s virtues - he says “I wash my hand because I have hurt somebody’s pride. I have seen him suffer, I have seen him naked, I have seen his wounds which he was hiding. Although I have helped him - but what is my help? His pride is hurt, and I have to wash my hands. I have to do something so that he does not feel ashamed, so he does not feel that his pride has been hurt; on the contrary, he feels that he has obliged me, he has given me an opportunity to help a brother. He is not obliged to me, I am obliged to him.”
“Be reserved in accepting! Honor a man by accepting from him!”
Be reserved, be very, very careful and cautious in accepting.
“Honor a man by accepting from him.”
It may be a small thing, a roseflower, or just a good morning, or a handshake, but accept it with such love, with such grace. He has honored you. Let him feel that he has been accepted.