Chapter 6: When Two Zeros Meet
“The Jewish woman says, ‘You know, Sam, the ceiling needs painting.’”
It depends how you look at things.. Now, Yoga Chinmaya is like a Jewish woman. His outlook towards life is not that of a delighted consciousness. He is simply avoiding. He simply goes on finding as many excuses as possible. The energy that he puts into finding excuses will be enough to do the work. And then he feels guilty and ashamed.
Work is worship. Work is prayer.
While I am talking to you, it is a prayer to me, it is worship. You are my temples, my gods. Whatsoever I am saying, I am not saying just to teach something. Teaching is a byproduct, a consequence. Whatsoever I say to you is a prayer - it is love, it is care. I care about you, I care as much as a painter cares about his canvas.
Have you ever heard about van Gogh being on a holiday? Have you ever heard about Picasso being on holiday? - yes, you must have heard. He used to go for many holidays, but always with his canvas and brush. On the holiday also he would be painting. It was not a holiday from painting.
When you love something there is no holiday - and then all your days are holidays. Each day to me is a Sunday, full of light - that’s why I call it Sunday. Each day to me is a Sunday because it is full of holiness.
Chinmaya’s attitude towards work is that of a utilitarian. It is not playful. He is worried about the work, tense about it. That too has a reason: he is a perfectionist - and perfectionism is the root cause of all neurosis. A perfectionist is a neurotic person; sooner or later, he will create more and more neurosis around him.
I am not a perfectionist. I don’t bother a bit about being a perfectionist. I am a wholistic person. I like things in their wholeness, but I never bother about their perfection. Nothing can be perfect in the world - and in fact nothing should be perfect in the world, because whenever a thing is perfect it is dead.
One poet used to live with me for a few years. He would write, rewrite, again cancel it, rewrite again - for days on end he would polish his poems. And by the time he would feel it was perfect, I would declare it was dead.
The first glimpse was something alive - it was not perfect, there were flaws in it. Then he went on improving it, removing all flaws, bringing more and more meter, grammar, better language, better words, better sounding words, more music. For months he would polish and change, and by the time he thought it was right to go to the press I would declare, “Now, you send it to the doctor for a postmortem - it is dead. You killed it.”