Chapter 31: The Festive Dimension
This has been very, very helpful to the egoist. He tries, and then he finds he cannot enjoy; finding that he cannot enjoy, he starts condemning. He starts condemning those who can enjoy too. He feels jealous, he feels disturbed. Out of his jealousy, out of his disturbance, he poisons people’s minds. If you are enjoying he says, “Look, you will suffer in hell. You are doing a crime! Celebrating, dancing, singing, loving?” Life is a punishment for him, and you are taking it as a reward? And these pathological people have dominated in the past.
Once, a friend of mine was alone on a dreary night in a lounge of an intercontinental hotel. Hoping to strike up a conversation with a distinguished-looking man sitting nearby, he said, “May I buy you a drink?”
“No,” said the man coolly. “Don’t drink. Tried it once and did not like it.”
Nothing daunted my friend, so he offered him a cigar, saying he had just picked up a good one.
“No, don’t smoke. Tried it once and did not like it.”
“Then how about a little game of rummy?”
“No. Don’t play cards. Tried it once, but did not like it. But my son will be dropping by after a bit. He might want to play.”
My friend settled back in his chair and said, “Your only child, I presume.”
These are the potential priests: they tried once and they didn’t enjoy - as if enjoyment is their birthright.
It has to be earned, it is an art. One has to imbibe it. It takes years of preparation, it takes years of cleansing. To hear classical music just for the first time and to think that you don’t enjoy it, “so forget all about it,” would be stupid. Your ears need a certain discipline, only then can they understand the subtle. The gross is available, it is easy to be with the gross, because it is animal. But to move into the deeper realms of life one needs great discipline, great meditativeness, great prayerfulness, great gratitude. And the basic thing to remember is: “If life is not becoming a celebration, then something is wrong with me, not with life itself.”
The old religions said life is wrong. I say, if something is not happening to you, you are wrong. I make you responsible, not life. Life is God. And from there the whole process changes: then something has to be cleaned in you, something that is hanging around you has to be cut, chunks of conditioning have to be dropped. You have to go through a surgery.
That’s what this Ashram is all about: it is a surgical place. It is no ordinary ashram like the thousands there are in India. It is a great existential experiment: we are creating a future here, a new kind of man with a new responsibility. We are laying the foundation stones of a new day, of a new sunrise. We are opening new doors to possibilities which have remained closed in the past. And because of this, humanity has suffered in the past, suffered a lot, and unnecessarily suffered. And the more people suffered, the more they thought, “The priests are right - life is wrong!” And the priests were creating more and more negative attitudes in people.