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Chapter 22: A Synthesis between Zorba and Buddha

Therefore I say that spiritualists have been denying the very base of the temple. They accept the temple but they deny the foundation of the temple, and without the foundation no temple can stand. That’s why religions have failed.

Gautama the Buddha has failed - for the simple reason that he was trying to make a temple without any foundations going down into the earth. He was trying to grow roses, but he was not ready to accept the roots under the ground which live in darkness and, of course, are not as beautiful as the roses. But neither can the roses exist without the roots, nor can the roots afford to exist without the flowers. The roots without the flowers will be barren, and the flowers without the roots can only be of plastic.

So all the religions of the past have created a plastic humanity. Denying Zorba, they have denied all that is solid in you. And the materialists, communists, Marxists, and other brands of materialism - Epicurus in Greece, Charvaka in India - they are eating, drinking, womanizing, but at the very end they find nothing but frustration. Something is missing. They may have all the money, all the power, everything that a man can ask for, but still inside they are empty, hollow. They may be dancing, but their dance has nothing of divinity in it. Their dance is just an exercise of the body; there is no soul to it.

These are the two ways humanity has lived up to now - divided, split, schizophrenic. Both have to repress something. Buddha has to repress Zorba, Zorba has to repress Buddha. As far as I’m concerned, both are sick because both are half of one whole, which can be healthy only if both the parts meet and fill the gaps. Zorba can become the foundation, Buddha can become the temple.

I don’t see that there is any conflict between the rose and the roots. On the contrary, the roots are continuously sending food, water, nourishment, color, fragrance to the rose. The rose is on the receiving end. All that the rose gives to you comes from the roots. Cut the roots away and the rose dies, disappears. All fragrance, all life, all dance in the wind, the joy in the sun, simply wither away. Take the roses away and what meaning is left for the roots?

That’s why materialism is bound to come to a point where it feels meaningless, everything meaningless. It is the Zorba in the West which has come to its climax in the so-called philosophy of existentialism. Existentialism is the ultimate logical conclusion of Zorba. There is no meaning in life according to European existentialism. There is only anxiety, anguish, despair. Zorba had started with love, laughter, life, and it is strange that in the end the conclusion is that there is only one way to get rid of it all - this whole mess and madness - and that is suicide.

The whole of Western intelligence is in a great insane space, because they have accepted only the roots and now they are asking, “Where are the flowers?” They never allowed the flowers to grow. On the contrary, they went on cutting the branches, the leaves, the trunk of the tree, and now they are asking the roots, “What is the meaning of you? For what do you exist?”

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