Chapter 21: Choose the Flute or Perish
Japan was the only non-Christian country that willingly joined the war as an aggressor. But Japan has ceased to be an eastern country except geographically; it is now virtually a part of the western world. And Japan has a long tradition of suicide which in Japanese is called hara-kiri. A Japanese kills himself on very small excuses; his wife has died, or he has committed an act of misdemeanor and he thinks he is finished with life. Then there is no way for him but to end his life - as if there is no hope of his redemption.
According to this thinking, a tree should commit hara-kiri when its flowers wither - who knows if new flowers will open the next morning? The Japanese don’t have even this much hope and patience in their hearts. So the last two world wars were fought by peoples who have been traditionally associated with the cross and the custom of hara-kiri.
If the Third World War happens, it will spell the destruction of mankind; it will be a case of collective crucifixion of the human race. So what began with the crucifixion of a single individual is going to end in the collective crucifixion - the crucifixion of the entire race of Homo Sapiens. I don’t say that Jesus is responsible for it; the responsibility belongs to those who hanged him on the cross.
I also don’t say that people rallied round the cross because they were influenced by Jesus; the contrary is the truth. They came to Jesus because they were influenced by the cross. But it is undeniably true that a civilization based on crossianism, on sadomasochism, was destined to lead mankind to self-destruction. Actually there is no sense in accepting the cross and worshipping it. Even if life bears a cross, it is in our hands to replace the cross with a flower.
In my view, Krishna’s flute is exactly the opposite of the cross. And it is important to know that while it is others who hang Jesus on the cross, they really impose it on him; Krishna chooses the flute for himself. It is necessary to bear in mind that while the flute is intrinsic to Krishna and his life - it symbolizes him - the cross is extrinsic to Christ; it does not represent him. It is others, the Jewish priests and the Roman governor, who force the cross on Christ.
Krishna plays the flute for the love of it. Nobody has forced it on him; he has chosen it for himself. I see Krishna’s flute symbolizing life’s benediction and man’s gratefulness to life for this blessing. Krishna has made his choice for happiness, for bliss. In fact, when life is so good and great, Krishna cannot but choose to be happy, and he says it with the flute.
And just as an unhappy person does not suffer alone, he makes many others unhappy, similarly a happy person becomes the source of happiness for countless numbers of people. So when Krishna plays his flute, its melody, its bliss, does not remain con fined to him, it gladdens all those whose hearts come to hear it. And it is as it should be.
If you happen to pass by a cross with Jesus hanging on it, you will immediately be depressed and sad. On the other hand, seeing Krishna dancing in ecstasy on the banks of the river Yamuna will fill your heart with delight and joy. Pleasure and pain, happiness and unhappiness are contagious; they are communicable from one to another; they spread and escalate like wildfire.