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Chapter 4: The Only Secret There Is

Who has made man serious? It is your old traditions which have created the idea that life is not a rejoicing, that life is not playfulness; that life has to be serious, only then can you enter into paradise, only then can you meet God. But I want to tell you, even God will not give you an audience if you reach there with a serious, long face. You have to go there like an innocent child, playful, joyous. You have to learn something of the sense of humor. All your old religions are lacking in that dimension - a sense of humor. They are all serious.

In my village, as happens all over the East, every year Ramleela was played - the life of Rama.

The man who used to play the part of Ravana, the enemy of Rama who steals Rama’s wife, was a great wrestler. He was the champion of the whole district, and the next year he was going to stand for the championship of the whole state. We used to take a bath in the river almost simultaneously in the morning, so we became friends. I told him, “Every year you become Ravana, every year you are being deceived. Just the moment that you are going to break Shiva’s bow so that you can get married to Sita, the daughter of Janak, a messenger comes running in and informs you that your capital of Sri Lanka is on fire. So you have to go, rush back to your country. And meanwhile, Rama manages to break the bow and marry the girl. Don’t you get bored every year with the same thing?”

He said, “But this is how the story goes.”

I said, “The story is in our hands if you listen to my suggestion. You must have seen that most of the people are asleep because they have seen the same thing year after year, generation after generation - make it a little juicy.”

He said, “What do you mean?”

I said, “This time you do one thing I say.”

And he did it!

When the messenger came with the message: “Your capital, the golden Sri Lanka, is on fire, you have to get there soon,” he said, “You shut up, idiot” - he spoke in English!

That’s what I had told him! All the people who were asleep woke up: “Who is speaking English in the Ramleela?”

And Ramana said, “You go away. I don’t care. You have deceived me every year. This time I am going to marry Sita.”

And he went and broke the bow of Shiva to pieces, and threw it into the mountains - it was just a bamboo bow. And he asked Janak, “Bring.where is your daughter? My jumbo-jet is waiting!”

It was so hilarious. Even after forty years, whenever I meet somebody from my village, they remember that Ramleela. They said, “Nothing like that has ever happened.”

The manager had to drop the curtains. And the man was a great wrestler, and at least twelve people had to carry him out.

That day the Ramleela could not be played. And next day they had to change Ravana; they found another person.

By the river, Ravana met me. He said, “You disturbed my whole thing.”

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