Chapter 8: Laughter: Love, Joy, Gratitude
Indians don’t commit suicide much because they believe that they will be sent back again, so what is the point? - millions of times you have to be born. All Indian religions seek and search not for God, remember, but for freedom from life, freedom from the circle of birth and death. How can these people rejoice and how can these people be thankful to God? They are complaining and their complaining is very loud. They are saying, “We don’t want to be born. We never wanted to be born. Why didn’t you ask us first? It is unfair! It is not a gift, it is unfair to send us into a life which we had never asked for. And it is unfair to go on sending us into a life which is nothing but misery.”
But life is not misery. It is our approach, it is our way of looking at it that has made it ugly. Our vision is distorted, not life itself. Our mirror is distorted, not life itself. Because our mirror is distorted, life appears distorted.
Vimalkirti, to me it is all a joke. And I am not joking - I am really serious about it!
You say, “But I don’t get it.”
I have heard that in Germany people are not allowed to tell jokes on Saturday evenings. Why? - because they might burst out laughing in church on Sunday morning. It takes time for them to understand! And you are the great-grandchild of the German emperor, it may take a little longer for you! But if you are here you are bound to get it. Don’t be worried. Life is so full of hilarious moments that it is almost impossible to miss them. It is a miracle how people go on missing them; otherwise you will come across jokes everywhere.
When Winston Churchill was appointed prime minister for the first time - he was tired from the election campaign and all the politics that had gone before and all the struggle to reach the top - his wife thought it would be good to call a friend who knew many beautiful jokes so he could tell a few jokes to Winston Churchill. “That will relax him, help him to laugh a little. He has been so serious for so many days and he looks so tired.”
The friend was called; he came with all the latest jokes. He asked Winston Churchill, “Would you like to know the latest jokes?”
Churchill looked at him and said, “Please, no more - I have appointed them all in my cabinet!”
If you look around, if you are watchful enough, then you are bound to stumble again into something so beautiful and so ridiculous. The very idea of creating the world and creating you all is such a cosmic joke! God must have a sense of humor.
An old rabbi was dying and somebody asked him.because they were afraid for the old rabbi. He was not very religious, not very virtuous; in fact, he was just the opposite. They were worried. They asked him, “Are you ready to meet God?”
He opened his eyes and said, “Yes, that’s what I am doing - I am just trying to remember a few beautiful jokes to tell him. He must be getting tired of all those long faces, sad saints. He will really enjoy a few jokes, a few gossips about the earth.”