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Chapter 10: Old Habits Die Hard

Young Vladimir, visiting the big city for the first time, is impressed by its tall buildings and its cultural happenings. While wandering around the city’s museums Vladimir is suddenly possessed with the urge to shit. When his efforts to locate a toilet fail, he finds a corner and spreads his handkerchief on the marble floor. He grunts and groans for a few minutes and deposits a fairly healthy load. Vladimir leaves the museum, handkerchief in hand, and at that precise moment a thief is making off with four pounds of meat from the neighboring butcher shop.

The police arrive on the scene immediately, a crowd gathers, and in the confusion Vladimir is taken into custody. His innocence is proven when a high-ranking police officer, schooled in the latest investigatory techniques, is called in to solve the baffling case. After many hours of fruitless investigation, the officer decides to weigh the handkerchief and finds it weighs only three pounds.

Vladimir, again a free man, returns to his home town.

He is met at the train station by many friends and townspeople who eagerly inquire about life in the big city.

“It is wonderful,” says Vladimir, “really amazing! But let me warn you - if your shit weighs more than three pounds, you can get into a lot of trouble!”

This is what has happened to all the religions. That’s why there is so much trouble in the world, a lot of trouble. People have interpreted the great masters according to themselves. Knowing nothing, understanding nothing, never having meditated in their lives, they go on pretending that they know. Just words, and in those words they go on putting their own meanings

The game between Celtic and Rangers was in its twenty-ninth minute when Celtic scored the first goal. One spectator cheered wildly with all the Celtic fans, though he was not wearing the colors of either team.

Ten minutes later Rangers equalized. The Rangers fans went wild, so did the lone spectator.

The man standing next to him exclaimed, “Just a minute, Jock - you’re yelling for both teams?”

“That’s right,” said the spectator. “I am enjoying the whole show and I don’t care who wins.”

“Oh, an atheist, eh?” said the second man.

If you are enjoying the whole scene then the other immediately interprets that you are an atheist, you don’t belong to a particular religion - Christian, Hindu, Mohammedan.

And that is the problem with my sannyasins: I am enjoying the whole scene and you are enjoying the whole scene. Otherwise Hindus listening to Dionysius or Christians listening to Rinzai or Jainas listening to Mohammed - impossible. It has never happened in the world.

Hence there are many who call me an atheist. They don’t know what theism is, what atheism is, but they go on using words not even knowing their meaning. But this is bound to happen. One should be aware of it - you have to be aware of it.