Chapter 1: The Seeds of Misery
A prostitute told him, “Your ears are very beautiful,” because there was nothing else to appreciate in his face. He was one of the ugliest men, he had ugly features. The prostitute must have been in a difficulty with this man, so she told him that his ears were very beautiful. He went back home, cut one of his ears off with a knife, packed it, went back to her with blood flowing all over, and presented the ear to the woman saying, “You liked it so much that I would like to give it to you as a gift.”
He continued painting in the hottest part of France, Arles, in the summer when the sun was very hot. Everybody told him, “You will get ill, the sun is too hot.” But the whole day, particularly when the sun was hottest, at full noontide, he would be standing in the fields and painting. Within twenty days he went mad. And he was young, thirty-three or thirty-four when he killed himself, committed suicide.
But in the name of painting, art, beauty, you can torture yourself. In the name of God, in the name of prayer, in the name of sadhana, you can torture yourself. You will find this type very predominant in India: lying on a bed of nails, thorns, fasting for months. You will come across people who have not slept for ten years. They remain standing, fighting with sleep. There are people who have been standing for years, they have not taken any other posture; their legs are almost dead. There are people who are living with one hand raised towards the sky; the whole hand has gone dead, no more blood circulates in it, it is just bones. These people are ill; they need treatment. But thousands are attracted to them.
All of your politicians, Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin or Mao Zedong, need treatment. And all of your mahatmas need treatment also, because a man who is interested in torturing others or himself is ill, deeply ill. To be interested in torture, either of the other or of oneself, to be interested in torture is an absolutely certain symptom of being deeply ill. When you are healthy you don’t want to torture others, you don’t want to torture yourself. When you are healthy, you enjoy. When you are healthy you feel so blissful that you would like to bless everybody. You would like your blessings to flow from your being to the beings of all others, to the whole of existence. You are overflowing with bliss. Health is celebration. Illness is a torture, either of the other or of yourself.
Why am I saying this before I start talking about Patanjali? I am saying it because up to now, Patanjali has always been commented upon by masochists. But whatsoever I am going to say about Patanjali is going to be totally different from all the other commentaries. I am not a masochist, I am not a sadist. I am celebrating myself and I would like you to participate with me. My commentary on Patanjali is going to be basically different from all the previous commentaries. My commentary will be just the same as if Patanjali himself were to comment.