Chapter 21: Choose the Flute or Perish
So the one who decides to be unhappy is condemning the whole world to be unhappy; he might as well say he has decided to punish the whole earth by choosing to be unhappy. And the person who decides to be happy is going to bless the whole to be happy, he is going to add to the song and music of life all over this planet. Therefore a happy person is a religious person; and an unhappy person is utterly irreligious.
I call the man religious who brings happiness to himself and to others. For me, nothing except happiness, blissfulness, is a religious quality. In this sense Krishna is truly a religious person, whose whole being exudes nothing but happiness and bliss. And such a person can bless the whole of mankind, he is a living blessing to the world.
But you ask why did the war of the Mahabharata happen in a civilization that had accepted the flute as its symbol? I say, this happened in spite of Krishna’s flute. Krishna is not the cause of the Mahabharata. There is no relationship whatsoever between the flute and war. But there exists a logical relationship between the cross and war.
The Mahabharata took place in spite of Krishna and his flute. It simply means we are so attached to sorrow, so steeped in misery that even Krishna’s flute fails to bring a ray of hope and joy to our hearts. The flute continued to play, and we plunged into the vortex of war. The flute could not change our sadomasochistic minds; Krishna’s flute could not become our flute too.
It is interesting to know how difficult it is for someone to share in another’s happiness. It is so easy to share in another’s sorrow. You can easily cry with someone crying, but it is so hard to laugh with some one laughing. You can easily sympathize with one whose house has been burned down, but it is arduous to participate in the joys of one who has built himself a beautiful new house. And it is not without some fundamental reasons.
It is easy to come close to Jesus’ cross, because it strikes a note of empathy in our hearts, which are already filled with pain and misery. On the other hand Krishna’s flute will fill our hearts with envy and we will escape from him. Krishna’s bliss will bring up envy in us; it will not find an empathic response from our hearts.
Conversely, the cross will not make us jealous; it will certainly bring up our empathy. The happiness of another creates jealousy, and jealousy turns into misery. So to participate in another’s happiness is really arduous.
It needs extraordinary intelligence to participate in another’s happiness. To share in the joys of another, to make them one’s own is a rare quality; it is of the highest. But to share in another’s sorrow is not that difficult. It is so because we are ourselves burdened with sorrow and suffering; we are already in misery. So we have no difficulty in identifying ourselves with the suffering of others. But if someone is happy we fail to connect with him for the simple reason that we don’t know what happiness is, we are only unhappy in ourselves.