Chapter 21: Choose the Flute or Perish
Questioner: Speaking in the context of Krishna and Jesus, you observed, “The civilization that began with the cross had to end up in an atomic war, and therefore the modern civilization is faced with a choice between the cross and the flute.” But the question is that the civilization that began with the flute also ended up in a war - the war of Mahabharata. Please explain the anomaly.
The cross is the symbol of death. It is okay as an emblem of the grave, but it is dangerous to accept it as a symbol of life. But many so-called religious people have treated human life and body as no more than a grave, and it is going to result in a disaster.
A man bearing a crucifix on his breast declares that life is not acceptable to him; he is worshipping death really. For him life is a curse, not a blessing. Christianity - I don’t mean Jesus - believes that man is born in sin, that life is the original sin. According to them, what we think of as life is not God’s gift, but a form of punishment inflicted on man.
This kind of thinking is essentially masochistic, pessimistic, morbid. Standing near a rosebush a pessimist takes note of every thorn, but he ignores the flowers altogether. Looking at day and night, a pessimist sees two dark nights sandwiching a short day instead of seeing two bright days enclosing a brief dark night. Such a mind gathers together all the hurt and pain of life and completely forgets its delights and pleasures.
In fact, paying too much attention to the miseries of life is the sign of a diseased mind, a neurotic and deranged mind. Of course a philosophy of life that affirms and emphasizes sorrow and suffering is bound to be negative and nihilistic. And this is what the cross represents.
Had he not been crucified, Jesus would have never made such a powerful impact on the world. In all probability the world would have forgotten him. His crucifixion became the foundation of Christianity.
Today nearly a billion people all over the world are within the fold of Christianity. I don’t take this to be the triumph of Christ, it is undoubtedly the victory of the cross. Jesus hanging on the cross became a great attraction for our miserable and diseased minds. Our lives are virtually on the cross; we are ridden with anxiety, sorrow and suffering. We are a people who collect only hurt and pain, as some people collect used stamps. We all have our stockpiles of miseries; we don’t have any remembrance of having any happy moments in life.
Krishna is absolutely the opposite type of individual, and his flute as a symbol is just the opposite of the cross. There is no sense in putting a flute on a grave; it needs throbbing lips and supple fingers to play it. It needs a singing and dancing heart, a soul brimming with joy and bliss to hold it. And I think it is time man makes a clear choice between the cross of Jesus and the flute of Krishna.