Chapter 4: Earth and Sky Apart
Van Gogh was very poor because his paintings wouldn’t sell. His paintings were at least a hundred years ahead of his time. That is always so. The greater a man’s intelligence, the bigger is the distance between the people that exist by his side and the people for whom his painting, his poetry, his assertions, will be meaningful. He comes before his time.
That’s why Buddha’s assertions are still relevant, still fresh; not rotten, not old. His time is coming now. It is as if he came two thousand five hundred years before his time.
Vincent van Gogh’s paintings are now becoming great paintings; great appreciation has arisen for him. He came a little early. They always do. His brother used to give him enough money just to keep his body and soul together, because his paintings wouldn’t sell. So just enough money.. And van Gogh would eat for half the week and for half the week he would fast to save money to paint.
Just think how difficult it was for him to live. Nobody would appreciate his painting. Once it happened that his brother made an arrangement. He told a friend, “You go and purchase at least one painting. At least once in his life he should have the joy of somebody purchasing his painting. You take money from me. Go and purchase a painting.”
The friend went. Van Gogh was very happy. This was the first man who had come to appreciate his painting. But soon he recognized the fact that the man was not interested.. Van Gogh was thrilled! He was dancing and he was showing his paintings, all the paintings that he had done. But the man was not interested, he was just fulfilling a duty. He said, “Anyone will do. You just give me any painting and take this money.”
It hurt van Gogh even more. He threw the man out with his money and he said, “I suspect it is my brother behind it. He always wanted somebody to purchase my painting and it seems he has sent you. You get out from here! I am not going to sell. I wanted somebody to love my painting, to see what I have done, but you are not the person. You don’t have any perception, you don’t have any aesthetic sense, you don’t know what paintings mean. You simply get out!”
So not a single painting was sold. Starving, fasting, he was painting three days, four days a week. And for three, four days he would be able to eat. The day he completed the painting that he always wanted to complete..
He was madly in love with the sun. The sun is the source of life. Maybe the sun was his symbol for God, maybe through the sun he was searching for God. The day he painted his sunrise, he committed suicide. This suicide is not a crime, it is simply a shout against the mediocre society that we have created in the world. It is simply a protest that for those who have life. this society is not worth living in. This society is only for the mediocre. This society is only for those who really don’t want to love, who just want to drag.
But each suicide will have a different quality to it.