Chapter 7: Make Work a Celebration
It does not mean that there will be no work if we turn life into a celebration. It is not that the wind does not work; it is always moving, blowing. It is not that the stars are idle; they are constantly moving. It is not that flowers don’t do anything when they bloom; really, they do a lot. But for them, doing it is not that important; what is important is being. Being is primary and doing is secondary for them. Celebration comes first and work takes a back seat in their lives. Work is preparatory to celebration.
If you go and watch the way the primitive tribes live, you will know what work is in relation to celebration. They work the whole day so they can sing and dance with abandon at night. But the civilized man works not only in the day, but also at night. He takes pride in working day and night. And if you ask him why he works, he will say that he works today so he can relax tomorrow. He postpones relaxation and continues to work in the hope that he will relax some day. But that day never comes for him.
I am in complete agreement with Krishna’s vision of life, which is one of celebration. I am a celebrationist. May I ask what man has achieved by working day in and day out? It is different if he works for the love of work, but I would like to know what he has achieved so far by working meaninglessly?
There is the story of Sisyphus in Greek mythology. He was a king who was condemned by the gods to push a heavy stone uphill and, when it rolled down the hill, to begin again. Time and again Sisyphus had to carry the stone from the base of the hill to its top; this is what “an uphill task” means. A workaholic is a Sisyphus endlessly pushing a stone uphill and beginning again when it rolls down. He is now engaged in pushing the stone uphill and then chasing it when it rolls down and then beginning to push it up again. And he never comes to know a moment of leisure and joy in all his life.
These workaholics have turned the whole world into a madhouse. Everyone is mad with running and reaching somewhere. And no man knows where this “somewhere” is. I have heard that a man got into a taxi and asked the driver to drive fast. And the taxi sped. After a little while the driver inquired where he had to go, and the man said, “That is not the question, I have to go fast.”
Everyone in the world is running like him, everyone is hurrying through life. “Hurry up,” has become our watchword. But no one asks, “Where are we going?” We work hard, but we don’t know why we work so hard. One does not even have time to think why he is toiling day in and day out. He is running just because his neighbor is running, his friends are running, the whole world is running. Everyone is running for fear of being left behind the other runners.