Chapter 26: Nobody Is a German
Enjoying life seems to be the only thing I do, and I forget that I am a seeker. But when I think about it, a question arises: what am I seeking for?
Enjoying life is in itself a beautiful experience, but it is not enough. All the religions of the world have condemned it. Their condemnation has created a guilt feeling. So even though people are enjoying life, deep down they are feeling that they are doing something wrong, something they should not do. So their enjoyment remains halfhearted. They are in a deep split, a kind of schizophrenia.
Part of them is pulling them away from the enjoyment and part of them is pulling them towards it. It becomes a very subtle tension. But according to me enjoying life in its totality and intensity is the very foundation of finding the higher and the ultimate significance of life. Enjoyment is blind, hence even if you are enjoying life, deep down a question remains: What is the significance of all this enjoyment? That’s from where seeking arises: a desire to find the meaning - is “eat, drink and be merry” all?
There have been two traditions in the world. One consists of those who are life-negative, life condemners, life poisoners. They have been in the majority, because most people love the negative. To condemn anything is very easy. To criticize anything is very easy. But to appreciate anything needs intelligence.
There is a beautiful story by Turgenev, The Fool. A sage came to a village where the village idiot was condemned by everybody; the moment he opened his mouth people would start laughing, expecting him to say something stupid. The poor man came to the sage and told his misery, that he is the laughingstock of the whole village. As far as possible he keeps completely quiet, but even his quietness is condemned: “Look at that idiot. He thinks that we are all fools who are talking and he is something spiritual; being silent, meditative!” “If I talk, I am condemned; if I don’t talk, I am condemned. Show me the way to get out of this miserable state.”
The sage said, “I will give you the secret. And after one month I will be coming back; then you can tell me what happened in this month.”
The secret was very simple. The secret was: “Do not say anything on your own account, but whenever somebody says something, immediately criticize. If somebody says, “Look, how beautiful is the full moon,” don’t miss the opportunity. Immediately say, “What is beautiful in it? Prove what is beautiful in it. Do you know what beauty is?”
“It is very difficult to define it. Everybody knows that the full moon is beautiful. But perhaps you have never asked yourself, ‘Do you know what beauty is?’ And if you don’t know what beauty is, how can you say anything is beautiful? The statement that something is beautiful implies that you know the definition of beauty. So immediately jump in and ask, ‘What is the definition of beauty?’”