Chapter 8: Zorba the Buddha - Man of the Future
The East has chosen consciousness and has condemned matter and everything material, the body included, as maya, as illusory, as a mirage in a desert which only appears but has no reality in itself. The East has created a Gautam Buddha, a Mahavira, a Patanjali, a Kabir, a Farid, a Raidas - a long line of people with great consciousness, with great awareness. But it has also created millions of poor people, hungry, starving, dying like dogs - with not enough food, no pure water to drink, not enough clothes, not enough shelters.
A strange situation.. In the West every six months they have to drown billions and billions of dollars’ worth of milk products and other foodstuff in the ocean, because it is surplus. They don’t want to overload their warehouses, they don’t want to lower their prices and destroy their economic structure. On the one hand, in Ethiopia one thousand people were dying every day, and at the same time the European Common Market was destroying so much food that the cost of destroying it was millions of dollars. That is not the cost of the food; it is the cost of taking it to the ocean, and throwing it into the ocean. Who is responsible for this situation?
The richest man in the West is searching for his soul and finding himself hollow, without any love, only lust; without any prayer, only parrot-like words that he has been taught in the Sunday schools. He has no religiousness, no feeling for other human beings, no reverence for life, for birds, for trees, for animals - destruction is so easy.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki would not have happened if man were not thought to be just matter. So many nuclear weapons would not have been piled up if man had been thought to be a hidden God, a hidden splendor; not to be destroyed but to be discovered, not to be destroyed but to be brought into the light - a temple of God. But if man is just matter, just chemistry, physics, a skeleton covered with skin, then with death everything dies, nothing remains. That’s why it becomes possible for an Adolf Hitler to kill six million people, without a hitch. If all people are just matter, there is no question of even thinking twice.
The West has lost its soul, its interiority. Surrounded by meaninglessness, boredom, anguish, it is not finding itself. All the success of science is proving of no use, because the house is full of everything, but the master of the house is missing.
Here, in the East, the master is alive but the house is empty. It is difficult to rejoice with hungry stomachs, with sick bodies, with death surrounding you; it is impossible to meditate. So, unnecessarily, we have been losers.
All our saints, and all our philosophers, spiritualists and materialists both, are responsible for this immense crime against man.
Zorba the Buddha is the answer. It is the synthesis of matter and soul. It is a declaration that there is no conflict between matter and consciousness, that we can be rich on both sides. We can have everything that the world can provide, that science and technology can produce, and we can still have everything that a Buddha, a Kabir, a Nanak finds in his inner being - the flowers of ecstasy, the fragrance of godliness, the wings of ultimate freedom.
Zorba the Buddha is the new man, is the rebel.