Chapter 20: Religion Can Only Be Aesthetic
I have never come across again such a perfect couple. And it was a love marriage. I don’t think that even before they got married things would have been different. In fact, this relationship of torture had brought them together.
My understanding is that the people who are weeping and crying when a Jaina monk is pulling out his hair.. he is a masochist and the crowd is made up of sadists. They are also enjoying; those tears should not mislead you. They have come from long distances just to see a madman pulling out his hair. But what is spiritual in it?
And I started asking my parents, “What is spiritual in it?” A man may be naked.it is nobody’s business, let him be naked. If he pulls out his hair, perhaps he enjoys the exercise. Let him enjoy, just take care that he does not start pulling out other people’s hair. And that’s what the Jaina saint is doing. He is pulling out his hair and he is teaching others to be initiated, so finally they will have to pull out their hair. It is done in a very indirect way, but in fact he is torturing himself and teaching others, “Torture yourself. Without torturing your body, how can you attain to the spiritual?”
The division between the body and the spirit has destroyed all religions. Rather than becoming a blessing to the world, they prove to be a great calamity.
I teach an aesthetic consciousness. You should learn to appreciate beauty, you should learn to create beauty, you should behave in a beautiful way. Your life should be a long story of beauty, grace, love, peace. And whatever you are doing, there is no need to renounce the world - there is nowhere to go. This is our world. We have to make it more beautiful, more graceful, more lovable. And it is possible, whatever you are doing, to do it meditatively.
There have been mystics like Kabir, who was a weaver. He remained a weaver, although he had kings as his followers, thousands of followers. And he was a poor man. Very few poor people have attained to the same grace and radiance as Kabir. And all his disciples prayed, “You stop weaving. You don’t have to, we are all here to support you, give you anything you need.”
Kabir said, “But my meditation and my weaving have grown so together that neither can I meditate without weaving, nor can I weave without meditation. So please don’t disturb me, just let me do whatever I have been doing.”
Another mystic was Gora. He was a potter and he continued to make beautiful pottery after his realization. His pottery also became of a different quality. Something of his beauty became part of what he was making.
His disciples said, “Stop, we feel ashamed. People say, ‘You go to a potter?’” - in India a potter is counted as an untouchable - “‘And you touch the feet of that man?’” But still, thousands of people became illuminated by Gora’s experience. And he remained a potter to the very end.