Chapter 6: Wake Up, Lazarus!
That’s why theists have been fighting a losing battle and atheists have being growing every day. Now almost half the earth belongs to the atheists; all the communist countries are atheists. Religion has become something of the past; it has no significance at all for half the world, and the remaining half is not religious either. Even people who are Christians, Hindus, Mohammedans, Jainas, Buddhists are only formally so - because they are born in a certain religion, brought up in a certain ideology, and they are not courageous enough to get out of the fold. It needs guts - it is dangerous to go against the crowd. They compromise; deep down they know that it is all nonsense. Even the Christians know that this is nonsense. The story of Jesus’ virgin birth is sheer nonsense! The story of Lazarus coming back to life is not a fact.
“Lazarus, Lazarus, wake up!” - silence.
“Lazarus, Lazarus, wake up!” - no answer.
“Lazarus, Lazarus, wake up!!”
There is a groan and then a voice from tomb:
“Christ! You know that unless you bring the fucking coffee I am not going to get up!”
This seems to be far more factual, rather than the stupid story Christians go on telling and elaborating and discussing.
But I love the parable as a parable. As a parable it has significance, tremendous significance. That’s what is happening here! You come to me as dead; life in you is only in a seed form. It has to be called forth, provoked.
Just the other day I was telling you that only once my father slapped me, because of my long hair. I must have been ten years old, not more than that. I went and shaved my head. Now, no haircutter in the village would have done it because it is a small village; it would have been impossible to convince anybody that my father was dead. Moreover, all the haircutters’ shops were just in front of the shop of my father, the other side of the road; they could see from there, from their shops, that my father is alive. But I knew one old beautiful man who was an opium addict. He was just in front of my father’s shop, but he was always half asleep, and he was a nice man.
When I told him he was stoned. He looked at me and said, “Poor boy, so your father is dead? This is too bad!” He didn’t even look out of his shop; he could have seen my father there. He shaved my head and then told me when I asked how much money he wants for it, “No, I will not take any money from you - your father is dead and I feel sorry for you. Whenever you want any service from me you can come to me and I will do it free.”
I said, “But I will not need you again because my father is dead and he will not be dead again. A person can die only once.”
He said, “That’s right.”
“And I will not need your services. And in fact, I have not been to any haircutter’s shop since then.
And this time when my father actually died, a friend inquired of me, wrote a letter, “What are you going to do about it? Are you going to shave your head?”
I said, “I did it in advance, forty years ago! And one can do it only once. Moreover, this time my father has not died; in fact, he has been dead up to now. This time he has entered into eternal life; he has tasted for the first time what life is. I don’t consider him as dead: he has never been more alive.”