Chapter 23: Life Is a Blessing
Life is a blessing it is not a sin. Life is a gift it is not guilt. Life is the greatest thing that existence has given to you - for nothing! Just because you have not paid for it, you don’t recognize its value. Don’t lose a single moment. When there is a chance to dance, don’t sit in the corner and be just an onlooker. Participate. When people are laughing, don’t participate just not to look stupid.
Laugh with your whole heart. Don’t be worried whether anybody else is laughing or not. You should always look at my sannyasin, Sardar. He does not care whether anybody else is laughing or not. When he feels like laughing, he laughs. He is always there at the beginning. Then others follow, slowly, slowly, thinking that everybody is laughing so it is okay, there is nothing wrong here.
Meditation will help you to come closer to life. Love will help to bring you closer to life. Creativity will bring you closer to life. Enjoying small things that have been condemned by your stupid so-called saints will bring you closer to life.
In Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram, even tea was banned. Now, tea is not much of a sin: just a little caffeine in it, but no sin at all. No religious scripture says that tea is a sin. And to destroy people’s taste, Gandhi invented a new chutney, a new sauce. You have seen the neem trees here? Just taste one of the leaves and you will never forget it! It is the bitterest tree in the world. And he used to make everybody in the ashram.he used to sit with everybody to eat and he checked whether the neem chutney was given to everybody or not. That was a strategy to destroy your taste.
One American writer was preparing to write his biography, and he was allowed to stay in Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram for a few weeks. He remembers that the most difficult thing was that neem chutney, twice a day: “The first day I could not believe it - am I being poisoned or what? Then he explained to me the greatness of this chutney..”
In ayurveda, neem is thought to be the most valuable plant in the world. It has great qualities, it purifies the blood. Just its taste is hell.
So when Mahatma Gandhi explained it to him, being a newcomer he took a small taste and said, “My God!” So he thought it was better not to destroy the whole meal: “I should gulp it all at one time and drink water so that I can enjoy the food.”
When he gulped it, Gandhi called the cook and said, “I told you he would love it. Bring him another chutney!”
The biographer said, “My God, so now I cannot even gulp it!”
Neem chutney was virtuous because one of the fundamentals in his ashram was taken from Jainism; that is, tastelessness. Now these are the people who are against life. You should not taste food, you should not enjoy beautiful clothes, you should not enjoy the ordinary things of life - a good comfortable bed, a small beautiful house with a beautiful garden and flowers.