Chapter 21: Of the Compassionate
Of the Compassionate
As long as men have existed, man has enjoyed himself too little: that alone, my brothers, is our original sin!
And if we learn better to enjoy ourselves, we best unlearn how to do harm to others and to contrive harm.
Therefore I wash my hand when it has helped a sufferer, therefore I wipe my soul clean as well.
For I saw the sufferer suffer, and because I saw it I was ashamed on account of his shame; and when I helped him, then I sorely injured his pride..
“Be reserved in accepting! Honor a man by accepting from him!” - thus I advise those who have nothing to give.
I, however, am a giver: I give gladly as a friend to friends. But strangers and the poor may pluck the fruit from my tree for themselves: it causes less shame that way..
And we are the most unfair, not towards him whom we do not like, but towards him for whom we feel nothing at all.
But if you have a suffering friend, be a resting-place for his suffering, but a resting-place like a hard bed, a camp-bed: thus you will serve him best.
And should your friend do you a wrong, then say: “I forgive you what you did to me; but that you did it to yourself - how could I forgive that?”
Thus speaks all great love: it overcomes even forgiveness and pity..
Alas, where in the world have there been greater follies than with the compassionate? And what in the world has caused more suffering than the follies of the compassionate?
Woe to all lovers who cannot surmount pity!
Thus spoke the devil to me once: “Even god has his hell: it is his love for man..”
So be warned against pity: thence shall yet come a heavy cloud for man! Truly, I understand weather-signs!
But mark, too, this saying: All great love is above pity: for it wants - to create what is loved!
“I offer myself to my love, and my neighbor as myself” - that is the language of all creators.
All creators, however, are hard.
.Thus spake Zarathustra.
The original sin has been discussed almost by all religions. They all have different ideas about it. The most prominent and prevalent is the Christian idea. According to Christianity, disobedience is the original sin. The moment one decides that disobedience is the original sin, obedience automatically becomes the greatest virtue. Obedience creates slaves. Obedience is a poison that destroys all possibility of rebellion. Obedience is destructive, destructive of the very dignity of man.
The Christian story is beautiful, although an absolute lie. God, in the very beginning, had forbidden man to eat from the trees of wisdom and of eternal life. The very idea seems to be absurd. On the one hand God is the creator, the father, and on the other hand he is prohibiting his own children from being wise and living eternally. There seems to be a great contradiction.
But the devil persuades Eve to eat from the tree of wisdom, and his argument is absolutely rational, human and tremendously significant. He says to Eve that if you don’t eat from the tree of wisdom and from the tree of eternal life you will always remain animals; and God is afraid that if you eat from the tree of wisdom and the tree of eternal life, you will become gods. He is jealous, jealous of his own children. He is afraid. He does not want you to transcend your animal existence, he wants you to remain ignorant, unconscious, dependent, while you have the potential of being equals of God.
His argument is so profound that it seems the Christian god is not behaving the way a god is supposed to behave. On the contrary, the devil is behaving in a more divine way. In fact, the word devil comes from a Sanskrit root which means divine. The word divine also comes from the same root.
But Eve and Adam rebelled. And as God became aware that they had eaten the fruit of wisdom, he immediately expelled them from the Garden of Eden, afraid that now they will eat from the other tree which will make them eternal beings, immortal.
The story is significant in many ways, because the whole history of man is nothing but an inquiry into gaining more and more wisdom, and an inquiry into finding the eternal sources of life.
All the religions have been trying to make it that man should not go against the commandments that are coming from God, although the commandments are ugly. Man is expected to say yes in spite of himself; only his obedience and faith are going to deliver him. This has made the whole of humanity remain retarded, unevolved. Having all the treasures and yet living in misery, having all potential to reach to the stars, but still crawling on the earth.