Bergson had great appeal because he was talking about intuition. He was anti-intellect. But all that he says is intellectual. The intuition is not his experience.
Zen insists on existential experience. You will find many things which appear to be like Zen but you will never find anything that is really like Zen. It may be apparently so, but intrinsically it is not. On the surface it may be so, yes, the container may be the same – but the content is absolutely different.
William Barrett recalls that a friend of his went to see Martin Heidegger, the great German philosopher. When he went to see him Martin Heidegger was reading one of Suzuki’s books. The friend naturally inquired about his interest in Suzuki and Zen, and the philosopher said, “If I understand this man correctly this is what I have been. trying to say in all my writings.”
But Martin Heidegger is again thinking, philosophizing, theorizing. He is a great philosopher – just like Bergson, even more fundamental than Bergson, very profound in his writings, depths upon depths open – but he is far away from any satori or samadhi, he is far away from any enlightenment.
And sometimes he will behave as foolishly as any ordinary human being. When Adolf Hitler became very, very powerful Heidegger became one of his supporters. A buddha supporting Adolf Hitler? Impossible! This Martin Heidegger became a fascist. He behaved like an ordinary man with no understanding and no insight.
These are the moments when you see it is very easy to talk about great things, but to show your understanding in your day-to-day life…. How wondrous to carry fuel, how wondrous to draw water – into small things that understanding has to penetrate. Your ordinary life has to become luminous, your every moment has to become a light unto itself.
All that profundity was meaningless, proved futile, was not really there. He was as much a fanatic German as any other German. The others can be forgiven but not Martin Heidegger.
It happened exactly like that here. Indira Gandhi was slowly, slowly turning into a dictator and Acharya Vinoba Bhave was supporting her. He was interpreting her dictatorship as a great experiment in discipline: a great age had started, the age of discipline.
You can interpret dictatorship as discipline very easily, and in this, Vinoba Bhave showed his insight – he had none.
Remember, you have to watch people’s being, not what they philosophize about. Philosophies don’t go anywhere, they are just verbal games in the mind.