People like Zarathustra, in each of their words, are giving you gems of immense value. But it depends on your understanding, intelligence, alertness; otherwise you will hear them just like anybody else talking. Remember the same words have different values when they come from different mouths. When an ignorant man speaks, he may be using the same words, but they are empty: They don’t have any value. When a man like Zarathustra speaks, the same words immediately become so valuable, because the man behind the word is the meaning of the word. His experience is the content of the word.
What is the greatest thing you can experience?
It is almost impossible to imagine Zarathustra’s answer. He says,
It is the hour of the great contempt.
…the contempt for your ignorance, the contempt for your hate, the contempt for your jealousy, the contempt for your mundane life, the contempt for all the animal instincts within you. In short, the contempt for yourself is the greatest experience you can experience. And only those who have gone beyond humanity are the people who have contempt for everything that man consists of.
It is all rotten: your beliefs are rotten; your ideologies are dead; your religions are nothing but imprisonments; your philosophies are just castles in the air.
What do you have? Your life has not produced, has not been creative of something that can make the universe more beautiful, more valuable. You are just a burden on the earth, unnecessarily occupying space, unnecessarily stopping somebody else who may have been a creator, who may have been a Zarathustra.
It hurts for the first time when you hear it: that the greatest thing you can experience is the hour of the great contempt, the hour in which even your happiness grows loathsome to you. What is your happiness?…so mundane, so ordinary, so repetitive: there is nothing great in it. But nobody thinks about what his happiness consists of. Somebody’s happiness is good food, somebody’s happiness is sexuality, somebody’s happiness is accumulation of money, somebody’s happiness is fame, somebody’s happiness is power.
Jayesh was telling me the other day that one of his friends was writing a book on Indira Gandhi, and remained for many months to watch her life, to ask her questions. One day when they were both alone, he asked a simple question, and he was shocked when he heard the answer; you will also be shocked.
His question was, “We have been discussing great problems – philosophical, political, social, religious, educational – and today I want you to answer me a simple thing. What is your hobby in life?”