Meditation is play regained. Childhood has gone, but now you have regained its playful mood. You can play with colored stones, with flowers; you can play with anything. You can just relax into a playful mood but not be playing at all. In this relaxed moment, the situation is created, the ecstasy is created, and there is the happening: the temple becomes a playhouse where everyone becomes a child playing with existence.
You ask me what yoga is and what a yogi is. A person who is meditative is a yogi: a person who lives meditatively, eats meditatively, bathes meditatively, sleeps meditatively. His whole existence, everything that he does, is meditative. He does not regard existence as a burden but as play. The yogi is not concerned with the past, he is not concerned with the future; he lives only in the present moment. Life becomes a constant flow with no goal to be reached, because there is no goal in playing.
Even when we play we create a goal; we destroy the playfulness and turn our play into work. Work cannot exist without a goal, play cannot exist with a goal. But we have become so serious that even when we play we create a goal: there is something to win, somewhere to be reached. We cannot do something just for the sake of doing it – as art for art’s sake. The moment art is for art’s sake, it becomes meditative. When singing is for singing’s sake, it becomes meditative. When love is for love’s sake, it becomes meditative.
If the ends and the means are one, then the thing becomes meditative. But if the means are the beginning, the end is the goal and there is a continuity in between, a process in between, then it becomes work which has to be taken seriously. Then tensions, conflicts and burdens are created and your innocence is destroyed.
The means are the end. The end is the means. Anything taken with this attitude becomes meditative. The beginning is the end. Your first step is your last. Your birth is your death. Meeting is parting. These pairs are two poles of a single whole, they are one. If you see them as one, then your mind becomes meditative. Then there is no burden: life becomes just a leela, a play.
The cross of Jesus is a serious affair, but Krishna lived in playfulness. Krishna’s dance is qualitatively different from the carrying of the cross by Jesus. The cross must have been a burden: it had to be carried. It was not play, it was a serious affair. That is why Christians say that Jesus never laughed. How could he laugh if he had to carry the cross? And he did not just carry it for himself, he had to carry the cross for the whole of mankind – for those who had gone and for those who were yet to come. But I don’t think that this is the real picture of Jesus. This is the Christian picture, but I cannot conceive of a Christ who never laughed. If one is incapable of laughing then one is incapable of being religious.
There are, of course, different types of laughter. When one laughs at others it is irreligious, but when one begins to laugh at oneself it becomes religious. And a person who can laugh at himself cannot be serious: he is playful and then life also becomes play with no end, with no purpose; nothing has to be achieved because everything that is possible is in the present.