Nietzsche’s maxim: “One is punished most for one’s virtues” I see the truth of most clearly in you. But even a man who is virtuous by society’s standards is subtly punished too, isn’t he? – punished by jealousy and criticism. It is as if one is only meant to strive towards; to attain is an altogether different matter. Is this so?
Maneesha, Friedrich Nietzsche’s maxim: “One is punished most for one’s virtues” has a very deep and different meaning from what you have seen in it.
The man of virtue is not in any way a hypocrite; he is sincere, truthful. Society consists of hypocrites; they want virtue also to be a hypocrisy, and they have created false virtues which have no relation at all to any authentic virtuousness.
The people who conform to the society’s idea of virtues are never punished; they are rewarded, they are respected. They are not stoned to death, they are not crucified. They are crowned as saints, as sages, as wise people; every kind of honor is given to them. But the basic condition is that they should conform to the idea of the society. They should not bother whether it is really virtuous; they should not even inquire.
Absolute surrender is needed by the society, a total enslavement. Only then the society gives respectability – only to the slaves, only to those who have committed spiritual suicide. They are not really virtuous people. Just look around in different societies so that you can have a sense of how real virtue and the so-called virtue of the societies are diametrically opposite.
In India you will find Hindu monks all getting fat and ugly because it is thought by the Hindus that to eat milk products is a virtue, because the cow is a holy animal. So the Hindu monk goes on eating milk products, goes on gathering fat – bigger the belly, bigger the saint. If you want to measure the height of the saint you have to measure his belly.
The Jaina monks eat only one time a day – and that too, standing. To make everything as uncomfortable as possible is a virtue. Now I cannot conceive what sin there is in sitting comfortably and eating. And because they have to eat only one time a day, they eat as much as possible – to compensate, because then they have to wait twenty-four hours again. So their bodies become thin and their bellies become big – but it is respected.
One of the sects of the Jainas believes that a saint is perfect only when he starts living naked. But what is the virtue in being naked? All the animals are naked. First these monks torture their bodies in every way. They cannot use anything except their own hands; for eating they will have to make a cup of their hands, they cannot use a plate. That is thought to be renunciation, great renouncing of the world and worldly things.