The second level hedonism is not against the body, it is for the soul. It also lives in the moment, but when the first hedonist is eating, he is only. concerned with the food. When the second hedonist is eating, he is more concerned with the awareness of the taste of the food. That is where they differ. When the first hedonist has gone for a walk, he looks around – the trees, the birds, the people, the dewdrops, the morning sun – but he does not look at who is looking at all these things. When the second hedonist goes for a morning walk, he enjoys the birds, the trees, the people, the sun, the sky, but he also goes on enjoying the one who is enjoying it all. He remains aware.
The first hedonist lives an unconscious life, the second hedonist lives a very conscious life. The second hedonist gets all that the first is getting…plus. The first hedonist gets only the bodily sensations, and he goes on missing the real life.
Because the first hedonist lives in the body, there are people who are against the first hedonist and they think they are spiritual. They are not. That’s a logical fallacy. Because the first goes on living in the body, there are people who logically think “We have to go against the body, then only can we enter into the second realm of our being, then only can we attain to happiness, to heaven, to bliss.” Because the first is missing – and the first is missing because he is too much obsessed with the body – the second, this so-called spiritualist, becomes obsessed against the body. This is not a real spiritualist.
The real spiritualist is a hedonist. Let me repeat it: He is not against the body, he is for the soul.
So now there are three kinds of people: the ordinary hedonist who lives in the body, the real hedonist who lives in the soul. And naturally lives in the body too, and between these two is the spiritualist, the so-called spiritualist, the ascetic who fights with the body, who destroys the body, who is against the body, who tortures the body. And he thinks that in torturing the body he will attain to the soul; he cannot.
The first goes on missing, but the second – the false spiritualist – misses even more. So if you have a choice, then I will say it is better to be a physical hedonist than to be an anti-physical spiritualist, because at least you will be enjoying the body; the physical part of God will remain available to you. To the spiritualist, even that is not available. He is completely blind.
But if you really want to enjoy life, then you have to choose the second kind of hedonism, the spiritual hedonism, the divine hedonism. The second is already available to the first if he starts becoming a little alert. It is not available to the false spiritualist. He is closed to both kinds of hedonisms.
The physical hedonist can rise to the higher hedonism because he has to grow in the same way but deeper. He has to dig a little deeper into his being. So if you are to choose between Epicurus and Mahatma Gandhi, choose Epicurus. But if you have to choose between Epicurus and Buddha, Jesus, then choose Jesus or Buddha. Never become a so-called saint. He falls from grace. He misses the body, how can he attain to the soul? The body has to be used as a stepping-stone. The body has to become a staircase, it has to become a boat for the other shore. Use the body.