But we have been conditioned to insult life. It seems to be a strategy, so that our whole respect goes to fictitious gods. Life should not receive our respect; it is too mundane, too ordinary. Respect should be kept only for something beyond life. But beyond life there is only death.
The people who love Zorba, the atheists particularly, are also against me, saying that I am joining Buddha with Zorba and destroying Zorba, because they cannot coexist. Buddha will not allow Zorba’s playfulness, his nonseriousness, his music, his dance, his love. Buddha cannot allow them, because Buddha himself cannot dance, cannot love, cannot sing, cannot play on a musical instrument, cannot enjoy anything.
So the atheist association of America wrote to me – that I am trying to do the impossible. Buddha is going to destroy Zorba, “and we don’t want Zorba to be killed.” The Buddhists are afraid that Zorba will kill the Buddha; the atheists are afraid that Buddha will kill the Zorba – because this is how our whole mind is conditioned. And I want to have a breakthrough of all this conditioning, to come out of it and be respectful to life.
Reverence for life is the only respect for the divine, because there is nothing more divine than life itself.
Anything other than life is going to be dead, and there is no point in being respectful to the dead. It is dangerous, because your respect is going to kill your own livingness, your own qualities of life. At least it is going to poison them: you will feel a certain condemnation of yourself. If your respect is for the dead, then you cannot be fully alive.
So let me make it clear to you: don’t call it “respect for the divine.” It will be better to call it “reverence for life.” And then there is no problem. Then playfulness is part of being alive; it is the overflowing energy of life. It can become a dance, it can become a song, it can become any kind of creativity.
I wrote to both the ambassador of Ceylon to America and the atheist association of America, saying that it looks contradictory because of their conditionings – and that I want to destroy those conditionings; hence specifically I have chosen Zorba and Buddha, two polarities, and have put them together. And I want the New Man to live both together, without any contradiction.
Once we stop thinking of respect for the divine and start thinking of respect for life, reverence for life, then the bridge becomes immediately possible. Then playfulness, then livingness, and all that is implied in life – very small moments of joy – suddenly take on a spiritual meaning too.
Nobody has ever tried to give them any spiritual meaning. In fact, all the religions have joined in the conspiracy to condemn living moments in life and have made ideals which are lifeless. The more a person becomes lifeless, joyless, forgets laughing, forgets everything that life consists of – this is called the great renunciation – the more he becomes respectable as a saint.
He is almost in his grave, not in his body.
He has condemned his body.