Zarathustra is such a sincere man that what he says about the poets, that they lie too much…he does not forget to remind his disciples that, “Zarathustra is also a poet.”
This authenticity makes him one of the greatest men who has ever traveled in the inner spaces and the mysteries of man. And even if sometimes he lies, his lies are nothing but stepping-stones; they lead to the temple of truth. They are not the temple, true, but they lead to the temple.
They may be lies, but they are like arrows, pointing towards the faraway truth. And a lie that can help you to understand truth is not just a lie – don’t condemn it. It is not true, but it has been of immense help to find the truth.
Zarathustra is saying…and the opening statement this evening has far-reaching effects:
“Since I have known the body better,” said Zarathustra to one of his disciples, “the spirit has been only figuratively spirit to me; and all that is intransitory – that too has been only an image.”
He is saying, “Since I have known the body in its totality, the spirit, the soul, the self, have been only figuratively used by me” – because what we call the soul is not separate from the body.
It can be understood easily if I say that the body is your outer soul and the soul is your inner body. But it is one phenomenon, it is one energy. The space outside your house and the space inside your house are not two spaces – the outside space and the inside space are a one and absolutely single phenomenon.
There have been people in the world who believe in the body, the materialists. In the East there has been an ancient school of them, the Charvakas. In the West: Epicurus, Karl Marx, Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre. These people represent the materialist viewpoint – that matter is the only reality; all that exists is matter, spirit is only a poetic image.
And there has been the opposite school of spiritualists, who say that the soul is the authentic reality; the body is ephemeral, illusory – because they have made it a criterion: unless something is eternal it is not real. The body is not eternal – one day it is born, then it is constantly changing, every moment, and one day it dies. It is simply a long dream. Even dreams, when you are dreaming them, appear to be real. So is the case with the body and the outside world – it only appears to be real. But because it is ephemeral, constantly changing, it cannot be given the name of absolute reality.
But inside you, invisible, is the spirit. And just as inside you there is an invisible spirit, your soul, so in the universe also there is an invisible spirit, God. The spirit of the individual is only part of the universal spirit. The spirit is the reality; matter is only a dream.