The people who have been calling me an utopian must be thinking that they are condemning me. They are wrong. I take it as a compliment. Give my thanks to them and tell them that I am an utopian, my people are utopians, and I want the whole world to become utopians.
Isn’t it amazing that of all the places in the world, the first two stops on your world tour should be the land of Buddha and the land of Zorba?
It is. But one thing should be understood about it: in reality Zorba comes first, Buddha comes afterwards.
Zorba is the beginning, Buddha is the fulfillment.
Zorba is the roots, the trunk, the branches.
Buddha is the flowers, the fruit, the fragrance.
In reality this is the order. But I went first to Nepal, the birthplace of Buddha, and then I came to Crete, the land of Zorba. That has a significance…
When you approach a tree, first you see the flowers, the fruits. They come last as far as the tree’s growth is concerned, but when you go to the tree, those are the first to be seen. And only if you want to go deeper into the reality of those flowers will you find that behind those flowers are hidden roots in the earth.
In life, Zorba comes first, Buddha comes second. But when you start exploring the reality of the flowers, Buddha comes first, Zorba comes at the very end. There are many who stop at the flowers and never bother about the roots. They are the fools, because they do not understand that the flowers will not exist even for a single moment if the roots do not go on supplying the juice to them. But those roots are hidden under the ground.
Perhaps I am the first person who has made this connection between Zorba and Buddha.
The ambassador of Sri Lanka wrote me a letter saying, “You should not use these two names together, Zorba the Buddha, because it is insulting to Buddha, and it hurts the feelings of the Buddhists.”
I wrote to him saying, “You don’t understand; that’s why your feelings are hurt. You are just looking at the flowers and forgetting the roots.”
Without the roots, howsoever ugly the roots may be, there is no possibility of flowers. The whole existence of the tree depends on the hidden roots. They don’t come into the light; they don’t publicize themselves, but that does not mean that the man who is really into deep research about man’s consciousness will not be able to find them.
I told the ambassador, “You can hurt as much as you want – but this is my experience, that every Buddha is based in the roots of Zorba.”
I don’t know what happened to him – he never replied.