Zorba is fictitious, but the man who created Zorba must have carried a tremendous dream of himself being in Zorba’s place, because no novelist writes anything which is not actually a compensation for his life. The poets who write about love write about love because they have missed love. Their beautiful poetry about love is a poor substitute.
Kazantzakis wanted to be a Zorba but could not gather courage. He could not gather courage because of his Christian heritage. In his novel ZORBA THE GREEK there is a beautiful statement. Zorba is working with his boss. The boss is always sad, long-faced, worried, and Zorba is always enjoying the small things of life – food, wine, women. After a whole day’s work he would go to the seashore and would dance alone, would play on his musical instrument. The boss could not believe that he has nothing – a poor man, but he lives like an emperor.
That night when he comes, his boss asks him, “Why am I so sad and why are you always so blissful?”
Zorba says to the boss, “Boss, the only problem with you is you think too much. I am a poor man; I don’t think, I simply live.”
In a small sentence – “You think too much” – he has given the whole insight of meditation.
Thinking too much is non-meditative. Thinking less and less you become more and more meditative. The moment thinking ceases, you are in meditation.
But nobody has even explored Zorba’s life; otherwise he would have found the possibility of his becoming a Buddha.
Even before Zorba, almost two thousand years ago, Greece produced a tremendously beautiful man, very close to Gautam Buddha. The man’s name was Epicurus, and he was not a fiction, he was a living Zorba. His whole philosophy was just to live moment to moment and enjoy each moment as deeply as you can, because once it is gone, it is gone forever. He made a small commune in a forest which became known as the Garden of Epicurus.
But even Greeks have not paid much attention to Epicurus or his teachings; nothing much has survived…very few fragments here and there.
It seems we feel ashamed of zorbas, and they are authentically real human beings. Only on their solid rocks can we make beautiful temples of buddhahood, of enlightenment, of awakening.
I have been accused of being esoteric ever since I have been a sannyasin. Why is esoteric a four-letter word?
It is; there is no question of why. A four-letter word is a four-letter word. All esoterics is nonsense.