WORLDLY VS. OTHERWORLDLY
Understanding the Great Divide
I propose a new religiousness. It will not be Christianity and it will not be Judaism and it will not be Hinduism; this religiousness will not have any adjective to it. It will be purely a quality of being whole.
Religion has failed. Science has failed. The East has failed, and the West has failed. Something of a higher synthesis is needed in which East and West can have a meeting, in which religion and science can have a meeting.
The human being is like a tree, with its roots in the earth and the potential to flower. Religion has failed because it was talking only of the flowers--and those flowers remain philosophical, abstract; they never materialize. They could not materialize because they were not supported by the earth. And science has failed because it has cared only about the roots. The roots are ugly, and there seems to be no flowering. Religion has failed because it was otherworldly and it neglected this world. And you cannot neglect this world--to neglect this world is to neglect your own roots. Science has failed because it neglected the other world, the inner, and you cannot neglect the flowers. Once you neglect the flowers, the innermost core of being, life loses all meaning.
Just as the tree needs roots, so does the human being need roots--and the roots can only be in the earth. The tree needs an open sky to grow into, to come to great foliage and to have thousands of flowers. Then only is the tree fulfilled; then only does the tree feel significance and meaning, and life becomes relevant.
The West is suffering from too much science, and the East has suffered from too much religion. Now we need a new humanity in which religion and science become two aspects of one humanity. And once we have brought this new humanity into existence, the earth can become for the first time what it is meant to become. It can become a paradise: this very body the Buddha, this very earth the paradise.
Zorba the Buddha: A meeting of earth
My concept of a new human being is one that will be Zorba the Greek and will also be Gautam the Buddha: the new human being will be "Zorba the Buddha"--sensuous and spiritual. Physical, utterly physical--in the body, in the senses, enjoying the body and all that the body makes possible--and still a great consciousness, a great witnessing will be there. Zorba the Buddha--it has never happened before.
That's what I'm talking about when I talk about a meeting of the East and the West, the meeting of materialism and spirituality. That's my idea of Zorba the Buddha: heaven and earth are united.
I want there to be no schizophrenia, no split between matter and spirit, between the mundane and the sacred, between this-worldly and that-worldly. I don't want any split, because every split is a split in you. And any person, any humanity that is divided against itself is going to be crazy and insane. We are living in a crazy and insane world. It can be sane only if this split can be bridged.
Mankind has lived believing either in the reality of the soul and the illusoriness of matter, or in the reality of matter and the illusoriness of the soul. You can divide the humanity of the past into those who are spiritual and those who are materialists. But nobody has bothered to look at the reality of the human being. We are both together. We are neither just spirituality--not just consciousness--nor are we just matter. We are a tremendous harmony between matter and consciousness. Or perhaps matter and consciousness are not two things but only two aspects of one reality: Matter is the outside of consciousness, and consciousness is the interiority of matter. But there has not been a single philosopher, sage, or religious mystic in the past who has declared this unity; they were all in favor of dividing the human being, calling one side real and the other side unreal. This has created an atmosphere of schizophrenia all over the earth.
You cannot live just as a body. That's what Jesus means when he says, "Man cannot live by bread alone"--but this is only half the truth. You need consciousness, you cannot live by bread alone, true--but you cannot live without bread, either. You have both dimensions to your being, and both dimensions have to be fulfilled, to be given equal opportunity for growth. But the past has been either in favor of one and against the other, or in favor of the other and against the first. Man as a totality has not been accepted.
This has created misery, anguish, and a tremendous darkness; a night that has lasted for thousands of years and seems to have no end. If you only listen to the body, you condemn yourself to a meaningless existence. And if you don't listen to the body, you suffer--you are hungry, you are poor, you are thirsty. If you listen only to consciousness, your growth will be lopsided. Your consciousness will grow, but your body will shrink and the balance will be lost. And in the balance is your health, in the balance is your wholeness, in the balance is your joy, your song, your dance.
The materialist has chosen to listen to the body and has become completely deaf as far as the reality of consciousness is concerned. The ultimate result is great science, great technology--an affluent society, a richness of things that are mundane, worldly. And amidst all this abundance there is a poor human being without a soul, completely lost--not knowing who he is, not knowing why he is, feeling almost like an accident or a freak of nature.
Unless consciousness grows along with the richness of the material world, the body becomes too heavy and the soul becomes too weak. You are burdened by your own inventions, your own discoveries. Rather than creating a beautiful life for you, they create a life that is felt by intelligent people to be not worth living.
The East in the past has chosen consciousness and has condemned matter and everything material, the body included, as maya. They have called it illusory, a mirage in a desert that only appears to exist but has no reality in itself. The East has created a Gautam Buddha, a Mahavira, a Patanjali, a Kabir, a Farid, a Raidas--a long line of people with great consciousness, with great awareness. But it has also created millions of poor people, hungry, starving, dying like dogs--with not enough food, no pure water to drink, not enough clothes, not enough shelter.
A strange situation. . . . In the developed countries every six months they have to drown millions and millions of dollars' worth of foodstuffs in the ocean, because it is surplus. They don't want to overload their warehouses, they don't want to lower their prices and destroy their economic structure. On the one hand, in Ethiopia a thousand people are dying every day, and on the other hand the European Common Market is destroying so much food that the cost of destroying it is in the millions of dollars. That is not the cost of the food; it is the cost of taking it and throwing it into the ocean. Who is responsible for this situation?
The richest man in the West is searching for his soul and finding himself hollow--without any love, only lust; without any prayer, only parrotlike words that he has been taught in the Sunday schools. He has no sense of spirituality, no feeling for other human beings, no reverence for life, for birds, for trees, for animals. Destruction is so easy--Hiroshima and Nagasaki would never have happened if people were not thought to be just things. So many nuclear weapons would not have been piled up if the human being had been considered to be a hidden god, a hidden splendor--not to be destroyed but to be discovered, not to be destroyed but to be brought into the light, with the body as a temple for the spirit. But if a human being is just matter--just chemistry, physics, a skeleton covered with skin--then with death everything dies, nothing remains. That's why it becomes possible for an Adolf Hitler to kill six million people--if people are just matter, there is no question of even thinking twice.
The West, in its pursuit of material abundance, lost its soul, its interiority. Surrounded by meaninglessness, boredom, anguish, it cannot find its own humanity. All the success of science proves to be of no use--because the house is full of things, but the master of the house is missing. In the East, the end result of centuries of considering matter to be illusory and only consciousness to be real has been that the master is alive but the house is empty. It is difficult to rejoice with hungry stomachs, with sick bodies, with death surrounding you; it is impossible to meditate. So, unnecessarily, they have been losers.
All the saints and all the philosophers--the spiritual and the materialist both--are responsible for this immense crime against humanity.
Zorba the Buddha is the answer. It is the synthesis of matter and soul. It is a declaration that there is no conflict between matter and consciousness, that we can be rich on both sides. We can have everything that the world can provide, everything that science and technology can produce, and we can still have everything that a Buddha, a Kabir, a Nanak finds in his inner being--the flowers of ecstasy, the fragrance of godliness, the wings of ultimate freedom.
Zorba the Buddha is the new human being, is the rebel. The rebellion consists of destroying the schizophrenia of humanity, destroying the dividedness--destroying the idea that spirituality is against materialism and materialism is against spirituality. It is a manifesto that body and soul are together. Existence is full of spirituality--even mountains are alive, even trees are sensitive. It is a de...