Osho on Krishna
Firstly, let us find out whether life is a schedule of duties and works to be performed, or it is a celebration. If life is work, a duty, then it is bound to turn into a burden, a drag, and we will have to go through it, as we do, with a heavy heart.
Krishna does not take life as work, as duty; he takes it as a celebration, a festivity. Life is really a great feast, a blissful festivity. It is not homework, not a task that has to be performed willy nilly. It is not that someone will cease to work if he takes life as a celebration. He will certainly work, but his work will be a part of the festivity, it will have the flavor of celebration. Then work will happen in the company of singing and dancing. It is true there will not be too much work, it will be less in quantity, but in quality it will be superb. Quantitatively the work will be less, but qualitatively it is going to be immeasurable.
You must have noticed how people who are addicted to work, who turn everything into work, have filled life with tension and only tension. All anxieties of life are the handiwork of the workoholics; they have turned life into a workshop. Their slogan is, do or die. They say, “Do something as long as you are alive, or die if you cannot do anything.” They have no other vision of life except work. And they don’t have even a right perspective of work. Work for what? Why does man work? Man works so he can live. And what does living mean?
To live means to celebrate life. We work so that we can have a moment of dance in our lives. Really, work is just a means to celebrate life.
But the irony is that the way we live there is no leisure left to sing and dance and celebrate life. We turn means into an end; we make work the be-all and end-all of life. And then life is confined between two places, our home and the office. Home to office and back home is all we know of life. In fact, home ceases to be a home, we bring our office home with us after we leave it in the evening. Then psychologically we are in a mess; we live an entangled life, a confused and listless life. Then we keep running for the rest of our lives in the hope that someday we will have time to relax, rest and enjoy life. But that day really never comes; it will never come. Really, workoholics will never know that there is rest and joy and bliss in life.
Krishna takes life as festivity, as a play, fun. It is how flowers, birds and stars take life. Except man, the whole world takes life as play, fun. Ask a flower why it blooms. For what? It blooms without a purpose. A star moves across the sky without a purpose. And purposelessly the wind blows, and keeps blowing. Except man, everything under the sun is a play, a carnival. Only man works and toils and sheds copious tears. Except man, the whole cosmos is celebrating. Every moment of it is celebration. Krishna brings this celebration into the life of man. He says, let man be one with this cosmic celebration.
It does not mean that there will be no work if we turn life into a celebration. It is not that the wind does not work; it is always moving, blowing. It is not that the stars are idle; they are constantly moving. It is not that flowers don’t do anything when they bloom; really, they do a lot. But for them, doing it is not that important; what is important is being. Being is primary and doing is secondary for them.
Celebration comes first and work takes a back seat in their lives. Work is preparatory to celebration.
If you go and watch the way the primitive tribes live, you will know what work is in relation to celebration. They work the whole day so they can sing and dance with abandon at night. But the civilized man works not only in the day, but also at night. He takes pride in working day and night. And if you ask him why he works, he will say that he works today so he can relax tomorrow. He postpones relaxation and continues to work in the hope that he will relax some day. But that day never comes for him. I am in complete agreement with Krishna’s vision of life, which is one of celebration. I am a celebrationist. May I ask what man has achieved by working day in and day out? It is different if he works for the love of work, but I would like to know what he has achieved so far by working meaninglessly?
There is the story of Sisyphus in Greek mythology. He was a king who was condemned by the gods to push a heavy stone uphill and, when it rolled down the hill, to begin again. Time and again Sisyphus had to carry the stone from the base of the hill to its top; this is what “an uphill task” means. A workoholic is a Sisyphus endlessly pushing a stone uphill and beginning again when it rolls down. He is now engaged in pushing the stone uphill and then chasing it when it rolls down and then beginning to push it up again. And he never comes to know a moment of leisure and joy in all his life. These workoholics have turned the whole world into a madhouse. Everyone is mad with running and reaching somewhere. And no man knows where this “somewhere” is. I have heard that a man got into a taxi and asked the driver to drive fast. And the taxi sped. After a little while the driver inquired where he had to go, and the man said, “That is not the question, I have to go fast.”…
The workoholics have done immense harm to the world. And the greatest harm they have done is that they have deprived life of its moments of celebration and festivity. It is because of them that there is so little festivity in the world, and every day it is becoming more and more dull and dreary and miserable.
In fact, entertainment has taken the place of celebration in the present world. But entertainment is quite different from celebration; entertainment and celebration are never the same. In celebration you are a participant; in entertainment you are only a spectator. In entertainment you watch others playing for you. So while celebration is active, entertainment is passive. In celebration you dance, while in entertainment you watch someone dancing, for which you pay him. But there is a world of difference between dancing and watching a dance performed by a group of professionals who are paid for it.
You work hard during the day, and when you are tired in the evening you go to a concert to watch others dancing. It is all you can do, but it is not even an apology for celebration.
Albert Camus has said that the time is very near when we will have servants to make love on our behalf, because we don’t have time for love. We are so busy we don’t have time for love; we will employ others to do this job for us. Love is a celebration, but for workoholics it has become a superfluous thing. It does not yield any profits; it does not add to their bank balances. Love is an end unto itself; it cannot be turned into a business. So those who are addicted to work think it a waste of time to indulge in love. A kind of secretary can be asked to deal with it and dispose of it.
Obsession with work has taken away the moments of celebration from our life, and we have been deprived of the excitement and thrill that comes with celebration. That is why nobody is happy, nobody is cheerful, nobody is blossoming. That is why suffering has become the badge of mankind. We had to find a substitute for celebration, and entertainment is that substitute, because we do need a few moments of relaxation, a brief spell of diversion. But entertainment is a very poor substitute, because others do it and we are only spectators. It is like the vicarious pleasure we derive from watching someone in love. This is precisely what you do when you watch a movie. You watch a man and woman loving each other and you enjoy it vicariously. It is a false substitute; it is utterly useless. It is not going to give you a taste of love; it is not going to satiate your thirst for love. On the other hand, your disaffection and torment will deepen and land you in still greater misery.
For God’s sake, know love directly, enter into it, and only then you will be satiated and happy. Real love alone can make life festive, entertainment won’t. Krishna is all for celebration; he takes life as a great play, a mighty drama.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy
Chapter title: Make Work a Celebration
28 September 1970 pm in
Osho has spoken on ‘dance, joy, celebration, festivity’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourse titles:
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
- The Secret
- The Beloved
- Sufis: The People of the Path
- Om Mani Padme Hum
- The Messiah
- Come, Come, Yet Again Come
- The Discipline of Transcendence
- Ecstasy – The Forgotten Language
- From Death to Deathlessness
- The Rebellious Spirit
- Zarathustra: A God That Can Dance
- Philosophia Perennis
- The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
- The Osho Upanishad