The Approach of the Pagan


I am reminded of a beautiful story; it is so beautiful that one wants…. It would have been good if it was true too; but it is very close to truth.

In paradise, in a restaurant, Jesus, Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu, all four are sitting gospeling. And then an apsara, a beautiful dance girl, comes dancing with a flask in her hands – it is full of wine – looks at them and says, “You are talking about life, and listening to you talk about life I wondered…. Life is available here in this restaurant; that’s our special recipe. We make life, the juice called life. I have brought this flask. There is no need to discuss it, why don’t you drink, taste it?”

Buddha immediately closed his eyes. He said “Birth is pain, death is pain, and between two pains there is no possibility of life being bliss. I don’t even want to see it.”

Jesus looked at the girl and told her, “Life is born in sin, and you are trying to tempt us? You must belong to the devil. Get out of my sight!”

Confucius was more human; he said, “I cannot be like these two guys; they are against life. I am a pragmatist.” Confucius made China one of the most pragmatic countries, very practical. He said, “I am a practical man. I cannot say anything without tasting – give me a little taste of the juice you call life.” He tasted it a little, gave the cup back and said, “No, it is bitter. Those two fellows are right.”

Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu said, “Unless you drink the whole of it you cannot pass any judgment, because there are things which are bitter in the beginning and sweet in the end. And moreover, one has to learn tasting too. Just taking one sip, with no previous experience of drinking life… your judgment is simply worthless.

“Confucius, you are a confused man and you have confused thousands of others. You pose as if you are pragmatic, but what kind of pragmatism is this, that just by tasting a little bit you make a judgment about the whole? By knowing the part you don’t know the whole. Yes, by knowing the whole you know the part, but not vice versa.”

Lao Tzu took the whole flask – he was not a man to drink from a cup – drank the whole flask, emptied the flask, thanked the lady, and told all those great friends of his, “You are all idiots! It is tremendously beautiful, delicious, but one has to experience it in its totality. Less than that won’t do.”

This is the whole approach of the pagan.

Osho, From Misery to Enlightenment, Ch 15, Q 1


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