Be A Zorba In Your Own Way


Beloved Osho,
I am just curious. Have you read the book Zorba the Greek by Kazantzakis? I love it so much. Is not Zorba exactly the way you want us to be? At least that is how I understand your teaching.

I have been Zorba the Greek for many lives. I need not read the book; that is my autobiography. And that’s what I would like you to be.


Take life joyfully, take life easily, take life relaxedly, don’t create unnecessary problems. Ninety-nine percent of your problems are created by you because you take life seriously. Seriousness is the root cause of problems. Be playful, and you will not miss anything – because life is God. Forget about God; just be alive, be abundantly alive. Live each moment as if this is the last moment. Live it intensely; let your torch burn from both sides together. Even if it is only for one moment, that is enough. One moment of intense totality is enough to give you the taste of God. You can live in a lukewarm way, the bourgeois way, the middle-class way. You can go on living, dragging yourself for millions of years – you will only collect dust from the roads and nothing else. One moment of clarity, totality, spontaneity, and you burn like a flame. Just one moment is enough! One moment will make you eternal; you will enter from that moment into eternity. That’s my whole message for my sannyasins: live it in such way that you need not repent, ever.

An old woman, eighty-five years old, was asked by a journalist that if she had to live again, how would she live?

The old woman said – there is a great insight in it, remember it – “If I had my life to live over, I would dare to make more mistakes next time. I would relax, I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would take more trips. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I would have fewer imaginary ones.

“You see, I am one of those people who lived sensibly and sanely hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I have had my moments, and if I had it to do over again I would have more of them. In fact, I would try to have nothing else – just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I have been one of those persons who never go anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute. If I had to do it again I would travel lighter than I have.

“If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring, and stay that way later into the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.”

And that’s my vision of a sannyasin too. Live this moment as totally as possible. Don’t be too sane, because too much sanity leads to insanity. Let a little craziness exist in you. That gives zest to life, that makes life juicy. Let a little irrationality always be there. That makes you capable of playing, being playful; that helps you to relax. A sane person is utterly hung up in the head, he cannot get down from there. He lives upstairs. Live all over the place, this is your house! Upstairs, good, the ground floor, perfectly good – and the basement is beautiful too. Live all over the place, this is your house. And don’t wait for next time, I would like to tell this old woman, because the next time never comes.

Not that you will not be born again; you will be born again, but then you will forget. Then you will start again from ABC. This old woman has been here before. She must have been here millions of times before. And I can say to you that each time, near-about the age of eighty-five, she would have decided the same way: “Next time I’m going to do it differently.” But next time you don’t remember – that’s the problem. You lose all memory of the past life. Then again you start from ABC and the same thing happens.

So I would not say to you to wait for the next time. Take hold of this moment! This is the only time there is, there is no other time. Even if you are eighty-five you can start living. And what is there to lose when you are eighty-five? If you go barefoot on the beach in the spring, if you collect daisies – even if you die in that, nothing is wrong. To die barefoot on the beach is the right way to die. To die collecting daisies is the right way to die. Whether you are eighty-five or fifteen doesn’t matter. Take hold of this moment. Be a Zorba.

You ask: I am just curious. Have you read the book Zorba the Greek? I love it so much.

Only loving it won’t help. Be it! Sometimes it happens that you love the opposite of what you are. You enjoy the opposite of what you are – because it releases fantasies in you. It gives you a vision of how you would like to be: that’s the appeal of a Zorba.

But loving the book will not help. That’s what people have been doing down the ages. People love the Bible, and don’t become Jesus, and they love the Heart Sutra – they repeat it, they chant it every day. Millions of people in the East repeat the Heart Sutra five times a day – in China, in Japan, in Korea, in Vietnam – they go on repeating it. It is a small sutra; it can be repeated within minutes. They love it, but they don’t become it!

Be a Zorba. Remember it: loving books is not going to help, only being helps.

I love it so much. Is not Zorba exactly the way you want us to be?

Not exactly, because I would not like many Zorbas in the world. Not exactly, because that would be ugly and monotonous and boring. You be a Zorba in your own way – not exactly.

Never try to imitate anybody, never be an imitator; that is suicide. Then you will never be able to enjoy. You will always remain a carbon copy, you will never be the original. And all that happens in life – truth, beauty, good, liberation, meditation, love – happens to the original, never to the carbon copy. Beware – not exactly; that is dangerous. If you simply start following Zorba and start doing things as he is doing them you will get into trouble. That’s how people have done it.

Look at the Christians, look at the Hindus: they have been trying to do it exactly. Nobody can be a Buddha again! God does not permit any repetition! God does not allow secondhand people, he loves firsthand people. He loved Buddha. He loved so much that it is finished. Now there is no need for Buddha. It would not be a love affair anymore. It would be like going to the same movie that you have seen before, it would be like reading the same book that you have read many times before. God is not dull and stupid, he never allows anybody to repeat anybody else: Christ only once, Buddha only once – and so are you only once! And you are alone, there is nobody else like you. Only you are you. This I call reverence for life. This is really self-respect.

Learn from Zorba, learn the secret, but never try to imitate. Learn the climate, appreciate, go into it, sympathize with it, participate with Zorba, and then go on your own. Then be yourself.

Osho, The Heart Sutra, Q 6, Ch 2

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