Question - Beloved Osho, Does
Laughter belong to every Stage?
Osho - This is worth considering, significant. The first thing to understand is that, except man, no animal is capable of laughter. Laughter shows a very high peak. If you go out on a street and you see a buffalo laughing you will be scared to death, and if you report it nobody is going to believe that it happened. It is impossible.
Why can't animals laugh? Why can't trees laugh? There is a very deep causality to the laughter; only that animal can laugh which can get bored. Animals and trees are not bored. Boredom and laughter -- this is the polar duality, these are the polar opposites. Man is the only animal who is bored; boredom is the symbol of humanity. Look at dogs and cats -- they are never bored. Man seems to be deep in boredom. Why are they not bored? Why does only man suffer boredom? And the higher your intelligence the more you will be bored, a lower intelligence is not bored so much. That's why primitives are more happy.
You will find more happy people in a primitive society than in a civilized society; even a Bertrand Russell becomes jealous. When Bertrand Russell for the first time came in contact with some primitive tribes he started feeling jealous because they were so happy -- not bored at all. Life was a blessing. They were poor, starved, almost naked; in every way they had nothing, but they were not bored with life. In Bombay, in New York, in London, everybody is bored -- more intelligent, more civilized, more boredom.
So the secret can be understood: the more you can think, the more you will be bored, because through thinking you can compare -- past, future, present. Through thinking you can hope, through thinking you can ask, "What is the meaning of it?" And the moment a person asks, "What is the meaning of it?" boredom will enter, because really there is no meaning in anything. If you ask the question, "What is the meaning of it?" you will feel meaninglessness. And when meaninglessness is felt you will be bored. Animals are not bored, trees are not bored, rocks are not bored. They never ask, "What is the meaning of life, what is the purpose of life?" They never ask so they never feel it is meaningless. As they are they accept it, as life is it is accepted. There is no boredom.
Man feels bored, laughter is the antidote. You cannot live without laughter, because you can kill your boredom only through laughter. You cannot find a single joke in primitive societies, they don't have any jokes. Jews have the largest number of jokes, they are the most highly bored people on the earth. But they must be so, because they win more Nobel prizes than any other community. The whole last century almost all the great names are Jews: Freud, Einstein, Marx -- Jews. And look at the list of Nobel prizewinners -- almost half the Nobel prizes go to the Jews. They have the largest number of jokes.
And this may be the reason why all over the world Jews are hated -- because everybody feels jealous of them. Wherever they are they will always win any type of competition, so everybody feels jealous of them, the whole world is united against them, feels hate for them. When you cannot compete with someone hate is the result. And they have the most beautiful jokes on the earth. Why? They must be feeling very bored; they have to create jokes -- a joke is the antidote to feeling bored. Laughter is needed to exist, otherwise you will commit suicide.
Now try to understand the mechanism of laughter, how it happens. If I tell a joke, why do you laugh? What happens? What is the inner mechanism? If I tell a joke, expectation is created, you start expecting. Your mind starts searching for what the end is going to be, and you cannot conceive the end. A joke moves in two dimensions: first it moves in a logical dimension, you can conceive it. If the joke goes on being logical to the very end there will be no laughter. Suddenly the joke takes a turn and becomes illogical, something which you could not conceive. And when the joke takes a turn and the result becomes illogical, the expectation, the tension that was created in you, suddenly explodes. You relax, laughter comes out of you.
Laughter is a relaxation, but a tension is needed. A story creates expectation, tension. You start feeling that now the crescendo, now the crescendo will come, something is going to happen. Your backbone is straight like a yogi, you have no more thoughts in the mind; the whole being is just waiting, all the energy moving towards the conclusion. And all that you could conceive is not going to happen.
Suddenly something happens which the mind could not conceive; something absurd happens, something illogical, irrational. The end is such a turn that it was impossible for logic to think about it. You explode. The whole energy that has become a pillar inside suddenly relaxes. Laughter comes out of you through this relaxation. Man is bored, hence he needs laughter. The more bored he is, the more and more laughter he will need, otherwise he cannot exist.
Thirdly, it has also to be understood about laughter that it is of three types. One, when you laugh at someone. This is the meanest, the lowliest, very ordinary and vulgar -- when you laugh at somebody else's cost. This is violent, aggressive, insulting. Deep down there is a revenge.
Secondly, when you laugh at yourself. This is worth achieving, this is cultured, and the man who can laugh at himself is valuable. He has risen above vulgarity, he has risen above low instincts -- hatred, aggression, violence.
And thirdly, the highest laughter, which is not about
anybody -- neither the other nor oneself. The third is just cosmic, you
laugh at the whole situation as it is. The whole situation as it is, is
absurd -- no purpose in the future, no beginning in the beginning. The
whole situation of existence is such that if you can see the whole --
such a great vastness, an infinite vastness, moving to no fixed purpose,
moving to no goal; so much going on without leading anywhere; nobody in
the past to create it, nobody in the end to finish it; a whole cosmos,
and moving so beautifully, so systematically, so rationally -- if you
can see this whole cosmos, then a laughter arises.
They did only one thing: they would enter a village, stand in the marketplace, and start laughing. Suddenly people would become aware and they would laugh with their whole being. Then others would also get the infection, and then a crowd would gather, and just looking at them the whole crowd would start laughing. What is happening? Then the whole town would get involved, and they would move to another town. They were loved very much. That was their only sermon, the only message -- that laugh. And they would not teach, they would simply create the situation.
Then it happened they became famous all over the country -- the three laughing monks. The whole of China loved them, respected them. Nobody had preached that way -- that life must be just a laughter and nothing else. And they were not laughing at anybody in particular, but simply laughing as if they had understood the cosmic joke. They spread so much joy all over China without using a single word. People would ask their names but they would simply laugh, so that became their name, the three laughing monks.
Then they became old, and in one village one of the three monks died. The whole village was very expectant, filled with expectations, because now at least when one of them had died they must weep. This would be something worth seeing, because no one could even conceive of these people weeping.
The whole village gathered. The two monks were standing by the side of the corpse of the third and laughing such a belly laugh. So the villagers asked, "At least explain this!"
So for the first time they spoke, and they said, "We are laughing because this man has won. We were always wondering who would die first, and this man has defeated us. We are laughing at our defeat, at his victory. He lived with us for many years, and we laughed together and we enjoyed each other's togetherness, presence. There can be no other way of giving him the last send-off, we can only laugh."
The whole village was sad, but when the dead monk's body was put on the funeral pyre, then the village realized that not only were these two joking -- the third who was dead was also laughing... because the third man who was dead had told his companions, "Don't change my dress!" It was conventional that when a man died they changed the dress and gave a bath to the body, so he had said, "Don't give me a bath because I have never been unclean. So much laughter has been in my life that no impurity can accumulate near me, can even come to me. I have not gathered any dust, laughter is always young and fresh. So don't give me a bath and don't change my clothes."
So just to pay him respect they had not changed his
clothes. And when the body was put on the fire, suddenly they became
aware that he had hidden many things under his clothes and those things
started... Chinese fireworks! So the whole village laughed, and those
two said, "You rascal! You have died, but again you have defeated us.
Your laughter is the last."
That's why Mulla Nasruddin in every one of his jokes and stories always proves himself the stupid man in it, never anybody else. He always laughs at himself and allows you to laugh at him. He never puts anybody else in the situation of being foolish. Sufis say that Mulla Nasruddin is the wise fool. Learn at least that much -- the second laughter.
If you can learn the second, the third will not be far ahead, soon you will reach the third. Leave the first laughter, that is degrading. But almost ninety-nine percent of the time you laugh the first one. Much courage is needed to laugh at oneself, much confidence is needed to laugh at oneself. For the spiritual seeker, even laughter should become a part of sadhana. Remember not to laugh the first laughter, remember to laugh the second -- and remember to reach the third.
Source - Osho Book "Vedanta: Seven Steps to Samadhi"
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