In the West, materialism has become the world-view. Even so-called religious people in the West are all materialists. They may go to church, they may believe in Christianity, but that belief is not even skin deep. It is a social formality. One has to go to church on Sunday; it is the thing to do, the right thing to do to remain “the right people” in the opinion of others. You are the right people doing the right things – a social formality. But inside, everybody has become a materialist.
The materialist world-view says that with death everything ends. If this is true, then there is no possibility of any transformation. And if everything ends with death then there is no point in continuing to live. Then suicide is the right answer.
It is simply wonderful to see Sartre going on living. He should have committed suicide a long time ago because if he had really realized that life is meaningless, then what is the point? Either he has realized it or he is still hoping against it and has not realized it. What is the point of carrying the whole thing again and again every day, of getting up out of bed? If you have really felt that life is meaningless, how can you get out of bed the next morning, for what? To repeat the same old nonsense again? – meaningless. Why should you breathe at all?
This is my understanding: if you have really realized that life is meaningless, breathing will stop immediately. What is the point? You will lose interest in breathing, you will not make any effort. But Sartre goes on living and living and doing millions of things. The meaninglessness has not really penetrated very deeply. It is a philosophy; not yet a life, not yet an intimate happening inside, just a philosophy. Otherwise, the East is open; why shouldn’t Sartre come? The East says, “Yes, life is meaningless, but a door then opens.” Then let him come to the East and try to find the door.
And it is not only that somebody has said it; for almost ten thousand years many have come to realize this point, and you cannot delude yourself about it. Buddha lived for forty years in ecstasy with not a single moment of misery. How can you pretend? How can you live a forty year life acting as if you are ecstatic? And what is the point of acting? And not only one Buddha – thousands of Buddhas are born in the East, and they have lived the most blissful of lives with not a single ripple of misery arising.
What Patanjali is saying is not a philosophy, it is a realized fact, it is an experience. Sartre is not courageous enough, otherwise there would be two alternatives: either commit suicide, be true to your philosophy, or seek a way to live, a new life. In both ways, you leave the old. That’s why I insist that whenever a person comes to the point of suicide, only then does the door open. Then there are two alternatives: suicide or self transformation.
Sartre is not courageous. He talks about courage, sincerity, authenticity, but is none of these. If you are authentic, then either commit suicide or seek the way out of the misery. If the misery is final and total, then why do you go on living? Then be true to your philosophy. It seems that this despair, anguish, meaninglessness, is also verbal, logical, but not existential.