Third…I saw a man whom I could not recognize. “Strange,” I thought. “Through thousands of lives I have been a traveler on many paths, with many people, in many schools. Who is this man? He is so unrecognizable.” He was not a master, that’s why I could not recognize him, but he was meek enough to be included. I have always loved his book. I cannot in any way find any reason why I forgot to include it in the list of fifty one. The man was a Greek, Kazantzakis, the author of Zorba the Greek. I don’t even know how his name is pronounced but Zorba the Greek is a masterpiece. The man who produced it is not a Buddha, nor a Mahavira, but is capable of being either at any moment. He is almost ready, ripe, just waiting as if for his season.
Zorba is one of my love affairs. I love strange people. Zorba is a very strange man – not even a real man, only fictitious, but to me he has become almost a reality because he represents Epicurus, Charvaka, and all the materialists of the world. He not only represents them, but represents them in their best form.
In one place Zorba says to his boss, “Boss, you have everything but still you are missing life, because you don’t have a little madness in you. If you can manage a little madness you will know what life is.”
I can understand him; not only him, but I can understand all the Zorbas down the ages, with their “little madness.” But I don’t believe in a little of anything. I am as mad as one can be, totally mad. If you are only a little mad, of course you will understand only a little of life, but it is better than not knowing at all.
Zorba, poor Zorba, illiterate Zorba, a laborer…he must have been huge, strongly built, and a little mad. But he gave great advice to his master: “Be a little mad,” he said. I say being a little mad won’t do; be totally mad! But you can allow total madness only in meditation, otherwise you will freak out. You won’t be able to consume it; on the contrary, it will consume you. If you don’t know what meditation is you will be burned. Hence I have coined a new name: Zorba the Buddha.
Zorba the Buddha is my synthesis. I love Kazantzakis for creating a great work of art, but I feel sorry for him too because he is still in darkness. Kazantzakis, you need a boss, a little of meditation; otherwise you will never know what life is.
Fourth, I saw one of the most beautiful fellows. I have talked about him, but not mentioned him in the list of fifty, the arbitrary list. The name of the man is al-Hillaj Mansoor. Al Hillaj has not written a book but only a few statements, or rather declarations. People like al-Hillaj only declare, not out of any egoism – they don’t have any ego, that’s why they declare, “Ana’l haq!”
Ana’l haq! is his declaration and it means “I am God, and there is no other God.” Mohammedans could not forgive him; they killed him. But can you kill an al-Hillaj? It is impossible! Even while they were killing him he was laughing.
Somebody asked, “Why are you laughing?”
He replied, “Because you are not killing me, you are killing only the body, and I have said again and again that I am not my body. Ana’l haq! I am God himself.” Now these men are the very salt of the earth.