Hasan Basri once saw a child coming towards me with a lit torch in his hand.

‘Where have you brought the light from?’ he asked him.

He immediately blew it out and said to me, ‘Oh Hasan, tell me where it has gone and I

will tell you whence I fetched it.’

Drop Seriousness

Be playful. It will be difficult, because you are so much structured. You have an armor around you and it is so difficult to loosen it, to relax it. You cannot dance, you cannot sing, you cannot just jump, you cannot just scream and laugh and smile. Even if you want to laugh you first want something there to be laughed at. You cannot simply laugh. There must be some cause: only then can you laugh. There must be some cause: only then can you cry and weep.

You are serious. You look at life as a business or as mathematics. It is not! Life is poetic, illogical. It is not like work, it is like play. Look at the trees, the animals, the birds; look at the sky: the whole existence is playful. You are very serious, so it is no wonder that you have become separate from existence. You are uprooted from it, and then you feel alienated, then you feel like strangers, then you feel that this existence is not your own. No one else is responsible for it except you and your seriousness.

Put aside knowledge, put aside seriousness; be absolutely playful for eight days. You have nothing to lose. If you do not gain anything, you will not lose anything either. What can you lose in being playful? But I say to you: you will never be the same again. If you can really be playful, you will have a new perspective, a new way to look, a new way to be. And when you go back you will not be the same person. The whole of life will change its meaning for you, because the meaning is given by you. Now life looks like a boredom, life looks meaningless. You have made it so because of your seriousness. Life is playful, beautiful, but it can be beautiful only if your eyes are open to beauty.

But we have become accustomed to those places and we are afraid of the open air and we are afraid of the open sky and the sun and the sand, and we never go out of those small spaces. Hence, laughter has disappeared.

Life has disappeared! – how can laughter live without life? Your spirit is dead. And this is a miracle, that your so-called spiritual people are the MOST spiritless people – and you call them spiritual. My definition of the word ‘spiritual’ is: one who is spirited, one who lives a passionate life, with intensity; who lives at the maximum, not at the minimum; who does not live a lukewarm life.

Be courageous! and laughter will follow. Be courageous and live intensely! and you will not need to ask how to be playful. Out of the maximum, playfulness happens of its own accord – because when you live at the maximum you start overflowing. That overflowing of energies is what playfulness is – there is no map to it, there is no technique to it. Just understanding.

Learning from the story Be Playful: Drop Seriousness

Experience Learning

THERE CANNOT BE ANY MAP TO THE LAND OF PLAYFULNESS. All maps lead to seriousness. Playfulness is when all maps have been burnt down. There is no way to – playfulness, because playfulness is not a goal and cannot be a goal. When you forget about goals, when you are not going anywhere, when the very idea of going is dropped, then herenow – playfulness starts growing in you, happening in you.

Playfulness is not then and there: it is herenow. So how can there be a road-map? You are not to go: you are just to be.

Seriousness is goal-oriented. And even when a serious person starts playing, he transforms the quality of the play – it becomes a game; it is no more play.

That is the difference between a game and a play. When a play becomes serious, it becomes a game.

A play is something in which a goal is not at all concerned. The very being together is beautiful! For the sheer joy of it! In a better world, with more understanding, games will disappear – there will only be plays. There will be nobody as a winner, nobody as the defeated – because the very idea of defeating and winning is inhuman. There is no NEED for it! Why can’t we enjoy the sheer togetherness? There should be no counting, no marking. There should not be any result out of it.

If you are in love with playing football, play football! Just play it! Don’t look for the result. If the result comes in, you become serious, the play is destroyed; it has become almost businesslike. Enjoy the sheer outpour of energy. Enjoy the moment – don’t sacrifice it for anything else.

That’s what LEELA IS, playfulness is. But you are in love and it becomes serious, and you start thinking of marriage and you start thinking of having children and you start thinking of having a family – and the whole thing has gone ugly! If these things happen, let them happen as by-products, not as results. Yes, if you love a woman, you would like to be with her – this is marriage! There should be no other marriage. There should not even be the idea, because the VERY idea makes things down-to-earth; the poetry is destroyed. It becomes mundane; the romance is destroyed.

But the moment you are in love, immediately your mind starts weaving and spinning… about family, how to have a family of one’s own. Why should you need ‘a family of one’s own’? People possess things and people possess people too. If you possess things, it can be forgiven, but how can it be forgiven when you start possessing people? You say ‘my wife’, ‘my husband’, ‘my child’ – what have you DONE to call this child yours? Who are you? How do you come in? Can you create a child?

Can you create the child according to your own desire?

A child comes from the unknown, is a gift. You are not the creator, how can you be the possessor?


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