Zorba The Greek is the iconic role played by the famous Hollywood actor the late Anthony Quinn. In his most memorable role, Quinn played a middle-aged rough guide who celebrates life in film during the Sixties – ‘Zorba The Greek’ – that won three Oscars. Based on the novel of the same name by Nikos Kazantzakis, the main character, Zorba eats, drinks, sings, dances; he lives, loves and laughs passionately, totally. Enjoying all his senses, he relishes every moment of his life that is just a game for him.
In Gautama the Buddha, the world knows an Indian prince who abandons his luxurious life – his palaces, his pleasures, his princess and even his infant son – to search his true self in the forest. He starves himself, denies himself until he becomes quiet, calm, still, peaceful, silent, and serene. Finally, he becomes enlightened.
Can Zorba be combined with Buddha?
Naah! One cannot imagine a Buddha who celebrates life, who dances and sings and laughs or a Zorba who sits still, seriously, silently, unsmilingly – and yet this is the combination of two polar opposites Osho presents us as the only alternative to our current madness of the marketplace. The two opposites can never meet until Osho declared that not only they should but they must, if the modern man is to survive.
Says Osho, “Zorba is the roots in the earth, and the Buddha is a longing to fly into ultimate freedom, to reach to the space, which is unbounded. I would like you to be Zorba the Greek and Gautama the Buddha together, simultaneously. Less than that won’t do. Zorba represents the earth with all its flowers and greenery and mountains and rivers and oceans. Buddha represents the sky with all its stars and clouds, and the rainbows. The sky without the earth will be empty. The sky cannot laugh without the earth. The earth without the sky will be dead. Both together – and a dance comes into existence. The earth and the sky dancing together – and there is laughter, there is joy, there is celebration. You have to be whole: rich in the body, rich in science; rich in meditation, rich in consciousness. Only a whole person is a holy person, according to me.”
After what we have suffered in the last decade, for the new decade, a new man is needed – Zorba and Buddha . Zorba alone is hollow. His dance has not an eternal significance, it is momentary pleasure. Soon he will be tired of it. Unless you have inexhaustible sources, available to you from the cosmos itself… unless you become existential, you cannot become whole. The whole person can achieve goals, targets, results, deadlines and all it entails and yet live, love and laugh.
If we want a whole man — and a whole man is the only holy man — then Zorba has to be absorbed into Buddha. They have to be accepted totally as one. Buddha cannot laugh, cannot dance, cannot sing, cannot love. Now what kind of life will it be? Hollow! Zorba can sing, dance, enjoy food, drink, love. He will have a life, but he will not know who he is. He will not know the meaning of existence.
Zorba the Buddha will create a unity in you; your body and soul will have a unity. You will not have to fight against your nature, you can use it as a stepping stone. There is no need to fight, there is no need to repress. If you are one, you would like to dance in the open air under the sun. That will be your real prayer. Nothing is said, nothing is asked, but you are showing your gratitude to existence. Zorba the Buddha will not only destroy the split in man, it will destroy the split in society. He meditates in the marketplace.
About the Author
A disciple of the enlightened master, Osho and an Editor, Author, Special Correspondent, Publisher, Media Consultant, Kul Bhushan has worked for a UN agency and travelled to over 50 countries. He specialises in writing on NRI (Non Resident Indians) affairs. He has authored 26 books.