It is worth considering whether Meera's tanpoora is the handiwork of work addicts or of those who take celebration as a way of life. Work-addicts don't produce a tanpoora, they produce a spade. The tanpoora has no connection with work; the exponents of work produce a hammer, a hatchet and a sword. The tanpoora is the creation of those who take life as play, fun. Whatever is superb in human creation, be it a tanpoora of a Taj Mahal, is the gift of those whose way of life is celebration. These things of beauty arise from their dreams and fantasies.
It is natural that men and women who take life as celebration should accept the help of those who take life as work and toil. But the work-addicts can also take their work as a play, and then the quality of their work will be very different, and so will be the quality of their lives and ways of living. I think the laborers who put the marble of the Taj Mahal together never knew the joy that a mere look at this marvelous piece of architecture brings to you. For the laborers who built the Taj it was merely work, a means of livelihood. But was it not possible that the same marble could have been put together in a celebrative way?
I love to tell this story again and again. A temple is under construction on the outskirts of a town and a few laborers are busy cutting stones for it. A passerby stops to see what is being built. He goes to one of the laborers and asks, "What are you doing?"
The man was sad and serious, even looked angry with himself. Without raising his gaze to the visitor the laborer said, "Don't you see I am cutting stones?"
The visitor moved to another laborer, and put the same question to him, "What are you doing?"
This man looked sad too, but was not angry. He put down his hammer and chisel, raised his eyes to the visitor, said glumly, "I am earning my bread," and resumed his work.
The visitor moved to a third workman who was engaged in the same kind of work near the main gate of the temple. He was in a happy mood, singing. "What are you doing, my friend?" the passerby asked of him too.
And the man said in a very pleasant voice, "I am constructing a temple." And then he resumed his stone cutting and his singing.
All three workmen are engaged in the same job, stone-cutting, but their attitude to work is quite different from one another. As far as the third workman is concerned he has turned work into a celebration; he can work and sing together.
I don't say don't abolish poverty, don't have technology and affluence. All I say is that you can create technology and wealth by way of celebration; It is not necessary to treat them as duty and work. The affluence that comes with celebration has a beauty of its own You can abolish poverty through hard and painful work, but you will remain poor in spite of your wealth. Poverty of the spirit cannot go until you turn work into a celebration. Maybe the way of celebration will take more time, but it will abolish both kinds of poverty -- material and spiritual.
It is really a question of our attitude towards what we do. And with the change of attitude, with work turning into a celebration, the whole milieu of life changes.
A gardener works in your garden; it is his livelihood. He does not take his work as celebration. But he can no one can prevent him if he chooses to change his attitude. Granted that he has to earn his bread, that he must earn his bread, but at the same time he can enjoy his work, he can celebrate with the blossoming flowers, he can sway and sing with them. Who comes in his way except himself, except his attitude towards work? And curiously, he does not earn a lot by taking his work as a means to an end. But if he takes his work joyfully, if he rejoices with the blooming flowers, if celebration becomes primary and work secondary, he will attain to a richness of life he has never known. Then the same gardening will bring him a blissfulness he will never know otherwise.~
Poverty should go, suffering should go, but they should go to enable man to take part in the celebration of life As long as a man remains poor, it is hard for him to celebrate life, to participate in its festival. That is why I stand for the abolition of poverty. To me, elimination of poverty does not mean merely providing the poor with food, clothes and shelter. It is necessary, but it is not all. In my view, unless man's physical needs are fulfilled, he cannot raise his sights to the higher need of life, to the fulfillment of spirit, soul, call it what you may. Bread can only fill his belly; to fulfill his spirit he badly needs the milieu of joy and festivity in his life.
And if we direct our attention to the higher realms of life, to soul or spirit, then we can turn all work into celebration. Then we will plough a field and sing a song together; we will sow and dance together. Until recently, this was the way of life all over. The farmer worked on his farm and also sang a song. The worker in a modern factory has lost that magic, and consequently his work has ceased to be joyful, it is dull and listless. The factory is only a workshop; it knows nothing but seven hours of work for which the worker is paid adequately or inadequately. That is why, when a worker returns home in the evening after a day's toil, he is dead tired, broken and unhealed.
But I tell you, sooner or later song is going to enter the precincts of the factory. Great studies are underway in many advanced countries and this realization is dawning on them, that work should cease to be work alone, that it has to be pleasant and joyful. The day is not far off when factories will resound with music, because without it man will be more and more empty and unhappy. And the introduction of music in factories will not only bring some joy to their work men, it will add to the quality of their work.
A housewife cooks in her home. She can cook in the way a cook in some hotel does. But then it will be work, dull and tiring. But she can also cook as a woman cooks for her lover who is to visit her. Then cooking is a celebration which never tires you. Really, such work is highly fulfilling. But mere work is going to tire you, exhaust you, leave you utterly empty.
It is really a matter of our attitude towards what we do.
Krishna: The Man and is Philosophy, # 7