Christ’s message is rejoicing and be merry. But that is not the message of Christianity. Christianity’s message is: be sad, long faces, look miserable; the more miserable you look, the saintlier you are. Sometimes I really feel for poor Jesus. He has fallen in such a wrong company, and I wonder how he is managing in paradise with all these Christian saints, so sad, so dull. He was not a dull man, he was not a sad man — he could not be. The word ‘Christ’ is exactly synonymous with buddha. He was an enlightened person. He rejoiced in life, in the small things of life. He rejoiced in eating, drinking, friendship. He loved companionship, he loved the whole life. But Christians down the ages have painted him as very sad. They have painted him always on the cross as if for thirty-three years he was always on the cross.
And my own understanding is that a man like Jesus will not die sad, even on the cross. He must have laughed before he died. That’s what al-Hillaj Mansoor did before he was killed by the fanatic Mohammedans because he had declared: Ana’l Haq — I am God. Mohammedans could not tolerate it, just as Jews could not tolerate Jesus. They killed him — but before they killed him, he looked at the sky and laughed loudly. One hundred thousand people had gathered to see this ugly phenomenon, the murder of one of the greatest human beings who has ever walked on the earth. Somebody asked from the crowd, “al-Hillaj, why are you laughing? You are being killed!” And he was killed in the cruellest way, piece by piece. Jesus’ crucifixion is nothing compared to Mansoor’s: first, his legs were cut off, then his hands were cut off, then his eyes were taken out, then his nose was cut off, then his tongue was cut off, then his head was cut off. They tortured him as much as was possible, but he laughed. Somebody asked,
“Why are you laughing?” Mansoor said, “I am laughing because the man you are killing is somebody else, I am not he. I am laughing at God too. What is happening? — have these people gone mad? They are killing somebody else! Me you cannot kill; it is ridiculous, your whole effort is ridiculous. So let it be remembered, let it be on record that I laughed at your foolishness!” And that’s exactly what Jesus must have done, laughed. But Christians have tried their best to depict Jesus as sad. They have made a saint out of a real authentic human being; they have cut everything. The gospels are not true stories; much has been changed, much has been reduced, much has been added. They have become mere fictions. Down the ages, Christians have been trying to paint Christ as sadder and sadder. Why? — because all over the world religion has been dominated by a neurotic kind of people. It has been dominated by the people who are masochists, sadists.
In the East too, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism — they have all been dominated by the masochistic people, the people who enjoy torturing themselves, the people who are incapable of living life in its totality. The people who are too cowardly to live, escapists, have dominated religion up to now. These escapists have depicted.
Buddha as not laughing, Mahavira as not laughing. And Christians actually say that Jesus never laughed in his life. Can you believe that? Jesus never laughed in life? — and he enjoyed drinking and eating, he enjoyed gamblers and prostitutes, and he enjoyed all kinds of people, and he never laughed? Can you imagine that a man like Jesus, who was always feasting for hours with his friends, never laughed? It is inconceivable! How can you go on wining and dining without laughing? He must have joked, he must have told funny stories. They have been edited out. He was a very true man, and very courageous. He accepted Mary Magdalene, the famous prostitute of those days as his disciple. It needs courage, it needs guts. I cannot believe that he never laughed.
I can rather believe a very fictitious story about Zarathustra — that the first thing he did when he was born was to laugh loudly. That I can believe, but I can’t believe this story about Jesus, that he never laughed. It looks impossible. A child… just the first thing he did was a burst of belly laughter. But I can believe it. It has a certain beauty about it, a certain significance. It simply says that Zarathustra was born wise, he was born enlightened, that’s all. Whether he laughed or not, that is not the question. And it doesn’t seem too difficult: if children can cry, why can’t they laugh? Doctors say that children cry just to clear their throat so that they can breathe easily. But that can be done in a far better way by a burst of belly laughter. And now there are doctors who say that if we take enough care children don’t cry; on the contrary, they smile. That’s a good beginning. Soon Zarathustras will be coming.
But up to now doctors have been very Christian. The first thing they do is they hang the child upside down and hit him on the buttocks. Do you expect a child to laugh? This is a great welcome to the world, putting the child upside down, giving him a hit — a good beginning, because his whole life he is going to get hit in the pants, again and again. And hanging upside down, how can he laugh? No wonder he cries! Now there are a few doctors working in a different direction. They bring the child in a more natural way out of the mother’s womb; they don’t cut the umbilical cord immediately because that creates crying, that is violence. They leave the child on the mother’s belly with the umbilical cord intact. They give a good bath to the child, a hot bath, they put the child into a hot tub of exactly the same temperature as it was in the mother’s womb. In the mother’s womb, the child is floating in the water.
The water has the same contents as seawater, salty. In the same salty chemical solution, of the same temperature, the child is put in the tub. He starts smiling. It is a really beautiful reception. And not with glaring tube lights… that hurts the eyes of the child. In fact, so many people are wearing glasses only because of the foolishness of the doctors. The child has lived for nine months in the mother’s womb in darkness, utter darkness. Then suddenly so much light… it hurts his delicate eyes. You have destroyed something delicate in his eyes. The child should be received in very dim light, and the light should be increased slowly, so his eyes become accustomed to the light. Naturally, the child smiles at the beautiful welcome.
I can believe Zarathustra loudly laughing, but I can’t believe Jesus not laughing at all. He lived for thirty-three years and did not laugh? — that can only be possible if he was absolutely perverted, absolutely pathological, ill. Something must have been wrong if he didn’t laugh. But nothing is wrong with him; something is wrong with the followers. They depict their saints, their messiahs, their prophets, as very serious, sombre, sad, just to show that they are above the world, that they are beyond, that they are not worldly people. Laughter seems shallow, seems nonspiritual. Although the message of Christmas is rejoicing and be merry, still there is sadness, because the whole of Christianity teaches you to be sad. It is not a life-affirming religion, it is life-negative. It is much more life negative than Hinduism, much more life-negative than Judaism. It has no sense of humour at all. And religion without a sense of humour is ill, pathological. It needs psychological treatment.