Humour

Dear Elizabeth:

You are extremely sorry that I am a stranger to humour. I am extremely sorry that your hard-laboured discovery will not let you win the Nobel Prize, since your discovery is not founded upon truth. Truth to tell, I do enjoy humour. Humour is the salt of life. For sure, God would not have preserved this world of ours, which is ignorantly brilliant and brilliantly ignorant, if He Himself was wanting in a sense of humour.

Elizabeth, do you know that many a philosopher feels that the world is a big joke, a costly farce and an empty show? To me, the world is real, absolutely real. It is not only real, but also wise and significant. This does not mean that the world has to be serious, strict and severe in order to see the face of Reality and sit at the Feet of God. No, never. Humour does not and cannot take one away from the path of inner life.

Elizabeth, you are a staunch Christian, Catholic to the marrow. I have a few sallies of humour to present to you. I feel that nobody will be a better recipient than your humorous self.

"1. "We sing in a church — why should we not dance there?" — George Bernard Shaw"

We have not to dance in a church, for God dances while we sing. We sing with our devotion-flight. God dances with His Compassion-Light.

"2. Fear is a guest whom we hate. Christmas is a guest whom we adore. Unlike other guests, these two guests come in secretly and cheerfully long before their actual arrival."
"3. Somebody says: "Many a minister has been criticised because on six days of the week he is invisible, and on the seventh day he is incomprehensible.""

The victim can easily tell his critics that he at least is better than God, for God is both invisible and incomprehensible to them every single day of the week!

"4. Somebody says: "A clergyman is a man whose mother practises what he preaches.""

The clergyman is really lucky and should be proud that even his own mother cares for and believes in his teachings. Not only that, she practises her son's lofty teachings. We all know that a prophet is not honoured in his own country. But here is an exception and a happy one, too.

"5. "The first clergyman was the first rascal who met the first fool." - Voltaire"

I do not want a fool to remain always a fool. It will simply break my heart. The fool will at least learn something from le Monsieur Voltaire's rascal clergyman-friend and then, for further knowledge, the fool can go to a true saint.

"6. Somebody says: "Some women take themselves to church, but most take their clothes instead.""

Some men leave aside the soul at home, the body on the way, the mind at the church gate and then, with the flesh neither aspiring nor receptive, but with the flesh perspiring and smelling, deceptive and inquisitive, they enter the church.

"7. "To a philosophic eye, the vices of the clergy are far less dangerous than their virtues." - Edward Gibbon"

To my sorrow, I had to learn this truth at long last.

"8. "You must believe in God, in spite of what the clergy say." - Benjamin Jowett"

O dear Benjamin Jowett, at least I listen to your kindest advice every day!

"9. I cannot blame people if they do not go to church. After all, from the very beginning, they wanted to go and still want to go to Heaven and nowhere else."

Dear Elizabeth, I hope I have given you some joy. At least I believe I have taken some tension out of your mind. So you can be thankful to me for that. Before I end this letter, I wish to tell you from the bottom of my heart that I deeply appreciate the church, the clergy and the ministers in their sincere efforts to bring about a divine life on earth.

Finally, I want to tell you that no spiritual man has ever denied the existence of humour in his life. How can I dare to be an exception?

Yours in God, the Supreme Humorist,

C. K. Ghose

Jan. 12, 1969