Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Laughing Guru

There once was a guru who, wanting to get in touch with the Divine, went up a mountain to a cave and stayed there a long, long time. Eventually he came down and had this message: he found that when he had spent half the day laughing out loud, he found he was able to connect with the Divine and felt very enlightened. He performed various healings and miracles and all the people marvelled, some of whom followed his example, laughed a lot, and also did amazing things.

The guru lived for 200 years, laughing half the day, and healing all who came. One day he announced he would die - and then he did.

His followers continued on without him, encouraging others with good works and wanting them to laugh as much as possible. The movement spread all over the country. Many years later, after all the first followers had all died, some of the local people complained that while the gurus could spend all their time laughing, someone had to do the work of farming and fishing and cooking to keep life going, and they just didn't have time to laugh 12 hours... and since the Guru had said he spent "half the day" laughing, he must have meant half of his 16 waking hours (8) and not 12 hours which was the official prescription. This interpretation gained steam and followers, since it saved 4 hours for regular work instead of just laughing. The original schools of the Guru were upset, saying the message was being corrupted, and sent out teachers teaching the required 12 hours.

Both schools of laugh taught youth at a young age to laugh, and if a youth did not want to spend the required hours laughing, he or she was disciplined severely for not laughing long enough. Some youth said they never felt any great reason for laughing and couldn't see what the point was. Some people said that there never was a Laughing Guru at all, and it was all a big mind control trick to make people laugh more than they wanted to, in order to keep the various kings of the land laughing in their power.

Many years later, the Laughing Guru came back, and wandered about, laughing. Some people threw stones at him because they thought he was "too old school" and others thought it was just a good parade idea and took the day off work to watch the merriment. The Guru looked around for his followers and found them vigourously arguing the merits of 4, 8, or 12 hours of laughter per day and how, theoretically, it might do someone some good.

The Guru seemed sad and started walking back up the mountain to his old cave when a small child asked him why he was so sad. He replied "I thought that after all this time, someone would have come up with a few good jokes, at least!"