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In the Beginning Was Silence
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OSHO : The Path of the Mystic, Chapter 38

OSHO,
Fifteen years ago I was a political militant, and I was trying to change the society by spreading ideas. Failure and frustration brought me to you. Now that your people cannot reach you, can spreading your ideas and publishing your books and tapes be enough to give birth to the new man? Or is there anything else that we can do?

The question is from Avesh. What you were doing before you came to me is not the same thing that I am asking you to do now. You were working under the same fallacy -- that the society can be changed and the individual will change automatically.

You failed, not because you were spreading ideas but because your ideas were based on a fallacy that there exists a society with a soul which can be changed. "Society" is only a collective name. You cannot do anything to it. Whatever has to be done is to be done to the individual. He is the living, understanding part of existence.

So the first thing: when I say, "Let the word be spread," I am talking about individuals, not about society.

In the second place: there is nothing more powerful than the word. It is so powerful that the biblical tradition begins with it. "In the beginning was the word. The word was with God. The word was God."

I do not agree with the statement, "In the beginning was the word," but I certainly agree that whoever wrote the biblical passage was immensely aware of the power of the word. He puts it even before God -- because after all "God" is a word, and an empty word, with no content. He at least has the insight that the word is so powerful that it should be the beginning of existence.

I cannot agree with the statement because a word needs somebody to understand it, somebody to give it meaning; otherwise it is only a sound. What are words? -- sounds to which we have given certain meanings. Meanings are arbitrary, so the same word can mean one thing in one language, another thing in another language, and something still different in another language. A word has no meaning of its own, a word presupposes meaning. So the statement, "In the beginning was the word," although it is a significant statement recognizing the power of the word, is not factually true.

The Hindu scriptures -- not one but one hundred and eight Upanishads -- begin with the sound, not with the word. They begin with Om -- which is not a word because it means nothing, it has no meaning. It is a deeper insight. "In the beginning" can only be sound, not a word. Sound can become a word when there is somebody to give it a meaning.

But there are Buddhist scriptures which go to the very root of the thing. They say, "In the beginning was silence."

Silence, sound, word, are all connected. Silence is vast like the ocean. It is potential sound; it has not yet manifested itself. It is like music sleeping in the strings of a guitar -- some fingers will be needed to wake the music up. Silence is sound, asleep. But in the beginning there can only be silence.

The insight deepens from word to sound to silence, but I do not agree with any of the statements, because there has never been any beginning. The very idea of beginning is false.

If I was to write, I would write, "In the end there is the word, then sound, then silence -- if there is an end." Of course there is no beginning... there cannot be any end. But to individual thinkers, individual enlightened beings, there is a beginning and there is an end as far as others are concerned. To the enlightened person himself, there is only beginning and no end. And in the beginning is silence.

Perhaps the Upanishads are too much influenced by the enlightened experience. There is a beginning when your mind disappears, leaving space for eternal silence, but there is no end for your self. Of course you will die as far as others are concerned -- you will live as far as you are concerned. Death is others' opinion about you. For them, in the end will be the word -- because the message of the master has to be contained in a word or in words.

So don't think that words are not powerful. Ordinary, mundane words have no power; they have only utility. But when the enlightened man speaks, the word has no utility; it has simply a tremendous power to transform your heart.

So when I say, "Spread the word," I mean whatever I have been telling you, go on spreading in as many ways as possible. Use all the news media, use everything that technology has provided, so that the word reaches to every nook and corner of the earth. And remember, it is far more powerful than any nuclear weapons because nuclear weapons can only bring death -- that is not power. But the word which has come from an enlightened consciousness can bring new life to you; it can give you rebirth, resurrection -- that is power.

Destroying something, any idiot can do. Creating needs intelligence.

I will be leaving words of immense potentiality for you. If you can simply go on whispering them, you will be surprised that they can change the whole human heart.

If the word has come from the awakened consciousness, as it reaches within you it becomes sound -- because meaning is of the mind. Deeper than mind is no-meaning, just sound. But there is still a depth where sound disappears into silence. The true word, the authentic word, always creates silence in you. That is the criterion of its power -- that it is not empty; it contains sound, the sound contains silence, and silence is the nature of existence.

You are asking the question, "Will it be enough just to spread the word?"

What do you want -- to make bombs? become terrorists? kill people? What else do you want? No, there is nothing else. The awakened people down the ages have not seen anything more powerful than the word. It is just a question of spreading it, and spreading it not like a parrot, not like a gramophone record, but spreading it as a representative of it. Whatever you say, you should be; only then can your saying have power.

So don't be worried. How many emperors have existed in twenty-five centuries around the world? But nobody's name comes even close to Gautam the Buddha. Just that one name stands like Everest -- everything looks like a pygmy beside it. And what was the power of the man? He did nothing except use a single method: transform his silence into sound, into word.

That's what happens inside the awakened man. He is in silence: he makes silence bring its potential to actuality; it becomes sound. He gives it meaning -- because only meaning can be the bridge.

You listen to the word. In you also, again the same process has to happen. You understand the meaning through the mind, but you let the sound slip deeper. Meaning remains in the mind. Sound reaches to the heart. And if you allow the sound also to disappear then you reach your being, which is silence. What happens in the master's case has to be reversed. It is a code language -- you have to uncode it.

And it is not only a question of simply repeating what I am saying, it is a question of living it. Your life should be a proof of it; then nothing else is needed.

The whole human evolution has happened through the word. Each master leaves the world with pregnant words which in the right hands can go on being a tremendous energy of transformation.

We are not here to kill anybody or destroy anything. We are here to create something, and the most essential, the most central, is the consciousness of man. Yes, when consciousness is created, many things will disappear on their own accord; you won't have to destroy them.

This is the beauty of the whole work: nothing is destroyed but thousands of things disappear, and finally there remains only one -- the experience of the eternal. Even you disappear into it. But even to call it "experience" is not right, it simply is. What I am teaching is an existential revolution.

OSHO,
I have watched a cat play with a mouse before killing it to eat. As if it's a game, the cat seems to get so much pleasure out of torturing the poor mouse. I have often found myself intervening on the poor mouse's behalf.
Is cruelty an inherent quality of existence or a part of our biology, or what?

Cruelty is a misunderstanding. It arises in us because of the fear of death. We don't want to die, so before anybody else kills you, you would like to kill him -- because the best method of defense is attack. I am quoting Machiavelli, whose great-granddaughter is a sannyasin. Machiavelli influenced immensely the political mind in the West.

The same kind of man, five thousand years ago, was born in India; his name was Chanakya. He has influenced the Eastern political mind in the same way.

You will be surprised to know that even after India's freedom and all the talk of nonviolence and the great power of nonviolence that has given India freedom...while Gandhi was still alive they named the diplomatic part of New Delhi "Chanakyapuri" after that man of five thousand years ago, Chanakya. Chanakyapuri means the City of Chanakya. And he was saying exactly what Machiavelli said just two to three centuries ago: "The best way of defense is to attack."

You don't know who is going to attack you. In the animal kingdom, in the human world, there is tremendous competition. So people simply go on attacking, not bothering whom they are attacking or whether he was really going to attack them. But there is no way to find out -- it is better not to take a chance.

And when you attack somebody, slowly slowly your heart becomes harder and harder and you start enjoying attacking. The phenomenon can be seen in the animals because it is the same competition -- for food, for power....

The latest discoveries have found that almost all the animals have a certain hierarchy. If you see twenty monkeys sitting in a tree, the topmost branch will be occupied by the president. He is the most powerful monkey, he has defeated everybody. And of course, because he is the most powerful, he has the best women around him. Nobody can touch those women. The poor monkeys on the lowest branches don't have any women, because the number of both sexes is equal.

Below the president there is the prime minister; he has his own group of women. Then there is the cabinet. And as you go on lower down the tree then there are ordinary monkeys -- businessmen, soldiers. And when you reach the bottom you will find the poorest monkeys -- the beggars, the loafers, the criminals. They have nothing.

And often there is a chaos. If the old monkey dies then there is a great conflict again: who is to become the head? Or even if the old monkey is alive but has become too old, the younger monkeys cannot tolerate him; they throw him out. Some younger monkey becomes the head of the group, and he takes possession of the women of the old monkey who is now sitting on the lowest branch.

Just like Richard Nixon -- nobody cares, nobody bothers: you have failed. Or Jimmy Carter, just starting his business of peanuts again without even feeling ashamed that from president to peanuts it is a long fall. But what else to do? And these people will not be heard of again unless they die. Then there may be a little information in the newspapers that the ex-president of the great America has died.

Cruelty is nothing but a competitive spirit to be the first.

If it means violence, then violence -- but one has to be the first. It is there in the animals; it is in man. But why this rush to be the first?

The existential reason is death. Life is uncertain: you are alive today, tomorrow you may not be. And there is so much to be enjoyed, and time is so short. This shortage of time and so much to be lived, so much to be loved, so much to be enjoyed, creates a hectic frenzy: you must reach everything first so you are not missing anything. And if somebody else has reached there, then even if it is needed to kill him, kill him.

Cruelty disappears only -- and that's how I find the clue to why cruelty exists -- it disappears only when you know there is no death. When you experience something immortal in you, all cruelty disappears. Then it does not matter. You need not run, you can just go on a morning walk. And if somebody pushes you, you can let him go ahead of you because the poor fellow does not know that the world is infinite, life is infinite. There is no way of missing anything -- if not today, then tomorrow. But you cannot miss anything if you understand.

In fact, in fighting and being cruel to each other, in being violent, you may miss much because this whole process will harden you, will make a stone of your heart. And the heart, if turned into a stone, is going to miss all that is great, all that is beautiful, all that is blissful.

But it is difficult to explain this to the animals. The real problem is, it is even difficult to explain to human beings that through competition, violent ambition, reaching everywhere first, you are creating an insane world in which nobody enjoys anything and everybody remains poor.

The only way to make people understand is to help them to feel their immortal self, and immediately all cruelty will disappear. It is the shortness of life that is making the trouble. If you have infinity on both ends -- past and future -- there is no need to be in a hurry, no need to compete even. Life is so much and so full, you cannot exhaust it.

But very few people will meditate, and very few people will know the eternal self; then naturally they will remain cruel and violent. It is nothing intrinsic, it is nothing given by nature to you. It is a by-product, a misunderstanding, and you have done nothing to understand why it is so.

I was in a train station in India, in Nagpur, and as I was just going to enter the air-conditioned compartment another man came rushing, pushed me aside and forced his suitcases in. I stood aside and watched the whole thing -- because the train was going to be standing there for half an hour. And in an air-conditioned compartment there is not going to be a crowd. And my seat was reserved.

When he had taken everything in, I asked, "Am I allowed to enter?"

He felt a little ashamed. He said, "I'm sorry that I pushed you aside."

I said, "No, that is not a problem. People are in a hurry to catch the train; just a misunderstanding... you don't understand this train is going to stand here for half an hour. And there are only two passengers, you and me. In half an hour, I think we will easily manage to enter -- who enters first makes no difference.

"And my seat is booked, so there is no question... and I think your seat also must be booked." To travel in the air-conditioned class without booking the seat is very difficult. Those who are accustomed to travel air-conditioned class have to book fifteen days ahead; otherwise it is just chance if there is some seat available, because there are not many. Only one compartment is air-conditioned in the whole train.

He said, "No, my ticket is not booked."

I said, "Still, there was no hurry. Rather than entering into the compartment, you should have got hold of the conductor to see whether there is any seat available or not."

I went in, I found my seat. He looked on the name plates on the doors: there was no other place.

So he came to me and said, "Perhaps you were right -- I should look for the conductor. There seems to be no place, unless somebody does not come or got down in the middle or may be getting down at the coming station."

And just at that moment the conductor came in. He said to the man, "I have thrown you out of third class because you don't have a ticket. You entered second class; I have thrown you out of second class. You entered first class, and now finally you thought perhaps in the air-conditioned compartment nobody is going to check. Ordinarily nobody checks because every seat is booked, but I was following you."

I said to the man, "You don't even have a ticket, and you were thinking that a seat may be booked for you! And you rushed, just pushed me aside. I don't understand what kind of man you are. But one thing I can understand: your worry. Now I can see that you have not pushed me -- you were afraid of the conductor seeing you. He has thrown you out of three other places and he will be reaching here, so before he reaches you, go in and settle somewhere, pretend that you are asleep or something, or just go to the bathroom and stand there. Your hurry and your unmannerly behavior, your violent push to me, simply shows something is missing in you."

People who are doing wrong things are always psychologically missing something, and if they can be helped just to meditate a little, it won't be such a problem; at least human society can get rid of all violence. And if the society gets rid of all violence, it will mean a healthy society psychologically and spiritually.

But you cannot do anything about cruelty directly, you have to do something indirectly. You have to do something with meditation. And the people who have meditated down the centuries have all proved that they became absolutely nonviolent. Nonviolence seems to be a peak experience of those who have understood that there is nothing that can destroy them; then all fear disappears

It is fear that creates violence, it is fear that creates cruelty.

You cannot do anything about cruelty directly; you will have to do something about fear, from where it arises.

The cat and mouse game is very significant. It is not only cruelty, it is much more. The cat is absolutely certain to catch the mouse. She is enjoying the game of giving some rope to the mouse so the mouse feels perhaps he can escape. The mouse runs away from this corner to that corner, thinking that he can escape, and the cat gives him enough opportunity to escape because she knows just in one jump she will finish him.

There is no joy in just finishing the mouse. She wants to create some excitement, some challenge -- that it is not just a mouse she has killed but a great mouse that was almost on the verge of escaping. It is not only cruelty but ego that she is enjoying. She can kill the mouse immediately. There is no need to let him go from one room to another room, from one place to another place, but this gives her the idea: "What great power I have! He may be good at escaping, but he does not know me." And finally she kills the mouse. So the basic need of eating the mouse is fulfilled, and by the side the great need of feeling egoistic, of feeling great, is also fulfilled.

I have heard a story -- you must have also heard about it -- that in one house a cat was killing so many mice that finally they came together and asked the wise old ones, "What should be done?"
And one wise old mouse said, "There is a simple method: just hang a bell around the neck of the cat so wherever she goes the bell will ring and will make the mice alert."
A perfect solution, as perfect as many solutions preached by religions, politicians; you cannot find any flaw in it.
Just one young mouse said, "But who is going to do this great job?"
The wise old mouse said, "My work is to give advice. I simply do counseling, personal counseling; action you have to decide. I have given you perfect advice. Now, who is going to do it or not -- that is your business."
This is a famous story, thousands of years old. But I have made it complete, because it is old and it needed some new addition.
So again it happens -- again a great meeting, again the same advice. And a young mouse, instead of saying that it is impossible, says, "Okay, I will do it." Everybody is shocked, because it is against the tradition. The story has been going on for centuries -- everybody has been asking how to do it, who is going to do it, and there the story ends. And this fool is saying he will do it!
They say, "Do you know the story? It is not a new story, it is as ancient as mice. For our whole history we have been meeting and our elders have been advising. You are the first idiot; otherwise, this is not the way to end the story."But the young mouse said, "Idiot or not, I am going to do it."
They all said, "But that will destroy the story!"
He said, "Whatever happens -- whether the story is destroyed or not -- the cat will have a bell, tomorrow morning, tied around her neck."
They all thought he was mad. For thousands of years people have been talking about the story, enjoying it, and it always comes to the same point and the meeting is dispersed, because what can be done? Who can do it? This is strange... just a generation gap. He does not understand the old story, the traditional orthodoxy -- that it has never been done and it cannot be done. But who will explain to this idiot who says, "Tomorrow morning you will see it"?
And the next morning they heard the bell. "My God!" All the mice looked out from their holes. The bell was tied to the neck of the cat, and the cat was coming -- very much puzzled because the bell was ringing -- and before she approached any mouse, he simply slipped into his hole. She could not understand what had happened, how this bell had come to be around her neck. And by the evening she was dying of hunger because not a single mouse....
And all the mice gathered and asked, "What did you do? You have destroyed the whole story, but that's okay because you have really done it!"
He said, "It is a simple thing. I simply wonder why, for thousands of years, the story was not destroyed. I simply went outside, to a medical store, and brought back a few sleeping pills and dropped those pills in the milk that the cat is given every day in the evening. She fell into a deep sleep and I managed to tie the bell around her neck. And in the morning when she woke up she could not believe what has happened and she could not untie it -- it is impossible. From now onwards there is no need for any mouse to be afraid of any cat."

A simple formula... These great advisers and elders are just simply counseling. They won't say exactly what has to be done; they just give a right procedure about anything, saying, "Don't go the wrong way."

If you want man not to be cruel, don't start teaching him: "Don't be cruel. Cruelty is ugly, it is animalistic. It doesn't allow you to be really human." That man can repress his cruelty, but it will come out in some other way, from some other source. Approach rightly.

There is fear in every man of death. There is fear that life is short and competition is tough, so unless you are violent enough you are going to be a loser. But the reality is that only the nonviolent ones are victorious; everybody else is a loser.

OSHO,
Do you see shortcomings in the teachings of Tantra that incline you to feel tantric methods are not suitable for us?

It is not a complete system. There is a basic fallacy that human beings fall into: they find a small truth, a part of the truth, and rather than discover the whole, the remaining part they imagine to fill up the gap. Because they have part of the truth, they can argue and they can manage to make a system, but the remaining part is simply their invention.

All the systems have done that. Rather than discovering the whole truth, it is the human tendency to say, "Why bother? We have found a small piece which is enough for the showcase, which is enough to silence any enemy who raises any question" -- and the remaining is just invention.

For example, tantra is right that sexual energy is the basic energy, so this energy should be transformed into higher forms. It is a truth. But what happened is that they never went very deep into meditation; meditation remained just secondary. And man's sexuality shows itself so powerfully that in the name of tantra it became simply sexual orgy. Without meditation that was going to happen. Meditation should have been the most primary thing because that is going to transform the energy, but that became secondary.

And many people who were sexually perverted, sexually repressed, joined the tantra school. These were the people who brought all their perversions, all their repressions. They were not interested in any transformation, they were interested only in getting rid of their repressions; their interest was basically sexual.

So although Tantra has a piece of truth, it could not be used rightly. Unless that piece of truth is put in second place, and meditation moves into first place, it will always happen that in Tantra, people will be doing all kinds of perversions. And with a great name, they will not feel that they are doing anything wrong; they will feel they are doing something religious, something spiritual.

Tantra failed for two reasons.

One was an inner reason -- that meditation was not made the central point. And second, Tantra had no special methodology for the perverted and the repressed, so that first their repressions and perversions are settled and they become normal. And once they become normal, then they are introduced to meditation. Only after deep meditation should they be allowed in Tantra experiments. It was a wrong arrangement, so the whole thing became, in the name of a great system, just an exploitation of sex.

That's what many of the therapists are doing. Just the other day I saw Rajen's advertisement for a Tantra group -- with an obscene picture. It will attract people because this is real pornography. Why bother to go to see just pictures printed on paper when you can see real people doing pornography? And Rajen has no understanding of meditation, has never meditated.

And these people will feel good, relieved, because the society does not allow them.... In the group they will be allowed to do everything they want to do, so much repression will be thrown out, and they will feel relieved and light and they will feel thankful that they have gone through a great Tantra experience. And there has been no Tantra experience -- it was simply a sexual orgy. And within a few days, they will again collect repressions because they cannot do it outside in the society. So they become permanent customers, chronic Tantrikas.

And the so-called therapists enjoy the money that they bring. They have nothing to lose, they simply allow freedom. They start with all the great words that I have been using -- "freedom," "expression," "no repression," "just be yourself, and don't be worried what others are thinking," "do your own thing." And those idiots start doing their own thing!

First people should be introduced to meditation, and then they should be introduced to Tantra methods. This is not Tantra. Tantra methods are totally different. These people who are doing Tantra, they don't know anything about Tantra.

For example, Ramakrishna meditated deeply, and whenever he felt any sexual urge disturbing his meditation he would ask his wife Sharda -- who was a beautiful woman -- to sit on a high stool, naked, and he would sit in front of her just looking at her, meditating on her till that sexual urge subsided. Then he would touch the feet of Sharda, his own wife, and he would thank her, saying, "You have been helping me immensely; otherwise, where would I have gone? The urge needed some expression, and just watching you was enough."

The temple of Khajuraho has beautiful statues in all sexual postures. It was a Tantra school that made the temple and those statues. And the first thing the student had to do was to meditate on each statue -- and they are arranged in such a way that from one corner you go around the temple in a circle. It may take six months, but you have to watch each statue until you can see it just as a statue with no sexuality in it -- and it is in a sexual posture. But just in your watching it, seeing it for months, it becomes a pure piece of art; all pornography disappears. Then you move to another. And all the perversions of human mind have been put into the statues.

And when you have circled the whole temple, only then will the master allow you inside the temple. Those six months are of immense meditation and of tremendous release, all repressions gone: you are feeling absolutely light. Then the master allows you in. And inside the temple there is no sexual statue; inside the temple there is nothing -- emptiness.

Then the master teaches you how to go deeper into your meditation which has arisen in the six months, and now you can go very deep because there is no hindrance, no problem, no sexuality. And this going deep into meditation with no sexual disturbance means the sexual energy is moving with the meditation, not against it. That's how it is transformed and takes higher forms.

All these so-called therapists know nothing about Tantra, know nothing of why it failed. But they are not interested in that, they are interested in exploiting repressed people. And the repressed people are happy because after a seven or ten day Tantra session, they feel relieved; they think this is some spiritual growth. But within two or three days all that spiritual growth will be gone, and they are ready for another group.

There are some people -- you can call them "groupies" -- that move from one group to another group to another group. Their whole life is just a movement from group to group. Just like hippies...but you can call them "groupies."

OSHO : The Path of the Mystic, Chapter 38
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