America: Showpiece Democracy

Osho on Democracy and America


In the first place I am not a religious leader. I am a religious man. A leader is fundamentally a politician. Whether or not his politics is hidden behind religion does not matter; the very word `leader’ comes from politics. I don’t have any followers here; these are all my friends. So please don’t call me a religious leader  — I am just religious.

Secondly, I am not criticizing America and Christianity because they have tried to destroy my body. That does not matter to me. It does not hurt me, because I know something which is indestructible; no poison, no bombs, no nuclear weapons can destroy it. My being, my spirituality is beyond any destruction. It is eternal and immortal. So it is not a question of hurting me.

My criticism of America and Christianity has nothing to do with my personal attitude. I am against all religions, not only Christianity. I am against God because I am against all fictions. I am against hell and against heaven because I don’t want to create a schizophrenia in humanity. I don’t want human beings to live in fear of hell and greed for heaven. And I don’t want people to have any kind of belief system. Whether it is Christianity or Hinduism or Buddhism, it does not matter. To me, any organized religion — and Christianity is the most organized religion in the world  —  is a danger to human beings. Their individuality, their freedom, their dignity is destroyed.

Jesus goes on saying to people, “You are sheep, and I am the shepherd.” That is the attitude of all so-called religions: “You don’t know  —  I know. And you have simply to believe in me and all your sins will be forgiven.” Just believing in Jesus, or in Krishna, or in Buddha, cannot erase anybody’s crimes and sins. Every action has its reaction: if you have done something wrong, you will have some bitter experiences following it. If you are doing something good, you will have flowers showering on you, a deep peace, a deep silence, and a growth of your inner consciousness.

I have criticized America because I have been there for five years and seen with my own eyes that this is the most hypocritical country in the world. Talking about democracy, talking about freedom, talking about freedom of speech  —  and none of these things exist there. Because they were against me they could not follow their own constitution concerning freedom of speech. They had no argument against me. Naturally, they became absolutely mad: how to destroy me, how to destroy the commune? The commune was a far superior version of communism. No dictatorship, no money — in the commune there was no need for money. People donated to the commune, but as far as their needs were concerned, the commune was responsible to fulfill their needs. And the commune was living at a far better, higher standard than any American. The richest American was jealous of the commune.

The commune was in the midst of a capitalist world. And when they deported me the representative of the attorney general of America, Ed Meese, admitted in a press conference that I had not committed any crime. The reason he gave for deporting me was: “We wanted to destroy the commune. That was our priority.” And without deporting me, it was impossible to destroy the commune. But why? Why did you want to destroy the commune? Our commune was not at all concerned with America. The commune was located in a desert, one hundred twenty-six square miles of desert which had been for sale for forty years. And nobody had purchased it, at any price, because what will you do with a desert?

But my people converted the desert into an oasis. That hurt America very much. My people were living with such joy, such laughter, and they were working hard. All their needs were fulfilled. They had the whole commune centrally air-conditioned; they had everything that they wanted, and there was no exchange of money in the commune. This made the American government completely mad. They arrested me without any arrest warrant, and without showing me any reason for arresting me. Just a piece of paper on which there were a few names  —  “We have been ordered from above that these people should be immediately arrested.”

I said, “But you should look at our passports! My name is not on this paper; neither are the names of the six people who are with me on this paper. You are absolutely absurd. Just look at our passports and compare with your names; you are arresting the wrong people.” Still, we were arrested.

In fact, they had no evidence at all to arrest me. But they did not give me bail for twelve days. They arrested me in North Carolina, and the flight from North Carolina to Oregon, where the commune was located, was only five hours. It took twelve days for me to reach Portland, and they dragged me from jail to jail; in twelve days I was dragged to six jails. Only later on I became aware of it, when the British experts in poisoning looked into my symptoms and gave the verdict, that I was given a certain poison, thallium. It is not detectable either from blood or from urine; it simply disappears. I had all the symptoms  —  when the poison disappears, it leaves certain kinds of sicknesses in the body. This poison has been used against political prisoners. But if you give it in a bigger dose, the person dies immediately. That’s why they wanted twelve days, to give it to me in small doses so I would not die in their jails  —  they would be condemned by the whole world.

And when they released me, I was ordered to leave America immediately, within fifteen minutes. My car was in front of the courthouse, and my jet plane was kept with its engine running at the airport; I should leave immediately. They were afraid that if I stayed one day more, I might appeal to the Supreme Court. And there was every reason for me to win the case, because none of their charges… thirty-four charges against a man who was in silence, had never moved out of his house. How can he commit thirty-four crimes? And they had no evidence of any crime.

When I saw democracy, American style, at work… it was absolute nonsense to talk about democracy. Their constitution is just a showpiece for the world. The country consists of criminals talking about freedom.

I raised the question that they are all foreigners. I said, “All Americans are foreigners in America. It belongs to the Red Indians whom you have killed, whom you have forced into deep forests which you call reservations. In fact, they are the same as the concentration camps of Adolf Hitler. You are occupying the land of somebody else and you talk about freedom?”

Looking at American crime… when I moved through those six jails I could not believe my eyes. Every jail had at least six hundred, seven hundred criminals  — all were black! Not a single white man did I come across in six jails. It seems only black people commit crimes. And these black people are all young people. America is very much afraid of a black revolution, so all these young people have been forced into jail, without any trial.

Whenever I arrived in a jail, the prisoners shouted to me… because they had been seeing my face on television continually. They were rejoiced to see me, and they said, “You will be going out of jail soon. The whole world has been alerted about your arrest; thousands of telegrams from the most prominent people around the world  —  painters, poets, actors, film producers, mystics, Nobel Prize winners…”

In the first jail so many telegrams came that the jailer came to me saying that “We don’t have space for so many telegrams, and we don’t have space for so many flowers, and we don’t have enough personnel to receive all the telephone calls that are coming from all over the world! What do you suppose? What should we do?”

I said, “It is your problem. Why have you arrested me?”

Because they were afraid of my death  —  that may create great opposition around the world, particularly among the intellectuals, intelligentsia, artists; all kinds of creative people will be opposed to it  — they gave me the poison in small doses. And still they were afraid that perhaps those small doses were not going to kill me, so finally they put a bomb under my chair. It is by the courtesy of the bomb that I am alive; it did not go off at the right time. I had left the chair. I heard it at the airport from the journalists that the bomb did not go off, something went wrong.

I am not against the American people. I love them as I love all the people of the earth, and I have received much love from the American population. But I am absolutely against the American politicians and the American bureaucracy. It is absolutely against humanity. It is suicidal, murderous  —  it is preparing to destroy this world. Every day, more and more nuclear weapons are gathering. They have spent trillions of dollars on nuclear weapons. And Ronald Reagan has left the post of president, but he has given a budget of one and half trillion dollars to create more weapons.

Now George Bush is at a loss  —  from where to get this money? My criticism of American politicians is based not on my personal hurts  —  they don’t matter. At least to me they don’t matter. But I am certainly hurt because of America’s anti-human attitude. There are three million street people and this winter they are dying in thousands. America goes on sending aid to poor countries, and it cannot save its own poor…

And I am not against only Christianity.

I am against all religions except Zen, because Zen is not a religion but only religiousness. I have to make it clear to you that religion is a doctrine, an organized church, a belief system, a fictitious God, heaven and hell, and a great priesthood which functions as a mediator between you and God and exploits you in the name of religion, in the name of God. Zen is the only religious phenomenon in the world which has no doctrine, no scripture, which has no God, no belief system, no organized church. It is an individual phenomenon, just like love. You don’t have a church of love. You don’t have a political party for love. It is an individual freedom. Just as love is individual, so is meditation. And to me, religion only means one thing: meditation, going inwards and exploring your consciousness. Just the way science explores matter, meditation is the science of the inner; it explores consciousness.

I have my points of agreement with Karl Marx, with Engels, with Lenin, with Gorbachev. I have my points of disagreement.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were aware only of two religions, Judaism and Christianity, which are both just so-so religions. Marx and Engels were not aware of Zen, they were not aware of Tao, they were not aware of meditation. It is not their fault; their whole concern was how to make society economically equal. So they said that man is only matter, and consciousness is a by-product of matter. When the man dies, the consciousness also dies. On that point I am in absolute disagreement. I am against all religions because they have been exploiting humanity, and they are exactly what Karl Marx called the “opium of the people.” They are giving the poor consolation, that “Your poverty is a fire test. Just listen to the words of Jesus. He says, `Blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the earth.'” If blessed are the poor, then there is no need to remove poverty. In fact, make more poor people so they can become more blessed people and can inherit the kingdom of God! Spread poverty, breed like animals, as many children as you can. These all will be the inheritors of God’s kingdom.

Such consolation has been given by all religions in different ways. The Bible says, “Don’t change anything, because God has made it so, and he is wiser than you.” So don’t change any structure of the society, don’t change the family. But God never made the family. In fact, God is the greatest lie in existence. And from one central lie, thousands of lies go on growing. I am against not only Christianity, I am against Hinduism, I am against Buddhism, I am against Mohammedanism, because they are functioning in the same way  —  only their names are different. It is not that Christianity has hurt me so I am against it. Judaism has not hurt me, Mohammedanism has not hurt me, Buddhism has not hurt me, but I am against them on principle. These are the people who have been exploiting humanity and protecting the vested interests.

Hinduism says that you are poor because of your past life’s bad actions, and you are rich because of your past life’s good actions. They distract the mind from the reality. The reality is that you are poor because you are being exploited by the rich continuously. You are sucked, your blood is continuously being taken out of you; your very life is at the minimum so that you can function as a slave. You are allowed to live just because without you, who is going to be able to create a vast army of slaves? And all religions are in favor of the rich because the rich are donating to the churches, to the temples, to the religions, a small part, not even one percent, of their exploitation. But they keep the priests rich, comfortable, because the priests are protecting the status quo.

I am against the status quo. I want to change the whole society, its structure. I want a classless society, a world without boundaries, without nations. A world which is one, neither black nor white, neither Indian nor Russian nor American.

This small planet can live in peace. In three thousand years the politicians have dragged humanity into five thousand wars, but you will be surprised: even in five thousand wars politicians have not been able to kill more people than religions have killed. They have their religions wars: crusades, jihad….

Jesus says, “Whoever is not with me is against me.” Now these are the words of a politician  —  not the words of a religious man, not the words of a man who is meditative, who can see things. The person who is not with me may be just indifferent; it is not necessary that he should be against me. The person who is with me can be against me any day, and the person who is against me can be in favor of me any day. And there is a third category which Jesus completely forgets: the indifferent, the agnostic who is neither theist nor atheist, who does not believe in any `ism’, who simply wants to inquire into truth.

I am against Christianity and other religions because they are preventing people from finding out the truth of their own being. To me, religiousness is acceptable. It is a quality  —  a quality which brings grace to you, which brings blissfulness to you, which brings a silence to your mind, which brings an encounter with your original being. It is absolutely a science  —  a science of the inner space, just as there is a science of the objective world. It is not a belief system. You don’t have to believe in any savior, in any messiah, in any prophet, in any reincarnation of God  —  these are all arch-egoists who are pretending to save you.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune. 

Discourse Series: Communism and Zen Fire, Zen Wind
Chapter #1
Chapter title: Marx and buddha hand in hand
30 January 1989 pm in Gautam the Buddha Auditorium


Osho has spoken about democracy and Americain many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Sword and the Lotus
  2. Zarathustra: The Laughing Prophet
  3. Beyond Enlightenment
  4. Beyond Psychology
  5. Satyam Shivam Sundram
  6. From Bondage to Freedom
  7. From the False to the Truth
  8. The Golden Future
  9. The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
  10. The Invitation
  11. The Last Testament, Vol 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
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