Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi/International day of Non-Violence
02nd October is the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, a man who needs no introduction anywhere in the world! His successful campaign based on non-violent resistance for India’s independence from British rule has inspired freedom and civil rights movements around the world. In 2007, the UN voted to establish Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday as International Day of Non-Violence.
Osho has spoken extensively on Mahatma Gandhi in His discourses. Osho says You can either creative or destructive – these are the only two choices. If your energies are not released into creativity, they are bound to become sour, bitter, poisonous. Then they will make you angry, full of hatred and violence. And there are two ways for that violence to be channelised: one is to be violent with others and the other is to be violent with yourself. Buddha is against both types of violence, so am I. But the politician – Adolf Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao – is violent with others. Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of nonviolence, is violent upon himself. That’s how your saints and mahatmas are created. Politicians are sadists and saints are masochists; both are psychologically ill. Buddha says if you live an authentic life; when you accept both polarities of your being, the love and the hate, in you and in others; then you become authentic. Buddha is not telling you to repress. He is simply saying, become more aware. Repression because that is an unconscious effort; it does not transform you.
This whole society has been living through violence for centuries. All talk of non-violence is just nonsense, mere talk. Here not even the non-violent are non-violent. Here the non-violent are hidden murderers. Here behind non-violence is planning for all kinds of violence. Here non-violence is also a means of fighting. Look at the ridiculousness of it — non-violence another means of fighting! Mahatma Gandhi has been praised because he made non-violence into a weapon, made it into a means of fighting. This should not be praised, he should be condemned for it. He made even non-violence into a weapon! Please leave something that is not a weapon!
You have cast even love as a sword. You have made of peace a dagger. The weapon of non-violence! Non-violence has been made into a way of fighting. But the fight continues. There is violence in fighting, so how can non-violence be made a means of fighting? It is non-violence only in name. Within it is violence and only violence. This is not AHIMSA, not non-violence.
People think that Mahatma Gandhi has gone beyond Buddha and Mahavira. It is untrue. The great revolution of Buddha and Mahavira has had water thrown on it. Non-violence has also become a means of fighting. As if only means of fighting have any value in this world. Everything is a means of fighting — love too is a way of fighting. Love so that you can be victorious. Be non-violent so that you can push others down. If a man sits down in front of your house and goes on a fast, saying he will die if you do not do as he says, do you think it is non-violence? If you don’t listen to me I will kill myself. This is violence, it is a direct threat. It is blackmail. This man is giving a clear threat that he will kill himself. He is trying to put your humanity to shame. He is saying, remember, you will repent your whole life. You have killed me.
Right here in Poona such an event happened. Mahatma Gandhi went on a fast against Dr. Ambedkar. Dr. Ambedkar wanted the low caste shudras, the harijans to have a separate vote. If only Dr. Ambedkar had been victorious the barbarisms that are going on all over the country today would not be happening. Ambedkar was correct saying, “Why do you want to remain with these Hindus who have given such inhuman treatment to you? What is the use? What is the meaning of our being with those whose temples we cannot enter, with those whose wells we cannot drink water from, with those who we cannot socialize with, with those on whom even our shadow falling is sacrilegious? They have renounced us, why are we still holding onto them?” It is such a clear and simple matter, there cannot be two opinions about it. But Mahatma Gandhi went on a fast. He was non-violent, he initiated a non-violent war. He went on a fast saying, “I will kill myself, I will starve myself. This would be tremendously harmful to the Hindus. Harijans are Hindus and will always remain Hindus.” He fasted long, his health was failing, finally Ambedkar had to yield. Ambedkar agreed, don’t give a separate vote. And the Gandhian historians write: a victory for non-violence! This is very strange: who is the non-violent one in this? Ambedkar is non-violent. Seeing that Gandhi would die, he dropped his insistence. Gandhi is the violent one in this. He forced Ambedkar with this threat of killing himself.
Understand it. If you threaten to kill someone else it is violence and if you threaten to kill yourself it is non-violence: but what is the difference? One man holds a dagger to your chest and says take out whatever is in your wallet — this is violence. And another man holds a dagger to his own chest and says take out whatever is in your wallet or else I will stab myself. You start to think this man dying because of the two rupees in your wallet? He is a healthy looking fellow, a life lost… you take out the two rupees, give it to him saying, “Just take it brother, and go. Don’t give up your life for two rupees.” Who is violent in this? I tell you Dr. Ambedkar is non-violent, not Gandhi. But who has seen this, how can it be explained?? It seems as if it was a victory for violence. Non-violence has been defeated and violence has been victorious. Gandhi is behaving violently. One who cannot give any argument indulges in this kind of behavior.
Women have always been doing this in the house, have you noticed? A woman does not beat the husband, she beats herself. But is this non-violence? She cannot beat the husband because the husband is god. The husbands themselves have made it up that they are god. The husband cannot be beaten. So what to do? And the feeling to hit is arising. The desire to beat something is there. And the husband cannot be beaten so beat oneself. Beat ones children. Now the child does not understand anything, the poor thing was just sitting doing his math. He does not understand at all why he is being beaten. It is non-violent beating. He is a substitute for the husband. She is beating the husband — symbolically. This is his child, at least half is from the father, beat him. If a child is not available the woman will beat herself. If a man gets angry he will murder; if a woman gets angry she will overdose on pills, take sleeping pills and go to sleep. And a man getting angry is violent, murders; if a woman is enraged she commits suicide. But both are violences: one a feminine violence, the other masculine.
There is no reason to call Gandhi’s feminine violence non-violence. It is only feminine violence. It is only the violence of the weak. There is a violence of the strong; there is a violence of the weak. But there is no non-violence in this. The secret of Buddha and Mahavira’s non-violence is something different. But we have made even non-violence into a weapon.
This society is full of violence. It teaches everyone to be hard — to be like stone. Let the heart dry up. If the heart remains wet, remains soft then you will not be able to conquer the world. Dry up your tears because tears are not manly. Does a man cry? — don’t be womanly. Your tears have dried up, your love has dried up. Now you are living only in the head, your heart is no longer beating. This is why you have no experience of virah. For virah you must first experience love. For longing descend into your heart a little. Let your heart vibrate again. Look again at the flowers, at the leaves, at the moon and stars, at people. Let your feelings flow again like a small child’s, let them move. Throw away the stones of hardness, of ambition, of violence and let the eyes again become wet. Learn to cry again.
Seeing a rose flower blooming have you ever cried? Not to cry is not right. A rose flower has bloomed and you didn’t even cry? You couldn’t even let two tears of joy dribble down? Or hearing a cuckoo calling have you ever cried? Or hearing a papiha sing, crying out to its beloved, did not a cry arise within you? You go on moving as if deaf. Have you cried hearing someone playing music?…
Awaken love. And I know that you cannot immediately fall in love with god. You don’t yet know earthly love, how can you know divine love? This is why I always say my message is love. Know the earthly love and this same love will take you towards divine love. You have not yet known love. You have not known the earthly love, you have not known the love of a woman, you have not known the love of a man, you have not known the love of a friend. You have been deprived of love, how will you know divine love? And ordinarily the mistaken idea is prevalent that if you love in this world you will miss god. Who knows what idiots have explained this to you! If you have not loved in this world then you will never fall in love with god. How will one who has never swam in the shallowest water swim in the ocean? How will one who has never been submerged in the small connections of human relationships ever merge into that highest relationship?
It is a very deep ocean! If you want to swim then you have to learn near the shore, where the water is shallow, so that if you go under you will not drown — where you cannot go under. Yes, once you know swimming then go, then swim the far reaching ocean. Then it doesn’t make any difference. No matter how deep the water is below it doesn’t make any difference to the swimmer. If it is a whole mile deep or ten miles deep it doesn’t make any difference. The swimmer knows how to swim, the matter is finished. But for a non-swimmer there is a difference whether the water is shallow or deep. Deep it will drown him. He can learn in the shallows. As I see it, as I know it — the world is the shallow form of god. This is his shore. The world is god’s shore. Swim a little near this shore, love a little. You will get soaked with this love, get moist, get wet. This love will give you the taste, although this love will not give you full satisfaction. This is the special characteristic of this love, it gives you the taste but does not satisfy. It gives you a glimpse, but does not satisfy your hunger, does not fill your stomach. Really it is because of this glimpse that hunger arises for the first time. You experience that such a thing is possible.
The union of a woman and a man in very deep love is only momentary. But in that moment a window opens. Through that window time is destroyed, death is destroyed, distances are destroyed. The feeling of I and you is destroyed. For a moment! But in that moment there is a rain of incomparable eternal bliss! After that moment there is a very dark night. Then there is separation and great suffering. More suffering than before. Before you didn’t know this bliss, this window had not opened. You had lived in a closed room, you knew only closed rooms. There was no way to compare it. Now you have seen the open sky, you have seen the stars in the sky. Now you have seen the distant expansive blueness of the sky. You have seen birds flying in the sky. The window has closed, but now its memory tortures you. Now you cannot be kept imprisoned in this house for long. Today or tomorrow you will spread your wings. You will fly through that window.
Human love, earthly love opens the window of god. And a double experience happens in ordinary love: from one direction moments of bliss come, from another intervals of sadness, of melancholy come. The bliss says let it always be like this, let this moment be eternal. But no human relationship can be eternal, it is only for a moment. Then afterwards melancholy comes. Then man start out on the search of samadhi. In search of that higher beloved. The one whose embrace once happened has happened, whose union once met is met, it happens forever. But why should one who has never taken a sip of wine go searching for a tavern? Understand the wine of this world as a mere sip of wine, so that you become eager to go to god’s tavern, become mad after it. You will understand love, you will understand virah and one day in a moment of blessing you will also understand union. But there is no way to understand through words.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: Death is Divine
Chapter title: See the unseeable
4 October 1978 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on ‘Gandhi, Non-violence, Politics, India, Independence, Partition, Nationalism, Secularism, Communism’ in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- A Bird on the Wing
- And the Flowers Showered
- The Dhammapada: The Way of The Buddha
- The Art of Dying
- Be Still and Know
- Beyond Psychology
- From Darkness to Light
- From Death to Deathlessness
- Come Follow to You Vol.1-2
- Communism and Zen Fire, Zen Wind
- The Osho Upanishad
- The New Dawn
- The Messiah Vol.1-2
- The Miracle
- No Mind: The Flowers of Eternity