You cannot imitate a religious person. If you imitate, it will be a pseudo-religion, false, insincere. How can you imitate me? And if you imitate, how can you be true to yourself? You will become untrue to yourself. You are not here to be like me. You are here to be just like yourself. You are not here to be like me; you are here to be just like yourself, like you.
I have heard about a Jewish mystic, Josiah. He was dying and somebody asked, ‘Josiah, pray to Moses, and ask him to help you.’ Josiah said, ‘Forget about Moses. Because when I am dead, God will not ask me why I am not like Moses. He will ask why I am not like Josiah. He will not ask me, “Why are you not like Moses?” That is not my responsibility, to be like Moses. If God wanted me like Moses, He would have made me a Moses. He will ask me, “Josiah, why are you not like Josiah?” And that is my trouble: my whole life I have been trying to be like somebody else. But at least now, at the last moment, leave me alone! Let me be myself, because that is the face I should show to God. And that is the only face that He will be waiting for.’
Be authentically yourself. You cannot imitate. Religion makes everybody unique. No Master who is really a Master will insist that you imitate him. He will help you to be yourself, he will not help you to be like him.
And all culture is imitation. The whole society is imitative. That’s why the whole society is more like a drama than like a reality. Hindus call it maya – a game, a play, but not real. Parents are teaching their children to be like themselves. Everybody is pushing and pulling everybody else to be like himself — a whole chaos all around.
I was staying with a family, and I was sitting on the lawn. The small child of the house came, and I asked, ‘What are you thinking to become in your life?’ He said, ‘Difficult to say, be, cause my father wants me to be a doctor. My mother wants me to be an engineer; my uncle, he wants me to become an advocate, because he is an advocate. And I am confused. I don’t know what I am going to become.’ I asked him, ‘What do you want to become?’ He said, ‘But nobody has asked me that!’ I told him, ‘You think about it. Tomorrow you tell me.’ The next day he came and he said, ‘I would like to become a dancer, but my mother won’t allow, my father won’t allow.’ He told me, ‘Help me. They will listen to you.’
Every child is being pushed and pulled to become something else. That’s why there is so much ugliness all around. Nobody is himself. If you become the greatest engineer in the world, even that will not be a fulfillment if it was not your own urge. And I tell you, you may become the worst dancer in the world; that doesn’t make any difference. If it was your own urge, you will be happy and fulfilled…
Remember this: why do you feel so discontented? Why do you feel so discontented; why do you feel always so dissatisfied for no particular reason at all? Even if everything is going well, something is missing. What is missing? You have never listened to your own being. Somebody else has manoeuvred, manipulated you, somebody else has dominated you, somebody else has forced you into a life-pattern which was never yours, which you never wanted. I tell you, even if it happens that you become a beggar, don’t be worried if that is your urge. Find the urge and follow it, because God will not ask, ‘Why are you not a Mahavir? Why are you not a Mohammed, or why are you not a Zarathustra?’ He will ask Josiah, ‘Why are you not a Josiah?’
You have to be yourself, and the whole society is a great imitation, a false show. That’s why there is so much discontent on every face. I look into your eyes and I see discontent, unfulfillment. Not even a small breeze comes to you which gives you happiness, ecstasy. It is not possible. And ecstasy is possible. It is a simple phenomenon: be natural and loose and follow your own inclination.
I’m here to help you to be yourself. When you become a disciple, when I initiate you, I am not initiating you to be imitators. I am just trying to help you to find your own being, your own authentic being – because you are so confused, you have so many faces that you have forgotten which is the original one. You don’t know what your real urge is. The society has confused you completely, misguided you. Now you are not certain of who you are.
When I initiate you, the only thing that I want to do is to help you come to your own home. Once you are centred in your own being, my work is finished. Then you can start. In fact, a Master has to undo what the society has done. A Master has to undo what the culture has done. He has to make you a clean sheet again. That’s the meaning of a Master giving you a rebirth: again, you become a child, your past cleaned, your slate washed.
How can you come to the first point where you had entered into this world, forty, fifty years ago? And the society got hold of you, trapped you, led you astray. For fifty years you have wandered and now suddenly you have come to me. I have to do only one thing: to wash clean whatsoever has been done to you, to bring you back to your childhood, to the initial stage from where you started the journey, and to help you to start the journey again.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Gautam Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune, India.
Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 4
Chapter title: To become free in an unfree society
24 April 1975 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on ‘imitation, authenticity, original face, conditioning, rebirth, sannyas, master-disciple relationship, meditation’ in His discourses. More on these subjects can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- A Bird on the Wing
- Ah This!
- The Beloved, Vol.1-2
- Come Follow To You Vol.1-4
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
- The Special Transmission
- The Imprisoned Splendor
- Zen: The Path of Paradox