Be Still and Know 08

Eighth Discourse from the series of 10 discourses - Be Still and Know by Osho.
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The first question:
In the West many group-psychoanalysts, such as Bion, Ezriel, Anzien, Pichon-Priviere, treat a group as a unity and they analyze the group mentality, mood and resistances, but not as individuals. For them, as a man is made of many aspects and parts, but is a unity, so a group is made of many persons but is a unity too.
Here with you, the importance of the group is very much stressed in therapy, work, meditation, energy darshan; on the other hand great importance is given to individuality. Osho, please, has a group a kind of unique soul beyond individuals, or is it only a bunch of people occasionally gathered together? Are different social and ethical implications concerned in such a case? Please comment.
This is one of the fundamentals of fascism, that individuals don’t exist, only groups are real. But then the problem arises: where will you put the full stop? If the group is real and individuals are not real, or are just parts of the group, then the church is far more real – it is a bigger group; then the nation is far more real because it is an even bigger group; then the whole of humanity is still more real because it is an even bigger group. And the individual is completely lost. And whenever there is a conflict between the individual and the group, of course the individual has to sacrifice himself – because he is unreal. He exists only as a part of the group.
This is the way to destroy revolution completely, totally. This is not psychoanalysis; this is trying to bring fascism from the back door. But all the societies love fascism. No society wants individuals, because the very existence of the individual is a question mark on many things the society goes on doing.
An individual is bound to be a rebel. An individual is a nonconformist, he cannot conform. He can say yes only to things which he feels are worth saying yes to, but it depends on his own feeling, his own intuitive understanding, his own intelligence. He cannot be forced to yield. He can surrender out of love, but he cannot be made to surrender; he would rather die than surrender. He cannot be an obedient slave – not that he does not know how to obey. When he feels for something, when he is committed to something, involved with something, he obeys, he obeys totally, but he is really obeying his own inner light; he is not following any commandments from the outside.
To be an individual is to be nonpolitical. The whole of politics depends on people who are not individuals, who are only phony individuals, who appear to be separate but are not separate – dependent on the group, utterly dependent, for their safety, security, respectability, power, prestige – for their ego.
The real individual has no ego, hence he need not depend on the society. The society gives you the ego, and if you want to be on an ego trip you have to depend on people; only they can nourish your ego. The individual knows his real self, hence he needs no ego.
But, the individual will not go to a psychoanalyst; there is no need for him. To be an individual is to be whole and healthy.
The problem arises…psychoanalysis has become very important and significant because we have taken away people’s individuality. We have given them phony egos which don’t satisfy. They are like unnourishing food – colorful, appealing, but not giving you any nourishment.
And the man who lives with the ego is always missing himself; he is always feeling empty, meaningless. He wants to fill his being with something; he may become obsessed with food just as a way to feel full; he can eat too much, he can become obsessed with food. Or he can become obsessed with money, with gold, with power. These are all ways to somehow feel significant. But nothing succeeds, everything fails. You can hope only while things are far away; when you achieve them, suddenly you see you have been chasing shadows.
You are not feeling empty because you don’t have much money. You are feeling empty because you have not yet encountered your real self, you have not come to your authentic individuality. Meditation is the way to individuality. It makes you a light unto yourself.
No, an individual is not a part; an individual is a universe in himself. But no society wants individuals, hence for centuries individuality has been destroyed and a plastic thing has replaced it. That plastic thing is called “personality.”
People are very much confused about personality and individuality. They think personality is individuality. It is not – in fact it is the barrier. You will never attain to individuality if you are not ready to drop your personality. Here the group therapies, meditations, work, this communion…all is devised in such a way that it destroys your personality, the plastic self, and throws you back to your real individuality.
Individuality is born with you, it is your being. Personality is a social phenomenon, it is given to you. When you are sitting in a cave in the Himalayas you don’t have any personality, but you have individuality. Personality can exist only in reference to others. The more people know you, the more personality you have – hence the desire to have name and fame. The more people respect you, the more you enjoy the personality; it becomes strengthened.
Hence a great longing for respectability. You can attain it through money, you can attain it by renouncing money. You can attain it by eating too much or you can attain it by eating too little, by fasting. You can attain it by accumulating things or you can attain it by accumulating knowledge. But the whole idea is: you are looking in the others’ eyes to see how they are feeling about you. You can become very virtuous, very moral, just to attain a personality, but the personality is not going to fulfill you. And down the centuries the individuality has been destroyed, people are carrying personalities.
In these group psychotherapies about which you are asking me, and the people like Bion, Ezriel, Anzien, Pichon-Priviere, and their psychoanalysis – who goes to these people? The people who have lost contact with their beings, the people who are too much confined to their personalities and have no idea of any individuality. They are ready to become part of a group. They feel very at ease in becoming part of a group, because the moment they become part of a group they have no responsibility. They can relax, they have no anxiety. Now the group takes the responsibility.
That’s why people are Hindus and Christians and Mohammedans. Why? Why do people belong to rotten, utterly out-of-date, so-called ideologies? For a single reason: it gives you security, a feeling that you belong, that there are people who are with you – you are not alone. The Christian knows that millions of people are Christians. The Hindu knows that he is not alone, millions of people are with him – how can he be wrong? How can millions of people be wrong? He must be right. He knows nothing of what is right and what is wrong, but the crowd around him gives him the feeling that he does – a false feeling, obviously.
Truth has nothing to do with the crowd; truth has always been attained by individuals. A Buddha attains it, a Jesus, a Mohammed, a Moses, a Zarathustra. But they attain to truth when they are absolutely alone in their deep meditative states, when they forget all about the world and the other, when they are no more obsessed by the other in any possible way, when they are utterly alone drowning in their own consciousness and reaching the very bottom core of it. Then they know what truth is.
But the crowd keeps you away from yourself. The crowd is an escape from your real being. The crowd makes it possible for you to remain interested in others; it never allows you any self-encounter.
The groups in this commune have a totally different orientation. It is not to force you to become part of the group. On the contrary, the group is just a help for you to drop your personality and be individuals. If by dropping your individuality you become part of a group, you are committing suicide. And that’s what these people are helping people to do.
People are tired of themselves; they want to commit suicide. If they cannot commit suicide physiologically, at least psychologically they can commit it. They may not be courageous enough to really commit suicide, hence these group psychoanalysts are giving them ways to commit psychological suicide: “Become part of the group.”
Becoming part of the group you are no longer anxious, no longer burdened. For a few days while you are in the group you feel a certain kind of relaxation; out of the group you will be back in your personality. Hence you will need the groups again and again; after a few days, a few weeks, you will again feel to participate in a group. Now the group becomes like an intoxicant which helps you to forget yourself.
This is not the purpose here. Here the purpose is totally different: you have to be helped to stand on your own feet, to be yourself.
You ask me: “In the West many group psychoanalysts treat a group as a unity.” No group can ever be a unity; a group can at the most be a union. And the difference between union and unity is great. In unity you become one, you dissolve yourself completely, you are no more separate. In union you remain separate, but you are together for a certain purpose. Once the purpose is fulfilled the union disappears. But the unity, once attained, never disappears – it is not purposive.
With people you need only unions, with existence you need unity.
Even a love affair is a union not a unity, a friendship is a union not a unity. Once the purpose is fulfilled the love affair will disappear. You may cling for a few days just out of a sense of gratitude, out of a sense of responsibility, duty, out of a sense of all the promises that you have given in the past – you may cling for a few days, but that clinging cannot go on for long. Sooner or later it is finished, the purpose is fulfilled.
Unity means there is no way to finish it; it can only be with “God” – unity with existence, union with people. In unity you become one, inseparably one, but in a group you are not inseparably one. It is a temporary commitment, you can drop out of it any moment, you can say no any moment; you still remain capable of separating yourself. Remember the difference between unity and union.
When a group, a psychotherapeutic group meets together, it is a kind of union. You have met for a certain purpose for a few days: to help each other, to be helped by the wisdom of the psychoanalyst – if he has any. He may not have any. His psychotherapy may be just an escape for him to avoid his own problems.
It happens many times: listening to other people’s problems you can easily forget your own problems. Getting involved with other people’s anxieties you can avoid your own anxieties; they look very small compared to other people’s problems. You can even feel a little good inside: “My problems are not so great.” Listening to other people’s problems you become focused on others.
Your so-called psychoanalysts, more or less, are simply avoiding their own problems – because I know them. Many of them have become sannyasins, many more are on the way. They are in the same misery, in the same mess, as you are. But they are knowledgeable, they are experts, they have studied. They can help a little, they can supply a kind of expertise; maybe a little bit of help is possible. Sometimes they may not be able to give you any help, but they may function as a placebo.
A placebo literally means “that which pleases”; it is a medical term. Sometimes there are people who come to the physicians who have no problems, no real problems, just imaginary problems. They are given placebos – just sugar pills – they have no medicinal quality in them, but the patient believes that he has been given a great medicine. His illness is imaginary; he needs an imaginary medicine. A real medicine will create some trouble. Taking those imaginary medicines he is helped, he feels good.
Sometimes it happens: the moment the doctor comes to see you, half your disease is already gone. He has not given you any medicine, but he just comes smiling, holds your hand, and now you know that you are in the hands of an authority. That’s enough to feel relief. And his smile, and his authoritative manner, and all the gadgets that he brings – the cardiogram, the stethoscope, the thermometer – and a few things he does on your body. And then he smiles and says, “Don’t be worried. This will be gone within two days.” Half of it is already gone!
Hence a doctor has to take big fees. If he takes no fee from you, you will not be helped. The bigger the fee, the greater the doctor. When you come to the highest authority, certainly you know you are going to be helped, it is going to happen. This man is a magician – whomsoever he touches he cures. This very belief is medicinal, and then any medicine will do. Much depends on the physician and his demeanor.
These group psychotherapists – and there are now many kinds all around the world – they are a kind of placebo. You feel good knowing that somebody knows; he may know, he may not know. My own observation is that they are much more in a mess than you are, but they have found a way. The psychoanalysis may not help you but it helps them.
I have heard:

A young woman entered into the office of a psychoanalyst. The psychoanalyst immediately said, “Undress!”
The woman said, “But I have no physical problem; it is a question of my mind.”
The psychoanalyst said, “Did you hear me or not? Undress. If you don’t want to undress, get out. Then I won’t take the case at all.” Now what do you do when some authority says “Undress”? You undress.
Reluctantly the woman did it. And the psychoanalyst jumped on the woman, made love to her, and when they were off the couch he said to her, “Now this takes care of my problem – what is your problem?”

Blind people are being led by other blind people. I am not a psychoanalyst. I am not here to treat your minds and cure them. I am here to bring you out of your minds – healthy, unhealthy, neurotic, non-neurotic, it doesn’t matter. I don’t take any note of your mind, what kind of mind you have. Any kind of mind – you have to be taken out of it. So I don’t go into the details, I simply start hammering. Once you are out of your mind, once you have an awareness that you are a witness of your mind, the mind disappears with all its diseases.
And in fact, to tell you the truth, mind is the disease. It is not a question of ill minds and healthy minds – there are no healthy minds at all. Mind as such is the disease!
But these people – psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, psychiatrists – they are fixing your minds. They may help a little bit, but their whole effort is to make you well adjusted to the society. Now the real problem is: Is the society healthy? Is the society natural? Is the society as it should be? If the society itself is insane, helping you to be adjusted to this insane society is not a real help.
And as I see it, the people who become psychologically ill are more sensitive people than the others. The others who are never psychologically ill are not healthy but only insensitive people, dull. They don’t have much intelligence, they can’t see the problems of life. That’s why they remain undisturbed.
Those who feel the problems of life, those who see the ugliness we have created all around, the violence, the war, the way we have lived up to now – against each other, destructive to nature, to people, to birds, to animals. The way we have behaved up to now is absolutely insane. Those who are more sensitive among us, they become disturbed because they can feel. The less sensitive are not disturbed because they can’t feel; they have rocklike hearts. They look sane.
It is a very strange world. The really sensitive people become insane and the utterly insane people look sane, for the simple reason that they have grown a stone-like shell around their beings; they can’t feel anything. They go on dragging their lives in the normal way. The normal is not really normal, it is only average. To be normal is very rare.
A Buddha is normal, a Jesus is normal. But ask Sigmund Freud – Sigmund Freud thinks Jesus is neurotic. Now whom are you going to choose, Jesus or Sigmund Freud? Who is neurotic?
Sigmund Freud is utterly neurotic, very much afraid of death – and he calls Jesus neurotic, who goes to his death with a prayer on his lips, who can pray from the cross, “God, forgive these people because they know not what they are doing.” This man is neurotic? And Sigmund Freud? – it is reported that at least three times in his life he fainted, fell into a coma, became unconscious, just at the mention of the word death – just at the mention of the word. Nobody was crucifying him. And Jesus is neurotic?

Mansoor is neurotic? When his hands were cut he laughed. He looked at the sky and said, “You cannot befool me,” and had a hearty laugh.
Somebody in the crowd asked, “Why are you laughing? Have you gone mad? They are killing you. They have cut off your hands, now they will cut off your feet, and then they will cut out your tongue and they will destroy your eyes.”
No man was ever tortured so much as Mansoor, not even Jesus, not Socrates. Part by part he was killed, very cruelly killed, but he laughed to the last.
He said, “I am laughing because you are not killing me; the man you are killing is not me. That’s why I am laughing – you are killing the body and I am not the body. It is so ridiculous. I had never thought that you would be so foolish, and I am telling God, looking upward to the sky: “You cannot befool me. Even if you have come in the form of the murderers, I recognize you – because only God exists and nobody else. Today he has come in the form of murderers, as death – it is my ultimate test.”

This person is neurotic? And just the mention of the word death is enough to make Freud tremble and fall from his chair and faint. And this is the founder of psychoanalysis? Psychoanalysts are avoiding their own problems. Except a man enters into meditation, he goes on avoiding his problems.
You ask me, “Here with you, the importance of the group is very much stressed in therapy…” Yes, but always as a union, not as unity. It is a temporary arrangement, an experiment. You are not to become one with the group. You have to function in harmony with the group, but you remain the individual. Just like in an orchestra different instruments are being played, but each instrument remains different, unique. Each contributes to the whole, but you can contribute to the whole only if you are separate, otherwise who is going to contribute and to whom?
In an orchestra the flute-player is contributing, the guitarist is contributing, the pianist is contributing – but the pianist is a pianist and the flute-player is a flute-player. The flute is a flute and the piano is a piano; they retain their individualities. But for the moment they have joined hands together – it is a union not a unity. The flute has not become part of the piano. If it does the whole beauty will be lost.
Here in the groups, the emphasis is that you should be individuals and yet capable of functioning in harmony with others. That’s what is happening on a greater scale in the whole commune: everybody should remain an individual, yet be capable of participating in the communal life – participating in the work, in the play, in the music of the commune. But it is not expected that you should destroy your individuality; that will be suicidal, that will be a murder. On the contrary, the whole effort is to sharpen your individuality, to give you more and more uniqueness The more meditative you become, the more unique, incomparable, you become.
The Buddha is a peak – part of the infinite universe but not part in the sense that he is replaceable; not like a part in a car that you can replace. He is unique, he is irreplaceable; nobody can replace him. The higher you rise in awareness, the more you are in tune with the universe, and at the same time the more unique you go on becoming. Hence the uniqueness of Buddha in contrast to Jesus, the uniqueness of Mohammed in contrast to Mahavira. Where else can you find such unique individuals?
But we have lived in a society which destroys individuality and gives us false toys in the name of individuality – gives us a personality. This personality is a burden, and you are always ready, absolutely willing to put this burden aside.
In group therapies you can do that, you can put the personality aside – you don’t do anything about your individuality and you put the personality aside. Then what do you become? You are simply drowned in the group mind, you start functioning as a part of the group. You don’t attain to a soul – in fact you lose much. Of course, because the personality is discarded, the anxiety that was there is no longer felt; but this is not a way to get rid of anxiety – it will come back. How long can you live in a group? Sooner or later you will be back in the society and there you will again cling to the personality, it will be needed. And soon the desire will arise to go to another group for a few days to put the personality aside so you can feel free – but that freedom is at a great cost. Freedom is good only if it happens around the center of your individuality; otherwise it is not helpful, it is harmful.
The group that takes your individuality away destroys you, destroys something very essential in you. It functions like an intoxicant.
You say: “On the other hand, here great importance is given to individuality too.” Yes, in the group you learn how to be in tune with others and at the same time you learn how to remain yourself. It is a paradoxical process: remain yourself more and more and yet become a great contribution to the orchestra of life. Between these two poles your real being will become more and more sharpened.
You say: “Osho, please, has a group a kind of unique soul beyond individuals?” No, but a group can have a mind – not a soul. A group can easily have a mind; that’s how people are. All the Mohammedans have a certain kind of mind.
I was a student at a university and I was staying with one of my professors. He loved me tremendously. Not only did he love me – he was a rare man, very old, must have been almost of the same age as my father – he not only loved me, he respected me too. I had to tell him again and again, “I am just your student – you need not be so respectful toward me.” It was embarrassing for me sometimes, because whenever I would enter the room he would stand up, even if there were other people. Once the Vice Chancellor was present; I entered the room, he stood up. The Vice Chancellor could not believe his eyes. I had to ask the Vice Chancellor to forgive me, “It is all my fault – I should not have entered.”
I was staying with the professor. It was a winter morning; I was reading a book in the sun outside on the lawn. The professor’s mother came – very old, must have been eighty, she asked me, “What are you reading?”
Just to tease her, because she was a fanatical Hindu I said, “This is the holy Koran.”
That old woman simply forgot that she was eighty. She snatched the book away from me, threw it away, outside on the road, and told me, “How dare you bring such a book in my house!”
I said, “Now you have committed a sin. It was not the holy Koran, it was the Bhagavad Gita – I was just joking.”
She ran, brought the book, touched it seven times with her head, cried and wept, and I said, “What are you doing? It is the holy Koran. I am just teasing you.”
She threw the book in the fire. I told her, “You have the mind of a Mohammedan.”
Mohammedans have a very obstinate, stubborn mind. Hindus also have an obstinate, stubborn mind – but it is not so tight, it is a little loose. The reason is that so many buddhas have happened in this country and they have been hammering on the society, they have made it loose in many places. But Mohammedans have not known anybody else except Mohammed.
That’s what has happened to Catholics. The word catholic means one who is very liberal, but that is not the case – Catholics are worse than communists.
Just the other day a friend from Rome sent me a letter saying that the new Pope has released a five-page epistle, very stern, very hard, cruel. And the friend writes, “It seems that the epistle has been written keeping you in mind.” Of course the name is not mentioned, but whatsoever is said seems to show that the Pope must have some idea of me in his mind. He must be reading The Mustard Seed, Come Follow to You…because he says, “There are people now on the earth who are claiming that their interpretation of Jesus is more correct than the Vatican’s interpretation. Beware of these people. Don’t even listen to them and don’t read them. If you read and listen to them you are bound for eternal hell.”
Now these people create a certain mind – but not a soul. Catholics have a certain mind, Mohammedans have a certain mind, Hindus have a certain mind. People who have no individuality start having a certain mind – the mob mind.
In the army you will find there are no individuals. The whole effort in the army is to destroy the individual and give you a uniform, a number. Now, to give you a number is a subtle way of destroying your individuality: a name gives you a uniqueness, “No. 11” takes all individuality from you.
You are a totally different matter – if you die, a person dies; if No. 11 dies, who cares? You cannot be replaced by anybody else, but No. 11? – there is no problem. You can fix “No. 11” on anybody and he becomes No. 11.
In the army, scientifically, technologically, the individuality is destroyed. Your name disappears, you become a number. Your hair is cut in the same way. You are forced to follow stupid orders year in, year out: left turn, right turn, about turn…for what?

Once a philosopher got recruited into the army. The first thing was the morning parade, and the captain said, “Right turn!” Everybody turned toward the right except the philosopher.
The captain said, “Are you deaf?”
He said, “No. I can hear you are saying, ‘Right turn,’ but why? I cannot do anything unless I can explain to myself the reason.”
Now you don’t say such things in the army – and the professor was very well-known. The captain said, “This will be difficult. I myself don’t know why, but this has to be done, and for three hours every morning. And not only right turn – left turn, about turn, go forward, come back – and I don’t know why. And nobody has ever asked – people simply do it. This is a training in obedience.”
The professor said, “Then it is impossible for me!”
He was given another job, in the kitchen, something that he could do creating no problem for others. He was given a full bag of peas and told to sort them out, smaller ones on one side and bigger ones on the other side. After two hours when the captain came, the philosopher was sitting in the Rodin posture – with his hand on his chin in great thought – and the peas were exactly there as they had been left.
The captain said, “What are you doing? Have you not started yet?”
He said, “How can I start? – because there are a few big ones and a few smaller ones and a few which are in between. Unless I know exactly where those which are in between go, how can I start?”
He had to be discharged immediately from the army. This type of person is not needed in the army, and they can become contagious.

In the army there is no “why.” You are simply told to do such a thing and you have to do it. In fact, the more stupid a thing it is, the better it prepares you for the work of the army. Following stupid orders for years, one day they say, “Shoot this man!” and you shoot the man, robotlike, without asking why – you have forgotten how to ask why. In the army, the group mind arises – not a group soul, remember.
The soul is always individual; mind is always group. Any mind, watch carefully, and you will find it belongs to some group. If you believe in God, that means you belong to a certain group which believes in God; they have given the idea, the conditioning, to you. What are your beliefs? From where do they come? They come from the social mind – from the church, from the state; you can find the source from where they come.
You can watch your mind and you will be surprised that all that you carry in your mind and think is yours is not yours. It has all come from different sources – from parents, teachers, priests, politicians – others have given it to you. There is something like a Hindu mind and there is something like a Mohammedan mind and something like a Jaina mind and something like a Buddhist mind – but there is no Buddhist soul, there is no Christian soul.
Minds certainly belong to groups. And it can happen that if you participate in a psychotherapy group you may become part of the mind of the group leader, the ideology.
It happens – it is now a well-known fact – if you go to a Freudian psychoanalyst, slowly, slowly you start bringing dreams which are needed for Freudian psychoanalysis. You start adjusting to the psychoanalyst. It is a very subtle process. If you go to the Jungian psychoanalyst you bring other kinds of dreams to him. If you go to the Adlerian, again different kind of dreams, you dream as if somehow you start buttressing the ego of the psychoanalyst. He buttresses your ego, you buttress his ego; it becomes a mutual arrangement. He interprets your foolish dreams in such great detail and brings such beautiful meanings to them, such profound significance to them, that naturally you would love to bring more and more dreams of the same kind – which make him happy.
When the doctor comes to see you, you want to make him happy. If he makes you happy, it is a natural understanding that you want to tell the doctor, “Your medicine is helping, I am getting better.” And you are not lying. You are not consciously, deliberately, cheating him. This is a simple process of becoming part of another mind. In the army it is very, very prominent but in the society also it is very prominent.

Sergeant Major Macgregor walked into a Glasgow drugstore and took a beat-up condom out of his kilt. “How much, mon,” he asked the proprietor, “would it cost to fix this?”
“Let us see,” murmured the druggist. “I could launder and disinfect it, heat-weld the holes and tears and insert a new elastic in the top. That would cost you two shillings, the same price as a new one.”
Macgregor said that he would think it over.
He returned the next day. “You have convinced me, mon,” he announced. “The regiment has decided to replace.”

The regiment…
In the army you will find it absolutely clear-cut that the people have lost their minds. The regiment has the mind. And on a smaller scale the same is the case in the society.
But my effort here is to create individuals. And the soul is always individual; it cannot be given to you by anybody. It is already in you, it has to be discovered.
In a group, function as a union but never as a unity. In a group, drop your personality but never your individuality. Say yes, but remain capable of saying no.
The no has not to be killed completely. If you become utterly incapable of saying no, your yes is meaningless.
What I am doing here is not psychoanalysis; it is alchemy, pure and simple alchemy. It is an effort to transform your being from the level of mind to the level of the soul. It is a journey, a pilgrimage.
The greatest adventure that can happen to a human being is the movement from mind to no-mind, the movement from personality to individuality. The no-mind has an individuality; the mind is social.

The second question:
What is hell? Is there really such a place?
Religion has survived up to now because of your fear and greed – I mean the false religion of course. The true religion has nothing to do with fear and greed. In fact, the true religion means transcending fear and greed. Fear and greed are not two things, they are one. Fear standing on its head becomes greed; it is one energy, two poles of the same energy.
The priests must have discovered it very early, that man can be dominated easily if he is made afraid. They created hell. It is imaginary, it is pure imagination – there is no place like hell. Of course, there is a space like hell, but no place.
Hell is not geographical, it is psychological. It is not somewhere down underneath the earth. If you dig a hole from here and you go on digging and digging, you will reach America, and the American will come to India. And the American believes somewhere down in the earth there is hell and the Indian believes somewhere down in the earth – and the earth is round.
And there is no heaven either – that is to satisfy your greed. Hell is to create fear and heaven is to create greed. And these are the two strategies of the priests to dominate you, to oppress you, to exploit you.

One day a great Sufi mystic Rabiya was seen running in the marketplace with a burning torch in one hand and a pot full of water in the other hand. People stopped her and they said, “What are you doing? Where are you going? We have heard stories about you, that you are a little crazy, but this is going too far.”
She said, “Don’t stop me! I am going to burn your heaven – this torch is for that – and I am going to drown your hell – this water is for that. And unless your hell and heaven are taken away from you, you will not find God, because God cannot be found by those who live in fear or those who live in greed.”

So the first thing, there is no hell, no heaven, as places somewhere. But still they exist – in a totally different way – they exist within you: Whenever you are in anger you are in hell, but that is psychology not geography. And whenever you are in love you are in heaven; that too is again psychology not geography.
The Western religions know only two words: heaven and hell. The East has a third word also, moksha. That means absolute freedom from both heaven and hell. That means transcending psychology. No fear, no greed, no mind, and suddenly you enter into the world of eternity, immortality, into the world of godliness.
You carry your hell within you and you carry your heaven within you, and each moment it is up to you to be in hell or in heaven.

I have heard about a great saint who was never known to be sad. He was nearing ninety years of age but he was always happy, always cheerful, always bubbling with joy, like a small child overflowing with joy. People gathered; they were celebrating his ninetieth birthday, and maybe this was going to be the last so all the disciples had come from faraway places. They asked him, “We have only one question – and soon you may leave us, your body is getting older and older. Before you leave, please satisfy our inquiry: What is the secret of your joy? Nobody has ever seen you sad.”
The old man laughed. He said, “There is not much of a secret in it. Early in my life I discovered that it is up to me to be in hell or to be in heaven, so every morning when I wake up, the first thing I ask myself is: ‘What do you want today – heaven or hell?’ And I always decide for heaven. That is my simple secret.”

A whole busload of women from the Hadassah and the United Jewish Appeal overturned on a Miami freeway and everybody was killed. In heaven Saint Peter, without thinking, assigned them to hell. They had hardly been there a week, however, when Satan phoned Peter and demanded that he remove the women to heaven. They were a disrupting influence.
“Why, what have they done?” asked Peter.
“They have banded together, collected money, and employed engineers to install air-conditioning.”

If you have intelligence, awareness, even in hell you can manage to air-condition it.
That’s what I am doing. Can’t you see the hell all around? But somehow I have got a few people banded together and we are trying to create a small heaven of our own. What to do? People have decided to live in hell, they are not ready to listen, then the only wise choice is: we can create our own heaven. And if we can create our own heaven, that will become an example, a model, that this way also one can live.
When people come for the first time to our commune they are surprised. Just the other day a young priest wrote a letter to me, a Catholic priest, who now has become interested in me, and wants to get married, and wants to be rid of the Catholic church. He has written a letter to me saying, “I have heard that you have got the most beautiful people in the whole of the world around you. Can you find a wife for me?”
I have told Laxmi to write to him, “Why one? Just come here. And I need not find any wife for you – the women will chase you, they will find you.”
We have got the most alive lot of women in the whole of the world here.

Heaven and hell are not realities but ways of living. You can live in jealousy – that’s how people live. You can live in competition, you can live in conflict, you can live in ambition. That’s how you have been brought up to live. This is the way to hell.

A Zen master was asked by the Emperor of Japan… The Emperor had come and asked the same question. Maybe you are the reincarnation of the same Emperor, because the Japanese tend to be reborn in India – this is the land of their master, Buddha. Every Japanese holds the desire to come to India some day. If they die without coming in this life, they are reborn here. They die with the desire.
The Emperor reached the Zen master and asked him, “What is hell and what is heaven?”
The Zen master looked at the Emperor and said “You son-of-a-bitch. Have you looked at your face in the mirror lately? I have never seen such a dirty-looking fellow before.”
The Emperor was enraged. He had not expected such a thing from such a great saint. You don’t know great saints. You know only small, puny saints. A real saint is not a cat, he is a tiger.
The Emperor was so enraged that he pulled his sword out of its sheath. He was going to cut off the head of the master. Just as the sword was coming closer, the master said, “Wait! You are entering hell. This is the gate to hell.”
The way the master said “Wait!” was so powerful that the Emperor’s hand was stopped in the middle, and he understood – “True.” He threw the sword away, fell at the feet of the master, and the master laughed and said, “This is the way to heaven. You have already experienced both within a single moment. The distance is not far.”

Whenever you are surrendered to existence, whenever you live in trust, love, prayerfulness, joy, celebration, you are in heaven.
But what I am doing here is to help you to go beyond both – because the person who lives in heaven can fall into hell any moment. They are not far away, they are very close by – just a small fence and that too is tattered because it is very old. And for centuries there has been an argument as to who should repair it. The Devil is not ready. Why should he be worried about it? Nobody wants to enter hell. If it is God’s worry that hell people may enter into heaven, then he should repair it. But God is a miser, and they go on quarreling.
One day it happened: God said, “If you don’t repair the fence – which has really been destroyed by your people and your nuisance on the other side, our people have not done anything – I am going to court.”
The Devil said, “You can go, but where are you going to find an advocate? They are all here on my side. Go to court.”

Hell is a state of mind when you live in plenty and yet you live in poverty, when life is such a blessing and yet you live in sadness. When the flowers bloom you don’t bloom. When the stars shine you don’t shine. When the clouds are in the sky floating in freedom, you don’t enjoy the freedom. When the cuckoo calls from a distant wood and you remain deaf. When the peacock dances you don’t dance. This is hell, and you are the creator of it.

Mahatma Gandhi died and went to heaven. He was royally welcomed by St. Peter as a great saint and told that any request of his would be granted. Gandhi said, “All my life I have been nonviolent. Now I would like to live a life like Adolph Hitler.”
That seems to be absolutely psychological, right. If you live a repressed life this is going to happen. Adolph Hitler would like to live like Mahatma Gandhi, and Mahatma Gandhi would like to live like Adolph Hitler. The rejected, the denied part will take revenge. So I see a point in this fictitious story.
St. Peter replied, “This is too horrible a wish to be granted – but we will let you see Hitler in hell. That will give you an idea and you may drop your desire.”
Gandhi was taken to hell where he saw Hitler surrounded by beautiful naked dancing girls and many bottles of wine. “How can this be hell?” cried Gandhi “This is heaven.”
“Of course it is hell,” said St. Peter. “The bottles all have holes and the women don’t.”

The third question:
Why is it that one becomes so attached to the physical peculiarities of a master: his beauty, his gentleness, his language, his mispronunciation – so that alongside the awe and respect he inspires there grows such a feeling of tenderness and familiarity? If this is a device I want to be caught by it forever.
A love affair is a love affair. It is not logical. When you love a person, you love his wholeness, you love him as he is. And the only way to be with a master is to fall in total love. Hence you start liking everything of the master – yes, even his mispronunciations. Of course it is easy to love his beauty, his grace, his wisdom, but that is not enough – unless you start loving him in his totality.
I know that if sometimes I don’t mispronounce a few words, you miss – when I mispronounce, I can see the joy!
Vivek goes on telling me every day, “Don’t say ‘aunt,’ it is ‘ain’t.’” And whenever I come across it, just to be compassionate to you, I again say “aunt.”
And there is one more difficulty: there are a few things I cannot figure out. My whole life I have been unable to figure out what is left and what is right. In school when I used to go to the parade I used to write on my hands, “This is right, this is left.” So whenever this question of “aunt” and “ain’t” arises I am puzzled – whether it is “aunt” or “ain’t,” or vice versa.
Yes, it is a device. If you can’t love me in my totality you will miss me.

A man with a rosary around his neck, wearing a hooded cloak and sandals, carrying a begging bowl and with a long white beard, was surrounded by a crowd in a certain town. They clamored for his blessings and he led them to the top of a hill where he sat in silence for several hours.
Finally someone approached timidly and asked him to address them.
“I know that you have all been waiting for the words of the great teacher so-and-so,” he said, “and I hope that his visit to this town, which is now over, has conferred the customary blessings upon it. But my own job is now finished, as he will have passed through the streets in our absence…”
“Then who are you?” shouted a frenzied worshipper.
“Me? Oh, I am the decoy.”

He was just a device of the master, so that the foolish people could go with him outside the town and the master could pass through the town unhindered, undisturbed – or would be met only by those who had eyes. All those who were blind followed this man because they could only see the outer garb. He looked like a master, they followed him. Only a very few people must have remained in the town, who were not deceived by the personality.
My mind is just a mechanism. For me now it is absolutely useless; it is just for your sake that I go on feeding it a little bit. Just for your sake I am speaking, otherwise now there is no point for me. In fact there is no point for me even to breathe. It is only for you that I am breathing, speaking, living. Those who have eyes will be able to see it.
Everything is a device. Remember it: you have to see the device to grow beyond it.
And as far as the pronunciation is concerned, it is a miracle that I don’t mispronounce all the words, or that even when I mispronounce you can still understand – because language is very alien to my being now – not English, but my own mother tongue is alien. I have become a stranger to my own mind; the distance between me and the mind is infinite. I am surprised myself that the mind goes on functioning. What I have known has been known in silence; no language can express it.
And from my very childhood I was not interested in any subject that was taught in the school – hence my poor history. I was always puzzled why these stupid names have to be remembered. Why, for what sin are we punished, to remember the names of some people, dates, exact dates, exact names…? And all that these people have done is ugly. History is bunk. Why should we be punished? So I was never present in the history class. I was never interested in language, any language.
My whole interest was, from the very beginning, how to transcend mind. Neither history can help, nor geography, nor mathematics, nor language – nothing can help. All these things are irrelevant. My whole being was moving in a totally different direction.
So it is just a miracle happening that I go on speaking to you, conveying to you something which cannot be conveyed, expressing something which is inexpressible, saying the unsayable. And you have to forgive many things.

Landers and his girlfriend were dining at the famous House of Hung Lo. Landers said to the waiter, “Bling us some flied lice.”
The waiter left and returned with won ton soup. They ate it, and Landers again said to the waiter, “We want flied lice.”
This time the waiter brought them two orders of egg roll. As the waiter walked away, Landers called loud enough for everyone in the restaurant to hear, “How about the flied lice?”
The Chinese waiter came back to the table and said, “Can’t you pronounce fried rice, you plick?”

Somehow I am managing… So if I manage and say “fried rice,” then I slip somewhere else – “you plick,” you have to forgive me.
But everything is a device, remember, and as you get closer and closer to me, more and more subtle devices will be used. The day is not far off when we will be simply sitting in silence and there will be no question of language, words. Get ready for it, because that which I really want to communicate can only be communicated in silence.
Enough for today.

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