Benevolent Dictatorship

India Independence Day

15th August commemorates India’s Independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, after nearly 100 years of domination. The day is celebrated with myriad activities emphasizing Nationalism such as flag hoisting ceremonies, cultural events with patriotic fervor and kite flying! 

Several of Osho’s discourses are dedicated to India, where He discusses threadbare the perennial problems confronting India and gives ideas on how to solve those problems to achieve Independence in the truest sense. Osho does not place the responsibility of India’s awakening only on the politicians and bureaucracy.

Osho explains the essence of Freedom and how work has to start at level of an individual to achieve Freedom in the realest sense. Osho says there is no point in repeatedly changing the powerful into the powerless and the powerless into the powerful… it’s an unending game. I don’t preach revolution. I am utterly against revolution. My word for the future is rebellion. What is the difference? Rebellion is individual action; it has nothing to do with the crowd. Rebellion has nothing to do with politics, power, violence. Rebellion has something to do with changing your consciousness, your silence, your being. It is a spiritual metamorphosis.

His discourses attempt to stimulate constructive thinking in all levels of the polity because it is only when we all strive together as a nation; will we regain the lost glory of the great civilization that is India.

Osho has spoken on India in His discourses. Osho says India has always been a metaphor, a philosophical concept, a spiritual unity. This allowed different languages to evolve, different cultures to evolve, different individualities to evolve, and the country was not monotonous; it was a beautiful garden of different flowers, different colors, different perfumes. And we allowed it, because the variety is its richness. There was an inner current that joined people, but it was not political; it was spiritual. It was unfortunate that India was enslaved by invaders viz. the Mughals and the British who tried to destroy the very spirit of India. But India has remained always a spiritual feeling, a spiritual colorfulness; not the monotonous boring one language, one culture, one religion nation. India is not a nation in that sense, it is an entire continent.



Ayub Syed,

The Indian mind is programmed to be that of a slave; it is not ready to function in freedom. That’s where the roots of the problems are. Twenty-two centuries of slavery have given a certain conditioning to the Indian mind: it understands only one language, the language of the jungle. Whosoever is powerful is right — ‘Might is right’. If there is nobody to dictate to it, if there is nobody to boss it about, then the Indian mind knows no way to function, what to do, what not to do. It has no inner guidance. And it has not been a slave for only twenty-two centuries; even before that it lived in a spiritual kind of slavery — politically free but spiritually not free.

The Brahmins have been ruling the soul of the country for at least five thousand years, or more. They have dominated, dictated, guided, forced a certain discipline in every possible way, but that discipline comes from the outside, and the moment the outside agency that was creating the discipline is removed, the Indian feels at a loss. He has no integrity, no consciousness, but only a character, merely a poor character. The difference has to be understood. Character is imposed by outside agencies: the society, the state, the church. Consciousness is individual; consciousness comes through meditation. Nobody can impose consciousness on you, you have to discover it. And the Indian mind believes in the collectivity. It is not individual — it has no respect for the individual at all. One should adjust to the society, one should bow down to the vested interests, to the status quo. The man of character is one, according to the Indiant programming, who is not a rebel, who lives according to the tradition, the scriptures. he so-called saints who are nothing but agents of the past.

A man of character in India is not really a man of character, he is only a slave. Because he is obedient he is respected — the more obedient you are the more you will be respected in India. But the obedient person is really a slave: he has no guts, he has no consciousness; he cannot say no, hence his yes is also impotent. The Indians understand only one language: that of enforcement. If you enforce something upon them they are very law-abiding. For two hundred years the English people ruled India and found the Indians very law-abiding. Lawlessness was never a problem before the end of the British Raj, but these thirty-three years of freedom have seen India falling apart, becoming a chaos — something which looks strange if you don’t understand the root cause. The root cause is that freedom is absolutely strange to Indian programming. India needs a totally different kind of government. Democracy is an imported idea.

Indians are very reluctant about importing technology, importing new methods, new machines. They are very insistent on the spinning wheel, on Indian self-sufficiency. They are afraid of science, technology. The whole of Gandhian philosophy is anti-technology, anti-science, but they have imported the concept of democracy. India has never been democratic, hence democracy has no roots in Indian consciousness, not at all. Democracy is failing; something totally different is needed in the Indian context. Democracy cannot succeed — at least not now — unless a context is created for it.

The people who fought for Indian freedom were all educated in England. Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Jawaharlal Nehru, all these people were educated in Britain. They saw democracy functioning there beautifully and they became immensely impressed by it. But English democracy has a long tradition. When India became free it immediately imported the idea of democracy. Ideas cannot be imported like that. You have to create the soil, you have to create the right atmosphere. So Indian democracy is just like a paper flower: you can go on hanging it on your tree, but it will not give fragrance. It may deceive people who are not close to the tree, but it cannot deceive the tree, it cannot deceive you, it cannot deceive the butterflies and the bees, it cannot deceive the birds who sing on the tree — they know It is a paper flower. No bee is going to come to the flower. And how can you deceive the tree? The tree will not nourish it — it is not joined to the flower, and there is no way to make it part of the tree.

Before democracy can start functioning in India, India needs something like a cross between democracy and dictatorship, something in-between — something which has the ingredients of both, the best of both. China has succeeded in a shorter period. China became free after India, four years afterwards, but China is in a far better state today than India. It has a bigger population, with greater problems, but it has been able to solve them because it is not living under a democracy. It is a dictatorship. Russia could manage only because of a dictatorial regime. I am not a supporter of dictatorship, I am for democracy, but democracy is possible only if we can prepare the ground for it. The parliamentary system that has been imposed upon India is so foreign to the Indian mind that it cannot function. You can see it in the Indian parliament — the behaviour of the members is so childish. They are continuously quarrelling, fighting. No work at all happens in Indian parliaments, simply unnecessary argumentation about pointless, meaningless things. Opposition for opposition’s sake. A sheer waste of time and energy.

It will be better if India shifts to a presidential form of government which will be something between democracy and dictatorship. Democracy is needed so that no dictatorship becomes an absolute imprisonment for the country. So after each five or ten years you can change the government. But as far as the functioning of the government is concerned, during the period in which the government is in power it needs absolute control of the country. India can be put in a better situation only if the government starts working on a war footing — less than that won’t do. If the country understands only one language then you have to speak that language.

My own name for this cross between democracy and dictatorship is ‘benevolent dictatorship’ — not absolutely dictatorial, so there can be a possibility to change the government. After at least ten years the government can be changed, but for those ten years the government has to be totalitarian, with absolute power, and all lawlessness will disappear immediately. In these thirty-three years India functioned in a disciplined way only when Indira declared the Emergency. In those few months India functioned without any lawlessness. The smugglers disappeared, the bribery disappeared, the dacoits disappeared. Crime suddenly fell to a minimum and the whole country was functioning without strikes, without protest marches, without any chaos anywhere. Indians understand that language immediately. And they are not at fault: for centuries they have been fed on poison. They have not been prepared to function as free human beings and they cannot immediately start functioning that way. If a person has functioned with crutches for thousands of years and you withdraw the crutches, he will fall. Maybe he is not crippled, maybe he is basically healthy, but now he has become dependent on the crutches. You cannot withdraw crutches so suddenly.

A rabbi was telling his wife on her birthday, ‘I would like you to live one hundred years and three months.’

The wife was a little puzzled about those three months. She said, ‘Why those three months? I have never heard of such a thing! One hundred years is enough! Why those three months?’

The rabbi smiled and said, ‘I would not like you to die suddenly!’

Yes, those three months are needed. Nothing can be taken away suddenly. Freedom came to India very suddenly, without any preparation The so-called ‘Father of the Nation’, Mahatma Gandhi, had not prepared the country at all. The so-called leaders were only efficient in creating a little bit of chaos here and there, and when freedom came they were absolutely at a loss as to what to do because all their efficiency was in creating chaos. So even though freedom did come — thirty-three years have passed — but those leaders still know only one thing: how to create chaos. They go on doing the same. And those leaders know perfectly well that the only way to be in power is to go on creating chaos. The whole concern of those who are in power is to remain in power, and they can only remain in power if the country remains in chaos. So people go on fighting and they go on managing somehow, proving to the world that they are very much needed, otherwise the country will fall apart. And the interest of the people who are not in power is also in creating chaos because that is the only way to come back into power or to come into power.

So the politicians have learned one trick: they have gained freedom — freedom means they have gained power for themselves — and they know they have gained the power through creating chaos; that’s the only way to be in power. So India should not be left alone — let people fight in every possible way. When people are fighting, their energies are wasted in fighting each other and you can easily rule them, because then the people become weaker every day. And those who are not in power know that if they can create more chaos than you can control, then of course sooner or later they will be in power. So it is a political game. Nobody is really interested in the welfare of the country.

The second thing to remember is that India has lived in a very repressive way. The cause lies in the phony morality. If people have lived with repression then whenever there is some freedom, that repressed energy starts uncoiling itself. Any energy repressed is sooner or later going to take revenge. Whenever there is a chance, an opportunity for the energy to explode, it will explode. Once the pressure on the lid is removed then the lid is going to be thrown off by all the repressed vapour inside. And India has lived longest under moral repression, so the people are boiling within. They talk about morality, but they go on raping women. They respect the saints, but they go on murdering, butchering. They go on talking about God, moksha, nirvana, truth, Yoga, devotion, prayer — beautiful words! — but if you look at their life, all that they do is destructive. India is not a creative country. No repressed society can be creative — the repressed society is afraid of creativity because creativity means expression — creativity is against repression, it is just the polar opposite. So Indians have double faces: one face to wear in public and another face to wear in private.

Some years ago two rabbis met for lunch. After conducting a heavy philosophical exchange, the two turned to lighter topics.

‘So,’ said one, ‘what do you think? One of our boys got to marry that Elizabeth Taylor!’

‘Oh,’ snapped the other, ‘it won’t last a year!’

The first rabbi sighed and said, ‘I should have such a year!’

The Indian mind is full of sexuality, full of anger, full of hatred — and it talks about love, talks about compassion, talks about non-violence. But don’t be deceived by their talk — their talk simply shows that just the opposite is inside them. And now they are free; there is no pressure on them to go on repressing. So everywhere in the country every day… I think nothing like this is happening anywhere else in the world. People are burnt alive! Women are raped everywhere — mass rape! Many women die just because so many people rape them that they fall dead. And the mahatmas of the country go on talking about celibacy, but the same mahatmas are being caught doing all kinds of criminal acts…All kinds of things go on happening in India for the simple reason that the country lacks character — character in my sense, character that arises as a by-product of consciousness. India is absolutely characterless, but what they think is character, they go on bragging about all around the world: that they are very religious, very moral. And that is sheer nonsense!…

India has done almost a miraculous job of five thousand years of suppression. Now for the first time India has become free, democratic, hence the anarchy, the chaos, the lawlessness. But in a way this is good: it shows the reality, the authentic reality of Indian mind, its character, its ‘morality’, its so-called religion, its ‘spirituality’. All that garbage is exposed for the first time — in that sense it is good. Now we have to make a totally new kind of India. The past has failed — five thousand years of work has gone down the drain! A little freedom has exposed everything. So now there is no need to go on doing the same again; we can start learning a new language. That’s what my work is here: to give you a new language — of expression, of creativity, of transforming your energies from the lower to the higher, from the baser metal into gold. This school is an alchemical school, my sannyasins are alchemists, and this alchemy has to be spread not only in this country but all over the world. But this country needs it immensely more than anybody else.


It is its true character, its reality. It is not drifting towards lawlessness, it is simply exposing itself, it is dropping its hypocrisy. Freedom has given us a great chance to see ourselves as we are, naked. Freedom has become a mirror — now we have to think again. Now our whole past is useless. This is a shock, but much can be learned from this failure. A revolution can happen! Character should not be imposed anymore, but consciousness should be helped to grow. And if consciousness is helped to grow, soon this lawlessness will disappear and an inner discipline will arise. For that to happen India needs a certain society, a certain atmosphere. For the transition period democracy should be put aside. For the transition period a presidential form of government with more dictatorial power than the American President has will be of immense help. But that power has not to be used to impose the same old character — no need to commit the same mistake again — that power has to be used to deprogramme people from the past and to give them a taste of consciousness, a taste of awareness. They have to be helped to become more individual, but democracy will not be able to do it; it will simply lead India into more and more chaos…

I believe absolutely in democracy, that’s why I say a little of dictatorial preparation will be good for the flower of democracy. Dictatorship has to be used as a means, the end remains democracy. Hence dictatorship has to be used in a way that it can be dropped at any moment, and the best way is to create a presidential system according to the context. Create law but not enforced — teach people the beauty of lawfulness, the beauty of understanding each other, the beauty of not encroaching on each other’s space. In India everybody is ready to encroach on everybody’s space, nobody respects anybody else’s territorial imperative.

This is the problem my sannyasins are facing every day. If sannyasins are moving hand in hand, every Indian is against it. They are not doing anything to those people, they are not doing any harm to anybody. If two persons are lovingly holding hands or hugging each other, it should not be anybody’s business — you should not interfere in it. In fact, if two persons are fighting a crowd gathers to watch and enjoy it, but if two persons kiss each other then people are very angry. People seem to be set against love and life, and they are all for destruction! Anything beautiful is hated, anything ugly is enjoyed, indulged in. In Indian films kissing is not allowed, but murder is allowed. You can see the point! I will allow kissing, I will not allow murder.

Just the other day Alfred asked one question, because I had said — it has been reported to me again and again by many people — that one Indian was holding a Western Sannyasin woman in such an ugly, obscene way that it was certainly exhibitionistic, because he was just standing by the gate inside the ashram so everybody passing by could see. It was nauseating! Many people reported it to me, and I said that if such a thing happens then throw this type of person outside immediately. And Alfred was very angry because I had said just the day before that if two sannyasins are kissing each other it is nobody’s business. They are not kissing any Indian, they are not kissing anybody else, they are kissing their own lovers. So Alfred was angry that I said to throw that Indian out if it happened again. He said, ‘The Indian was doing something to a woman, he was not doing it to you!’

Alfred, you don’t understand because you are not a Sannyasin. I say to you he was doing it to me, because I am involved with my sannyasins and my sannyasins are involved with me. To be a sannyasin means to become a part of me; to be a sannyasin also means you let me become a part of you. If something ugly is done to any of my sannyasins it is done to me. If Meeten is murdered, something of me is murdered. If some repressed, ugly mind is trying to do some obscene thing to any sannyasin, I am involved in it. And this is not a public place, it is not a road, this is my Buddhafield! I will not say anything if it happens in Poona somewhere on the road — that is not my business at all. But this is my home and these people are part of me, part of this Buddhafield. Here, nothing like this can be allowed.

Yes, if two persons are beautifully hugging and loving each other there is no problem at all, nobody prevents them, but Indians cannot be beautiful about hugging and kissing. Centuries of repression suddenly takes them to the opposite extreme. Either they will be very moralistic, ‘holier than thou’, or suddenly they move to the other extreme, their pendulum goes to the other extreme. They start behaving in an ugly way. Ugliness cannot be tolerated, beauty should be respected. Beauty is the greatest divine quality in existence, beauty is the face of God, but ugliness is evil. Lawlessness is ugly and lawfulness imposed from the outside is also ugly; they are two extremes of the same phenomenon. I would like a totally different kind of morality, law, discipline, that arises from your own innermost source. And when it can happen, why should we go on depending on outer, formal things? When the real is possible, why remain with the plastic and the false? Indians have been moralistic out of fear and greed — fear of hell, greed for heavenly pleasures. This is not real morality. I don’t believe in any hell and heaven! Destroy the idea of hell and heaven and then be moral. Then your morality is an end unto itself, then it has a beauty; then it is not out of fear, then it is not for any motive, you are doing something good because you enjoy doing it…God simply means the loving energy of existence.

Indians have to be educated for democracy. Indians have to be educated to respect each other’s views, visions, styles of life. Indians have to be educated to respect the differences in people’s lives, thoughts, attitudes, approaches. But Indians are very interfering with each other and very argumentative. For five thousand years they have not done anything but argue, so they have become very skilful in argumentation. They can argue about anything, for or against, and they are continuously quarrelling. And this quarrelsomeness is a destructive thing; the whole energy has to be put into creativity…Creativity has never been taught, has never been respected. We have respected saints only for one reason: because they were great self-torturers. We have never respected poets, painters, sculptors — never.

Nobody knows who the architect of the Taj Mahal was, nobody knows who made the beautiful temples of Khajuraho, nobody knows who the people were who worked their whole lives creating the caves of Ajanta and Ellora. But we know all kinds of fools who fasted, who stood on their heads, who did nothing in their lives but rest on a bed of thorns, who remained naked in the cold! We know all about these idiots and we respect them — we have raised temples in their honour. And nobody knows about the creators; we have not even bothered about them.

This an absolutely wrong approach towards life. Creativity should be appreciated so that energies become diverted more and more towards creativity. The Indian mind knows nothing about creativity, and the energies are there. And remember one fundamental law about energy if you don’t use it in creativity it becomes destructive, it goes sour, it becomes poisonous. It has to be used; you have to create something. If you cannot create a beautiful poem or a painting or a sculpture, then you will kill somebody or you will burn somebody or you will rape somebody. If God is the creator, then the only way to worship him is creativity.

India also suffers from a fatalistic philosophy: ‘Everything is being done by God. If you are poor, God is responsible; if you are sinners, God is responsible. It is fate — what can you do?’ The fatalistic philosophy has made India utterly lazy, uncreative, lousy. One of the sutras of Murphy is: If it doesn’t work, it was made in India.

Another of his sutras is: When you are happy, be happy; when you are sad, blame God.

This fatalistic attitude has kept people and their energies imprisoned. There is nothing for you to do, you just have to be a watcher and things go on happening — they are beyond you. No, this is not right. Man brings no written fate with him; he comes open-ended, he comes like a clean slate. You create yourself by your actions — you are creating yourself every moment…

India is suffering from its own past: its philosophies, its saints, its scriptures, its religion, its morality. Unless we disconnect ourselves totally from the past there is no hope. A drastic revolution is needed, an absolute disconnection, a discontinuity — less than that won’t do.

Ayub Syed, this is my approach: a discontinuity with the past so we can start anew, afresh. There is no need to go on renovating the old collapsing house; it is better to destroy it and make a new house instead. But Indians have become so accustomed to the old, so obsessed with the old that they go on renovating it, they just go on patching it up. And every moment it is collapsing on this side or that side, it needs new props, and anyway it is not worth living in — it is dangerous to be inside it. So everybody is living outside, and the whole work is: how to maintain it so that it does not collapse. Nobody dares to live inside because it can collapse any moment, but everybody is making every effort to keep it, to manage it. The whole energy is wasted in keeping the heritage, and there is nothing much in that heritage. People who are obsessed with the past are people who have forgotten how to live in the present.

India needs a real education; for that purpose a certain educative climate is needed. It needs a scientific technology, not a fatalist attitude. It needs a scientific approach about everything, not just praying and worshipping and asking God to do this favour and that. Enough of all that!

And this lawlessness can disappear because nobody is benefited by it, everybody is a loser, except the politicians. The politicians are having their day because the more chaos there is, the more you will have to depend on them. Make people more and more lawless, more and more chaotic, and then they will have to depend on you. A really disciplined society does not need to depend much on the government or on the politicians, so we have to learn that too: that politicians are reaping a good crop out of your misery. Only they are benefited, nobody else, and they are all in a conspiracy. If one party fails — and every party is bound to fail because the problems are vast and no party has the guts to disconnect itself from the past… Every party goes on respecting the past, honouring the past, because that’s the only way to get the votes.

I get only curses from all over the country; they would like to kill me. Every day I receive letters saying: ‘You should be killed! You should be thrown out of the country!’ Now, no politician can risk that much so they have to go on paying respect to the past knowing perfectly well that it cannot help you. We have to create a new present and through it a new future, but the politicians cannot do it.

I am creating sannyasins. These sannyasins can do much, not only for this country but for the whole world. They can bring a new education into existence, a new kind of man, a new kind of discipline, a new love for life and creativity, a new consciousness, a meditativeness. When a person acts out of that meditation, his acts are always beneficial to himself and to others. He is a blessing to himself and to the whole universe too.


Listen to complete discourse at mentioned below link.

Discourse Series: Zen: Zest, Zip, Zap and Zing Chapter #9

Chapter title: India: A New Present for a New Future

4 January 1981 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on ‘India and related issues’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Beyond Psychology
  2. The Book of Wisdom
  3. Christianity: The Deadliest Poison and Zen: The Antidote to All Poisons
  4. From Death to Deathlessness
  5. From Personality to Individuality
  6. From Ignorance to Innocence
  7. The Last Testament, Vol 1, 2, 4
  8. The Path of the Mystic
  9. Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries
  10. The Transmission of the Lamp
  11. Zarathustra: A God That Can Dance
  12. Beware of Socialism
  13. Yakusan: Straight to the Point of Enlightenment
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