Beyond Psychology 43

FourtyThird Discourse from the series of 44 discourses - Beyond Psychology by Osho.
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You told a story about ten years ago that I have not been able to understand:

A seeker is lost in the mountains; he is tired and thirsty. It is night and he sees a silver bowl with crystal clear water which he drinks, and then he sleeps. In the morning light he sees that the bowl was in fact a dirty old skull. He laughed and became enlightened.

What did he see, Osho?
The story is simple, but with immense meaning. The seeker saw in the skull the whole reality, and our illusions about it. He saw what we think is, and what really is – and the difference is tremendous.
He would not have taken that water, drunk that water, if he had known that it was in a dirty old skull. He thought it was a beautiful bowl with crystal clear water.
Our life is lived in illusions of crystal clear water, but reality is totally different. Seeing the difference he laughed at himself. And to be able to laugh at oneself can become a breakthrough – one can become enlightened.
People laugh at others, and people feel hurt if somebody laughs at them, but to come to an understanding where you see your own stupidity… Your whole life is full of it; we live in dreams, illusions, hallucinations. They do not correspond to reality at all. The reality is the dirty old skull. He laughed at himself, and in that very laughter he became a different man. Now he will live with reality, whatever it is. Now no illusions will be needed, no hallucinations will be needed to cover it, to hide it. He has seen the point.
The story is simple, but it is the story of the whole pilgrimage from darkness to light, from illusions to reality.
Just watch your mind, how it creates illusions about everything and then gets disillusioned and disturbed. You love a man, you love a woman – you create a certain illusion about the man or the woman. It is not the truth. Deep down you know it too. You are imposing an image. Soon it will be shattered, because no illusion can last long against reality. Soon you will find a dirty old skull. Then ordinarily you will be disappointed, miserable, and you will miss the point. If you could have laughed you would not have missed it.
Even when you understand that things are not the way you had imagined them to be, you dump the whole responsibility on the other person. A woman who was beautiful turns out to be a bitch. A man you had thought to be a hero turns out to be just a henpecked husband. You are not going to laugh at yourselves. You will throw the whole responsibility on the other person: that he deceived you, that he pretended to be something that he was not, that she was not as beautiful as she was pretending – with all the make-up she deceived you. But no make-up is needed. Your illusions, your hallucinations, your lust is enough – the greatest make-up in the world.
So whatever you want, whatever you desire, you project, and when that projection proves wrong, there are two possibilities. One is to dump the whole responsibility on the other person, who is simply innocent of what you were seeing in her.
In fact, when you say to a woman, “You are beautiful” and this and that, she wonders, because she also looks in the mirror and she does not find anything that you are talking about. But why disturb yourself unnecessarily? Why not enjoy? It fulfills her ego. Even the ugliest woman will not object, say that you are wrong. She will smile and accept all your compliments. Standing before a mirror she may think that perhaps she is wrong. How can that man be wrong? Why should he be wrong?
In each love affair both the persons are innocent, as far as they are concerned. But both are responsible for projecting upon the other something which the other is not.

A Sufi story tells that Mulla Nasruddin had a beautiful house in the hills and once in a while he used to go there. Sometimes he would say it would take three weeks for him to rest, or two weeks, or four weeks, but he never managed to keep the date that he had given for his return; he would always come sooner. If he had gone for three weeks, within two weeks he would be back.
His friends started asking, “You plan for three weeks, then you come back in two weeks, sometimes even in one week. What is the matter?”
He said, “You don’t know. I have an old woman servant.”
They said, “What has that to do with your remaining in the hills and relaxing?”
He said, “First listen to the whole thing. She is so ugly. That’s why I have chosen her – she is my criterion. When she starts looking beautiful to me, then I escape, then I know: ‘Now, Mulla, this is not a safe place, and you have lost your mind.’ So I go for three weeks, but what can I do? In three days she starts looking beautiful. If I stay one day more I may propose. And she is really ugly. It is difficult to tolerate her, but I have kept her specially for this purpose, so that when I start losing my mind I will know it is the exact time to leave and come back home into the world.”

You project; the projection fails. If you could laugh at yourself – that is the message of this story.
The man was thirsty in the night. It was a projection. Even in the full-moon night a skull is a skull and the dirty water is dirty water. But he was thirsty; it was his thirst that projected clean, crystal clear water in a beautiful bowl. He drank with joy. In the morning he was not thirsty and there was sunlight. He looked at the bowl; it was a dirty old skull – and he had drunk from it! If he had known that it was a skull filled with dirty water, he would have rather suffered thirst than drink from it. But his thirst projected an illusion.
We are doing it every moment of our lives, projecting illusions – about people, about things – and getting frustrated continuously, disgusted. The story is saying to you: these are the moments; if you can understand that it was your projection, this is the time to laugh at yourself, at your own stupidity, at your own foolishness. That will be an act of tremendous intelligence. It will free you from that constant projection, frustration – that whole vicious circle.

An old monk with his young disciple was passing through the forest, going to another town. But the young man was very puzzled, because the old man had never walked like that – he was almost running and clutching his bag. Once in a while he would feel something inside the bag. The young man could not imagine what he had in the bag. The old monk was again and again asking, “Will we be able to reach the town before sunset?”
The young man said, “Even if we don’t, we have nothing to fear. We can stay in the forest. We have stayed here many times, so it is not new. But today you seem to be strange.”
The old man said, “We will discuss it later on. First, be fast. I don’t want to stay in the forest tonight.”
By the side of the road was a well, and the sun was just setting. Before the sun set they washed themselves. They were really tired. They drank, and while the old man was washing his face he gave his bag to the young man and told him, “Be careful.”
The young man said to himself, “He has never been this way before.” Out of curiosity he looked into the bag. In the bag he was carrying two bricks of gold. Now everything was clear: why the monk could not stay in the forest, why for the first time he was so afraid.
While the old monk was washing his face and doing his evening prayer, the young man threw those two bricks into the forest, found two stones weighing almost the same as the bricks, and put them in the bag. The old man finished his prayer in half the time – he was in such a hurry! He immediately took the bag from the young man and the weight showed him that everything was okay. They rushed on. After a mile, it was getting dark. The old man said, “It seems to be difficult to reach to the town, and this place is dangerous.”
But the young man said, “Don’t be afraid. As far as the danger is concerned, I have thrown it by the side of the well.”
He said, “What do you mean, you have thrown the danger by the side of the well?”
He said, “Look into your bag and you will know.”
He looked into the bag and he said, “My God!” The old man laughed, threw the bag, and sat under a tree; he could not stop laughing.
The young man said, “Why are you laughing so much?”
He said, “I am laughing because you have done the right thing, and for almost a mile I have still been befooling myself with those stones, thinking they were gold. Now we can sleep under this tree. It is good. There is no fear and there is no hurry.”
He could have been angry at the young man and missed the point. But he laughed, laughed madly, because he could see the point: “It was so stupid of me. The young man has proved far more intelligent than me. My own disciple had to teach me a lesson.”
They slept the whole night, and in the morning the old man touched the feet of the young man and thanked him, “Although I am your master, you helped free me from an illusion. I slept so deeply the whole night. I had not slept for a few nights because of that bag; those golden bricks would not let me sleep. Even in the night I was groping in the bed and trying to find out whether they were there or not. Those bricks had become so important that I lost my joy, I abridged my prayers, I abridged my meditation.”

As far as existence is concerned, gold and rocks are not different – it is human illusion, we have projected it. If man is no longer in this world, gold will not be gold; although it will still be itself, there will be no difference in the valuation between it and a rock. The valuation and the difference is our projection – and then we suffer.
So the insight in that small anecdote is great. If you can laugh at yourself when any of your illusions fall away, soon you will be able to live without illusions, to live without hallucinations, to live without projections. And to live without all these things means to live in peace, and to live in silence, and to celebrate the small things of life.

I remember once hearing you tell us that Buddha's definition of truth was: that which works. It struck me as almost audacious, and yet totally pragmatic, and for both reasons I loved it.

My understanding is that your definition of truth is probably the same, that you will do and say anything at all, in the name of truth, that might prod us in the right direction. I would love to hear you speak to us on this.
It is true. I can say anything if it directs you toward truth. Of course truth cannot be said, it can only be pointed at. I can use anything that points toward it. Perhaps for different people different pointers are needed. To me it does not matter what I say. What matters is whether it leads you in the right direction: toward your illumination.
Yes, my definition is exactly the same: truth is that which works. It is pragmatic, and Gautam Buddha was a very pragmatic man, very scientific. This definition can be called scientific too.
All the definitions of science are nothing but proof for this definition. We don’t know what electricity is, we only know how it works. We don’t know anything about atomic energy, what it is, but we know how it works. The knowledge of how it works is the whole science of it.
The ultimate truth is not different. And the master’s function is to lead you, to direct you, to push you in a direction where you will find the truth. He cannot give it to you, but he can create devices which will lead you to it. In a very subtle way what the master says is not meant to be understood; it is meant to be drunk so that it reaches your blood, your bones, your marrow, and you start moving in a certain direction – not knowing where you are going, but the master knows where you are going.
If you are going on the right track, you will find his blessings and his love showering on you. That will be the only indication that you are on the right path. One day you will find the truth and then you will laugh, because what was said had nothing to do with it. But it certainly turned your attention toward it.
I have always told this story:

A house is on fire and small children are in the house playing. They are so involved in their play that the whole neighborhood is shouting, “Come out! The house is on fire!” But they are enjoying that too. The flames are all around and the children are in the middle of the house – they have never seen such fireworks.
They are not listening to the crowd. Then the father, who had gone to the market, comes and people say, “Now do something. All your children will be dead. The house is almost going to collapse.”
The father went close and shouted, “I have brought your toys – all the toys that you have asked for. Come out.” Just the back door of the house was not burning yet.
They all rushed out and asked the father, “Where are the toys?”
The father said, “You will have to forgive me. I have not brought them today, but tomorrow I will bring them certainly.”
They said, “Why did you unnecessarily disturb our game?”
He said, “I have not disturbed your game. You do not understand. The house is on fire; you would have died. I simply lied to you about the toys, because I knew that it was the only thing that could bring you out.”

Now, toys and fire seem to have no connection, but in that particular situation the father functioned as a master. He gave the children an indication that saved their lives. Although now they are aware he lied, they will not complain about it. He lied out of compassion. He lied because he loved them; he lied because he wanted to save their lives.
Truth cannot be said, so whatever can be said is going to be a beautiful lie – beautiful because it can lead toward truth. So I make a demarcation between lies: beautiful lies and ugly lies. Ugly lies are those which take you away from truth, and beautiful lies are those which take you close toward truth. But as far as their quality is concerned, both are lies. But those beautiful lies work; hence in some way they partake in the flavor of truth.

A question I have had since I was a kid and started seeing the ways of the world is: Why do people treat each other like they do? Where is the love, the compassion and the respect for each other? I think that everybody is longing to live in love and harmony with himself and all the human beings around. And I don't think there is any longing for hate, violence, and power over other people – but this is what I see happening.

What is it that makes people live this unnatural and miserable life? Is it all conditioning, or is there something in man that makes him willing to go astray?
It is both. First, there is something in man that leads him astray. And secondly, there are people whose interest it is to lead human beings astray. Both together create a false, fake human being. His heart longs for love, but his conditioned mind prevents him from love.

You will be surprised to know that Adolf Hitler never allowed his girlfriends to sleep in his room for one simple reason: how can you trust? The woman may shoot you in the night, mix poison in your water. What is the guarantee? She may be just pretending that she loves you. It may be just a conspiracy. There was no way to find out whether it was a conspiracy or true love for him. To be on the safe side he never allowed any woman with whom he had been in contact to sleep in his room.
He never allowed anyone to be friendly with him; he always kept Goebbels, or any of his other close associates at a distance. It was said that there was not a single person who could put his hand on his shoulder, like a friend. His conditioning was that too much closeness was dangerous. The other may do harm to you. He may come to know something about you which he may use against you. It is better to keep him at a distance. Everybody is ambitious, everybody wanted to be in his place, so although they were looking very friendly, deep down they were all enemies, competitors; they could kill him. He had no friends. And what kind of love was this, that he could not trust the woman in his room?
One of his women remained for many years in love with him, and there was no reason to suspect her. But suspicion needs no reason. One day she wanted to go and see her mother who was ill, in the same town. Adolf Hitler said no; yes was very difficult for him to pronounce, for anything.
There is a deep psychological meaning in it. No gives you power. Yes does not give you power. Whenever you say no, you can feel power; whenever you say yes, you can feel love, you can feel compassion, but not power. Words have their own qualities. Those qualities you cannot find in the dictionaries. But in actual life if you go into the psychology of words, each word has its unique individuality. No is not simply a denial; it is an assertion of power.
There was no need to say no. She was going just to see her sick mother, and she would be back before he returned from the office. But yes was not his word. He only knew how to order, how not to accept anybody else’s idea. Even such a small thing, which had nothing to do with power…
He went to the office and the woman thought that she could manage: she could go and see her mother and return – he would not be back yet. She went, came back, and certainly she managed. But the first thing he inquired from the guard of the house was, “Has she been out? – how long?”
Hitler loaded his gun and just went in and shot her – he did not even ask, he did not even give her an opportunity to say anything. That was enough. It had to be a proof for everybody else, that not to follow his order meant death. Hitler longed for love, but his mind longed for power – and you cannot ask for both.

This is the problem. The child is born with a heart which longs for love, but he is also born with a brain which can be conditioned. And the society has to condition it against the heart, because the heart will be always rebellious against the society, it will always follow its own way. It cannot be made into a soldier. It can become a poet, it can become a singer, it can become a dancer, but it cannot become a soldier. It can suffer for its individuality, it can die for its individuality and freedom, but it cannot be enslaved. That is the state of the heart.
But the child comes with an empty brain, just a mechanism, which you can arrange the way you want. It will learn the language you teach, it will learn the religion you teach, it will learn the morality you teach. It is simply a computer; you just feed it with information.
Every society takes care to make the mind stronger and stronger so that if there is any conflict between heart and mind, the mind is going to win. But every victory of the mind over the heart is a misery. It is a victory over your nature, over your being – over you – by others. They have cultivated your mind to serve their purposes.
For example, the British government ruled in India for three hundred years, and it created a certain kind of education that only produces clerks, postmasters, stationmasters. The whole program is such that it does not produce great intellectuals, geniuses, scientists – no. So if a person studies for one third of his life, he comes out of the factory of the university just a clerk. But the British government needed clerks.
By the way, because the capital of India at the beginning of the British Empire was Kolkata, Bengalis were the first to be indoctrinated by the British education system. They were the first to become mediators between the land and its people, and the rulers. The rulers did not know the language of the people; the people did not know the language of the rulers. These mediators knew both.
They were respected by the masses because they were so close to the rulers – second only to the rulers. But the rulers hated them. It was just a necessity to create an army of mediators; otherwise they could not rule such a huge country – there would be no understanding, no communication.
But they hated these people. They called those Bengalis “babus” and the word babu became respectful all over India. Because the rulers were calling the Bengalis “babus,” the word babu became very important – so significant that even the first president of India was called Babu Rajendra Prasad. And nobody ever thought about what this word means.
I told Rajendra Prasad, “You should drop it and you should make it known to the country that nobody should use this word, because it is condemnatory.” It means a man with a bad smell. Bengalis eat fish – fish and rice is their only food – and they smell of fish, from continually eating fish.
Bengal is a beautiful place, and there you will find a beautiful thing: next to every house you will find a small lake. The richer people have big lakes with their palaces. The lakes are there simply to produce fish, the kind of fish the people like. Every house, even a poor man’s house has a small pond – it looks very beautiful, because a small hut may have a small pond with palm trees.
But the smell is too much. I have traveled only once in Bengal and then I said, “I cannot go further than Kolkata.” It stinks – everybody stinks of fish, every house stinks of fish. That is their main diet.
Babu is a Persian word. Bu means smell and ba means with. The British got India from the Mohammedans, whose languages were Persian, Arabic and Urdu, and it was from them that they got this idea of babu. It was a condemnation, but to the masses it became the most respectful word.
India must have more universities than any other country – one hundred universities and thousands of colleges – and the whole purpose was just to serve the Empire. The whole education was to be obedient, not to be rebellious. It was absolutely against any idea of revolution.
India would have remained a slave country for centuries, but Britain committed just one mistake: it allowed a few rich people’s sons and daughters to be educated in England, and that was the trouble. These were the people who brought the idea of freedom to India. No Indian educated in India had any idea of freedom, but a few rich people sent their sons, their daughters, to be educated in England – because if they were educated in England then they would be given the highest posts in India. A holder of the same degree from an Indian university would never reach that post, but from England he came qualified for the highest post.
Britain unknowingly created its own enemies. They were the people who found in Britain a different kind of education, who learned about democracy, who learned about freedom, who learned about individual rights, who learned about freedom of expression. And they came back to their country full of utopian ideas about how India could become independent. So, all the fighters against the British regime were basically educated in England. And I don’t think the British have even realized the fact, because nobody has noted it anywhere.
One man who was very influential in India, Subash Chandra, was educated in Britain. Anybody who was educated in Britain was immediately absorbed in the highest government service, the Indian Civil Service – ICS. Every student coming back from England had to give an interview to the governor of his state. Subash had come with the full desire to fight the British Empire, not to serve it, but still he went to give his interview. And Bengalis have a certain habit: they always carry their umbrellas. Nobody knows why. I have asked many people because it is not raining, it is not hot… But traditionally it is part of them. Without an umbrella a Bengali is not a full Bengali; his umbrella is absolutely necessary. And they give reasons, because they are intellectual people.
They say, “The rains can come at any time, it is unpredictable. One should always be prepared for anything. Right now it is cloudy, but the sun can come out and it will be hot. Moreover, there are so many dogs, and for this and that you can use your umbrella. Even if you have to fight with someone, the umbrella is handy.”
So Subash went with his umbrella and his hat into the governor’s office, and the governor was very much annoyed that an Indian should behave in this way. He should remove his hat, to be respectful – and he had come to give an interview. So the governor said, “First remove your hat. You don’t know even how to be respectful.”
Subash took his umbrella out, and on the other side of the table was the governor. He hooked his neck with his umbrella and said, “If you want respect, then you should be respectful too. You should have stood. If you cannot stand, you should not expect any respect from me. And I am not interested in your ICS. I have just come to see how you behave with people. But don’t think that you can misbehave with me. People like you used to polish my shoes in England” – naturally in England a white man will polish the shoes – “so just because you are white does not mean anything. Keep your service to yourself.”
These were the people who created the whole freedom movement. The British government forgot completely: if you have created a certain educational system in India to produce only clerks, servants, slaves, then you should not allow Indians to be educated in England, because those people will be dangerous to the Empire. And they proved dangerous – they destroyed the Empire – but the whole credit goes to the British universities.
So the mind is empty, it is the brain; you can put anything in it. With twenty-five years of education you can make it so strong that you forget your heart; you will always remain miserable. The misery is that your heart can only give you joy, can only give you happiness, can only make you dance. The mind can do arithmetic, but it cannot sing a song. Those are just not the capacities of the mind. So you are torn apart between your nature, which is your heart, and the society that is in your head. Certainly you are born – everybody is born – with these two centers; that is the difficulty.
One center is empty. In a better society it will be used in accordance with the heart, to serve the heart. Then it will be a great life, full of rejoicings. But up to now we have lived in an ugly society, with rotten ideas. They have used the mind. And that vulnerability is there – mind can be used.
Now the Communists are using it in one way; the Fascists used it in Germany in one way; all the other religions are using it in different ways. But that vulnerability, that you have a mind which you bring empty, is with every individual. In fact it is a blessing of existence – but misused, exploited. It is given to you empty so that you can make it perfectly subservient to your heart, to your longings, to your potential. Nothing is wrong in it. But the vested interests all over the world have found it a beautiful opportunity for them – to use the mind against the heart. So you remain miserable and they can exploit you in whatever way they want.
That’s why the whole world is miserable. Everybody wants to be loved, everybody wants to love; but the mind is such a barrier that neither does it allow you to love, nor does it allow you to be loved. In both cases the mind comes in the way and starts distorting everything. Even if by chance you meet a person you feel love for and the person feels love for you, your minds are not going to settle. They have been trained by different systems, different religions, different societies.

One of my friends married an American girl. He was a professor of physics, and while studying in America he fell in love with a girl, a beautiful girl, and he married her against his parents’ wishes. So they became enemies. His parents did not receive them in their home when they came back to India.
I had to give a party, a reception for their marriage. But in a month I saw that it could not last. One of my friends was staying with me and he is a very beautiful person – jack of all trades, master of none – but he knows everything. So he is very interesting and very influential. Superficially he will impress you on any subject, on anything. You will find out later on that it is just superficial, but by that time he has done his work.
All that he does is borrow money. He is a PhD, he could have been a professor, but he says, “I don’t want to bother with all this. I enjoy borrowing.”
I said, “You should think about how long this can last.”
He said, “You don’t see. I never borrow from the same person again. And the world is so big and life is so short. I will manage.”
So he started flirting with the American girl. She was very much impressed – he is a very impressive person – and the professor who had married her was feeling so jealous. He had just an Indian mind. The Indian mind cannot conceive that his wife can go with somebody else to a swimming pool. In the first place no Indian woman will go to a swimming pool and even if she goes, she will go with her husband. But she was going with some stranger.
She was going out bicycling with him; they were playing cards. The husband was in the university, but he was continually worried about his wife and that fellow – because he was completely free; he did nothing.
Soon the marriage broke up. They were fighting continuously. I told them, “You love each other, but you don’t understand the situation. Your minds are cultivated very differently. She can’t see that there is anything wrong if she goes to the swimming pool with a friend. She has been doing that from her childhood. You cannot conceive of the very idea. Your idea is what you have seen in your family, in your society – that the wife should not even open the cover over her face.” The sari that is used by the Indian women is pulled down to make a cover over the face. She should not take the cover off before strangers. “You have been brought up with such people; you cannot understand your wife holding hands with some stranger. They are enjoying and playing tennis and going for a walk, and you are just sitting and boiling up unnecessarily. You should have thought. Your parents were right – this kind of marriage is not going to succeed.”

I have not seen any marriage between Indians and foreigners succeeding. They always fail, for the simple reason that the two minds are brought up with different ideas, filled with different programs.
It is everybody’s birthright to be happy, but unfortunately the society, the people with whom we have been living, who have brought us into the world, have not thought anything about it. They have just been reproducing human beings like animals – even worse, because at least animals are not conditioned.
This conditioning process should be completely changed. The mind should be trained to be a servant of the heart. Logic should serve love. And then life can become a festival of lights.

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