The night of 02nd December 1984 saw one of the world’s worst industrial disasters at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India. Methyl Isocyanate, a highly poisonous gas, leaked from the plant killing ~2300 persons immediately and ~8000 over the next 2 weeks. Official estimates of injured persons stand at 600,000 of which 1% were permanently disabled.
Dubbed as the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, this man-made calamity is a flagrant example of not just gross negligence but also the callousness of the socio-political system. The civil & criminal cases filed against American parent company Union Carbide Corp (UCC) in the US were dismissed and redirected to Indian Courts. Although the MP Govt (representing victims) had filed for compensation of $3bn, it ultimately settled the litigation out of Court for only $470mn! Out of this money, victims received paltry sums of Rs.1lacs (deaths), Rs.50,000 (permanent disablement) and Rs.25,000 (temporary disablement).
Meanwhile, UCC sold its stake to an Indian company and bid adieu to India. The criminal case for causing death by negligence resulted in 8 Indian employees being handed out 2-year jail sentences for which they soon obtained bail. The bereaved and the disabled were left clutching onto a lifetime of suffering.
Osho has spoken on the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. Osho says Do not throw the blame of your follies on God. The carelessness of persons that caused this disaster should not go unpunished. With technological advancements, man has at his disposal dangerous assets; without a commensurate increase in his awareness, mankind is headed for a tragic finale.
Just now in Bhopal a gas plant exploded. Is this God’s play? 3000 people immediately died; and it was not an easy death. I have just seen a film on it – it was terrible. Those people were just like fish thrown onto hot sand. They could not rest: the gas was making them writhe about, churning something inside them. They died the most terrible death you can conceive; and one hundred thousand people are still waiting to die in the hospitals.
Is this God’s play? No. If this is play then what can crime be? What can sin be?
I reject God completely because God is simply a problem which idiots have invented thinking that He will solve all your problems. God has become the only problem which cannot be solved. Whatsoever you do with Him, He remains a question mark – unnecessarily. I simply want to cut the very root: There is no God. There is no creation. There is no play going on. Existence is enough unto itself; it does not need any outside agency. It has its own energy, it has its own intelligence, it has its own life. Existence needs no hypothetical God. And God doesn’t help anything.
Remember one fundamental principle of all sane thinking: Don’t bring in a hypothesis which doesn’t help to solve anything. On the contrary, because of the hypothesis a thousand other problems start arising. A hypothesis is brought in to solve problems, not to increase them.
God is the most useless hypothesis ever propounded by man. Because of Him there has been so much trouble, so many crusades, so many butcherings, so many people slaughtered, so many women raped – in the name of God. Please just flush Him down the toilet. Forget about God. Existence is enough unto itself. That’s what I teach.
And then we cannot throw the responsibility on anybody’s head: there is no God, then the whole responsibility falls on us. That is my hidden desire. Why am I throwing God down the toilet? Because I want man to understand that he is responsible. Because man has the highest consciousness in the whole of existence, you should accept the greatest responsibility. Stars, trees, animals, birds are far below you; you cannot throw the responsibility on them.
To be conscious means you are mature enough now to accept all responsibility for yourself and for the existence that surrounds you.
Then the explosion in the gas factory in Bhopal is our responsibility. It was some stupid people there who were not careful enough; it was carelessness. And I would not like these people to be punished in hell – no, there is no hell – they should be punished here-now so such an accident does not happen again. There are thousands of similar factories around the world: if it can happen in one factory it can happen in any factory. And this was only a poisonous gas. Now there are nuclear plants: just one man’s carelessness and the world can be finished.
You have created things which are so dangerous, but you have not created a comparable consciousness which can be careful about these things.
If you create nuclear weapons… I am not against them because those nuclear weapons can prove creative, immensely creative. Anything that can be destructive can always be creative – it all depends on you. The sword in your hand can kill somebody and can also save somebody. The sword is neutral; it is up to you how you use it. I am not against atomic, nuclear, and other weapons. Though they are tremendously dangerous in the hands of man as he is today, but still I say we cannot go back: we cannot dispose of nuclear weapons. That is impossible, because movement backwards is impossible; we can only go forwards. Then what has to be done?
All over the world great concern is being shown by politicians, the intelligentsia, and other humanitarian people that there should be some stop put to it: no more piling up of weapons. Nobody can stop it, it is impossible, and what they are saying is not the right solution. I don’t agree with it.
I say: Increase man’s awareness in the same proportion as he has increased his dangerous powers, and there is no problem.
Don’t put a sword in a child’s hand – that’s true – but let the child learn with a wooden sword. Let him mature, let him become more aware. I am not in favor of disposing of the sword. It cannot be done in the very nature of things. In the whole history of man is there any precedent where we have gone back a single step on anything? It is against the law of existence to go backwards. So don’t just hit your head against a wall, do something else: Increase man’s consciousness, his awareness.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
From Personality to Individuality
Chapter title: God — the phantom fuehrer
9 January 1985 pm in Lao Tzu Grove
Osho has spoken on ‘responsibility, awareness, consciousness, freedom, God, existence’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses: