Freedom from Self

Osho on Freedom

THE MESSAGE OF THE BUDDHA CAN BE CONDENSED INTO ONE WORD. That word is freedom. Freedom, absolute and unconditional. Freedom not only from outer bondage but from inner too. Freedom not only from others but from oneself too. Other religions also talk about freedom, but not in that penetrating sense in which Buddha talks about it. Other religions talk about freedom in the sense that the self has to be free. Buddha talks in a diametrically opposite sense, with a new dimension to it. He says: One has to be free from the self itself.

The self is bondage. You are not in bondage because of others, you are in bondage because of yourself. Unless YOU disappear, bondage will continue. It may change forms, it may become modified here and there, it may become more convenient, comfortable, but it will remain.

The moment you disappear, the moment you see yourself as an absolute emptiness, who can make a slave of you? How can emptiness be reduced to slavery? When you are not, how can you be imprisoned? When you are not, freedom is total. Freedom from the self is real freedom.

These sutras are of immense value. Remember, when Buddha talks about freedom he does not mean the ordinary freedom talked about by the politicians, by the priests, and others. The social and the political freedom is: you are completely free as long as you think, act, dress, earn, speak and buy like everybody else. You are free, AS LONG AS… And the conditions are so many that the freedom remains bogus.

You can’t be free unless absolutely whatsoever happens spontaneously in you is allowed and accepted. Man has been programmed, you have been given blueprints — what to be, how to be, what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. And those programs have been put so deep down in your being that you have become unconscious of them. It appears as if you are acting out of freedom; you have been tremendously deceived.

Even when you think you are acting out of freedom, even when you think you are acting out of your own conscience, you are not. The society is controlling you in a very subtle way. The moment the child is born, the society starts programming the child. The society treats you like a computer; it goes on feeding and programming you. By the time you become a little alert, you are already programmed — you are already a Christian or a Hindu or a Jain. You are already fixed; you are no more liquid, you are no more flowing. And you will function out of this fixity, out of this obsession, that the society has put inside you. It is like an electrode put inside your brain. You will not know anything about it, but it will control you. That’s what conscience is.

Buddha is absolutely against conscience. He is all for consciousness, but never for conscience. That’s his revolution. His religion is the most revolutionary religion that has happened in the world up to now. He frees you from conscience. To be free from conscience is to be free from politics, society, religions, ethical codes…

But man becomes very afraid: so much freedom? A great panic arises in you — because you have been taught that basically you are bad; unless you are taught to be right, forced to be right, you will be bad. Down the ages, this nonsense has been put into everybody’s head, that man is naturally evil, that goodness has to be practised, cultivated, that saintliness is not a natural phenomenon, that it comes out of arduous effort. The evil is natural and the good is unnatural. For the good you have to work hard. For the evil you need not work at all, it will take possession of you. God has to be achieved through great cultivation of prayer, yoga, meditation. And evil — the Devil? He is always available to you.

This is an utterly wrong picture of human nature. Just the opposite is true: God is natural, evil is unnatural. This is the dignity Buddha brings to humanity, this is the grandeur that he introduces you to again. This is your inheritance, natural inheritance. Buddha says: Man is naturally good. Nobody wants to be bad — if people are bad, they have been FORCED to be bad. Love is natural, compassion is natural, mercy is natural. Hatred, murderous instincts, are not natural; they are perverted, enforced, compelled. When a person is compelled he becomes bad — he HAS to become bad just to survive. Otherwise natural spontaneous flowering happens of its own accord.

Conscience is the effort of the society to make something good out of you. Consciousness is not an effort to make something good out of you, consciousness is just allowing your suchness to bloom.


Listen to complete discourse at mentioned below link.

Discourse Series: Take It Easy, Vol 2 Chapter #10

Chapter title: The Bodhisattvas’ Merciful Vow

8 May 1978 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on freedom, Life, Man, Consciousness’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourse titles:

  1. Beyond Psychology
  2. From Bondage to Freedom
  3. The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
  4. The Path of the Mystic
  5. That Art Thou
  6. Zarathustra: The Laughing Prophet
  7. Zen: The Solitary Bird, Cuckoo of the Forest
  8. The Razor’s Edge
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