From Darkness to Light 01

First Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - From Darkness to Light by Osho.
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How can we save humanity from falling even more?
It is one of the trade secrets of all the religions to propose propaganda that humanity has to be saved.
It is a very strange idea, but it is so old that nobody seems to look into the implications. Nobody asks why you are worried about saving humanity. And you have been saving humanity for thousands of years, but nothing seems to be saved.
In the first place, does humanity need any saving?
To answer this question all the religions have created an absolutely fictitious idea of the original fall, because unless there is a fall the question of saving does not arise. And the religious conception of the original fall is just rubbish.
Man has been evolving – not falling – in every possible way. The only way the original fall can be supported is by the idea of evolution proposed by Charles Darwin; but religions cannot use that – they are very much offended. Charles Darwin’s idea certainly can be put in such a way – at least by the monkeys if not by man – that it was an original fall. Certainly if man has evolved out of monkeys he must have fallen from the trees, and the monkeys who did not fall must have laughed at these idiots who had fallen. And there is a possibility that these were the weaker monkeys who could not survive in the trees.
In monkeys there exists a hierarchy. Perhaps the same mind and the same hierarchy are carried by man too; it is the same mind. If you see monkeys sitting in a tree you can know who’s the chief: he will be at the top of the tree. Then there will be a big group of ladies, his harem – the most beautiful, young. After that will be a third group.
I was thinking about this third group for many days but I had no word for it. In India we call that group the chamchas. Chamcha means a spoon, and these people are suckers. Just the way you take, with a spoon, things out of a bottle, they go on taking things – power, money – from those who have. Of course, they have to buttress these people, they have to praise these people.
But Devaraj has sent by coincidence today the right word – because chamcha cannot be exactly translated; “spoon” loses all meaning. He has sent me a word which is Californian: the brownnose. And he sent me the Webster’s dictionary also because I might not understand what a brownnose is; and certainly I would not have understood what a brownnose is.
He sent a note also, thinking perhaps that even the dictionary may not be helpful because Webster writes it in such a way that it does not look in any way obscene, dirty. So he sent me a note also: “In Europe we call these people ‘arse-kissers’.” That’s exactly the meaning of chamchas.
The chief on the top, then the harem of the ladies whom he controls, then the brownnoses! And then you come down to lower categories of the hierarchy. On the lowest branches are the poorest monkeys, without girlfriends, boyfriends – servants. But perhaps from this very group humanity has grown.
Even in this group there may have been a few people who were so weak that they could not even manage to stay on the lowest branches. They were pushed, pulled, thrown, and somehow they found themselves fallen onto the earth. That is the original fall.
Monkeys still go on laughing at man. Certainly if you think from the monkey’s side, a monkey walking on two legs…if you are a monkey and you think from its side, seeing a monkey walking on two legs, you will think, “Has he joined a circus or something? And what happened to the poor guy? He just lives on the ground; he never comes to the trees, the wild freedom of the trees, the higher status of the trees. This is really the fallen one, the downtrodden.”
Except for this, religions don’t have any logical support for the idea of the original fall. Stories they have, but stories are not arguments, stories are not proofs. And stories can have just the opposite meaning to that which you wanted to give to them. For example, the original fall in Christianity makes God the real culprit, and if anybody needs saving it is the Christian God.
A father preventing his children from being wise, from living forever, is certainly insane. Even the worst father would like his children to be wise, intelligent. Even the cruelest father would like his children to live forever.
But God prevents man from eating of two trees – the tree of knowledge and the tree of eternal life. This seems to be a strange kind of God; it is not in any way possible to conceive Him as fatherly. He seems to be the enemy of man. Who needs saving? Your God is jealous: that’s what was the argument of the devil who came in the form of a serpent and seduced the mind of Eve.
To me, there are many significant things to be understood. Why did he choose Eve and not Adam? He could have chosen Adam directly, but men by nature are less sensitive, less vulnerable, more arrogant, egoistic. Adam may not even have liked to have a conversation with a serpent, may have thought it was below his dignity. And to be persuaded by a serpent’s argument would have been impossible for man. He would have argued against him; he would have struggled, fought – because to agree with someone seems to the ego as if you are defeated.
The ego knows only disagreement, struggle, victory or defeat – as if there is no other way, as if there are only two ways: victory and defeat. For the ego certainly there are only two ways.
But for a sensitive soul there is only one way – to understand whatever is true. It is not a question of me and you, it is not a question of somebody being defeated or victorious. The question is: What is the truth?
The woman was not interested in arguing. She listened and she found that it was perfectly right. Wisdom was prohibited because, the serpent said, “God does not want man to become godlike, and if you are wise you will be godlike. And once you are wise it will not be very difficult for you to find the tree of eternal life.”
It is really the other side of wisdom – eternity. And if you are wise and you have eternal life, then who bothers about God? What has He got that you have not got? Just to keep you a slave, eternally dependent – never allowing you to become a knowing being, never allowing you to taste something of the eternal – in this vast garden of Eden He has prohibited only two trees. The argument was simply a statement of the fact.
Now, the person who brings the truth to humanity is condemned as the devil; and the person who was preventing humanity from knowing the truth, from knowing life, is praised as God. But the priests can live only with this kind of God; the devil will destroy them completely.
If God himself becomes useless, futile, by man becoming wise and having eternal life, what about the priests? What about all the religions, the churches, the temples, the synagogues? What about these millions of people who are just parasites sucking humanity’s blood in every possible way? They can exist only with that kind of God. Naturally the person who should be condemned as the devil is praised as God, and the person who should be praised as God is condemned as the devil.
Just try to see the story without any prejudice; just try to understand it from many aspects. This is only one of the aspects but it is of tremendous importance – because if God becomes the devil, the devil becomes God: then there is no original fall. If Adam and Eve had declined the devil’s wise advice, that would have been the fall, and then there would have been a need to save man. But they did not decline. And the serpent was certainly wise, certainly wiser than your God.
Just see. Anybody knows, even a very mediocre person knows, that if you say to children, “Don’t eat that fruit: you can eat anything that is available in the house but don’t eat that fruit” – the children will become absolutely disinterested in all kinds of foods; their only interest will be in that fruit which has been prohibited.
Prohibition is invitation.
The God of this story seems to be absolutely a fool. The garden was huge, with millions of trees. If He had not said anything about these two trees I don’t think even by now man would have been able to find those two trees. But He started His religious sermons with this sermon. This is the first sermon: “Don’t eat from these two trees.” He pointed out the trees: “These are the two trees that you have to avoid.” This is provocation.
Who says that the devil seduced Adam and Eve? It was God! Even without the devil, I say to you Adam and Eve would have eaten those fruits. The devil is not needed; God has done the work Himself. Sooner or later it would have been impossible to resist the temptation. Why should God prevent them?
All efforts to make people obedient simply lead them into disobedience. All efforts to enslave people make them more and more strong to rebel, to be free.
Even Sigmund Freud knows more psychology than your God, and Sigmund Freud is a Jew, just in the same tradition of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve are his forefathers’ forefathers’ forefathers, but somewhere the same bloodstream is flowing. Sigmund Freud is more intelligent; and in fact there is no need for much intelligence to see a simple fact.
In my childhood, in my neighborhood, lived the richest man of the city. He had the only palatial building – all marble. Around his house there was a beautiful garden, lawn. One day I was standing just outside his fence, and he was telling something to his gardener. I told him, “Dada” – he was known as dada; dada means big brother. The whole town called him Dada, even people who were older than him, because he was rich.
I said to him, “You should remember one thing. Put a few posters around the garden that nobody should urinate here, because I have seen a few people urinating around your house.” And it was a good place to urinate because a big garden, trees…you could go behind them.
He said, “That’s right!” The next day he painted a few instructions around the garden: “No Pissing Allowed” – and since that day the whole town has been pissing around his house! He came to see my father. He said, “Where is your boy? – he has made my house hell. And who has said to him that he has to advise me?”
My father said, “But what advice has he given to you? If you had asked me I would have told you never to listen to him; it always leads into some trouble. What happened?”
He said, “Nothing. I was just talking to the gardeners. He said, ‘Dada, I have seen a few people urinating.’ I have never seen them myself, my gardeners said, ‘We have never seen anybody,’ but the idea struck me that it is true: huge trees, bushes…people may be urinating in my garden or around my garden. This is not to be allowed anymore. So he suggested to me to make a few posters around the house: ‘No Pissing Allowed.’ So I did that, and since that day the whole town is pissing around my garden. Where is your boy?”
My father said, “It is very difficult to know where he is. Whenever he comes, he comes; whenever he goes, he goes. He is not under our control. But if he has started giving advice to you, he will come to give more advice – don’t be worried. If his one piece of advice has worked, he will come; you just wait. And if he comes and I find him, I will bring him to you.”
My father caught hold of me in the evening and he said, “You come. Why did you give this advice?”
I said, “My advice was to prohibit people. Nobody can say that my advice is wrong – I have seen it written in many places. And yes, it is true I have seen people pissing there; that’s how I got the idea. And I have inquired why people have started pissing.
“They say, ‘When we read the board suddenly the urge…we remember that the bladder is full; otherwise we were engaged in other kinds of things and other thoughts were there. Who thinks of the bladder? When it becomes absolutely necessary, then only one thinks of it.
“‘But when we look at these boards suddenly the bladder becomes the most important thing, and one feels the place is good, that’s why the board has been put there – people must be pissing here. And we see that there are many marks, many people have pissed already, so we feel it is perfectly right.’“
It is a simple thing: If you prohibit anything, you provoke, you give a challenge.
In India it is not any legal problem to urinate anywhere, wherever you can manage: there is freedom of urination. When I was nearabout ten or eleven years old my father became very sick so we had to take him to a very good hospital, far away in Indore.
The hospital in Indore was famous all over the country. We had to live there for six months. Just at the entrance of the hospital was a board: “No Urination Permitted. Anybody Disobeying Will Be Prosecuted.” And there used to stand a policeman. To me that was even more provocative. The board was enough but a policeman with a gun standing there!
The very first day my father entered hospital and we were given quarters in the hospital to live in, I could not resist; it was impossible. The board alone was enough but to put a policeman there with a gun – this was too much. I went directly.
The policeman was standing there; he looked at me. He could not believe it because it had never happened: I pissed!
He said, “What are you doing? Can’t you read?”
I said, “I can read – better than you.”
And he said, “Can’t you see me with this gun?”
I said, “I can see that too. It is because of your gun and this board – otherwise I had no need. My house is just a two-minute walk from here, and I have just come from the bathroom. It is really difficult to piss because my bladder is empty. But I cannot avoid the temptation.”
He said, “You will have to come with me to the chief administrator of the hospital” – it was a big hospital.
So I said, “Okay, I will come.” I went there. The administrator was very angry.
He said, “You have just entered – the first day, and you do such a thing?”
I said, “But what can I do? This policeman was pissing there!”
He said, “What!”
I said, “Yes, he was pissing there, and when I saw that a policeman was pissing there I thought perhaps it is absolutely legal, this board is nonsense.”
The policeman said, “Who says I was pissing? This is absolutely wrong!”
The administrator said, “This is strange. Let us see.”
What I had done, I had pissed in two places and I showed him those two. The administrator said, “Two places!” He said to the policeman, “Your services are finished! And that innocent boy – he is not wrong. If you are pissing here…you are supposed to prevent people.”
I said, “I saw him, with his gun, pissing here, so I said, ‘Perhaps this is perfectly okay.’ And I am new anyway, I don’t know much.” And the policeman could not deny it; there was no way to deny.
I said, “If you were not pissing you can deny it, but that simply means that you were not here, you were not on duty; somebody else has pissed. Either way you are finished.”
He was thrown out of his job. When we came out he said, “Just listen, how did you manage that second place? You know that I was not pissing.”
I said, “I know, you know, but that does not help. The question is the administrator: he does not know. And you were in every way caught: Either you were not on duty – somebody else has pissed there – or if you were on duty then you had pissed.”
He said, “How did it happen? Perhaps when we were inside somebody else did it.”
I said, “To be true to you now that you are finished – you are no longer a policeman and I feel pity for you – I had to do both the things before we left. You were not observant enough to see that I moved two feet.”
He said, “Yes, I remember. You moved, and I was thinking, Why have you moved? Now I know. But that administrator won’t let me even inside the house; he is a very strict man.”
I said, “He may be a strict man, but he has become a friend to me” – and he remained a friend to me for six months. I did every kind of thing in that hospital, but whenever I was brought to him, he said, “This boy is innocent. From the very first day I have known this boy is innocent and unnecessarily people are harassing him; for all kinds of things people are harassing him.
“Somebody else does something and he is being caught. And I know the reason: he is innocent, simple, from a small village. He knows nothing about the city and the cunningness of the city and all kinds of ruffians so you go and get hold of him: he has become the target.” And I would stand before him very peacefully.
He remained a friend to me all those six months, just because of that one case in which the policeman was thrown out. But to me it was a simple case of provocation.
God could not see a simple thing? – that to these innocent Adam and Eve He is giving a challenge? In the uncorrupted souls, utterly innocent, He is putting the seed of corruption. But to save Him the priests have managed to bring the serpent in, and thrown the whole responsibility on the serpent – that he is the sole cause of man’s original fall. But I don’t see him as the original cause. If anything he is the original incentive to man’s growth.
The devil is the original rebel. And what he said to Adam and Eve is the beginning of a true religion, not what God said – that is the beginning of suicide, not religion.
In the East the serpent is worshipped as the wisest animal in the world; and I think that is far better. If the serpent really did this then he is certainly the wisest animal in the world. He saved man from eternal slavery, ignorance, stupidity.
This is not the original fall, this is the original rise.
You are asking me how to save humanity from falling even further.
Humanity has never been falling.
What has been happening is that all the religious dogmas sooner or later become small and cannot contain man.
Man goes on growing:
Dogmas don’t grow, doctrines don’t grow.
The doctrines remain the same and man outgrows them.
The priest clings to the doctrine. That is his heritage, his power, tradition, ancient wisdom. He clings to it. Now what to say about the man who goes on outgrowing all those doctrines? Certainly to the priest this is a continuous fall; man is falling.
Just take a few examples and you will understand how doctrines are bound to be rigid, static, dead. Man is alive. You cannot hold him in something which does not grow with him. He will break all those prisons, he will shatter all those chains.
For example, in Jainism the Jaina monk is not supposed to use shoes, for the simple reason that in ancient days shoes were made only of leather, and leather comes from animals; animals are killed. It is a symbol of violence, and Mahavira wanted his followers not to be in any way – directly or indirectly – involved in violence.
He prevented everybody from wearing shoes. He was not aware that one day shoes of rubber would be available, which involves no violence. Shoes of synthetic leather would be available, which involves no violence. Shoes of cloth would be available, which involves no violence. He was not aware. So it indicates two things. The claim of the Jainas that Mahavira is omniscient is nonsense; he knew nothing of synthetic leather – he cannot be omniscient.

Secondly, now twenty-five centuries have passed: Jaina monks and nuns are still walking bare-footed on the dusty roads in hot weather in a country like India. You should see their feet; tears will come to your eyes. The skin of their feet is all broken, as broken as when for two or three years rains don’t come and the earth breaks; and blood is oozing out of those wounds. Still they have to go on walking; they cannot use a vehicle, because in those days again a vehicle meant horse-driven, bullock-driven – and that was violence.
And I can understand that it is violence. Who are you to force poor animals to pull your vehicles and to pull you? But Mahavira was not aware that there would be cars which would not be pulled by horses but would have horsepower without horses, that there would be trains, electrical vehicles. He was not aware of that, that there would be airplanes with the least possibility of violence.
Even walking you will do more violence because it is not only when you kill an elephant that it is violence. According to Jainism the soul has the same status in the ant, the smallest ant, and the biggest elephant. Only the bodies are different – the souls are the same. So when you are walking on the road you may be killing many insects; not only insects, even when you are breathing you are killing very small living cells in the air. Just by the hot air coming out of your nose, your mouth, they are being killed.
Perhaps for the Jaina monk and nun the airplane is the most non-violent vehicle. When I suggested it to Jaina monks they said, “What are you saying? If somebody hears it we will be thrown out, expelled!”
I could convince just one Jaina monk, and certainly he was expelled. He was a little stupid. We both were staying in one temple, and I told him, “You unnecessarily walk ten miles every day from this place to the city, while a car comes for me; you can go with me.”
He said, “But if anybody sees?”
I said, “We can always manage.” He used to have a bamboo mat, so I said, “You put the bamboo mat on the sofa in the car, and sit on the bamboo mat.”
He said, “What will that do?”
I said, “You can simply say, ‘I am sitting on my bamboo mat; I am not concerned with the car or anything.’“
He said, “This is perfectly right, because if I am sitting on the bamboo mat and somebody pulls my bamboo mat, what can I do?”
I said, “That’s right – you just sit on the bamboo mat.” I took him in the car, and we reached the place where there was a meeting in which I and he were both going to speak. When they saw him sitting…. And I asked somebody to come and pull the bamboo mat out, with him sitting on top of it.
They said, “What is all this?”
I said, “You first pull him out, because he has nothing to do with the car – he is simply sitting on his bamboo mat. I have pushed his bamboo mat into the car; now we have to take him out.” And I had told him, “You simply sit with your eyes closed.” I said to them, “He is a very meditative person, and don’t disturb him, just pull his mat.”
They pulled, but they were angry that this….”We never heard of it: a Jaina monk sitting in a car! And we know perfectly well this is not a meditative monk; this is the first time we have seen him sitting with closed eyes. He is not very erudite either, not scholarly or anything.”
He knew only three speeches, and he used to ask me which one would be right, so I used to make the sign one, two, or three; that would do. So whichever finger I raised first he would do that speech. And I always managed to let him deliver the wrong speech, one which was not supposed to be for that audience, but he depended on my finger; he was a little stupid.
Finally they expelled him just because he sat in the car. While I was there they could not, because I argued for him, “He has nothing to do with it. You could expel me – but you cannot because I am not your monk, I don’t belong to anybody; nobody in the whole world can expel me. But you can expel me; if you can enjoy expelling, you can expel me. But he is absolutely innocent.”
So in front of me they could not do anything, but the moment I left, the next day, they expelled him. They took away all his symbols of a Jaina monk. Only after five, seven years passed I met him in Lucknow, and what a great coincidence! – he was driving a taxi, he had become a taxi-driver. That’s how I met him – at the railway station, because I had to get down there and go to a hotel and wait at least eight hours; then my next train would come which would take me to the place where I was going.
So in Lucknow I had no work and I had not informed anybody, so I could just rest eight hours. By chance I called the taxi and he came. I said, “What! You are driving a taxi.”
He said, “It is all your doing.”
I said, “But I think it is perfectly logical: from car to car, and from the back seat to the front seat. This is what evolution is! And at that time you were even afraid to sit down; now you are driving. You keep going: soon you will be a pilot and someday I will meet you in the air.”
He said, “Don’t joke with me. I have been so angry with you, but seeing you all my anger has gone – you are such a nice person. But why did you do that to me?”
I said, “I took you out of that bondage; now you can go to the cinema, you can smoke cigarettes. You can do everything that you want.”
“I am. Yes, that is true,” he said, “that you have made me free. I was a slave of those people; I could not even move without their permission. Now I don’t care a bit about anybody; I earn my living and I live the way I want to live. If you could help all the other Jaina monks also….”
I said, “I try my best but the followers are always surrounding them, protecting them, insisting that they should not talk with me. They say ‘Even talk is dangerous because this man may put some idea in your mind.’“
All the religions are afraid of thinking, afraid of raising questions, afraid of doubt, afraid of disobedience, and stuck centuries back – for the simple reason that these things were not available then. Those people who were making those rules had no idea what the future was going to be.
Hence all the religions are agreed that man is continuously falling because he is not following the scriptures, not following the doctrines, not following the messiahs, the prophets. But I don’t see that man is falling. In fact man’s sensitivity has grown.
His intelligence has grown, his life span has grown. He is more capable now of getting rid of slavery and patterns of slavery.
Man is courageous enough to doubt, question, inquire. This is not a fall.
This is the beginning of a true religion spreading. Soon it can become a wildfire.
But to the priests certainly it is a fall. Everything is a fall because it is not according to their scriptures.
Do you know, in India, just a hundred years ago nobody was allowed to go to foreign countries, for the simple reason that in foreign countries you would be mixing with people who cannot be accepted as human beings; they are below human beings.
In India they have the worst class of human beings whom they call untouchables. They cannot be touched. If you touch them you have to take a shower and cleanse yourself. In foreign countries people are even farther down than the untouchables. For them they had a special word, mlechchhas. It is very difficult to translate that word. It means something so ugly, so obscene, so dirty that it creates nausea in you. That will be the full meaning of the word, mlechchha: people whose contact will create nausea in you, a sickness in you.
Even when Gandhi went to England to study, his mother had taken three oaths from him. One was that he would not look at any woman with lustful eyes – a very difficult thing, because by the time you become aware that you have been looking with lustful eyes, you have already looked! I don’t think Gandhi followed that; he could not, it is impossible to follow, although he tried his best.
Secondly, he should not eat meat. And he was in such a trouble because – now in London you can find vegetarian restaurants, health food is now in fashion, but when Gandhi had gone to study, there was no vegetarian food available. He had to live just on fruits, bread, butter, milk. He was almost starving. He would not mix with people because those people were all mlechchhas. And of course he was so much afraid of women: Who knows? – just like a breeze lust comes to the eyes.
Lust is not something that knocks on your door and says, “I am coming.” You see a beautiful woman and suddenly you feel, “She is beautiful” – and that’s enough. Just to say, “She is beautiful,” means you have already looked with lustful eyes; otherwise what business is it for you to judge whether she is beautiful or ugly?
In fact if you go deep down in your judgments you will see, at the moment you say that someone is beautiful, deep down you want to possess. When you say someone is ugly, deep down you don’t want to have anything to do with that person. Your “ugly,” your “beauty,” are really your desires for or against.
So Gandhi was continuously afraid of women. He had to remain confined to his room, because in Europe there were women all over; how could you avoid them?
And the third oath was that he should not change his religion.
The first trouble arose in Alexandria. Their ship was to wait there for three days for loading, unloading cargo. And all the people who were on the ship who had become friendly toward Gandhi – they were all Indians – said to him simply, “What is the point, sitting here for three days? The nights in Alexandria are beautiful!”
But he didn’t understand the meaning, that “nights in Alexandria are beautiful.” In that way he was a simpleton. He had never heard the name of the famous book Arabian Nights; otherwise he would have understood. Alexandria is very close to Arabia, and those are Arabian nights!
So Gandhi said, “Okay, if the nights are beautiful I am coming.” But he was not aware where he was going. They took him into a beautiful house, and he said, “But where are we going?”
“To beautiful nights,” those friends said – and it was a prostitute’s house. Gandhi was so shocked that he lost his voice. He could not say, “I don’t want to go in”; he could not say, “I want to go back to the ship” – for two reasons. One was: “These people will think that I am impotent or something.” Secondly, he was not able to speak; for the first time he found that his throat was choked.
Those people just dragged him. They said, “He is new – nothing to be worried about,” and he went with them. They pushed him into a prostitute’s room and closed the door. The prostitute was also a little puzzled seeing this man trembling, perspiring. She completely forgot that he was a customer. She just made him sit; he wouldn’t sit on her bed but she forced him. She said, “You are not in a position to stand, you will fall down, you are shaking so much. You just sit.”
He could not say that he could not sit on a prostitute’s bed; What will my mother say? I have not looked yet – he was talking to his mother inside – I have not yet looked with lustful eyes. This is just an accident; those idiots have forced me here. The woman understood that it seemed he had been forced. She said, “Don’t be worried, I’m also a human being. What do you want? Simply tell me and I will do it.” But he could not say anything.
The woman said, “It is very difficult now, how…. You don’t speak?”
He said, “I…just….”
So she said, “You please write.”
He had to write on paper, “I have been unnecessarily forced here – I simply want to go. And I look on you as my sister.”
She said, “That’s perfectly okay, don’t be worried.” She opened the door and she said, “Do you have money enough to go to the ship or should I come with you to lead you? – because Alexandria in the middle of the night is dangerous.”
He said, “No” – now he was able to speak for the first time, seeing that a prostitute is not some dangerous animal. She behaved more humanly than any woman had ever behaved with him. She offered him food. He said, “No, I cannot eat; I am okay.” She offered water; he wouldn’t drink water from a prostitute’s house…as if water also becomes dirty because it is in a prostitute’s house.
In India that happens. In Indian stations you will find people shouting, “Hindu water!” “Mohammedan water!” Water Hindu? Mohammedan? And Jainas of course don’t drink either the Hindu water or the Mohammedan water; they carry their own water, Jaina water, because they are such a minority that in stations you won’t find Jaina water, so they have to carry their own water.
But Gandhi thanked the woman, and in his autobiography he wrote about that woman and about the whole incident: “How cowardly I was! I could not even speak, could not even say no.”
Now these three things kept him a slave in England where he could have been free. He could have looked into many aspects of life which were not available in India, but it was impossible because those three oaths were so binding. He did not make friends, he did not go to any meetings, sermons. He simply kept himself with his books and prayed to God, “Somehow finish my course so I can be back in India.”
Now, such a person cannot become a great legal expert. His examination was good, he passed. But when he came to India, in his first case, when he went to the court again the same thing happened as had happened in the prostitute’s house. He simply said, “My lord…” and that was all! People waited a few minutes, then again he said, “My lord….” And he was trembling so that the justice said, “You take him and let him relax.”
That was Gandhi’s first and last case in India, in an Indian court. Then he never dared to take any case because just after “My lord,” he might stop, and that would not make sense. And the reason was simply that he had no experience of meeting people, talking with people, conversing with people. He had become almost like an isolated monk who had lived in a faraway monastery, alone, and then had been brought again to Bombay where he was not at all at ease.
And this man became one of the greatest leaders of the world. In this world things work very strangely. Because Gandhi could not go to the court, he accepted an offer from a friendly Mohammedan family; they had business in South Africa and they needed a legal adviser. He was not to go to the court, he had just to advise the advocate there, to assist him to understand the whole situation of the business in India and in Africa.
So he was just an assistant to the advocate; he was not going to court directly. For this purpose he went to Africa, but on the way two accidents happened which changed not only his life but the whole Indian history, and perhaps made an impact on the whole world.
One was that a friend who had come to see him off at the ship presented him a book, Unto This Last, by John Ruskin – a book which transformed his whole life. It is a simple book and a small book. It professes – “Unto this last” means the poorest one – we should consider the poorest one first. And that became his whole philosophy of life: the poorest should be considered first.
In South Africa, while Gandhi was traveling in a first-class compartment, one Englishman entered and said, “You get out, because no Indian can travel in first class.”
Gandhi said, “But I have a first-class ticket. The question is not whether I am Indian or European; the question is whether I have a first-class ticket or not. Nowhere is it written who can travel; whoever has a first-class ticket can travel.”
But that Englishman was not going to listen. He pulled the emergency chain and threw Gandhi’s things out. And Gandhi was a thin and weak man; the Englishman threw him out also on the platform and told him, “now you travel first class.”
The whole night Gandhi remained on that small station’s platform. The stationmaster told him, “You unnecessarily got into trouble; you should have got down. You seem to be new here. Indians cannot travel first-class. It is not a law but this is how things are.” But the whole night Gandhi spent in a turmoil. It became the very seed of his revolt against the British Empire. That night he decided that this empire has to end.
Gandhi lived many years in Africa and there he learned the whole art of fighting non-violently. And when he came to India in the 1920’s he was a perfectly trained leader of non-violent revolution, and he immediately took over the whole country, for the simple reason that he was conventional, traditional, religious. Nobody could say that he was not a sage, because he was following rules of five thousand years before, laid down five thousand years before.
In fact he was preaching that we should turn the clock backward and we should move to the days of Manu – five thousand years back. To him the greatest and the latest invention was the spinning wheel. After that, no science…science’s work finished with the spinning wheel. Of course he became the leader of those people who are not contemporary.
You are asking me how to save humanity. From whom? I will say from Mahatma Gandhi and people like him.
Yes, save humanity:
Save it from the popes, shankaracharyas, imams. Save it from Jesus Christ, Mahavira, Gautam Buddha. Save it.
But I know your question is not about saving it from Jesus Christ. You are asking just the opposite: you are asking me how to save it for Jesus Christ, not from Jesus Christ. But why? And have you tried to think – are you saved? Can you say that you have come to the point beyond which there is no growth? Can you say that you are utterly contented, that you don’t need even a single moment more to live because there is nothing left for you?
Are you saved from all anxiety, anguish, misery, suffering, anger, jealousy?
Are you saved from your own ego?
If you are not saved from all this rubbish hanging around, all this poison in your being, you have some nerve to ask how to save humanity.
And who are we to save humanity?
On what authority?
I can never conceive myself as a savior, as a messiah, because these are all ego trips. Who am I to save you? If I can save myself, that is more than enough.
But it is a strange world. People are drowning themselves in shit and crying loudly, “Save humanity!”
From whom? From you?
It is psychologically understandable. You start all these ideas of redeeming, saving, helping, serving, just to do one thing: to escape from yourself.
You don’t want to face yourself.
You don’t want to see where you are, what you are. The best way is, start saving humanity so you will be so much involved, engaged, occupied, worried about great problems that your own problems will look negligible. Perhaps you may forget all about them. This is a very psychological device, but very poisonous. You want somehow to be as far away from yourself as possible so you need not see the wounds which are hurting. The best way is: serve.
I used to go to speak in Rotary Clubs, and on their desk they have their motto: We serve. And that was enough to trigger me. “What nonsense is this? Whom do you serve and why should you serve? Who are you to serve?” But Rotarians all over the world believe in service; just believe…. And once in a while they do little things, very clever.
The Rotarians collect all the medicines which are left in your house, unused because the sick person is no longer sick. Half the bottle is left – what are you going to do with it? Have some bank account in the other world; give it to the Rotary Club!
You are not losing anything, you were going to throw it anyway. What were you going to do with that medicine, those tablets, injections or any other things that are left? You just give it to the Rotary Club. The Rotary Club collects all kinds of medicines from everybody and has all the top people of the city. It is a prestigious thing to be a member of a Rotary Club, to be a Rotarian, because only the top man in a certain profession…. Only one professor will be a Rotarian, only one doctor will be a Rotarian, only one engineer will be a Rotarian – only one from every profession, vocation.
So the doctor who is the Rotarian will distribute those medicines to poor people. Great service! The doctor takes his fee and finds out from this junk that they have collected what medicine may be in some way useful. He is doing great service because at least he is giving this much time in finding the medicine from out of the junk: “We serve.” And then he feels great inside that he is doing something of immense value.
One man has been opening schools in India for aboriginal children his whole life. He is a follower of Gandhi. Just by chance he met me, because I had gone into that aboriginal tribe. I was studying those aboriginals from every view, because they are living examples of days when man was not so much burdened with all kinds of morality, religion, civilization, culture, etiquette, manners. They are simple, innocent, still wild, fresh.
This man was going and collecting money from cities, and opening schools and bringing teachers. Just by the way he met me there. I said, “What are you doing? You think you are doing great service to these people?”
He said, “Of course!”
So arrogantly he said, “Of course!” I said, “You are not aware of what you are doing. Schools exist in the cities, better than these: what help have they provided for human beings? And if those schools cannot provide, and colleges and universities cannot provide any help to humanity, what do you think? – your small schools are going to help these poor aboriginals?
“All that you will do is, you will destroy their originality. All that you will do is, you will destroy their primitive wildness. They are still free: your schools will create nothing but trouble for them.”
The man was shocked, but he waited for a few seconds and then said, “Perhaps you are right, because once in a while I have been thinking that these schools and colleges and universities exist on a far wider scale all over the world. What can my small schools do? But then I thought it was Gandhi’s order to me to go to aboriginals and open schools, so I am following my master’s order.”
I said, “If your master was an idiot, that does not mean that you have to continue following the order. Now, stop – I order you! And I tell you why you have been doing all this – just to escape from your own suffering, your own misery. You are a miserable man; anybody can see it from your face. You have never loved anybody, you have never been loved by anybody.”
He said, “How did you manage to infer that? – because it is true. I was an orphan, nobody loved me, and I have been brought up in Gandhi’s ashram where love was only talked about in prayer; otherwise, love was not a thing to be practiced. There was strict discipline, a kind of regimentation. So nobody has ever loved me, that’s true; and you are right, I have never loved anybody because in Gandhi’s ashram it was impossible to fall in love. That was the greatest crime.
“I was one of those whom Gandhi praised because I never fell in his eyes. Even his own sons betrayed him. Devadas, his son, fell in love with Rajgopalchary’s daughter, and then he was expelled from the ashram; they got married. Gandhi’s own personal secretary, Pyarelal, fell in love with a woman and kept the love affair secret for years. When it was exposed it was a scandal, a great scandal.”
I said, “What nonsense! But Gandhi’s personal secretary…that means, what about others?” And this man was praised because he never came in contact with any woman! Gandhi sent him to the aboriginal tribes and he had been doing what the master had said.
But he said to me, “You have disturbed me. Perhaps it is true: I am just trying to escape from myself, from my wounds, from my own anguish.”
So all these people who become interested in saving humanity, in the first place are very egoistic. They are thinking of themselves as saviors. In the second place, they are very sick. They are trying to forget their sickness. And in the third place, whatever they do is going to help man become worse than he is, because they are sick and blind and they are trying to lead people. And when blind people lead then you can be certain sooner or later the whole lot is going to fall into a well.
No, I am not interested in saving anybody. In fact, nobody needs saving. Everybody is perfectly okay as he is. Everybody is what he has chosen to be. Now who am I to disturb him? All that I can do is, I can say about myself what has happened to me. I can tell my story. Perhaps from that story someone may get an insight, a direction. Perhaps from that a door opens up. But I am not doing anything, I am simply sharing my own experience.
It is not service, I am enjoying it, so it is not service. Remember it. A servant has to be very long-faced and very serious – he is doing such a great work. He is carrying the Himalayas on his shoulders, the whole burden of the world.
I am not carrying anything:
No burden of the world, no burden of anybody.
And I am not doing any serious job.
I am just enjoying telling you about my experience. To share it is a joy in itself.
If something reaches to you, thank God!
He does not exist.
Don’t thank me – because I exist!

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