From Darkness to Light 27

TwentySeventh Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - From Darkness to Light by Osho.
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Why has it happened that in the East, religion came to its highest flowering, and in the West the same has happened to science? Is there some difference of consciousness between the Eastern man and the Western man?
Consciousness is one and can only be one.
It is just like the light. East and West make no difference at all. Geography has no effect as far as consciousness is concerned.
But it is true that in the East religion blossomed, reached to the highest peaks. The same was not the case with science in the East. It began its journey but it never reached to the peaks the same way as religion reached.
Just the opposite has happened in the West. Religion is still primitive, just the beginnings, while science has taken a tremendous flight. Naturally the question is very relevant, but it has nothing to do with any difference between Eastern and Western man and his consciousness. It has to do with some other factors.
One thing that is most significant to understand is that religion happens only when a civilization, a culture, reaches to the state of ultimate luxury – the omega point beyond which you cannot conceive that things can be better. All your physical needs are fulfilled, all your psychological needs are fulfilled. Only then do you start feeling the spiritual urge.
Religion in fact is the only luxury, because it happens when you are rich in every possible way.
Blessed are not the poor, because they shall never know the kingdom of God; the question of inheritance does not arise.
Blessed are the rich, those rich in every dimension of life.
They need not bother about God; the kingdom of God is theirs, not God’s. But the basic thing is the richness in all dimensions.
This will help you to understand why East and West have developed differently. The East is very ancient; Western history starts with Jesus Christ. That’s why you use “before Christ, “after Christ” – Christ is the demarcating line. Before Christ it is prehistory, mythology, there is no evidence for it. After Christ things start becoming more factual; you have evidence for them.
But Christ is only two thousand years old. Centuries before Western history began the East had reached to its highest peak of material richness – in all dimensions. Not only had it reached to its ultimate peak of development, it had also fallen. This all happened before the West started its history. In comparison to the East the West is childish.
The East is ancient. This is the reason why religion reached its highest peak in the East. Science too began there. For example, arithmetic began in India many centuries before Jesus Christ. Astronomy began in India many centuries before Jesus Christ. Medicine began in India. Printing, the mechanism to print, began in China one thousand years before Jesus Christ. Guns, machine guns, all were invented in China.
If we look into the past of the East there is every evidence that they might have invented something like airplanes. There is so much evidence that it cannot be simply overlooked.
As far as richness is concerned, India was known all over the world as a golden bird. Columbus, who stumbled on and discovered America, was not trying to discover America, remember. He had started his journey to go to India. There were connections between the West and India. Columbus was trying to reach India by a new route because of the scientific discovery of the fact that the earth is a globe.
Columbus thought, “If it is a globe then even if you move in the opposite direction, sooner or later you will reach India. And if you go on moving, finally you will come back to your home, because the earth is round.”
And when he saw, for the first time, American soil, he thought it was India; he thought he had reached India. That’s why those poor people of America are still called “Red Indians.” They don’t like it, they have never called themselves Red Indians. They are not Indians. It is Columbus’ mistake that they are still carrying. Columbus thought that he had arrived in India from the long route, proving the theory that the earth is round. Everybody who had any adventurous spirit was headed toward India because all kinds of riches were there, easily available.
We have enough evidence that at the time of Mahabharata – which happened three thousand years before Jesus Christ – something like nuclear weapons were used. So it is not that science had not developed – but it was prevented; its direction was changed.
Seeing its destructiveness, seeing that it is against ecology, seeing that sooner of later it would destroy humanity itself…all scientific movement was directed into other dimensions. For example, yoga, Tantra, ayurveda – these are all scientific methods, but not against nature, not against man; they are creative. And of course people were so rich and the soil was so rich and fertile, and the population was so small, and the land was so vast….
You will be surprised to know that even my maternal grandfather received land free from the government because the land was so available and the people so few. It was difficult to find a market for land. Just my maternal grandfather…it was not very long ago, at the most a hundred years. Just a hundred years ago fifteen acres of land were given by the government free of charge. That was the way.
In India even in my early childhood, milk was freely available. To think of selling milk was inhuman, ugly, for the simple reason that there was so much milk in the country. Who was going to purchase it? And secondly, to sell milk looks bad because milk is nourishment, and if somebody is in need of nourishment and you are doing business, you are trying to exploit his hunger, his thirst. Food was not sold. If you asked for food you were invited to be a guest. And this was in my childhood, just fifty years ago.
I have seen my own mother distributing milk because there was so much – what to do with it? Every morning at my house there used to be a queue of people to receive milk – people who didn’t have their own cows – and as much as they wanted. This can give you an idea of what it would have been like in Buddha’s time.
Now, India’s population is forty times more than in Buddha’s time. Naturally the land has become poor; people are starving and dying. What to say of not selling milk? – in the famine of Bengal, mothers sold their own children.
Looking at India today you cannot comprehend what this country was in the past: millions of monks, Buddhist, Hindu, Jaina, all lived without doing anything. Only a very rich country could afford them; otherwise who was going to give these millions of people clothes, shelter, food? And they were not productive in any way, they were not doing anything. But they were not thought to be beggars; remember, they were respected, they were almost worshipped.
If they receive food from you – you will be certainly surprised to know – first, if the monk is willing to receive food from you, it is a great blessing – to you. He receives the food from you and eats it and you have to be grateful. The monk will never thank you, you have to thank the monk. This strange tradition was there: first you give the food and your are fortunate if the monk accepts it. Then, because he has accepted it, you give something as a symbol of your gratitude; that is called dakshina. The country must have been immensely rich.
Jaina monks used to go from one house to another, and people were standing in front of their houses welcoming them. But the monks had a certain idea: in their morning meditation they would decide where they were going to accept their food, what kind of a house, what kind of a situation. That was part of their religion, because if existence wants you to live, it will provide the situation. If existence does not want you to live, it will not provide the situation.
Strange situations they would imagine, and they would go around the town. Everybody was begging them…but they would look for their situation. If their situation was fulfilled they would receive food; otherwise they would come back without food. The whole town would feel sad, unfortunate, that a monk had returned without food – “That simply shows that we are unfortunate people. We have missed a blessing that could have happened.”
This luxurious, rich country was not only luxurious and rich in money, in gold, in precious diamonds, stones; it was also rich in music. It created one of the most perfect sciences of music. In five thousand years nothing has been added to it because it reached such perfection that there is no possibility of adding anything to it.
For five thousand years thousands of musicians have tried to do something more, to bring something more to music, and have failed. And I don’t see that there is any possibility…. It simply reached its perfection. Whatever you can do is only new combinations – which are not in any way new; just from the old you gather fragments and make a new combination, a new composition – but it is not creation.
Language reached its peak. There is no other language in the world which is more scientific than Sanskrit. It is so scientific that you cannot find fault with it. Every other language in the world looks very immature compared to Sanskrit.
For example, you can see in English that you pronounce a word in one way, you spell it in another. Now what kind of stupidity is this? In Sanskrit you spell the word the way you pronounce it. There should not be two ways because this is unnecessary and very unscientific; it is creating unnecessary troubles for people. Sanskrit is perhaps the only language you can learn perfectly just by reading. You cannot do that with any other language.
I don’t know much English. I know enough to hit people, but that is not much. But one thing I can see that English grammarians, linguistics experts, are not able to answer: b-u-t is but, and p-u-t is put. That seems to be strange. Either b-u-t should be boot, or p-u-t should be putt. There is no way to explain all these. In Sanskrit you cannot find a single example in which there is any difference between the pronunciation and the spelling.
In English you have only twenty-six letters in the alphabet. Sanskrit has fifty-two, just double the amount of English. There cannot be more than fifty-two, that’s why Sanskrit has stopped at fifty-two. That exhausts the possibility of all kinds of sounds – fifty-two is the limit. Twenty-six is just the minimum, not the maximum, hence, it is such a difficulty to translate Sanskrit words into English – or just to write them in Roman letters, because in English there is only one “s”, in Sanskrit there are three. There are very subtle phonetic differences, but they are there.
According to the Western historians, Sanskrit also reached to its ultimate peak of refinement in some prehistoric age; since then there has been no change. Not that they are against change; you cannot change it because it has been refined to the very last. All the finishing touches were done five thousand years ago.
People were scientific, but their devotion was to human growth – in music, in art, in poetry, in drama, in dance.
In India there are so many schools of dance, centuries old; so many schools of music, centuries old. And the teaching of dance or drama is not the way it is in the West; it is very religious. The man who teaches you drama, dance, music, is as much respected as a master is. And he is a master, because music is not only music; it is, deep down, meditation. It is music used for meditation.
You may have come to learn music; you will return with something more, something more precious than you have every imagined. Music of course you will learn, but side by side something will start growing in you which is far more musical, which is the music of silence.
Ordinary music is the music of sound.
It is just playing with sound, creating rhythm with sound.
Meditation is the rhythm of silence.
Unless a master can teach music plus meditation he is not really a maestro, he is only a teacher, a mere teacher of music. He becomes a master of music when his music is an instrument to teach, to create, the space called meditation.
The same is true about dance, the same is true about all the arts. Great sculpture exists in the East unparalleled anywhere else, but all the sculpture is devoted basically to mediation, in some way or other.
You can see Roman sculpture – naked men, pornographic. And why naked men – because Romans were homosexuals; they thought the woman was not beautiful. The male, the athletic male, was thought to be the pinnacle of beauty; hence, you will not find in Roman sculpture women represented at all.
The same was the case in Greece. And you will be surprised that even people like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, were all homosexuals. Homosexuality was thought to be a refinement, a more cultured thing because heterosexuality exists in animals, that is nothing special. The logic is perfect: All animals are heterosexuals, so what is great in it? If man is heterosexual he is just an animal.
That’s how Aristotle has defined man, as the only political animal. In every other aspect he is animal; only politics is something that is more, a plus factor.
But in India you will find sculpture a thousandfold greater, millions of temples with tremendously beautiful statues of men, of women – but all devoted basically to meditation. Just looking at the statue of Buddha you will feel some serenity within you – the proportion of the Buddha, the body, the posture the way he is sitting, the half-closed eyes. You just sit silently, look at the statue, and you will start falling into a silence.
Gurdjieff used to call Eastern art “objective art” and Western art “subjective art.” He means by objective art, art which has some intrinsic quality which can be imparted for thousands of years. The work of art is a code word. After experiencing meditation for thousands of years, meditators have come to recognize that a certain posture, a certain way of sitting, a certain way of the eyes, can create in anybody a synchronicity, a sympathy; some sympathetic note can be stirred by the statue.
In the East a statue is not made for its own sake. It is made as a code language for centuries to follow. Scriptures may disappear, languages may change, words may be interpreted. Doctrines can be wrongly interpreted, commented upon. There may be dispute about theories – and there has been – so they thought there must be a different way than language.
Now what dispute can there be about the statue of a Buddha or Mahavira? There is no question of dispute, there is no need of any commentary. Anybody who is capable of sitting silently by the side of this statue will have a certain thing stirred in his heart. This is objective art.
Picasso’s pictures are subjective art. Seeing a painting by Picasso…he has not considered you, who are going to see the painting. You are not taken into account at all. He has simply vomited his own madness on the canvas. It is simply vomit; hence you cannot go on looking at a Picasso painting for a long time. You will start feeling tense, your stomach will start feeling weird – because Picasso is not concerned with you, what happens to you, he is simply subjective. He is pouring out his own mind, what is happening to him; unconcerned about humanity or anybody. He is going crazy, that’s why his painting is crazy.
Almost all the painters in the West have gone mad once or twice in their life, and have been put into mad asylums. Many of the Western painters have committed suicide. This has never happened in the East. There is not a single instance in ten thousand years that a painter, a musician, a poet, has been mad, or has committed suicide. The reason is, it was art on the surface, but meditation in depth. In the West it is just surface, there is no depth in it. And the surface is without any compassion, without any consideration, without any responsibility.
When you compose music or poetry you are to understand that somebody will be reading it – what effect it is going to have on the person? Will it drive him sane or insane?
I myself have been very interested in painting. From my very childhood I started many paintings but not a single painting have I left intact. I have burned all of them.
One of my professors was a painter himself. I used to visit his studio, and I used to say sometimes, “This seems to be wrong. If you do a little change here then the whole impact of the painting will be different.”
He started asking me, “Are you a painter? – because whatsoever you suggest, reluctantly I do it, and certainly it improves the painting. And by and by I have dropped my reluctance. I simply accept your suggestion. But this is possible only if you are a painter…because there are so many people coming here. Even my own students who are painters never suggest that this is wrong; just a slight change will do a miracle. And it does. So you have to explain to me the truth.”
I said, “Yes, I am not a painter, but I paint.”
He said, “What is the difference between being a painter and painting?”
I said, “There is much difference: I don’t allow my paintings to be exhibited because I am still not in a position to create objective art; they are all subjective. They represent and reflect my mind, and what can my mind be to others? They are already burdened with mind; now, burdening them more is inhuman. So I paint because I enjoy painting. I love colors.”
And I don’t know why Sagar University in India…. I have traveled all over India continually for thirty years, but I have never seen such colors in the sky as happens over the lake by the side of the university in Sagar. Never have I seen anywhere such splendor; the sunrise, the sunset, are just divine…without there being any God.
I painted, and destroyed my paintings. Only a few friends have seen them. I allowed this professor to see a few of my paintings. He said, “You are mad – these paintings are far superior to mine. You can earn so much money, you can become world famous.
I said, “I accept your first statement. You said, ‘You are mad’ – I am! That’s why I am not going to leave these footprints of a madman for others to travel and follow.” I have destroyed all those.
I love poetry. I have written poetry. But I continued to destroy it. My basic standpoint was that unless I am no more, whatever I do is going to harm others. This is the Eastern way.
Now it is unfortunate that when I disappeared, the desire to paint or to make a statue or to compose poetry all disappeared too. Perhaps they were just part of that madman who died. And I am happy that nothing of it survives.
In the East they had reached, five thousand years ago, to such a peak in every direction and dimension that only religion was left to be an adventure. So those who had any adventurous spirit were attracted toward religion – the best, the chosen ones, the most intelligent, the genius, the giants, became interested in religion because there was nothing else left.
These people, like Mahavira, Buddha, Krishna, Nagarjuna, Shankara – these people gave tremendous heights to religion, and all the best minds moved toward religion because that was the only challenge left. Everything else was being done by mediocre people. And they were doing perfectly well, there was no need….
If Einstein had been born in Buddha’s time he would have been another Buddha, for the simple reason that that was the only challenge for a man like him. Mathematics was done by mediocre people, and they were doing perfectly well. There was no need for an Albert Einstein to get caught in a mediocre game. No, he would have moved in the same way as Buddha or Mahavira. All the best people were attracted toward religion; that’s why religion touched the pinnacles of height.
But science was ignored, consciously ignored, because the people who had reached religious consciousness could see the destructiveness of science. They changed the direction of science. Rather than science becoming Allopathy, in the East it became ayurveda, it became acupuncture, it became yoga…. These are the same kind of people who, in the West, created Allopathy. They were the same kind of mind, but in the East they created acupuncture, they created herbal sciences.
The word for medical science in the East is ayurveda. Even the word will show you the difference. In the West you call it “medicine.” Medicine means curing, healing, but can you see the implication: it does not mean health, it comes after the disease has already come in. It is a follow-up. First you are sick, then comes the doctor. The doctor follows sickness, with his bag of medicines.
Ayurveda means the science of life. The very word has nothing to do with disease, sickness; it has something to do with life, health, longevity. It is positive, it is not negative. It shows you the way to remain healthy, to remain young as long as you want, to live longer if that’s what you want. Its focus is not on sickness, its focus is on health.
In China, Confucius advised the emperor of China that doctors should be paid not for curing a sick man – that is dangerous because that means the doctor will like people to be sick so that he can cure them. If everybody remains healthy then only the doctor will be sick, he will die of hunger. So to create a system in which the doctor is paid by curing and healing people is to create a dilemma.
The doctor’s business is to cure people, but his prayers will be that people should fall sick. There should be as many epidemics as possible.
One doctor came to Mulla Nasruddin and said, “You have not paid me. I visited eight times to cure your child of smallpox; you have neither paid for my eight visits nor have you paid for my medicines. And you have some nerve, you go on in front of my medical clinic as if you own it.”
Nasruddin said, “You should remember who started the epidemic – it was my child. You should pay me! Who made the whole school sick? In fact I own your medical clinic. My boy has done so much for you, and not even gratitude…. you should pay me, and remember that!”
If the doctor is paid when people are sick, then Nasruddin is perfectly right, logically right. His boy has done such a great job making the whole city sick; all the doctors should pay him.
Confucius suggested that doctors should be paid for keeping people healthy, not for curing them. Everybody should have a personal physician. Every body should register himself with one physician as his personal physician, and he should pay him every month a certain amount of money for keeping him healthy, If he becomes sick the money is not to be paid to the doctor any more.
If the doctor cannot cure him then the doctor has to pay him because he is not able to cure him and he has to go to another doctor. Till the patient becomes healthy again the doctor has to pay for his medicines, his doctors, anything that is needed. Confucius turned the whole direction of medicine around.
This is how it happened in the East with every science. Science was in the service of humanity, in the service of health, life. Yoga is devoted to making you almost a citadel against sickness. One who practices yoga is not supposed to be sick. If he is sick that means whatever he is doing with yoga, something is basically wrong.
One hypocrite in India is Satya Sai Baba. I call him a hypocrite because he knows nothing of yoga. There is nothing wrong if you don’t know anything of yoga – I don’t. I can afford to be sick, nobody can object; it is my birthright to be sick. I don’t know yoga. But Satya Sai Baba declares himself a great yogi; then the problem arises. Then for his appendix operation he has to go to Goa secretly. And he has to pay ten times more to the doctor so the secret should not be known, because a great yogi going for an operation? What control has he over his physiology?
But it is difficult to hide because his whole ashram became curious: where has Baba disappeared? His own people became curious about where he had gone. And after the operation he had to rest for two or three days in Goa. They found out, and the media and the press – everybody was there, and the doctor had to confess that he had done the operation.
Eastern science was indicating something, it was saying that yoga is basically transforming your body in such a way that your resistance to sickness increases a thousandfold. It becomes impossible for sickness to enter you. This was a positive change in science.
Tantra is basically spiritual sexology…because man’s mind is perverted throughout the world by religions teaching repression of sex. Tantra is the only science which teaches you expression of sex – not as indulgence, but as a spiritual discipline. This is a transformation of a biological phenomenon into spirituality.
For example, Ramakrishna was one of the great Tantrikas of this century. The story is beautiful…. He had his first glimpse of superconsciousness when he was only fourteen. But that age, fourteen, is also the age when sexuality starts its journey. And he had his first experience of superconsciousness at the same time. He was coming home from the field – it was evening – and he was passing the lake that was between his hut and the field.
It was rainy season – black clouds had gathered over the lake. Soon it was going to rain, so Ramakrishna was rushing toward his house – and just at that moment he saw a line of white cranes flying above the lake, against the backdrop of black clouds. It was a tremendously silent and beautiful moment. Both were reflected in the lake, the silent lake: the black clouds and the white cranes in a line, flying. He was struck by the beauty of the moment; he fell down and became unconscious. And from that day he became a different person. He was only fourteen….
His parents certainly became worried, the whole village became worried: something had to be done. The boy was talking almost like a madman – who would think otherwise of a fourteen-year-old child if he starts speaking like the seers of the Upanishads, and talks as if he is a great wise man? They simply thought that he had gone crazy: “This boy we know. Only the other day he was simply an ordinary boy, and just in one day he has become a sage.” So they all thought – as it is thought all over India, if some trouble arises like this – the best way is marriage. It is the medicine for almost every kind of sickness. Perhaps the reason is that whenever you are in pain, if something of a bigger trouble happens, you forget the pain. For example, you have a headache and your house starts burning; do you think you will remember about the headache? – you will forget all about the headache. It simply means you needed a bigger headache, that’s all.
So marriage is thought to be the cure of all kinds of sickness in India. But the parents were a little concerned. They thought that he was not going to say yes, he would not agree; but there seemed to be nothing else. The whole village suggested only one thing, marriage, so they finally asked him.
His name at that time was Gadadhar. He became Ramakrishna when he became enlightened and his name was changed by his master. They asked Gadadhar, “Would you like to be married?”
He said, “Yes, why not? Even great seers have married.”
They said, “He is really crazy, completely crazy! ‘Great seers were married…’ he is saying. He does not know anything about marriage, and he says, ‘Yes, why not?’“ But the whole village said, “If he is saying yes, then why not? – let him be married. Marriage will bring him to his senses. All these great seers and strange things that he talks about, he will forget. He needs a beautiful girl. It is just the age.” They said, “He is a little young, and it is just a sexual upheaval in his mind that is making him say all these things.”
So they arranged for him to see the girl – just in the next village there was a beautiful girl. Gadadhar was so happy when he was dressed in new clothes, and it was almost a procession which went to the other village to see the girl. His mother had put one silver rupee in his pocket “just in case you need it.” They were poor people – one rupee was a lot of money.
The girl came; the way it happens in India is, the girl comes to put food in your plates. That is the only time you see her. When the girl came to put food in the plate of Ramakrishna, he took out his one rupee and put it at her feet. He touched her feet, and said, “Mother, you are really beautiful. The seers have said rightly.”
His family and the villagers that had come said, “This boy – even marriage cannot cure him; he is beyond cure. Look at this nonsense – his own wife, and he is touching her feet, putting the rupee, and is saying that, “The great seers have said rightly that the woman is always a mother.”
The family of the girl was also in a dilemma…what to do? This boy seems to be crazy, and looks nice, beautiful; but the way he has behaved – no boy has ever behaved. But they were poor, and this was a good chance. They married the girl. And Ramakrishna continued to have the same relationship his whole life: his wife Sharda, remained his mother. He continued to call her mother.
He practiced Tantra with Sharda…he would put Sharda naked on a high pedestal and sit underneath just like a devoted son. This was an old and ancient method of Tantra: that if you can see in a beautiful naked woman your mother and still no desire arises, or if it arises you simply watch it pass. It will pass because nothing remains in the mind forever. The mind is in a constant flux – nothing remains stable, so don’t be worried if anything comes, just be watchful, but underneath let the basic idea remain – that of the mother.
Yes, in the beginning there were, ideas. Ramakrishna was young and sexuality was there; but he watched, and he watched year in, year out – with the basic concept clear. Slowly, slowly all those ideas, when they are not received well, start disappearing. If a guest comes and you don’t even say, “Hello,” how long is he going to come to you?
Soon the basic idea remained there. All sex ideas, desires disappeared. Sharda became his mother. It took years, every night, but it was a double-edged sword because while he was practicing, Sharda was also practicing – just an ancient Indian idea. If the husband is moving above sex, then the wife should follow him; she should be a shadow. She never objected, she never said anything like, “What nonsense is this?”
As Ramakrishna grew, Sharda was also growing; their growth was simultaneous, so much so that when Ramakrishna died…. It is a custom in India – that the wife becomes a widow. She cannot use any symbols of a married woman: bangles, a tikas, colored clothes – only white saris without borders.
But Sharda did not follow any of it. She continued to wear the bangles, colored saris; she continued to use the red mark on the forehead which declares that the woman is married, and her husband is alive. People objected. She said, “You may not know, but I know he is alive. I know, and my relationship with him remains the same as it was always: I am his mother, he is my son.”
They said, “This woman also has gone mad with that madman. He was mad, that was certain, but we never knew that he will drive this woman also mad.”
Tantra is a scientific methodology; it has many techniques to transform sex. Yoga is scientific physiology; it has methods to make it almost impossible for your body to be sick. It gives you control over the body so you can live as long as you want, and you can decide your own death whenever you want. Science was there, but in a totally different dimension. It was not devoted to war and politicians.
In the West it is the same consciousness – but the West is very new. Science is only three hundred years old, and the West is so new that when the East was at its peak of culture and richness – the West was just barbarous. It was simply fighting with nature just to survive. That’s how the famous doctrine became so important – survival of the fittest.
In the East they were thinking of transcending life to attain eternal life; in the West it was a question of survival. The climate was harsh, cold; the land was not fertile; most of the year, the sun was not available. Man was fighting with nature to survive; there was no possibility for religion. Life was at risk – who is going to think of eternal life? Even moment to moment survival was difficult.
In fact, this curse turned out to be a blessing in the end because the East became very, very relaxed – good climate, warm climate, good soil, enough of everything. People became non-fighting, they dropped weapons, they forgot about weapons; there was no need. The West became strong and started creating empires.
It was not very difficult for a small country like England – which is just as big as a district of India, not even a state – to manage the biggest empire in the world. It was said, “In the British empire, the sun never sets.” Somewhere or other, it is always rising. The empire was around the world. And the people who controlled this whole empire…what gave them the strength? – the fight with nature, the continuous fight for survival.
When you have nothing to lose, you have a certain strength; when you have everything to lose you are weak, you are afraid, because in fight the other party is not going to lose anything. If you win, you win nothing.
From India, never in the whole history, did people come out to conquer any country – never. They never invaded anybody. Who bothers? They had so much, and the poor people around…to invade them was just inhuman. And for what? Taking unnecessary responsibility over your head to feed them, to clothe them.
India never invaded anybody, and India was invaded by almost everybody – Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, Arabians. Everybody who was capable of fighting made his way to India. That was the easiest place to be victorious. These people – Spaniards, English, French, Portuguese – had not much resistance in India, almost no resistance. People were not interested in fighting.
The logic is clear: in fighting, they will be the losers. And the people who have come have nothing. So rather than fighting, they simply let them control the country. They had become so relaxed for thousands of years; it was impossible suddenly to become warriors again; it needs training, centuries of training.
So the West found a blessing in disguise. The climate was antagonistic but it made the people strong, hard, cruel, cunning, inhuman – that became their strength. They were not interested in religion, they were interested in becoming more stronger, they were interested in creating bigger empires, they were interested in being all powerful because their own land was poor. They wanted other people’s land. Their own country was not of any worth.
You can see it, as the British empire has disappeared, England is going down the drain everyday. England must be now in a more depressive state than any other country in the world – Ethiopia included. In Ethiopia people are dying; in England they are not dying, but they are dead. Which is worse? Dying is clean, but dead with your umbrella?
England has no hope now because that old empire cannot come back. The whole situation has changed: England is no longer a power. Now Russia is a power, America is a power, China is a power; but England is almost nobody. Why do they go on keeping England on the map? – I don’t know. It should not be on the map; finished is finished.
But there was a day when England was the very center of the world – London was the world capital. Now it is the ugliest city, most depressive. It is impossible to smile in London – just the climate won’t allow you. And if you smile, then a crowd will gather asking, “What has happened? Why is this man smiling?” Laughter is unheard of; everybody is sad and with a long face.
This was the situation of the whole West. They needed science and destructive science because they were fighting and creating empires all around the world. They needed more and more superior weapons to kill, to destroy, to invade. They gave science a turn which is destructive, which has brought you to the very verge of a third world war. They were not interested in religion, because religion is possible only in a very relaxed climate, in a very relaxed milieu of your soul…when everything is fulfilled, and you don’t have anything else to do than just sitting silently.
To sit silently, certainly you need every other need to be fulfilled. In the West they have the proverb, “the empty mind is the devil’s workshop.” Obviously, the West could not afford the empty mind; it has to be condemned. The West would not have allowed anybody to just sit silently, doing nothing. It was a question of life and death…. You are sitting silently doing nothing, and you say, “And the grass grows by itself.”
“But what are we going to do with grass? The wheat does not grow by itself, and we need wheat, we need rice, we need food, we need machine guns, we need airplanes. They don’t grow by themselves….”
It is possible only in a very different milieu where you can say, “Sitting silently doing nothing and the grass grows by itself,” and you can be understood.
In the East, the empty mind is the ultimate experience of existence. When you are empty, it is not the devil’s workshop; when you are not empty, then you are the devil’s workshop.
The whole West emphasizing, “Do something,” has become a devil’s workshop. They go on telling their children: “Don’t sit silently. Do something!” Nobody says to them,: “Don’t do anything, just sit silently.” That is possible only when you have enough luxury that you can allow your children to sit silently, you can enjoy sitting around a bonfire gossiping, sipping tea, you can sit by the fireplace playing on your guitar, listening to poetry, reading Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat. But for that you first need food, clothes, house, enough wood for the fireplace. When everything is available, then only mind starts searching for the truth. In the East, everything was available.
There is no difference of consciousness in the East and the West. The difference was in the climate, in the geography, in the situation; the difference was outside, not inside. Hence, religion became the only challenge in the East, and science became the only challenge in the West.
But now the situation is totally different. The East has fallen into bankruptcy, which is natural…that too is a law to be understood. When you are affluent, luxurious, religion is born. Once religion is born, immediately religion starts teaching you to be poor. That is a very strange thing, but there is some inner consistency in it.
When you are luxurious, and the whole country is enjoying, and eating, and drinking, and being merry – this is their only religion. Naturally, those who attain to samadhi and superconsciousness – start condemning, “What are you doing, wasting your life eating, drinking, and merrying. Do you think this is life? Stop all this nonsense…renounce it, because the real life is something else which you are missing.”
So they become against all comfort, all luxury, all richness, because the best minds of the country, those who are loved by people, respected by people those who have charismatic influence on people are all saying, “Renounce all this,” they don’t know what they are doing. They don’t know why they have been able to find truth.
They have been able to find truth because of all this luxury, and comfort, and richness. It gave them an opportunity to sit silently, to not be worried about anything, to not do anything. There was no question of surviving, so they could inquire into eternal life.
That is why I say Buddha, Mahavira, Krishna, all are right in some way, but wrong in some other ways; and we have to see what wrong they have committed. This was their fallacy: they forgot the ladder, that had brought them to this peak, and they started condemning those people who were on the same ladder, but on lower rungs: “You idiots, why are you clinging to the ladder? Renounce the ladder.” They had moved away from the ladder, far away; they had renounced the ladder, but they forgot completely that they came to that point of renunciation through the ladder. Without the ladder, they would not have been able to renounce it.
What can you renounce if you don’t have riches? What can you renounce if you don’t have in the first place? – the poor cannot renounce, the hungry cannot renounce. So this is a strange circle, a vicious circle: The country becomes rich, people become affluent. Then a few geniuses start rising higher than the ordinary human consciousness, and they become so enchanted with the bliss, they forget all about the ladder which has led them there. They start condemning everything that is lower.
Perhaps their intention is good. They want you to fly as high as they are flying, but they completely forget that without the ladder these people will simply crawl on the earth. That is what is happening in the East – people are crawling on the earth. They have renounced the ladder because they trusted Buddha, they trusted Mahavira, they trusted Krishna. They renounced the ladder – but the ladder can be renounced from two points – either from the first rung or from the last rung.
In both ways you are renouncing the ladder; but if you renounce from the first rung you will crawl on the earth. The whole East is crawling – it is ugly, disgusting, nauseating. You can also renounce the ladder from the highest rung. That happened only in the life of a few people.
Now the situation has changed; the West is affluent, rich, and now facing a great problem. On the one hand, in three hundred years it has created a science which is destructive and has helped to exploit the whole world; to spread imperialism, to make empires, it has helped. But all those empires have disappeared.
Now, Western science is like an old, ancient fable…. A man found a bottle in the lake. He had gone fishing, and in his net, with the fishes, came a bottle also. He looked in the bottle and he was amazed; there was a very tiny man inside. And not only that, the tiny man said, “If you open the bottle I can serve you in any way you want – I am not so tiny. I have been cursed and closed in this bottle, but the man who cursed me has said that if somebody opens the bottle and takes me out, I will be free from the curse.
“I have been waiting in this lake for centuries. It is just by coincidence that you have caught me. Now, please – I am a djinn; open the bottle and I will do anything you want.”
The poor man thought, “This is a good opportunity” – he opened the bottle. Great smoke came out of the bottle and with the smoke, almost like a cloud, was the djinn. The man now looked so small before the djinn, and the djinn said from the sky, “Now, I am free. Thank you for making me free. I will do everything, I will be your servant, but there is one condition. I cannot sit silently. I need work continuously, twenty-four hours a day, day in, day out. If you cannot give me work I will kill you.”
The man said, “Don’t be worried, I will give you work. But what work can you do?”
The djinn was such that if you gave him some work, any work, you were thinking that at least for a few hours he would leave you; but within seconds he would be back, the work was done! You would tell him to make a palace; within seconds he would be back, the palace was ready.
Work? – he was driving the man crazy! Within two or three days the man thought, “I am going to be killed,” because he could not even think of anything more. All that he could imagine he told the djinn and he did it.
The man said, “Wait, I have an appointment with a wise man. Till then you clean the palace and the garden – I will be back.” He ran to the wise man and asked, “Save me, because this is my last day. I don’t think that I will be alive by the evening because all the work that I could think of, he has done. Tell me what I am to do.”
The wise man said, “Nothing to be worried about. You take this ladder and tell that idiot, ‘Go up, come down, go up, come down.’ Let him do that, no other work, just ‘Go up, come down.’“
The djinn is still doing that! The man has died long ago, but the djinn continues because he needs work.
Science has proved to be almost the djinn in the bottle. The West opened the bottle; science served beautifully, it did miracles. It made the whole world a slave under the West. For the first time there was really one world, dominated by a few people. Otherwise, in India itself, in Buddha’s time there were two thousand nations just in India. But this three hundred years of scientific technological growth gave the West so much power that nobody could stand against it.
But now science is threatening the West itself.
Those empires have disappeared, they had to disappear. How long can you exploit a people? A moment comes when you have exploited them so much that now they are hungry, starving, and they become a responsibility and a burden on you.
Never be befooled by the historians and the politicians who go on saying that India, Pakistan, China, Burma – these countries became independent because of their freedom struggle. Nonsense! The reality is that all these empires became burdens on the imperialists. England could not manage India any more. Now it was not a place to exploit. You have exploited enough, you have taken everything. Now the situation was the reverse.
The country was a responsibility on you: you have to feed the people, you have to make schools for them, you have to make hospitals for them. If you don’t, you are condemned by the whole world. It was time to somehow get rid of these people. But how to get rid of these people? These idiots themselves started saying, “We want to be free.”
If I was there…. I was, but I was too young. And nobody hears me even now, so at that time certainly, nobody was going to listen to me. I used to say to my parents – because they were all for freedom, they all had been to jails, they all had been beaten, tortured. I used to tell my uncles, my father, my grandfather, “It is all nonsense. What are you going to get with freedom? Freedom is not food. Freedom is not clothes. Freedom is not science. Freedom is not technology. In fact your freedom struggle is really greatly needed by Britain. They want you to fight for freedom, then they can give you freedom.”
And they gave it without much trouble. They simply gave it, they wanted to give it. They were really looking for the right time so that it was understood that “you have asked for it, we have not given it. You were fighting for it. You forced us, so we gave it to you.” And slowly, slowly the same happened in Africa, in other parts of Asia, where there were no freedom struggles either. There too freedom came. It had to come; how much can you exploit?
In India, people worship cows. They cannot kill them and they cannot sell them to butchers, but there is a time when the cow becomes old, it gives no milk, no children; now it is a burden to feed it. The people are so poor they cannot feed themselves, how can they feed these cows and these buffaloes? And they cannot sell them either – they make them free! They simply leave them on the roads. Nobody knows whose those cows are. That’s what has happened. Cows have become free: they no longer give milk, they no longer give anything, so what to do with them?
So in Africa and Ethiopia, in India, in Burma, in Thailand, cows are on the streets dying, hungry. They cannot even now condemn anybody: “It is because you are making us slaves, that’s why we are dying.” Now there is nobody to condemn either, it is their own responsibility. So the empires had to die – a natural death.
Now science is there, like the djinn, asking for more work “otherwise I will kill you.” And that’s why the West is facing a great crisis.
This crisis is going to be very decisive. The West either will have to commit suicide – and of course, with the West, the East will die. It cannot survive separate from the West, it needs all the technology of the West for productive and creative things. Or, if the West turns the whole train of science toward creativity and drops this idiotic idea of war, then both these things will happen: science will take on a new dimension, as it took on once in the East; and the second thing will be a rise in religious consciousness. If you are no longer preparing for war and wasting seventy-five to eighty percent of your energy, life, and money preparing to destroy – if that eighty percent of energy is released to eat, drink, and be merry, if the eighty percent of energy is released to go to Zorba the Buddha, then soon there will be people rising, flying higher, reaching to the topmost layers of human consciousness.
Both the things are possible: science can be turned into creativity, and that creativity will make you capable of rising in religious consciousness.
And this time it need not be East and West.
This time it can be one earth, our home.

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