From Ignorance to Innocence 01

First Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - From Ignorance to Innocence by Osho.
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Why is humanity today becoming more and more miserable?
The cause is very simple, perhaps too simple. It is very close, very obvious, and this is the reason why most people go on not seeing it. When something is very obvious you start taking it for granted. When something is too close to your eyes you cannot see it. For seeing, some distance is needed.
So the first thing I would like you to remember is that it is not only today that humanity is miserable. It has always been miserable. Misery has almost become our second nature. We have lived in it for thousands of years. That closeness does not allow us to see it; otherwise it is so obvious.
But to see the obvious you need a child’s vision, and we are all carrying thousands of years in our eyes. Our eyes are old; they cannot see afresh. They have already accepted things, and forgotten that those things are the very cause of misery.
The religious prophets, the political leaders, the moral lawgivers – you have respected them, not even suspecting that they are the cause of your misery. How can you suspect them? Those people have served humanity, sacrificed themselves for humanity. You worship them; you cannot relate them to your misery.
The causes of misery are camouflaged behind beautiful words, holy scriptures, spiritual sermons.

It happened when I was a student, the first prime minister of India came to visit the city. In Jabalpur, all the dirt of the city flows just in the middle of the city. The city is very big – ten times bigger than Portland – and just in the middle of the city, all the dirt flows like a river. There is a bridge over it, and to pass that bridge is to know something about hell. I have never seen any place so stinking.
The day Jawaharlal, the prime minister, came to visit the city the bridge was one of the greatest problems. He had to cross it – that was the only way to get to the other part of the city. So they covered the bridge with mogra flowers. It was summertime, and the mogra is so fragrant a flower. The whole bridge on both sides had garlands of mogra hanging. You could pass across the bridge and you would not be at all aware that just behind those mogras, the wall of flowers, was the dirtiest place possible.
I was just going to the university. Seeing people decorating the Naudra Bridge – that was the name of the bridge; it was called Naudra because it had nine pillars, nine doors through which the dirt used to flow – seeing the people putting those flowers up, I stopped there. I started working with those people who were decorating, and nobody made any objection; they thought I must be part of the crew. Many people were working, and it had to be done quickly – soon Jawaharlal was going to pass. So I got mixed in with the workers, the volunteers.
When Jawaharlal’s procession came and he was standing in an open jeep, I stood in front of the jeep and stopped it. It would not have been possible in any other place because everywhere there were military police, guards, security. On Naudra Bridge the volunteers were on both sides; there was no crowd from the city because nobody wanted to stand there. The crowd was not aware of what had happened: that these mogra flowers had completely covered the smell. The place smelled of paradise! The people were not aware of it because nobody was near there.
I told Jawaharlal, “Please get down from the jeep. You have to look behind these flowers – that is the reality of this city. You are being fooled; these flowers are not decorations for your welcome, they are put here to deceive you.”
He said, “What do you mean?”
I said, “Get down, and just come close to the flowers and look beyond them.” He was a very sensitive and intelligent man. Others tried to prevent him: the local leaders.
I said, “Don’t listen to these fools. They are the people who have arranged these flowers here. Have you seen in the city, anywhere else, thousands of flowers arranged for your welcome? And here you don’t see any crowd. The arithmetic is simple. Just come down.”
He got down and went with me to look beyond the flowers; he could not believe it. He told the people, the local leaders, the mayor, the members of the corporation and the president of the congress, “If this young man had not been so stubborn, I would have missed seeing the reality of your city. Is this what you have been doing here?”
He said to me, “If you come to New Delhi sometime, come and visit me.”
I said, “Not sometime – I will come just to visit you. But you will have to tell the idiots surrounding you that I am allowed in.”
He said to his secretary, “You have to take care that nobody prevents him.” That’s how his secretary became one of my disciples. And whenever I needed, he was immediately ready to arrange it; the doors of Jawaharlal’s house were open to me.

I have remembered this incident because that’s what has happened with the whole of humanity. You see the misery, but you don’t see the cause. The cause is covered with flowers. You see the flowers, and because flowers cannot cause the misery you turn back.
The second thing to remember is that it is not only now that humanity is miserable; it has always been so.
Yes, one thing new has happened – it is a little difference, but a difference that really makes a difference – and that is: a certain percentage of humanity has now become more aware than it has ever been before.
Misery has always been there; but to be aware of the misery is a new factor. And that is the beginning of transformation. If you become aware of something, then there is a possibility that something can be done to change it.
People have lived in misery, accepting it as part of life, as their destiny. Nobody has questioned it. Nobody has asked why. And before anybody could ask why, the religious prophets, messiahs and priests were ready with the answer. Christianity is ready with the answer: “It is because Adam and Eve committed the original sin; hence you are suffering.”
Now, can you see any connection?
According to Christianity the world was created 4004 years before Jesus’ birth – which is not at all accurate, which is absolutely stupid. The world is millions of years old – and by “world,” I mean only our world, this earth; I don’t mean the sun, the solar system, because that is far more ancient. And I don’t mean the world of the stars, because they are not as small as they look. They are bigger than your sun – they are all suns and they all have their own solar systems. They are far more ancient than our solar system.
In fact, when you come to calculate existence, years cannot be used as a measurement, they are too small. A million years does not mean anything; when you start thinking about how vast the solar system is, you have to use a new measurement that is not used ordinarily because we never come across such a big thing. And that new measurement was invented by physics: the light year.
You have to understand what a light year means, because our galaxy is millions of light years old. Light travels at a tremendous speed, the greatest speed there is. Anything traveling at that speed will turn into light. The heat of that speed is such that anything at that speed will become light, so there can be no speed greater than the speed of light. We cannot invent any rocket that moves faster than light, because then it will turn into light itself, as soon as it reaches the speed of light.
The speed of light is 186,000 per second – 186,000 miles. In one minute, light travels sixty times further; in one hour, again sixty times more; in one day, again twenty-four times more; in one month, again thirty times more; in one year, again twelve times more – that is the meaning of one light year.
Even if the Christians are right, Adam must still have committed the original sin at least five thousand years ago. Somebody committing a sin five thousand years ago – how many generations have passed since then? And you are still miserable because of his sin? That seems to be absolutely unjust. If he did commit the sin, God made him suffer. Why should you be suffering? You were never a part of it. If anybody has to suffer, it should be God himself, because in the first place what was the need of creating those two trees? If man was not allowed to eat from them, it was so simple: God should not have created those two trees. He was committing the original sin – if anybody was.
Then, even if he had created them, what was the need to tell Adam not to eat from those two trees? I don’t think that Adam, on his own, even by now would have found those two trees. Among the millions of trees, it would have been just a coincidence if Adam had found them. But God showed him the trees, saying, “These are the two trees, and you are not to eat from them.”
And this God is Jewish. Sigmund Freud understands it better – he is also Jewish, born out of the original sin – he understands far better than this Jewish God. To tell somebody not to do something is to provoke them, is to give them a challenge, is to make the person fascinated. It is not the snake who really persuades Adam and Eve. It is God’s “don’t” that hits hard, and they become curious as to why.
And the trees are not poisonous. One is the tree of wisdom. There seems to be no logic in why the tree of wisdom should be prohibited to man. And the other tree is of eternal life. Both trees are the best in the whole Garden of Eden! God should have told him, “Don’t miss these two trees! Anything else you can miss, but these two trees you should not miss.” On the contrary, he says to Adam and Eve, “Don’t do this.” That “don’t” is the real cause of their disobeying; the serpent is just an excuse.
But even if they did commit the sin, whether through God or through the serpent, it is absolutely certain that you are not part of it – in no way. You were not there to support them. The Christians have been befooling the whole world, the Jews have been befooling the whole world, saying that it is because of the original sin that man is suffering, he is in misery. He has to turn back, he has to undo what Adam and Eve did. They disobeyed; you have to obey God. Just as they disobeyed and were thrown out of heaven, if you obey totally, without any doubt, without any questioning, you will be allowed back into the world of bliss, paradise.
Misery exists because of the original sin, according to the Judaic religions: Judaism, Christianity, Mohammedanism. These three religions have come from the same source; they all believe in the same original sin, and that we are suffering because we are the progeny of those people who committed it.
Even human justice cannot punish a criminal’s son because he is a criminal’s son. His father may have murdered somebody, a major crime, but then you cannot punish the son too. The son has nothing to do with it. And Adam and Eve did not commit any major crime – they just had a little curiosity. I think anybody who had any sense would have done the same. It was absolutely certain to happen, because there is a deep need in man to know. It is intrinsic, it is not sin. It is in the very nature of man to know, and God is prohibiting him. He is saying, “Remain ignorant.”
There is, in the same way, an intrinsic, intense desire for eternal life. Nobody wants to die. Even the person who commits suicide is not against life. Perhaps he is hoping the next life will be better. He is so tired of all this suffering and anguish that he thinks, “In this life there is no chance, so why not take a chance? This life is not giving you anything and is not going to give you anything – take the chance. If you survive and enter into another life, perhaps…” That perhaps, that lingering desire, is still in the man who is committing suicide. He may be committing suicide against something, but he is not committing suicide against life itself.
These two are the most basic and deep-rooted desires in man, and yet he is prohibited from fulfilling his own nature and his nature is condemned as criminal, as a nature which is rooted in sin. If he fulfills it he feels guilty; if he does not fulfill it he will remain miserable. These people have created the background of your misery.
Let me summarize it: if you are natural you will feel guilty. Then that will be your misery, your anxiety, your anguish: what punishment is going to be there for you? You are disobeying God, because all your scriptures and their commandments are against your nature. So if you fulfill your nature there is misery. If you don’t fulfill your nature, there is also bound to be misery because then you will be empty, unfulfilled, discontented; you will feel futile, utterly meaningless.
So there are two types of miserable people in the world: one who follows the religious prophets and one who does not follow them. And it is very difficult to find a third category: a man like me, who does not care one bit. I neither follow them nor am I against them. I do not even hate them – there is no question of loving them. To me they are absolutely absurd and meaningless, irrelevant to our existence.
Take either side and you will be in trouble. Don’t take sides, either for or against; just tell those guys, “Go to hell! And take all your scriptures with you.” Only then can you be free of misery.
In the East they have a different explanation – explanations can be different, but the purpose is the same. In the East, the three religions of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, all teach that your misery is because of bad actions in past lives. And you have lived millions of past lives, in different shapes, different bodies, animals, birds… In that way Hindus have a vast perspective. 840,000,000 species of life exist. At least their perspective is vast, not small like the Christian: only 6,000 years.
Their perspective is certainly great: 840,000,000 species, and you have passed through them all; then you have become man. In all those long years – you will have to use the term “light years” with Hindus and Jainas and Buddhists – you have committed so many things, good and bad, and everything is recorded about you. If you are suffering, that simply means your bad actions are heavy on you. You have to suffer, that is the only way to get rid of them. You have to pay for your actions. Who else is going to pay? You murdered somebody in your last life, now who is going to pay?
Their explanation seems more mathematical, more logical, than Adam committing sin and you suffering six thousand years later. So many generations have passed, and still the sin is fresh. So many generations have suffered and been punished for it, and you are still being punished for it. Can you punish so many people for one man’s sin? And this is going to go on forever and forever. At least the Eastern vision seems to be more logical: that in your past life you have committed some bad actions and of course you have to suffer for them. I say it looks more logical, but it is not existentially true.
What do I mean when I say it is not existentially true? I mean that whenever you act, the result of the act is intrinsic in the act itself, it does not wait for the next life. Why should it wait? If you drink poison now, will you die in the next life? I have been arguing with Hindu shankaracharyas, Jaina monks, Buddhist bhikkus, saying: “Tell me, if somebody hits his hand with a hammer, will he suffer in the next life or here, right now?” Action brings its reaction immediately. It does not wait. Why should it wait, and why particularly for the next life?
They have been befooling people, of course more logically than Christians and Jews and Mohammedans. Hence no sophisticated Hindu can be converted to Mohammedanism, Judaism or Christianity – impossible, because all your ideas look very childish. He has far more logical explanations. But those logical explanations are only significant on the surface; deep down there is nothing much in them.
I have argued with all these people. Not a single one has been able to answer my question. If you put your arm in the fire, will you be burned in the next life? The action is here; the reaction has to be here. They are joined together, they cannot be separated. The moment you love, you are happy. It is not that in this moment you love and you are in deep misery now, and in the next life whether there you love or not, suddenly one day you will feel happy – the good karma of your last life.
You are disconnecting things which are not, in the nature of things, in any way possible to disconnect. You hate somebody and in that very hatred you are burning in fire. You are angry and in that very anger, not out of it, you suffer. My approach is that each moment, whatsoever you are doing you are getting the immediate reaction.
These people are befooling you because they cannot say many things which go against the vested interest. They cannot say that you are poor because the rich are exploiting you – because they are hired by the rich people. Now, for example, a Jaina monk, Acharya Tulsi… Jaina monks don’t travel in the rainy season. And in India, it is not like here; the seasons are well divided. The rainy season is four months, the summer season is four months, the winter is four months. Lately the seasons have been disturbed because of atomic experiments going on everywhere; otherwise, exactly on the expected date and day, the rains will begin, and exactly on the expected date and day the rains will stop.
The Jaina monk does not travel for the four months of the rainy season. He travels for eight months, and for four months he does not travel because the earth is wet, the grass has grown and many small insects, ants, are there in the grass. He cannot walk on the grass because the grass is alive. And he cannot walk on the wet ground because there may be some insects which the wetness encourages. He has to walk only on dry ground where he is absolutely certain that no life can be killed by his walking. So the rainy season is out of the question. He cannot even carry an umbrella because that will be a possession. So in the rainy season it will be most difficult. He does not have more than three items of clothing – and all three items will become wet, so he will not even have clothes to change into.
This Jaina monk, Acharya Tulsi stays in one place. He has seven hundred monks, and for eight months those monks move around the country, and for four months they come to live with the master in one place. But it is a very difficult problem: only very rich people can invite Acharya Tulsi to spend the rainy season in their city, because those seven hundred monks will also come. And that is nothing – when the seven hundred monks are there, and the head of the monks, Acharya Tulsi, who is like a pope in that sect, is there, then thousands of followers will come to listen. Because in the rainy season in India everything is closed, you cannot do anything. The shops are empty; people start playing cards and chess. All kinds of festivals happen in the rainy season because everybody is free. People visit their relatives, because there is nothing in their business that is at risk.
People visit their religious leaders. And it is a tradition that whosoever comes to see the head of a religious order is a guest of the city, just as the head is a guest of the city. So to invite Acharya Tulsi means spending millions of rupees, and only very rich people can afford it. If they can afford it, they must be businessmen. A businessman is never a loser. He is not a gambler. He counts everything, with interest. If he is going to invest – and that’s the right word – millions of rupees in Acharya Tulsi, then he is going to take as much juice out of Acharya Tulsi as possible, with interest, and he will not leave without it. Both the parties understand it – it is understood, not said. Acharya Tulsi has to protect the rich person because it is the rich person who protects Acharya Tulsi and his monks. It is a simple arrangement.
The same is true about other religions in India. It is a very costly phenomenon. For example, another Jaina sect whose monks live naked cannot stay in any household or family, because to be so close to a family may create attachment. Some trouble may arise, they may be distracted. They can only stay in a temple. And Jaina temples are the costliest and the best temples in India. It is now difficult to build that kind of temple. At Mount Abu – a few of you may have seen the Jaina temples, because I used to have my meditation camps there – they are such masterpieces of art. So much money has been poured into those temples; they are all marble and a single temple may take hundreds of years to build. The grandfather may start, and the third or fourth or fifth generation may inaugurate the temple when it is complete. Thousands of workers will be working on it: artists, craftsmen.
To invite a naked Jaina monk – because the naked Jaina monk is thought to be of the highest order of monks… Acharya Tulsi is not a naked Jaina monk. He is thought to be of a lower degree. Yes, he is a Jaina, but if you ask the followers of the naked monks, they will say, “There is not much difference between us and Acharya Tulsi. Perhaps he keeps three items of clothing and we keep six: that is all the difference there is. The real difference is between our monks.” And certainly the naked Jaina monk tortures himself more than any other in the whole world. Nobody can compete with him; he is the best masochist possible.
To invite a naked Jaina monk means you need a temple that can do justice to his prestige, otherwise you are insulting him. So every big town, big city, goes on wasting money in raising temples because the naked monk can stay only in a temple. The Jainas are not many but they have so many temples all over the country that you will be surprised. Even in places where not a single Jaina family lives you will find Jaina temples, because the Jaina monks pass by there and they need some place to stay.
You will be surprised – it looks very funny to see the whole thing – a Jaina monk is not supposed to beg from anybody other than a Jaina. Now, Jainas are very few, only three hundred thousand all over India – just like a teaspoon full of salt in the ocean. There are thousands of towns and villages where there is not a single Jaina. But the Jaina monk has to move for eight months continually; he has to pass through villages where no Jaina lives.
So what do Jainas do? A procession of twenty families – twenty buses, fifty buses – will follow the monk. But why fifty buses? Just one bus or one car would be enough if just one Jaina family were needed. No, the Jaina monk has to go begging and he is not allowed to beg from just one family. That is against his scripture. And when the scripture was made, it was quite right because there were so many monks, they were becoming a burden on society. So if a monk comes to one family, finds good food and starts going there every day, he will become a torture to the family. And if other monks come to know about it, they will also start going to the same family.
So the rule was made that no monk begs from just one family – not even a single whole meal. Even for a single whole meal, he has to beg from different families: little pieces from here, little pieces from there. And he is not supposed to beg from the same people again tomorrow. No monk is supposed to beg from the same place where some other monk has already begged. Now this creates trouble; each monk has to beg from many families.
So fifty families, sixty families, follow those travelling monks with all kinds of food. And of course everything is also needed for themselves, they have to carry tents and everything. And there are only twenty-two naked Jaina monks left because the whole thing is so arduous that when one naked monk dies, he is not replaced. It is very difficult. So fifty, sixty buses, a whole procession… Then the tents, and a whole city will be put together in the night because in the morning the monk will come. And they have to make temples in places where they cannot even find a Jaina worshipper. They have to hire a brahmin to worship in the temple.
Now, brahmins and Jainas are enemies – Jainism is a revolt against Brahminism – but brahmins are the only people who know how to worship, so they will be paid to do it. They are not really worshipping; you can see, how can they worship the enemy? This man Mahavira, whose statue is there in the Jaina temple, has been continually criticizing brahmins. Now, the brahmin worships for a salary. Perhaps deep inside he is cursing, but on the surface he is praising and showering flowers and doing whatsoever Jainism prescribes for use in worship.
Then the whole city will be ready by the morning. The monk comes, and the monk knows about all these buses and that this whole city of tents has been raised in the night. When he came the previous day there was not a single tent at all. And all these people he knows, because they have been following him for four months. Now, these people have to be rich to drop all their businesses, to take their whole family around. And the season is really difficult. In some places there are two hundred inches of rain, and in some places, perhaps the worst, five hundred inches of rain – and they have to follow the monk even to the mountains, because Jainas make their sacred places on the mountains.
Hindus make their sacred places by the side of rivers. Because Hindus had already monopolized the rivers, Jainas had to do something to defeat them – the same competitive mind is everywhere. So they thought that the best thing would be to choose the highest peaks of the mountains and show these fools that the rivers are dirty. People in India even throw dead bodies, half-burned bodies, dead animals into the rivers, and these are your sacred places? So the Jainas made their sacred places on high mountains.
Those buses follow them, and tent cities will arise on those mountains, just there in the night when the monk is sleeping, but not before his eyes. I have asked these naked monks, “Do you really not know that these people are following you – the same faces, the same tents, the same buses – for four months? They are befooling themselves, but whom are you befooling? And what is the purpose of all this circus?”
In private they would say to me, “You are right, but what can we say about it? You always hit wherever it hurts most. You have a knack,” they would say to me, “of hitting people at their weakest point. Now this is clear, four months… I know, but I cannot say it in public, because then how would I survive?” He depends on these people. These people are businessmen, they are investing money. They want him to say to the poor, “You are suffering from your past bad karmas, and these rich people are enjoying their good karmas from a past life. If you want to enjoy yourself then do good karmas, obey the scriptures, follow the principles handed down by the great masters, and in your next life you will be rich.”
I was trying to explain why the priests have to bring in the next life: because about this life they cannot do anything. And about the next life, one thing is good: that nobody knows what will happen – whether anything will happen or not, whether anybody will survive or not. This strategy was invented so that the explanation would remain rational. Otherwise, there are people who are doing all that the scriptures say, and yet they are suffering, they are poor, they are sick. They ask, “We are doing everything that you say – then why are we suffering?” Leaving them aside, even these Jaina monks… One dies with cancer, now what is he suffering for? In his whole life he never did a single thing that can be said to be wrong. You have to find the explanation somewhere in his past lives.
Man is in misery because religions have not helped him to destroy the causes of misery. On the contrary, they have consoled him so that he remains as he is.
Revolt, revolution are of the same order as disobedience, disorder, creating chaos: you will suffer tremendously in the coming life. You are suffering now, and you are preparing the ground for more suffering. So they created this gap between this life and the coming life, the past life and this life. And it is a beautiful strategy, because neither have you any evidence of your past life – that you committed any bad actions or good actions – nor have you any way to know what is going to happen to you in the next life, the coming life.
They have given beautiful explanations and camouflaged the whole stinking reality behind beautiful flowers, so that you smell the flower and you forget the stinking river flowing just underneath as an undercurrent. Throw away these flowers and immediately you will be able to see why humanity is in so much suffering.
The new thing that has happened is, as I said before, that one percent of humanity has come to a point where it can become a little alert, awake. And that one percent of humanity, becoming aware of the misery, seeing the whole of humanity already in hell, is asking: “What hell are you talking about? There cannot be anything worse than what is happening on the earth.” This one percent of humanity has created such questions. Those questions have also reached those people who are not so alert, but the questions have reached them anyway. They have also heard and started feeling some little stirring of consciousness: “Yes, there is misery, and immense misery.”
Politicians have been deceiving you. They say, “If there is democracy, there will be no suffering. If there is independence, there will be no suffering. If there is socialism there will be no suffering. If there is communism suffering disappears.” But there is democracy, and suffering goes on growing, accumulating. Countries are independent – not all countries are in slavery – but even in the countries that are independent, the misery is not less. Perhaps it is even more, because now they cannot dump their misery on anybody else – they are independent. A slave country at least has a consolation. That is my experience.
Before India became independent there was such a feeling all over India. My house was a place of conspiracy. My two uncles had been in jail many times, and every week they had to go to the police station to report that they were not doing anything against the government, and that they were still living in the same place. They were not allowed to move out of the town – but people were coming to them, and they all had so much hope.
I was a small child but I always wondered, “These people are saying that just by becoming independent, all misery will disappear. How can that happen? I don’t see any connection.” But there was hope. There was the promised land very close by; just a little struggle and you would reach it. There was suffering but you were not responsible for it, the Britishers were responsible. It was a great consolation to dump everything on the Britishers.
In fact, I used to question these revolutionaries who would secretly visit my house, or sometimes stay in my house for months. One of them, a very famous revolutionary, Bhavani Prasad Tiwari, was the national leader of the socialist party. Whenever he had to go underground he used to come to my village and just live in my house, hidden. For the whole day he would not come out – and nobody knew him in the village anyway. But I was after him. He told me again and again, “You bring such inconvenient questions that sometimes I think it would be better to be in a British jail than in your house. At least there I would get first class treatment.”
He was a famous leader so he would have received first class treatment – political prisoners’ special class – with all the facilities, good food, a good library. And at least he would have some freedom, because first class prisoners were not forced to do any labor. They would write their autobiographies and other books: all the books these great Indian leaders have written were written in jails. And they would go for walks. They were put in beautiful places that were not even jails; they were created especially for them.
For example in Pune there was a palace just opposite us, on the other side of the river: the Aga Khan palace. It was a palace. Gandhi was kept prisoner there and his wife too. His wife died there, her grave is still there in the Aga Khan’s palace. You might have seen it in Pune – when you pass the bridge, just on top of the hill above there is a beautiful house.
I had asked the owner, because the owner lived in Mumbai and used to come to me, “Whatsoever you want you can take, but give that house to me before I move to Pune. I want that house.” – because in the whole of Pune, that was the highest point from where you could see the whole city, and it was really a beautiful palace.
He said, “It is difficult because it belongs to my mother. She is the owner of the house and she will not sell it because Gandhi was kept prisoner there, and she is a follower of Gandhi. She wants to make it a national museum in the memory of Gandhi. It is impossible to persuade her – and particularly for you. Even your name is unmentionable in my family. When I come here I have to say I am going somewhere else. Your name is unmentionable.” Gandhians will not mention my name because I have been speaking against Gandhi continually.
So these special palaces were turned into prisons. They had acres of greenery, beautiful views. So Bhavani Prasad Tiwari used to say to me, “It would be better if I stop going underground, because you ask inconvenient questions.”
I said, “If you cannot answer them, what is going to happen to the country when the country becomes independent? They will be the questions which you will have to solve. You cannot even answer them verbally, and then you will actually have to solve them. I asked him, “Just by the Britishers leaving the country” – and there were not many Britishers – “how is poverty going to disappear? And do you want me to believe that before the Britishers came to India, India was not poor?”
It was as poor as it is now, perhaps even poorer, because the Britishers brought industry and technology that helped the country to become a little better. They brought education, schools, colleges, universities. Before that, there was no way to be educated: the only educated people were the brahmins, because the father would teach the son. They kept everybody else uneducated because that was the best way to keep them enslaved. Education can be dangerous.
“How are you going to destroy poverty? How are you going to destroy the hundreds of kinds of anxieties and miseries which have nothing to do with the British? Now, a husband is suffering because of his wife – how is it going to help? The Britishers have gone, okay; but the wife will still be there, the husband will still be there – how is it going to change anything?”
He said, “I know it is very difficult, but let us first get independence.”
I said, “I know that after independence the problems will be the same, perhaps worse.”
They are worse. In three hundred years not a single British governor general was assassinated. Now you can assassinate the prime minister. Your independence has given you great intelligence! In three hundred years the Punjabi Sikhs never said that they want a separate nation. Now they want a separate nation. This is what independence has given to people.
But the real question is about the Hindu minority who live in the Punjab. They will all be killed. Either they will have to become Sikhs, or they will have to be slaughtered. So it is not only a question of giving independence to a particular state. But the problem is of the Hindu minority. Where to take them? They will all be killed.
That’s what happened in Pakistan. When Pakistan was created, all the Hindus who tried to remain in Pakistan were slaughtered. And Pakistan was not enriched by it. These are not the ways to become rich. Pakistan is now far poorer than India. The poverty has become greater because the population has grown. Now, the Britishers are not responsible for the growing population. You go on producing children.
Political leaders have kept humanity hoping – always somewhere far away, the great hope. For the classless society Russia suffered everything for more than sixty years: “The classless society is going to happen soon!” When will those days of waiting be finished? This is an old strategy. Jesus used to say to his followers, “Very soon you will be with me in the Kingdom of God. Very soon you will see that those who follow me are saved, and those who don’t follow me fall into eternal hell.” It has not happened yet, and we don’t even know whether Jesus is with God or not.
He even promised that he would be coming back. I think he must have lost courage – once crucified is enough! Now again he will be crucified, this time in the Vatican, because this time he will be coming as a Christian. And the pope will be the person who will decide: “This man has to be crucified – he is a pretender, an anti-Christ. He is not our lord, because when our lord comes he will come with glory, sitting on a cloud. That’s how the lord has to come. And this man is born out of a woman, and not even out of a virgin.” They are looking for the cloud the lord will be coming on, and the lord has escaped!
But the hope… Politicians go on giving hope and nothing materializes. One thing has to be understood clearly: no hope is going to help; no false explanation is going to help. You have to put aside all this crap and see into reality as it is. The reality is that this earth cannot tolerate so great a population; the population has to become almost half the size that it is now. But the way it is moving, it will be doubled by the end of this century. Misery will also be doubled.
I would like the population to be half of what it is – but for that you need intelligence, understanding. You have to understand that children are not sent by God. There is no God who is sending children.
In fact, a single man has enough seeds, in his forty or fifty years’ lifetime, while he is capable of producing children, to produce the whole population of the earth – a single man! In each sexual orgasm, millions of potential human beings are lost. This is not something that God is doing, otherwise he is a very stupid God. What is the point of giving so many seeds to a man when the woman normally can only have one egg fertilized in a year? This is what created the trouble: man started having many wives. But a woman cannot start having many husbands – because a man can make many women pregnant, but if a woman has many husbands, what will they be doing? One woman, one man makes her pregnant, so the remaining ones go to Oregon – where else?
This has nothing to do with God, this is simple biology. People have to be told to understand biology and to use all the methods which are available to reduce the population completely to half of what it is.
Stop bothering to go to the synagogue, to the temple, to the church, because they have befooled you enough. Stop asking these people – the rabbis, the monks, the priests – because all that they know they have been giving as consolation for thousands of years and all their consolations have proved impotent.
You have to turn from politicians, from religious people, to the scientist. The whole of humanity has to focus on science if it wants to get rid of misery.
And my religion I call the science of the inner soul. It is not religion; it is an exact science. Just as science functions in the objective world, this science functions in the subjective world.
Remember, the outer science can help immensely to reduce your suffering and misery by almost ninety percent. And once you remove ninety percent of your suffering and miseries, which are physical, biological – science can very easily remove them – then the remaining ten percent of misery will be for the first time clear to you. Right now it is lost in the mess of this ninety percent of misery.
Then you will be able to see that all that misery was nothing compared to this ten percent; this ten percent is the real anguish. And that can be transformed only through inward movement: call it meditation, awareness, watchfulness.
But that ten percent misery is of tremendous weight. The ninety percent is nothing, it is just hunger – you need food, you need shelter, you need employment, and all these things can be tackled by science.
Remove the priest completely. He has no function for the future. He has already done enough mischief. Focus on science, and then immediately you will see a new dimension arising in you, of which you were not aware.
It was there – but a hungry man, how can he think whether life has meaning or not? A hungry man cannot think whether the flower is beautiful or not; he is hungry. You cannot talk to him about music and poetry and painting. That will be humiliating him; it will just be an insult, an outright insult. But once these problems disappear then he will start, for the first time, to inquire about real existential questions which can be answered only by a subjective science.
So there is no future for religion. There is a future for an objective science to deal with objective matters, and a subjective science to deal with your inward matters. One will take care of your physiology, biology. The other will take care of your psychology and your ultimate center: the soul.

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