From Ignorance to Innocence 02

Second Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - From Ignorance to Innocence by Osho.
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What do you think about the philosophy of nonviolence, and particularly about the Christian idea of turning the other cheek?
I am not a philosopher. The philosopher thinks about things. It is a mind approach. My approach is a no-mind approach. It is just the very opposite of philosophizing. It is not thinking about things, ideas, but seeing with a clarity that comes when you put your mind aside, when you see through silence, not through logic. Seeing is not thinking.
The sun rises: if you think about it you miss it, because while you are thinking about it, you are going away from it. In thinking you can move miles away, and thoughts go faster than anything possible.
If you are seeing the sunrise then one thing has to be certain, that you are not thinking about it. Only then can you see it. Thinking becomes a veil on the eyes. It gives its own color, its own idea to the reality. It does not allow reality to reach you, it imposes itself upon reality; it is a deviation from reality.
Hence no philosopher has ever been able to know the truth. All the philosophers have been thinking about the truth. But thinking about the truth is an impossibility. Either you know it, or you don’t. If you know it, there is no need to think about it. If you don’t know it, how can you think about it? A philosopher thinking about truth is just like a blind man thinking about light. If you have eyes, you don’t think about light, you see it.
Seeing is a totally different process; it is a byproduct of meditation.
Hence I would not like my way of life ever to be called a philosophy, because it has nothing to do with philosophy. You can call it philosia. The word philo means love; sophy means wisdom, knowledge – love for knowledge. In philosia, philo means the same love, and sia means seeing: love, not for knowledge but for being – not for wisdom, but for experiencing.
So that is the first thing to be remembered. Nonviolence is a philosophy to Mahatma Gandhi; it is not a philosophy to me, it is a philosia. That’s where I have been constantly struggling with Gandhian philosophers, thinkers.
Gandhi wrote his autobiography entitled Experiments with Truth. Now that is utter absurdity; you cannot experiment with truth. When you are silent, truth is there in its fullness, in its absolute glory. And when you are not silent, truth is absent. When you are silent, truth does not appear like an object before you. When you are silent, suddenly you recognize you are the truth. There is nothing to see. The seer is the seen, the observer is the observed; that duality no longer exists. And there is no question of thinking. There is no doubt, there is no belief; there is no idea.
Gandhi was trying to experiment with truth. The simple implication is: you know what truth is; otherwise how are you going to experiment with it? And for a man who knows truth, what is the need to experiment? He lives it; for him there is no alternative. To Gandhi everything is philosophy; to me everything is philosia. Gandhi is a thinker, I am not a thinker. My approach is existential, not mental. Nonviolence – the very word is not appealing to me, it is not my taste, because it is negative. Violence is positive; nonviolence is negative. Nobody has paid any attention to the simple fact that you are making violence positive, solid; and nonviolence is simply negating it.
I call it reverence for life; I don’t use the word nonviolence. Reverence for life – it is positive; then nonviolence happens just of its own accord. If you feel reverence for life, how can you be violent? But it is possible you can be nonviolent and still you may not have any reverence for life.
I know these so-called nonviolent people. You will be amazed to know that in Kolkata, Jainas have a very important place. In all the big cities – Mumbai, Kolkata – the Jainas are the super-rich people. In Kolkata I came to know of a strange phenomenon; when I saw it for the first time I could not believe my eyes. I used to stay in the house of a very unique man, Sohanlal Dugar. He was unique in many ways. I loved the man – he was very colorful. He was old – he died seven years ago. When he met me first, at that time he was seventy years old, but he lived to ninety.
He met me in Jaipur, that was his home town, and he invited me to Kolkata because that was his business place. From there he controlled the whole silver market, not only of India but of the whole of Asia. He was called the Silver King. I had heard about him, but I had no idea who the person was. When he came to me for the first time in Jaipur, he touched my feet – an old man dressed in the Rajasthani way with a yellow turban, very ancient-looking in every way – and took out bundles of notes from the pockets of his coat and wanted to give them to me.
I said, “But right now I don’t need them. You just give me your address; whenever I need I will inquire and if you are still in possession of wealth and in the mood to give, you can give. But right now I don’t have any need, so why unnecessarily give me trouble? I am going now to travel for thirty-six hours, and I will have to take care of these notes. I will not even be able to sleep because anybody might take them. So please keep them.” He just started crying, tears pouring from his eyes. I said, “But I have not said anything that would hurt you so much.”
He said, “Nothing else hurts me more. I am a poor man because I have only money and nothing else. I want to do something for you – I feel so much for you – but I am a poor man: except money, I have nothing. And if you refuse my money, you refuse me, because I don’t have anything else. So take this money. If you want to burn it, burn it here right now. If you want to throw it away, throw it away right now – that is your business. But remember, never again refuse money from me, because that means you are refusing me. I have nothing else to offer.” His tears were so sincere and authentic, and what he said was so meaningful, that I said, “Okay. Give me this money, and take out the rest too You have more in your pockets.”
He said, “That’s right. That’s the man I have been in search of,” and he took it all out. He showed me his pockets, inside out, and said, “Now, right now, I don’t have anything else, but this is the man I have been in search of.” And he invited me to Kolkata.
Where he lived was a Jaina colony. Jainas tend to live together in one place because they don’t want to associate with “lower human beings.” They think they are the highest, the purest, the most religious. There, he told me, “I will show you something which will surprise you.” He took me to one of his rooms, opened the window, and said, “Look outside.”
Outside I saw… I could not figure out what it was. There were at least one hundred cots, without any mattresses on them, and one hundred people on those naked cots trying to sleep. I said, “But what is the matter? Why are the mattresses missing, and why don’t they have any pillows? They are certainly in discomfort; you can see they are tossing and turning.”
He said, “You don’t know the reality of what you are seeing. There is something more to it: these people are hired by Jainas.”
I said, “Hired? For what?”
He said, “To sleep on these cots.”
I said, “But what is the purpose of it all?”
He explained. In India, in hot countries, insects of all kinds grow very easily. A certain insect that you call in English a bedbug lives in the cots.
Jainas cannot kill them because of their philosophy of nonviolence. They cannot kill them, but if nobody sleeps on those cots, the bedbugs will die – so they hire people. They will give you five rupees per night: you sleep in a cot full of bedbugs and they will suck your blood the whole night.
Nonviolent people are not necessarily life-reverent. Now what kind of business is going on? They are saving the bedbugs – but what about these poor men? But the Jainas don’t think about that. They are paying them so there is no problem with it. The people have agreed to sleep on the cots; and they are paying them.
But just to think of the idea, that you will put a man in such a situation. And the man must be in trouble because why should he be ready, for five rupees, to destroy his whole life? Maybe his mother is dying, maybe his wife is in hospital, maybe his father had an accident and those five rupees are essential for medicine, for food, for something. And every day there is a line: not all the people get in. There are only a hundred cots; those who get in are fortunate. And these people who are paying them are earning virtue. Their bank balance in the other world is growing – they have saved so many bedbugs from dying. A strange love affair with bedbugs! And they don’t think about this man, the whole night being tortured. No, they have paid him, so there is no guilt about that.
I want you to remember: a man believing in nonviolence need not be necessarily life-reverent. But one who reveres life is bound to be nonviolent – that is its necessary corollary. But his nonviolence will have a totally different flavor. It will not be Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolence.
For example: Gandhi is continually trying to teach nonviolence to his disciples, and following it himself. He is not a fraud; whatsoever he believes may be wrong, but he does it with his totality. His intention is always sincere, you cannot doubt his sincerity, but his intelligence is not so indubitable. And a man with strong intentions, but not a high quality of intelligence, is more dangerous than anybody, because the intention is blind. Gandhi thought that he was teaching nonviolence, but in fact he was teaching people to be violent to themselves.
This cannot happen to my way of life. Reverence for life does not exclude me. If I am full of reverence for life all around, how can I be irreverent toward my own life?
In deep silence there is no mine and no thine. Life is simply life; it is one flow. We are joined together by invisible threads. If I hurt you, I hurt myself. If I hurt myself, I am hurting you all.
I want the distinction to be clear. It is delicate. The man who believes in nonviolence will be very careful not to be violent to anybody – too careful! But because he has not experienced reverence for life, it is only an ideology. Rationally he has concluded that this is good, that this is the right path, and he is going to be very violent to himself. In fact his violence toward others will turn upon himself but the proportion will remain the same.
I have experienced it in people, for example hunters, who are violent people, killers. Just near my university, two hundred miles away, was a forest reserve – one of the most beautiful forests in India, Kanha Keshali. For hundreds of miles, all kinds of wild life – you could find every kind possible, imaginable. Hunting was prohibited except for special guests of the viceroy, of the governor, and later on, of the prime minister, the president, and the chief minister. For special guests hunting was allowed, otherwise it was completely prohibited.
Whenever I had time I used to drive to Kanha Keshali. The rest house in Kanha Keshali was in such a beautiful place, on a vast lake, surrounded by greenery as far as you could see. And for days you would not come across or see a man, but you would see thousands of deer passing in the night. And in the night the deer’s eyes become almost flames. A thousand or two thousand deer passing in the night, if it was a full-moon night you could see thousands of small lights moving in line. And they had to come to the lake in the night to drink water. All the animals would come in the night; you only had to sit in the rest house and you would be able to see lions and tigers.
Once in a while I would meet a group of hunters, special people. I was surprised to know one thing, that these hunters were violent people, but very loving, very friendly. I have lived with nonviolent people who are never loving, never friendly. The contrast was such that I started to look deeper into it: what was the matter? I made friends with great hunters of India, kings, princes – and in India there were so many maharajas and so many princes, and they were all hunters. If you go into a maharaja’s palace you will find out how many lions he has killed; they are all on exhibition. The whole house is full of dead animals, preserved, stuffed. And that is their pride.
I started making friends with these people and what I found was that they were all very nice, very loving, very simple and very innocent people. The man may have killed one hundred lions, but he himself is very childlike. He has not that arrogant, egoistic attitude of a nonviolent Jaina or a nonviolent Gandhian. He is a simple man, a simple human being. He knows he is not a saint. But these people who believe in nonviolence automatically start believing they are saints, superior beings, higher than everybody else. In their egoistic attitude there is more violence than there may be in the whole life of a hunter who has killed many animals.
The nonviolent believer does no violence to you physically, but psychologically he is very violent. Psychologically he will try to prove his superiority in every possible way. And one thing more: whatsoever violence he has prevented reaching others has not simply disappeared; things don’t disappear like that. The violent mind is inside. If you don’t allow it to express its violence on others, it is going to turn upon itself.
So, nonviolent people have been torturing themselves in every possible way. They are very inventive in finding new methods of torturing themselves. The violence has not disappeared; it has only taken a roundabout turn. Gandhi was very violent to himself – just any excuse and he would go on a fast. Fasting is violence. If you keep somebody else starving it is violence. And if you keep yourself starving, isn’t it violence? Do you have double standards?
Whether I keep you starving or I keep myself starving, it is the same; the same principle and the same standard should be applied: I am a violent man, if not to your body, then to my own body. And in being violent with you, there was a possibility that you may have retaliated – you may have stopped me being violent to you. But to be violent with your own body is the easiest thing in the world. What can your body do? It cannot retaliate, it cannot prevent you. It has no defense against you. So the person who is violent to others, at least is violent to someone who has the right to defend himself and can be violent in return. But the person who is violent with himself is really cunning, very cunning. He has found the most innocent victim in the world, defenseless. You can do anything you want to your own body.
There have been monks who have been beating their body every morning, till the blood starts oozing all over the body. And they were thought to be great saints! There was one Christian saint in Alexandria who remained on a sixty-foot-high pillar – on top of it there was space enough just to sit. For thirty years he remained sitting on that pillar. He was sleeping there; people were sending food and he was pulling the food up on ropes. He was defecating, urinating from the pillar…but this was thought to be great austerity. And from hundreds of miles people would come to pay respect to this madman. He had no other quality, but even kings came to pay him respect. What was he doing? – just torturing himself.
I have seen in India so many people torturing themselves in so many ways that it became absolutely clear to me that all the religions up to now have been dominated by sado-masochists. There is no question about it. These religions give enough evidence that the people who founded the religions and the people who followed the religions were sado-masochists.
I came across a man who was standing for many years. Now, you cannot stand very long; he was standing for many years. All his body had shrunk. His whole weight had gone into the legs; the legs had become elephant legs. Now even if he wanted to sit, it was impossible. He had to sleep standing. Just in front of him there was a wooden support hanging from the ceiling. He would put his hands on the support and sleep that way, and the whole day also he was standing. And thousands of people were worshipping him.
I asked them, “What quality is there that you are worshipping? Is it just because he is standing, just because he is an idiot? What has he gained by standing? Just look at his face. Has he ever said a single thing which has any meaning?” He was a very ordinary man. But he managed, just by standing, to become a great sage. Now, this man is nonviolent to everybody but himself; this is sheer violence. And I cannot conceive, if you have reverence for life, how you can destroy your own life in this way.
Jainism is the only religion which allows a monk, if he wills it, to fast unto death. They don’t call it suicide, they have a very beautiful name for it: santhara. Santhara means one who has dropped the lust for life, who has gone beyond the lust for living. Many Jaina monks die every year by santhara. The government cannot do anything because it is their religious practice. The secular government is not supposed to interfere in anybody’s religion. And they don’t commit suicide by taking poison or killing themselves with a sword – no, they have a very torturous method. An electric chair would be far more nonviolent – you just sit on it and you are gone, you may not even feel it. Or you can be put under chloroform, so you don’t even feel when you are and when you are not.
But the Jaina monk will fast for two months, three months. There have been cases which have lasted up to ninety days: three months of not eating. He goes on becoming a skeleton; as more and more days pass, more crowds go on coming and he cannot even open his eyes. People are singing and chanting in his praise, and I don’t think he can hear anything – for two months he has been on the fast; he is just bones. You can say he is alive because he is still breathing, but except for the breathing and the pulse and the heartbeat, there is no sign of life. For three months he may hang on in this limbo, between death and life. And these people are nonviolent people!
Gandhi learned his nonviolence from these idiots. He recognized as one of his gurus, his masters, a Jaina monk, Shrimad Rajchandra, who tortured himself and taught people the same – because what else are you going to teach people? Whatever you are doing, you are going to teach people the same. Hence I call them sado-masochists; these people are both. Ordinarily, in psychiatric hospitals you will find somebody is a sadist, somebody is a masochist; it is very rarely you find one man having both diseases, the sado-masochist.
The sadist enjoys torturing others. Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mussolini, Mao Zedong, Tamerlane, Nadirshar, Alexander, Napoleon – these are the people who are sadists, who enjoy others being tortured. And there are masochists who enjoy torturing themselves. The masochists offer themselves to be tortured. They are in search of a sadist.
Somebody was asking me what kind of a man and woman would be the best couple. I said, “One should be a sadist and one should be a masochist. That will be the best-fitting couple in the world. They are never going to divorce. One enjoys torturing; the other enjoys being tortured. They are immensely fulfilled.” And there are couples who you may think are ideal couples, for the simple reason that one is a sadist and the other is a masochist. They fit.
The masochist finds strange ways, philosophies, rationalizations. A sannyasin, Veena, is here… When she first came to see me, fifteen years ago, she brought a young man; she had come with that young man. The young man was in search of a master who could teach him to live only on water. Veena had brought that masochist. But he did not think he was a masochist. He thought he was in search of the most natural way of living. Of course he could not stay with me. Veena had brought him; he escaped. Veena was left with me. That kind of man you will find in many places. Somebody becomes a naturalist, and he lives according to the ideals naturopathy gives him.
One of my aunts was a naturopathy freak. I told her many times, “You will simply kill yourself doing these stupid things.” And that’s what happened. She was perfectly okay, but the naturopath goes on finding something wrong. And if you search you will find; the body is a complex phenomenon. Just a slight headache, and that’s enough to go on a fast; you are just feeling tired, that’s enough to take an enema. Anything…and you know what to do because you go on reading. Books are available with simple treatments, and there are not many of them, so every patient becomes a doctor in naturopathy. Just any small book you can read, and that’s all, it is not much.
I told her again and again… I was living with her for four years, and I was preventing her in every possible way. I would throw out her enemas, and throw away her bath tub – she had many sizes of sitz baths, and I don’t know what. She had such a collection of strange instruments, and I would simply throw them out. The moment I found anything I would throw it away. And she was continually putting mud packs on her stomach, on her head, on her back. I said, “What is going on? Continually – twenty-four hours a day? Millions of people are moving around but nobody is doing these things that you go on doing.” So while I was in the house I would take away her mud packs, ice packs, hot packs – but the moment I would leave the house, because I had to go to the university, she would immediately try to do her thing.
For two years I had to go out of Jabalpur for my MA degree. In those two years she killed herself – not even two years, it took just one year. I had not even completed my course there; after just nine or ten months I went to see her; she could not even recognize me. And it was her own doing. I told her husband, “You see now? You were supporting her doing these things. And you were all against me, saying: ‘You are taking her instruments and things and then she has to try and find them in different places.’” She had different kinds of mud from different mines. She would go miles to find a special kind of mud. “And you were telling me: ‘It is not good that you threw them all away.’ Now I was away for just nine months and she went mad…” The doctors said that she couldn’t survive; she had destroyed her whole system.
In India naturopathy became associated with Yoga, naturally, because that is a traditional thing. So to clean yourself… Now what uncleanliness is there? And if you are really going to clean yourself, you are going to die because everything is unclean. Inside there is blood and mucus and meat, flesh, this and that; everything is unclean – so clean yourself!
She was continually cleaning herself. You can clean your lower intestines with an enema, but you cannot clean the upper part with an enema. Yoga has a method for it: you swallow a thirty-foot-long cloth just like a thin rope. You go on swallowing it so it goes inside you – it is thirty foot long so it is going to go right inside – and then leave it as long as you can. Then take it out so it brings all the mucus and anything that is impure from inside. I was preventing her from doing this, but once I was gone she was completely free, so she cleaned herself – and died. Then I told her husband, “Now you clean yourself and follow her.”
Other people just eat rice; they say that rice is the only right thing. These people are basically finding some way they can convince themselves that they are not torturing themselves but are doing something good to themselves.
So, people like Adolf Hitler are sadists. Then there are masochists. Masochists don’t do much harm, they only do harm to themselves. Sadists do tremendous harm because their joy is in torturing others. But the greatest harm is done by sado-masochists.
Mahatma Gandhi is a sado-masochist. First he tortures himself; that self-torture gives him the authority to torture you. He knows the path, he knows the way; he has done it all. He was also a faddist about naturopathy, mud packs and enemas, and only eating this and not eating that. And this had to be followed by everybody. Of course he was far ahead of the disciples, so he had the authority. The disciples knew that they had limitations, but they would do the best they could. The master of course is the master.
I have no philosophy of nonviolence, but I have a way of life, which you can call reverence for life. And this is a totally different perspective.
Nonviolence simply says don’t kill others. Do you think that is enough? It is only a negative statement: don’t kill others, don’t harm others. Is that enough? Reverence for life says share, give your joy, your love, your peace, your bliss. Whatsoever you can share, share.
If you are reverent toward life then it becomes worship.
Then everywhere you feel existence alive. Then watering a tree becomes worship. Then feeding a guest becomes worship. And you are not obliging anybody, you are not doing a service; you are simply enjoying yourself. The same way those people are enjoying torturing, you are enjoying sharing.
So I want it to be remembered by you once and for all that reverence for life is my approach. Then nonviolence comes automatically, there is no need to bother about it. And when it comes of its own accord it is never ugly.
And you ask me: What do I say about the Christian philosophy, the Christian attitude of turning the other cheek? Jesus learned that idea from India. There was no other way for him to learn it, because Jewish scriptures have no ideas about nonviolence. Even the Jewish God is not nonviolent. He clearly declares, “I am an angry god. And those who are not with me are against me. I am not nice,” he says, “I am not your uncle.”
Certainly he is your father, not your uncle. With an uncle you can have some nice relationship, friendship. Mostly uncles are nice. But your father… So he makes it clear: “Don’t try to make me your uncle. I am not your uncle.” Actually declaring this: “I am not your uncle, remember it, and I am not nice; I am a very angry and jealous god.” When Adolf Hitler said, “Those who are not with me are against me,” perhaps he was not aware that he was being very Jewish! That is the attitude of the Jewish God.
From where did Jesus get the idea of nonviolence? It had never existed anywhere except in India. And particularly at the time when Jesus moved from Egypt to India, it was very much in the air because Mahavira had passed away just five hundred years before, Buddha had passed away just five hundred years before. Sanjay Viletthiputta who was a very significant master, Ajit Keshkambal who was also a very charismatic figure, Makhkhali Gosal – all these people had turned the whole climate of India toward nonviolence. Everybody was talking about nonviolence.
Brahmins became ashamed of their scriptures; they started changing the commentaries on their scriptures. They started changing their rituals. You will be surprised: now if you go into a Hindu temple, you are supposed to offer a coconut. This coconut was originally not a coconut but the head of a man. But a coconut resembles the head of a man: it has two eyes, beard, and a skull. They started interpreting their scriptures to say that it was not actually a man’s head; it was only a coconut you had to offer. You will see in India the statues of Hanumana covered with a red color. Once it was blood, but they had to change it, otherwise they would look very foolish.
The whole country was impressed by these great teachers; they were all of tremendous importance, and they were logically mostly on solid ground. They stopped all kinds of sacrifices. But what will you do without blood? Some red color substitute will do. A few very orthodox places continued in their old ways. For example in Kolkata, in the temple of Kali, animals are still killed every year and the blood is poured over Kali. In very orthodox places it remained; otherwise it disappeared and substitutes came in.
When Jesus reached India, he must have reached at the time when the whole country was agog with the philosophy of nonviolence. He got the idea from India, and that is one of the reasons why Jews could not accept him. He got many ideas from India and from Egypt. When he came back he was thirty: from thirteen to thirty – seventeen years – are completely missing from all Christian accounts. Those seventeen years he spent in Egypt, in India, in Kashmir, in Ladakh, and perhaps Tibet too. The vibe of Buddha and Mahavira was still very alive, so it was not his own vision.
But he became tremendously impressed by the idea of nonviolence.
And the idea was rational: to harm somebody must be against God, because it is God’s creation – you should not be destructive. But the question was, if others harm you, then…? That’s where turning the other cheek comes in; that was his invention. It is mentioned nowhere in Indian scriptures that you turn the other cheek. The question was not raised, it seems. Nonviolence was preached so rationally that nobody asked, “If somebody harms you, then what?”
Mahavira and Buddha would be perfectly ready: “Let him harm you, he will be punished by his karmas. Do not bother about it; go on your way.”
Yes, once Buddha was asked, “If somebody hits me,” a bhikku, a monk asked him, “what am I supposed to do?”
Buddha said, “You are walking and a branch of a tree falls on you, hits you. What are you going to do?”
The man said, “What can I do? It was just an accident, a mere coincidence that I was under the tree and the branch fell down.”
Buddha said, “So do the same. Somebody was crazy, mad, angry; he hit you. It is just like a branch falling on you. Don’t be disturbed by this, don’t be distracted by this. Just go on your way as if nothing has happened.”
But when Jesus came back to Jerusalem and started saying this – people must have been asking him again and again because it was so new to the Jewish tradition. It was bringing in a very foreign idea which did not fit with the Jewish structure at all.
Jesus said that if somebody hits you on one cheek, turn the other cheek. You are asking me what I have to say about it. This will be the attitude of a man who believes in the idea of nonviolence, the philosopher of nonviolence. But when you are hit by somebody and you give him the other cheek, you are encouraging violence in the world. It is not nonviolence.
And you are assuming something which is absolutely your imagination. If somebody hits me, according to Jesus I have to give him my other cheek. But his tastes may be different. He may have enjoyed the first hit, he may enjoy the second even more: he may be a sadist. Then you are encouraging a sadist to torture people; you are encouraging violence. Even to allow your own body to be tortured by somebody is to encourage violence.
No, this stupid ideology has been the downfall of the whole of India. After Buddha and Mahavira, India never again became the same golden bird it was. After Buddha and Mahavira the downfall began. Buddha and Mahavira are absolutely responsible for twenty-five centuries of slavery in India, because they taught people to be nonviolent. They completely forgot that the other people surrounding the country are not nonviolent. You are encouraging those people, inviting them: “Come and be violent to us.”
That’s actually what has happened in Indian history for twenty-five centuries. Anybody who wanted riches, women, slaves, invaded India. There was no trouble; India was nonviolent. Most probably they would pass through kingdoms and there would be no fight at all, no resistance even.
If you look at your nonviolence and it has provoked violence, then what kind of nonviolence is it? It has brought more violence in the world than there was before. Before Buddha and Mahavira, India was never invaded. There had never been any violence because people knew that to invade India was to just invite your death. But after Buddha and Mahavira’s teachings people became just like butter – you just cut into them with your knife, and there would be no noise at all. And millions of people were killed, burned, without any resistance because resistance would be violence.
But you go on missing the point that you are provoking the violence in the other person. Who is responsible for it? Now turning the other cheek means you are telling the other person, “Please hit me a little more, it is not enough; I am not satisfied. Hit me a little more so that I can become a little more saintly.” And you have only two cheeks. What are you going to do when he has hit you on your second cheek? What Jesus is saying looks like a beautiful statement but it is not at all practical, pragmatic or scientific.
Reverence for life approaches the whole problem from a different angle. I will say respect life, yours included. In fact, you have to be respectful toward yourself first, only then can you be respectful toward anybody else. Be loving toward yourself, then you will be able to love others too.
Reverence for life will not allow any provocation to violence. It will not start violence, but if anybody starts it, it will stop it immediately.
Jesus says, “If somebody hits you on one of your cheeks, turn the other cheek.” I say, “Okay, turn his other cheek – and hit him harder! Teach him a lesson. Make it clear to him that it is not so easy to hit somebody on the cheek; it comes back, and comes back harder. And if you are capable, hit both his cheeks at the same time. Why give him the chance to turn the other cheek and become a saint? Hit him and tell him simultaneously, ‘I do not believe in violence, hence I have to stop it at the first chance. And remember that you cannot just be violent without being prevented.’”
You have to prevent violence if you respect life.
And in another way too, it is respectful to hit the man, not to give him your other cheek, because that is very disrespectful. This may seem a little difficult for you: you hit me, and I don’t hit you, but show my other cheek to you, and say, “Please be kind enough to hit me.” I am trying to be superhuman and reduce you below humanity. I am humiliating you far more than I can humiliate you by hitting you. By hitting you I simply declare you are human, I am human, and I speak the same language that you speak. We are both on the same ground.
This is more respectful because you are not raising yourself higher; you are keeping yourself on the same level as the other man. You are telling him, “You are my brother; if you hit me you are going to get a bigger hit. Be watchful and be careful, because somewhere you may get into real trouble.”
I am not in favor of your being superior to the other man. That’s what Jesus is saying: “Be meek, be humble, turn the other cheek, because then you will inherit the Kingdom of God.”
I am not promising you any Kingdom of God. You are not going to inherit anything. You have already inherited it – that is your life. Be loving and respectful to it. Be loving and respectful to others. But don’t try to be superior and higher and above others. Don’t put the other man down.
You don’t find it in that sentence of Jesus, but it is there: that you are humiliating the other. You are creating guilt in the other. He will think it over at home: “What did I do? What kind of man was he? I hit him, and he gave me the other cheek. How cruel and how animal I am that I again hit him on the other cheek.” The man will not be able to sleep the whole night. He will come back tomorrow. The first thing he will want is to be forgiven. But to forgive him is again to put him down. No, I will say if he hits you, just be a sportsman. Don’t try to be a superman, just a sportsman. Hit him really hard and tell him, “Whenever you need a good hit, you can always depend on me.”
Never do any harm to anybody, but never allow anybody to do any harm to you either; only then can we create a human world. We have tried the other way in India, and the experiment has completely failed. Twenty-five centuries of slavery, slaughter, rape, and still nobody raises a finger to say that Buddha and Mahavira are responsible for it. They created this impotence in the whole country, this weakness in the whole country. No, I am not in favor of creating impotence, slavery, and provoking people to do violence to you.
Never do violence of your own accord, but never allow anybody else to do it to you either. Only then is there a possibility of creating a human world.

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