From Ignorance to Innocence 12

Twelth Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - From Ignorance to Innocence by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on

What is the greatest harm that the so-called religions have done to humanity?
The greatest harm that the so-called religions have done to humanity is to prevent humanity from finding the true religion. They pretended to be the true religion. All the religions of the world have conditioned the human mind from the very childhood to believe that theirs is the true religion: the religion in which the child is born.
A Hindu believes his religion is the only true religion in the world; all other religions are false. The same is the case with the Jew, with the Christian, with the Buddhist, with the Mohammedan. They are in agreement on one point, and that is that there is no need to find the true religion; the true religion is already available to you – you are born into it.
I call this their greatest harm because without authentic religion man can only vegetate, cannot really live. He remains a superficial being; he cannot attain to any profundity, authenticity. He knows nothing about his own depths. He knows about himself through others, what they say. Just the way you know your face through the mirror, so you are acquainted with yourself through other people’s opinions; you don’t know yourself directly. And the opinions that you depend on are of those people who are in a similar situation: they don’t know themselves.
These religions have created a society of blind people, and they go on telling them “You don’t need eyes.” Jesus had eyes – what is the need for Christians to have eyes? All that you have to do is to believe in Jesus; he will lead the way to paradise, you simply have to follow. You are not allowed to think, because thinking may take you astray. It is bound to take you on different paths than they want you to go, because thinking means sharpening your doubt, your intellect. And that is very dangerous for the so-called religions. Those religions want you dull, dead, somehow dragging; they want you without intelligence. But they are clever in using good names: they call it faith. It is nothing but the suicide of your intelligence.
A true religion will not require faith from you. A true religion will require experience. It will not ask you to drop your doubt, it will help you to sharpen your doubt so that you can inquire to the very end.
The true religion will help you to find your truth.
And remember, my truth can never be your truth because there is no way of transferring truth from one person to another. Mohammed’s truth is Mohammed’s truth; it cannot be yours just by becoming a Mohammedan. To you it will remain only a belief, and who knows whether Mohammed knows or not? Who knows, Jesus may simply be a fanatic, neurotic. That’s what modern psychiatrists, psychologists and psychoanalysts agree upon: that Jesus was a mental case.
To declare oneself to be the only begotten son of God, to declare, “I am the messiah who has come to redeem the whole world from suffering and sin” – do you think it is normal? And how many people has he redeemed? I don’t think that he was able to redeem even a single person from suffering and sin. He was certainly a megalomaniac.
How can you have faith? Even if a Gautam Buddha knows the truth, there is no way for you to know whether he knows it or not. Yes, you can recognize somebody knowing the truth, if you also know it; then you will have the capacity to smell it. Otherwise you simply believe in public opinion, you believe in mass psychology, which is the lowest.
Truth comes to the highest intelligence.
But if from the very beginning you are taught to believe, then you are crippled, you are destroyed. If from the very beginning you are conditioned to have faith, you have lost your soul. Then you will vegetate, you will not live. And that’s what millions of people around the world are doing: vegetating.
What life can you have? You don’t even know yourself. You don’t know from where you are coming, to where you are going, what the purpose of all this is. Who has prevented you? Not the Devil but the popes, the priests, the rabbis, the shankaracharyas – these are the real devils.
As far as I can see, all these synagogues, temples, mosques, churches – they are all dedicated to the Devil, not to God, because what they have done is not divine, it is sheer murder: slaughter of the whole human mind.
But they have done many other things also. This fundamental harm cannot be done alone, it needs support from many other harms. For example: the religions have demystified the universe. I consider that to be one of the greatest crimes.
Let me repeat, they have demystified the universe, and I consider it to be one of the greatest crimes. They have done it so cunningly, so cleverly that you are not even aware what has been done.
What do I mean when I say demystifying the universe? I mean they have supplied ready-made answers for you. All the religions have a certain catechism. Christians have approached me: “Why don’t you publish a small booklet which contains your catechism? Because you have so many books that it is difficult to read them all, to find out and figure out what your message is. It will be easy; just like the Christians have done, you can publish the catechism on a postcard.”
I had to tell them, “It is impossible for me because I don’t have a catechism at all. You will have to look into my books. You will have to enter into this jungle and you will have to find the message. And I don’t know whether you will be able to find one, or whether you yourself will be lost; the second is the more probable possibility.”
But all the religions have provided a catechism. What is a catechism? For questions which are unanswerable, they give you answers, even before you have asked. The child has not asked who has created the world; the child is not yet mature enough to ask such a question, but religions catch him before he becomes mature and the question arises. Once the question has arisen, their answer is not going to help.
Once the child asks who has created the world then the answer that God has created the world is not going to help, because the child is bound to ask, “Who has created God? The answer is not an answer because the question remains the same; it is just delayed a little bit – one step backward. And finally religions say, “God has not been created by anybody.” Very strange – because the logic behind their God is that everything that exists needs a creator.
I said to one of my religious teachers – I had to go every week to listen to his crap – “You gave me the logic: everything that exists needs a creator.”
He said, “Of course.”
I asked him, “Does God exist or not?”
He became alert: if he said that God exists, then he needs a creator – according to his own logic. And where this is going to land is a regress absurdum. You can go on: A created B, B created C, C created D – you can go on and the whole alphabet will be finished, and Z will be standing in front of you with the same question mark. Nothing has changed. The question was bogus; it was not answerable.
But no religion is courageous enough to say, “There are things about which you can ask a question, but don’t expect the answer. Life is a mystery.” And life can only be a mystery if there are questions which are unanswerable.
But then the religion loses all grip on your neck. If there are questions which are unanswerable, then what have your messiahs and messengers of God and incarnations of God…? What have all these fools been doing? They have all answered questions which are basically unanswerable, and should be left unanswerable. An honest person, a sincere mind, will accept the fact that yes there is a question but there is no answer.
Hence I say poetry is far more religious than your so-called holy books. Music is more religious than your so-called sermons of great apostles. Painting is more religious because paintings are not answers, they are rather reflections of the mystery that is existence. Poetry does not answer anything for you, it simply reflects: the sunrise, the sunset, a cloud wandering in the sky, a bird on the wing, a rainbow. It does not give you any answers.
A Zen haiku says:
The wild geese fly over a lake.
The lake of course reflects them.
They neither ask, “Please reflect us,” nor does the lake say, “Thank you for coming to be reflected in me.” The lake is silent, the wild geese are silent; the reflection happens, but not a single word is uttered from either side. Not only that, the wild geese have no expectation that they should be reflected; if they are not reflected they won’t feel offended. If the wild geese never come to the lake, the lake will not feel offended, rejected, humiliated. It has never asked, never invited them.
Things happen but there is no why to it. In poetry, painting, in music… Have you ever asked about great music: “What is the meaning of it?” Listening to Beethoven or Mozart have you ever asked, “What is the meaning of it?” Or looking at the paintings of Picasso…

It happened once: an American super-rich millionaire said to Picasso, “I want a few of your paintings.”
Picasso said, “But my paintings are very costly.”
The man said, “Money does not matter at all. Give me two paintings and whatsoever is the price – I will not ask the price – I will simply give it to you cash.”
Picasso was in difficulty because he had only one painting ready right then. He went inside and cut the painting in two, brought out two paintings and sold them.
One of his friends who was sitting and watching the whole scene said, “In the first place the painting was absolutely meaningless; I have never been able to figure it out. In fact it is difficult to know how you manage to find which is the top and which is the bottom, and how you manage to hang it. I have tried it all ways, but it is still beautiful any way you hang it – and that means that it has no meaning. And now you have done a great miracle. You have cut the painting in two, and that man has left with two paintings which cannot be meaningful because each painting is only half – the other half is missing.”
“But nobody will ever come to know,” Picasso said, “that they are not two paintings. I could have even made it four. I don’t know, myself, what it means, but it was such a joy to paint it.” And tears were in his eyes that he had to sell it.

These painters, poets, musicians have given the human mind a richness because they do not demystify existence. In the beginning science was moving on the same lines as the so-called religions. In the eighteenth century science was doing the same stupid thing, perhaps because there was only one precedent: religions. It was trying to demystify existence, but soon it realized that the deeper you go into existence, the farther you are moving into mystery.
Soon science realized the great statement of Socrates: “The man who knows less, thinks he knows more; and the man who knows more, knows he knows less. The man who is just an idiot thinks that he knows all, and the man who is really wise knows only one thing, that he does not know anything at all.”
As your intelligence becomes more and more mature and you enter into existence from different directions, and you start feeling and living and loving it; it becomes more like poetry, painting, music, dance, a love affair – but not theology. It becomes, slowly, slowly, so much more mysterious that you could never have imagined that you are sitting on immense treasures of mystery. But religions give you ready-made answers.
Existence is there and naturally the question arises, “Who created it?” Remain with the question. Don’t accept anybody’s answer – because there are peddlers all around: Christians, Mohammedans, Hindus, Buddhists, Jainas, Jews, all kinds of peddlers in search of customers, trying to sell you something which is simply poison and nothing else.
They will say, “God created it,” or “Allah created it.” Yes, they have given an answer, but do you know what harm they have done? If you accept their answer, your question dies. And with the death of the question, your inquiry dies; now you will never inquire. If you had inquired, I can say with my own authority… And my authority does not depend on the Vedas or the Bible or the Koran, it depends only on my experience, on my inquiry. I say with my own authority that if you go on questioning without accepting anybody’s answer, including mine, by and by you will find that the answer is not found but the question disappears.
And that is the moment of feeling the mystery.
Do you see the difference? The so-called religions repress your question; they put an answer on top of it to cover it up, an answer which they give as if God himself has given it. Hindus say that the Vedas were written by God. Sheer nonsense – because in the Vedas there are so many things which have been proved absolutely absurd. If God wrote these absurdities then he should be dethroned.
They will all make their answer important, significant, infallible – as if coming from God himself or from God’s son or from his messenger. All these strategies are used to make their answer penetrate your being and condition you so deeply that your question disappears into your unconscious.
The function of a true religion is to discard all these answers, to discard all these authorities and bring out your authentic questioning, your doubts, your inquiries, and help you to go in search of the unknown, of the uncharted. It is a dangerous journey.
Religions have given you comfortable lives, convenient ways of living. But there is no way to live unless you decide to live dangerously, unless you are ready to go into the dark, to seek and search for yourself. And I say to you, you will not find the answer. Nobody has ever found the answer. All answers are lies.
Yes, you will find reality, but reality is not the answer to your question. Reality will be the death of your question. And when your question disappears and there is no answer available, that space is mystery.
A true religion is mysticism.
In the beginning science tried to follow the well-trodden path of the old religions. But science could not go for long on those lines because science had to tackle reality, and religion, so-called religion, is fictitious. So religion could go on living in its fictitious world but science had to encounter reality sooner or later. Not even for one century could it continue with the idea: “Soon we will demystify the whole universe, soon we will come to know everything.”
Now, ask Albert Einstein or Lord Rutherford… Ask these people who have penetrated into the deepest mystery of matter, and their statements look like the statements of mystics, and they are now very humble. The old egoism of the eighteenth century and nineteenth century scientist has disappeared from the world. Now the scientist is the most humble person in the world because he knows that it is impossible to know.
We can manage to live better, we can manage to live longer, we can manage to live more comfortably – but we cannot know what life is. That question will remain a question to the very end.
My whole effort here is to help you to become ignorant again.
The religions have been making you knowledgeable, and that is the harm they have done. They hand over to you the whole Christian catechism which you can learn by rote within an hour and can repeat like a parrot, so easily and so simply. But you will not come to know the truth, the real; the one that surrounds you within and without. The catechism is not going to give it to you.
But to drop knowledge is one of the greatest problems, because knowledge gives so much nourishment to the ego. The ego wants all knowledge within its power. And when I say you have to drop knowledgeability and you have to become again a child, I mean you have to start from that point where the rabbi or the priest distracted you. You have to come back to that point again.
You have to be innocent, ignorant, not knowing anything, so that the questions can start arising again. the inquiry becomes alive again, and with the inquiry becoming alive you cannot vegetate.
Then life becomes an exploration, an adventure. Everything starts having a mysterious aroma around it.
Then you cannot just pass by when a roseflower is calling you. What is his perfume if not a call? It is his language: “Please just for a moment be with me. It is too cold here, too alone.” You cannot pass by; no child can pass by.
But the rabbi, the pundit, the maulvi, and the scholar are so burdened with books, their minds are so cluttered with junk – all these people are collecting antiques, dead skeletons – that the rose will not be heard. And anyway they know everything. They know even who created God, they know who created the world, they know who created the soul, so what about this poor roseflower?
But ask a poet and the poet can say, “A rose is a rose is a rose.” Is that an answer? Is that a question? It is neither a question nor an answer. It is simply a description, a reflection; he is simply saying what he is seeing. He is not quoting scriptures. But there are people who go on…

I was in Kolkata some ten years ago, and a man came to me – a famous scholar, a professor of philosophy, Doctor Bhattacharya, a well-known name in the philosophical circles of the world. He asked me, “Can you say something – because this question has been bothering me a lot – is there such a thing as holy language, different from ordinary language?”
I answered, “A strange question – it has never occurred to me. Language is language; what has language to do with holy and unholy? But I can understand your question, because Hindus say Sanskrit is a holy language, a divine language.” Hence brahmins, the priests, have kept a monopoly over it.
The large part of Indian society has been deprived of knowing Sanskrit. No woman is allowed to study Sanskrit. For women they have created different scriptures which are just stories, religious stories, just not of any significance. But something has to be given to the women so they don’t start harassing them about the real scriptures.
They were not willing to publish, to print, those real scriptures because once they were printed then it would be very difficult to keep a monopoly on them. So for centuries the press was available but the Vedas were not published. It was with great difficulty that the Vedas were published. Then they started saying that they should not be translated into another language, because then all their holiness would be gone. So it took centuries of fighting to translate them, but the brahmins still believe that the translations have lost the quality of holiness. How can the Vedas be written in English or in German or in French? These languages, for the Hindus, are not divine.
But the same is the case with other fools; they are not different in their foolishness. For the Jews, Hebrew is the language of God. When he spoke to Moses he spoke in Hebrew. One of the sins of Jesus was that he was using Aramaic, not Hebrew. Aramaic was the language of the lowest class of people and he was a carpenter’s son, not God’s only begotten son; otherwise he would have known Hebrew. Even with God he was talking in Aramaic, and this was an unholy act – to use the language of ordinary people.
So I told Doctor Bhattacharya, “I understand your question although it is stupid, but it is scholarly.”
He said, “Stupid and scholarly both!”
I said, “There is no contradiction. These people are the same people. Some people call them stupid, some people call them scholars, because who is going to become a scholar other than a stupid person, for what? When existence is available, when life is everywhere vibrant, you are pondering over a book!”
I am reminded…but of that a little later on. First let me finish with Professor Bhattacharya. I told him, “Yes, you can make a distinction between holy language and unholy language.”
You should not be deceived by the name of Professor Bhattacharya. Bhattacharya is the surname of high class brahmins in Bengal, but his father was a beggar, so he became converted to Christianity. And it was through Christianity that this man was brought up in convent schools, sent to the best colleges, sent to the West. He was a Christian, so I told him, “It is simply like this: ordinary people say, ‘You son-of-a-bitch.’”
He said, “You are calling me that!”
I said, “No, I am not calling you that, I am simply giving you an example. People say, ‘You son-of-a-bitch.’ This can be translated into holy language: ‘You son-of-the-Holy Ghost’ – only this much difference. But I think the first is at least human, true, possible. The second is inhuman, untrue, impossible.”

Now, let me tell you what I was reminded of. One of India’s greatest poets was Rabindranath Tagore. He is the only Indian poet who got the Nobel Prize. The reason is not that there are not other poets, in fact there are many who are far greater than Rabindranath Tagore, but they write in their own languages.
India has thirty major languages of such tremendously beautiful qualities that they cannot manage to translate them into English. Rabindranath got the Nobel Prize for the simple reason that he could write in English – in the beginning he would write in Bengali, then he would translate it into English – just for that simple reason.
Otherwise in India right now you can find one hundred poets who deserve the Nobel Prize, but nobody will ever hear their names, for the simple reason that the Nobel Prize is not available to those languages in which they are writing.
But Rabindranath, being a very rich man’s son, was brought up in England, educated in England, so it was easy for him. Although he himself never felt that what he has written in Bengali has really been expressed in English, he still got the Nobel Prize for one of his books, Gitanjali: an offering of songs. While he was writing Gitanjali it was his usual practice to go on a small houseboat and live on the river, moving alone, and he would stop the boat wherever he liked. Those were the days when he would compose his poetry.
A full-moon night and he was writing about the full moon, the beauty of the full moon, sitting inside the small room in the houseboat, not at all aware that outside the full moon was there. He was in one of the best beauty spots of the river, for miles there was nothing but silence. Once in a while a waterfowl would disturb the silence, but after this disturbance, the silence would become even deeper.
He was unaware – just by candlelight he was writing about the full moon, its beauty. In the middle of the night, feeling tired, he blew out the candle, and as he blew out the candle… He writes in his diary, “A miracle happened. I was shocked, because as the candle was no longer there, from every nook and corner…” The hut that was on the houseboat was made of bamboos as they are in Bengal. So from every gap in the bamboos the moon started showering in.
For a moment he was struck dumb. He had never seen so much silence. He came out, he saw the moon and he wept. He went back and tore up the poetry he had written about the moon and the light of the moon and the beauty of it, and wrote in his diary: “I was very unfair to the moon, to the silence of the night. My poetry was just rubbish; it could not represent even a thousandth part. The moon was outside just knocking on my door, but I was so involved in writing my own book, I didn’t hear the knock. I was talking about silence in my poetry and the silence was so profound outside – I have never before come across such silence, nor since. I would have missed it if I had gone to sleep without blowing out the candle. That small candlelight was enough to prevent the moon from shining in.”

These people are full of books and words which are not their experiences. And unless something is your experience, don’t go on deceiving yourself. Knowledgeability can be very deceptive; and these religions are responsible for making people knowledgeable.
They should help people to become innocent, they should help them to become ignorant; they should help them to inquire, search, seek. But rather than that, they have given you everything, presented to you on a plate all the answers that you have to find. And what you have lost in receiving their present, you are not even aware of.
You have lost everything. You live a borrowed life because they have told you how to live. They have told you how to discipline your life. They have told you how to control your behavior, your nature, and you have been blindly following them, not understanding a simple principle: Gautam Buddha is born only once. For twenty-five centuries millions of people have tried to become Gautam Buddha – not a single one has succeeded.
A simple fact, and I say it is fortunate that nobody has succeeded; it would have been unfortunate if somebody had succeeded. Nobody could succeed because every being has some uniqueness to him. Gautam Buddha has his uniqueness; you have your uniqueness. Neither has he to follow you, nor have you to follow him. Following creates imitators. The moment you become an imitator you lose contact with your life. That’s what I mean when I say that you start vegetating. You are playing somebody else’s role; you have completely forgotten your real life.

In my village, every year, the drama of Rama’s life is played. Once it happened when I was present… It was so hilarious, and so meaningful. In the story Rama’s wife, Sita, was stolen by Ravana. Rama and his brother Lakshmana both gather armies and go to fight. After three years of Sita being imprisoned in Sri Lanka, they started fighting. Ravana was a great warrior; Rama and Lakshmana were also great warriors, but they were young. Ravana was very experienced; his first arrow hit Lakshmana, and it was known that whoever was hit by his arrow could not manage to survive.
The greatest physician was immediately called to do something. He said, “There is only one possibility. There is a mountain, Arunachal, in south India. On Arunachal there is found a small plant sanjivani, a life-giving plant. If within twenty-four hours that plant can be brought here, then there is a possibility; otherwise, after twenty-four hours nothing can be done, the poison will have spread all over” – he was already in a coma.
One of the disciples of Rama, Hanumana, who was a great warrior himself, said, “I will go immediately and I will find it, but just give me an indication – because by the time I reach there it will be night – how am I to find this sanjivani, this life-giving plant?”
The physician said, “It is very simple, particularly in the night. In the day it is very difficult to find, but that plant gives off light in the night, so you can find it easily wherever it is. You will find it surrounded by rays as if it is aflame.”
In the story, Hanumana is the king of the monkeys and is himself a monkey. All the Hindus say that it is a fact. Hanumana flew – but monkeys can do that, perhaps with a little bit of jumping from tree to tree – I don’t know how he managed but he flew. I know how it is done in the drama; a rope is tied to him; the rope moves and he is shown to the public, flying.
When he reached the mountain there was trouble. The trouble was that the mountain, the whole mountain, was aglow with light. Now, Hanumana was at a loss what to do. Which plant was the sanjivani – because so many plants were like flames, were they all sanjivani? He tried to look; those plants were different… Now what to do? But he was a crazy devotee – he took the whole mountain!
And in religious stories everything is possible: Jesus walks on water, turns water into wine, turns stones into bread; everything is possible. So he came back with the mountain. But what happened in the drama?
He came in with the mountain – the mountain was made of cardboard – and he was carrying the mountain while suspended by the rope. Somehow the rope got stuck, and he was left hanging in mid-air! The people – at least fifty thousand people, because people would come from far and wide for the drama – were screaming and shouting. Rama was standing there, Lakshmana was lying down in a coma and the physician was sitting with him. The prompter went on telling Rama whatever his part was, so Rama went on saying, “Oh, Hanumana, where are you?” – and he was just above his head – “Where have you gone? Come back soon; otherwise if you are not back before sunrise, my brother will be dead!”
The manager of the drama was at a loss what to do. He ran onto the stage, tried to free the rope somehow, but nothing worked. He was in such a nervous state he cut the rope. Hanumana, with his mountain, fell on top of Lakshmana. Lakshmana stood up, but Rama was still saying what was being prompted: “Oh, Hanumana, you have come at the right time…”
Hanumana said, “Shut up! You and your brother go to hell! First tell me who cut the rope. I will take care of him first, then the story can start again.” And he was a wrestler in the town, so the manager simply escaped, afraid that Hanumana would give him a few fractures.
But I was watching and I saw one thing: although he was acting Hanumana, when he fell from the rope, just in that moment he forgot all about the drama. He said, “To hell with you” – he was saying “To hell” to his God! – “and to hell with your brother! First tell me where the manager is! Who cut the rope? First things first – this drama can wait a little.” Of course he was heard by everyone, and the whole fifty thousand people were laughing at him.
The mountain was all in pieces and Lakshmana had already recovered, so there was no need… The physician simply slipped out by the back door. There was no need for sanjivani any more – Lakshmana was already standing up and looking at what had happened. They had to drop the curtains immediately and remove all those people from the stage. They changed Hanumana and when the curtain went up it was another person, because that Hanumana was so angry that he said, “Unless I see that manager I am not going to act. I am going to find him, wherever he is.”

Just a single hit, and whatever you are – you may be acting a Buddha, a Christ, a Krishna – it will disappear, just by a simple hit on your head. Imitation cannot go to your being; it is going to remain just on the surface. You can practice it for thirty years, forty years… There are monks who have been practicing for fifty years. There are monasteries, Catholic monasteries, where once a monk enters, he never comes out; and thousands of people are living in such monasteries. What are they doing? Continually trying, making an effort somehow to become a little bit like Christ; if not the whole Christ, even a partial Christ will do. But that imitation is not going to help. It may give you a pseudo, phony mask, but scratch it just a little bit and you will find the real person is still there. You cannot deceive existence by imitation; you can only deceive yourself.
These religions, by giving you ideals – what to do, what to think, what to be – have supplied everything. They have not left anything for you to do; you just have to follow blindly. And if the whole of humanity is functioning in a blind way, it is no wonder.
But who is responsible? All these religions are responsible for making you phony, plastic. They have told you in detail what to eat, what not to eat; when to go to sleep, when to get up – you are absolutely controlled. You are transformed into a robot, and the more you are a robot, the greater saint you are. Then you will be worshipped and will have the respect of your religion. The more you are unreal, the more respectable you are. And if any moment you show your reality, all respect for you will be withdrawn.

It happened when I was in Hyderabad that a Jaina monk, listening to me, became so interested that he dropped his monkhood. He came to the place where I was staying, and I told my host, “He has taken a great step, so be careful – the Jainas will now be murderous toward this man. This same man, they were touching his feet for years, but now they would like to kill him, so just be careful and be protective. I will be leaving after three days, then I will take him with me and send him somewhere where he can live for a few months without being troubled by the Jainas.”
But that very day I was going to speak in the Corporation Hall of Hyderabad city, and the Jaina monk insisted, “I would like to come with you.”
I didn’t see that was any problem, so I said, “Okay, you can come.”
But I became aware when I reached the town hall that the whole Jaina community was there. Hearing that I was going to give an address in the town hall, they figured it out, they guessed that the monk would also be coming – “and that will be our chance.”
Seeing the situation, I told the monk, “Just come with me onto the stage, and sit behind me on the stage. Now we have to see what happens.”
The mayor introduced me, but he was not even finished when hundreds of people stood up and said, “We want that Jaina monk to be removed from the platform.”
The mayor was in difficulty. I was his guest and the monk had come with me; he was my guest. So I told the mayor, “Sit down and let me tackle the problem.”
I asked those people, “Do you want to touch his feet again?”
They said, “Feet! We will cut off his head!”
I said, “Just see the point. How many years has he been a monk – twenty years? He became a monk when he was only twenty, now he is forty. For twenty years you have touched his feet, you have asked his advice – and just within a few hours you are ready to cut off his head. What has happened? The man is the same. You would have never allowed yourself to sit with him on the same floor, and now you are asking that he should be thrown off the stage and forced to sit on the floor where everybody else is sitting. What change do you see? Can you tell me what has changed?”
They said, “Everything has changed – he is no longer a Jaina monk.”
I said, “That is true; he is not in the dress of a Jaina monk, but were you worshipping the dress? I have brought it with me.”
I had carried his dress in a bag; he was not even aware of it. I brought the dress out, put it on the platform and said, “You can touch the feet of the dress – this is your monk. That man has nothing to do with you because you have never touched his feet. You need not be so angry that you want to cut off his head. You neither touched his feet, nor do you have to cut off his head. That man is absolutely a stranger to you, but this dress and his begging bowl, these are here. You can do whatsoever you want: if you want to touch the feet, you can. If you want to cut off the head, cut off the head.”
I told them, “Can’t you see a simple thing: that twenty years of following the discipline…”

And you cannot deceive Jainas because five monks have to live together. No monk is allowed to live singly because you can’t trust just one monk; he may find some way to do something, which is not according to the rules. Four are spying on the fifth – in fact they are all spying on each other.
They are not supposed to stay in anybody’s house, they can only stay in a temple, because in a house anything is possible. Women will be there, food will be there – and these people are hungry for food, for women, for everything. They are completely hungry.
They must eat only one time a day and they cannot touch a woman. What to say about touch, they are not allowed to see a woman. To avoid seeing them, the instruction is that they should walk looking at the ground four feet ahead, exactly four feet ahead, their eyes slowly becoming fixed to four feet ahead. That’s the way they have to walk, so even if they happen to see a woman they will see only her feet, nothing else.
They are not allowed to stay in a house with a family, because, who knows, in the night they may open the fridge. Hungry people are hungry people. In the temple there is no fridge, no food and no water. They are not even allowed to drink water in the night.
I said, “This man was worshipped by you, like a god, for twenty years. Just because today he has thrown off his dress and changed his clothes, you are ready to murder him. You are nonviolent people, but you are talking of cutting off his head.”
And to the monk I said, “You see these people, all these people have been touching your feet. This was a mutual understanding, they gave you respect; you remained their slave. Become more and more their slave, and they will give you more and more respect. Lose your individuality completely, become phony and they will carry you on their shoulders. But a single moment of reality and they are your enemies.”
No, nobody can give a discipline to you. You will have to find it through your own awareness. When sannyasins ask me how they should live, what they should do, what they should not do, I simply tell them, “You don’t understand me. My single message is be more and more yourself.
The first thing is to be oneself.
And the second thing is to know who you are.
So remain yourself, remain natural. Try to become more and more aware of what this life current is that is running in you. Who is beating in your heart? Who is behind your breathing?
Just become more and more alert – about whatever you do, whatever you think, whatever you feel – just remain alert, a watcher on the hill. And that watching will help you to find the discipline that is your discipline.
The watching will help you to find what to eat and what not to eat, what to do and what not to do. Watching continuously will make you aware to drop many things you are unnecessarily carrying which have become burdens, and to choose only that which is in harmony with you – not a burden, but a relief.
If you live with alertness, you live rightly. If you live in imitation, you live wrongly.
To me there is only one sin, and that is not to be yourself. And to me there is only one virtue, and that is to know yourself.
All the religions have prevented this happening. It is time that we got rid of all this nonsense, which the past has left over our heads.
If you can become Adam and Eve again: no Moses, no Mahavira, no Mohammed, no Jesus, no Confucius, no Lao Tzu… If you are Adam and Eve, just born, just getting out of the Garden of Eden – nobody to ask what to do, nobody to ask what discipline is right, no priest, no rabbi, no pope is available – what are you going to do?
Do that!

Spread the love