From Ignorance to Innocence 15

Fifteenth Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - From Ignorance to Innocence by Osho.
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Is it possible for a politician to be a religious man or for a religious man to be a politician?
It is absolutely impossible for a political man to be religious, because the ways of politics and religion are diametrically opposite. You have to understand that it is not a question of adding something to your personality – religion is not an addition. If you are political, you can be a painter, you can be a poet, you can be a musician – those are additions.
Politics and music are not diametrically opposite; on the contrary, music may help you to be a better politician. It will be relaxing, it will help you to get unburdened of the whole day and the anxieties that a politician has to go through. But religion is not an addition; it is a diametrically opposite dimension. So first you have to understand the political man, exactly what it means.
The political man is a sick man, psychologically sick, spiritually sick. Physically he may be perfectly okay. Usually politicians are physically okay; their whole burden falls on their psyche. You can see that. Once a politician loses his power he starts losing his physical health. Strange, when he was in power, he was so burdened with many anxieties and tensions, but he was physically perfect.
The moment power has gone, all the anxieties have also gone; now, they will be somebody else’s business. His psyche is unburdened, and in that unburdening all his sickness falls on his body. The politician suffers, as far as his physiology is concerned, only when he loses power; otherwise politicians tend to live long, and are physically well. Strange, but the reason is that their whole sickness is taken by their psyche, and when the psyche takes on the whole sickness, then the body can live unburdened. But if the psyche releases all its sickness, where is it going to go? Lower than the psychic is your physical existence – all sickness falls onto the body. Politicians out of power die very soon. Politicians in power live very long. It is a known fact, but the cause is not well known.
So the first thing to be understood is that the political man is psychologically sick, and psychological sickness tends to become spiritual sickness when it becomes too much, when the psyche cannot hold it any more. Now, be careful: if the politician is in power, then his psychic sickness is bound to spread to his spiritual being, because he is holding his psychic sickness so it does not fall downward. It is his power, he thinks it is his treasure; he won’t allow it to fall down.
I am calling it sickness. To him it is his whole ego trip. He is living for it; there is no other purpose for him. So, when he is in power he holds his sickness tightly, but he does not know anything about the spiritual realm, so those doors are open. He cannot close those doors; he has no idea that there is something more than his mind. When he is in power, if his psychological sickness is too much, after a certain point it overflows his psyche and reaches to his spirituality.
If he is out of power then he tends not to hold all that stupidity. Now he knows what it was, now he is aware that it was nothing worth holding. And anyway there is nothing to hold; the power has gone, he is a nobody.
Out of desperation, he relaxes – perhaps I should say, relaxation comes to him automatically. Now he can sleep, he can go for a morning walk. He can gossip, he can play chess; he can do anything. Psychically he finds himself loosening. The doors that he had kept closed between his psyche and the body start opening, and his body is bound to suffer now: he may have a heart attack, he may get any kind of sickness; everything is possible. His psychic sickness will flow to the weakest part of his body. But in power it flows upward, toward his being, of which he is unaware.
And what is the sickness? The sickness is the inferiority complex. Anybody who is interested in power is suffering from an inferiority complex; deep down he feels himself worthless, inferior to others.
And certainly in many ways everybody is inferior. You are not a Yehudi Menuhin, but there is no need to feel inferior because you never tried to be, and that is not your business. Yehudi Menuhin is not you either; so what is the problem, where is the conflict?
But the political mind suffers from a wound of inferiority, and the politician goes on scratching the wound. Intellectually he is not an Albert Einstein – he compares himself with giants – psychologically he is not a Sigmund Freud. If you compare yourself with the giants of humanity you are bound to feel completely shrunk, worthless.
This worthlessness can be removed in two ways: one is religion; the other is politics. Politics does not really remove it, it only covers it. It is the same sick man, the same man who was feeling inferior, who sits as a president. But just sitting on a chair as the president, what difference can it make to your inner situation?

My first conflict with Morarji Desai happened exactly in such a situation. One of the great Jaina monks – great to the Jainas, not to me, to me he is the phoniest person you can find, in fact it is very difficult for me to compare him with any other phony person, he will defeat all – had called a religious conference. That was their annual celebration, the birthday of their founder. Morarji Desai was invited. I was also invited. There were at least twenty guests from all over India, from every religion, from every direction of thought and ideology, and at least fifty thousand of Acharya Tulsi’s followers.
Before the meeting, Acharya Tulsi greeted the guests, those twenty special guests. It must have been 1960, in a small, beautiful place in Rajasthan, Rajsamund. It has such a beautiful lake, so big and vast, hence the name, Rajsamund. Samund in Rajasthani means the ocean, and raj means royal. It is so beautiful that the name suits it exactly. It is a royal ocean, very emperor-like. The waves on it are almost as big as in the ocean. It is only a lake but you cannot see the other shore.
He called us to meet – before we all went and talked to the fifty thousand people who had gathered there – just to be introduced, and because he was the host who had invited us there. But from the very beginning, trouble started.
The trouble was that he was sitting on a high pedestal and all the guests were sitting on the ground. It was not a problem to anybody except to Morarji Desai, the politician. He was the only politician among those twenty people – somebody was a scientist, D. S. Kothari who was chairman of the atomic energy commission in India, somebody was a vice chancellor… Those people had come from different directions, but it was not a problem for any of them.
Morarji said, “I would like to start the conversation.” He was just sitting by my side. Neither he nor I knew that now a lifelong friendship was starting. He said, “My first question is that you are the host, and we are the guests. Guests are sitting on the floor and the host is seated on a high pedestal. What kind of courtesy is this? If you were addressing a meeting it is understandable that you should sit higher so the people can see and hear you. But here there are only twenty persons, and you are not addressing a meeting, just chit-chatting, just introducing people to each other before the conference, the real conference starts.”
Acharya Tulsi was at a loss. It would have been so easy for a real religious person to come down, and apologize: “This is really a most idiotic error on my part.” But he did not budge from his place. Instead he told one of his chief disciples, who has now become his successor, Muni Nathmal, “You answer the question.”
Muni Nathmal was even more nervous – what to say? Morarji Desai at that time was finance minister of India and that’s why they had invited him. They were making efforts to create a university for Jainism, and he was the man… If he was willing, then finance would not be a problem. Muni Nathmal said, “It is not any discourtesy to the guests, it is just our tradition that the head of the sect sits higher. And just a convention is being followed, nothing else is meant by it. Nobody is insulted by it.
Morarji is not an easy person to be silenced by such answers. He said, “We are not your disciples, you are not our head. None of these twenty people here recognize you as their master or head. You may sit on any pedestal you want among your disciples, your sect, your people – but we are guests. Secondly, you proclaim yourself a revolutionary saint, so why cling to a convention, tradition, which is so uncivilized, uncultured?” That was one of the claims of Acharya Tulsi, that he was a revolutionary saint.
Now Nathmal was silent, Acharya Tulsi was silent, and all the other guests started feeling a little uneasy; this was not a good beginning. I asked Morarji Desai, “Although this is not my business, I am not concerned at all, but seeing the situation, would you like me to answer you? It is just to start the conversation so this group does not end in an awkward situation.”
He said, “I am concerned about the answer. Yes, you can answer.”
I said to him, “A few things: first, there are nineteen other persons, you are not alone here. Nobody else asked the question – why did only you ask it? It didn’t occur to me.” And I asked the people, “Had the question occurred to you? If it has not occurred, please raise your hands.” All the eighteen hands were raised – that it didn’t occur to them.
Then I said to Morarji, “You are the only person who felt hurt. You must be carrying a wound, you must be suffering from some inferiority – you are a psychological case. You can see – you know Doctor D.S. Kothari perfectly well, because he is chairman of the atomic commission of India; you know these other prominent people – nobody is bothered by it. And what does it matter?
“Do you see the spider walking on the ceiling? He is higher than Acharya Tulsi. Just being higher, do you become greater? But somehow it hurts you. There is a wound in you which has not been filled even by being the finance minister of India. You would like one day to be the prime minister of India.”
He was very angry. He said, “You call me psychologically sick?”
I said, “Certainly. These eighteen hands were raised for what? They are supporting me, they are saying, ‘This man seems to be very vulnerable as far as his ego is concerned, shaky’ – just a monk sitting a little higher, and it disturbs you.”
I said, “Let us assume, for example, if Acharya Tulsi invites you also to sit with him on the high pedestal…” And let me remind you, even then Acharya Tulsi did not invite him. I said, “For example, if he invites you and you are on the pedestal, will you ask the same question again for these eighteen poor souls who are sitting on the floor? Will the question ever arise?”
He said, “That I have never thought of. Perhaps the question will not arise, because in hundreds of meetings and conferences, I have been sitting on the high pedestal, but the question has never arisen.”
I said, “That makes it clear that it is not a question of why Acharya Tulsi is sitting higher than you. The question is why you are sitting lower than Acharya Tulsi. Change the question to, ‘Why am I sitting lower than Acharya Tulsi’ – this is what you should have asked. It would have been more authentic. You are projecting your sickness on somebody else.
“But perhaps that somebody else is also as sick as you, because if I was in his place, in the first place, I would not have sat there, if I was the host and you were my guests. Secondly, if by chance, by some coincidence I had been sitting there, the moment you asked the question I would have come down. That would have been enough of an answer: ‘There is no problem; it is just our convention and I forgot that you are my guests, because only once a year do I meet guests, but every day I meet my disciples. So just forgive me and let us start our conversation for which we have gathered.’
“But he did not come down. He has no guts. He is sitting there almost dead, he cannot even breathe he is so afraid. And he has no answer – he asked his secretary to answer you. And the question that you have raised, about which he is also silent, is that he has been proclaiming himself a revolutionary saint. He is neither a revolutionary nor a saint, so what answer can he give to you? But my basic concern is not with him, my basic concern is you. This is the political mind which is always thinking in terms of lower and higher, in terms of power.”

Of course he was angry, and is still angry, and has remained angry for all these twenty-four, twenty-five years. And he has been in positions from where he could have harmed me, but he has no guts either. He was deputy prime minister and then became prime minister. Before he became prime minister, he had even asked for my help. He had called me, unaware… Later on he came to know that to call me was absolutely absurd. He was Indira Gandhi’s deputy prime minister – the post is not in the constitution itself.

The first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, had a clash with another disciple of Gandhi’s, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The clash was such that if voting had been allowed then Vallabhbhai Patel would have won. He was a real politician. He was just like Joseph Stalin.
Joseph Stalin was the secretary of the communist party when the revolution happened. He was not a great leader or anything. His function was in the office; he was the head clerk of the communist party to put it exactly. But because he was the secretary he knew everything, everything passed through his hands. Every person had to be acquainted with him, and he had a tremendous grip on people.
The same was the situation with Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. He was a very strong man, I told you, just like Joseph Stalin. Stalin is not his real name, it was just given to him because it means in Russian, “man of steel.” Strangely, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was called in India, lauha purush, that also means “man of steel.” It is exactly the translation of Stalin.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had a grip on the organization, an inside grip. He was not an impressive person like Jawaharlal in public. If the whole of India was going to vote, Jawaharlal would have won, nobody was going to win against him. But if the voting was going to be inside the congress party, the ruling party, then Vallabhbhai could have defeated anybody.
To avoid this voting, because this was going to be a party decision, Gandhi said, “It will be good to create a post of deputy prime minister, so Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel will be happy that he is, if not the first, at least the second man.” And there is every chance, anytime, for the second man to be the first man, once you throw the first man out or he dies or something happens.
And Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was clever enough to throw out the man who was in front of him. Jawaharlal was innocent in that way. He was not a politician at all. So without any constitutional basis for it, immediately an amendment was made that there would be a post of deputy prime minister. It was created for Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Once Nehru and Patel both died the post was dissolved, because it was unconstitutional, but it was again revived with Indira and Morarji Desai. The same conflict: Indira was Jawaharlal’s daughter, and Morarji Desai was almost a politically adopted son of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. He was his disciple in politics, the chief disciple.
Morarji became aware later on, that it was my suggestion to Indira to throw him out. And I had suggested it just by the way. I was talking for almost an hour to her. She listened, and in the end said only, “Whatever you are saying is right and should be done, but you don’t know my situation: my cabinet is not mine, my deputy prime minister is not mine. There is so much conflict and continual fighting in the cabinet; he is trying to throw me out by hook or by crook any way, and to become the prime minister.
“If I say the things that you are saying, everybody will be with him; nobody is going to be with me, because the things that you are suggesting are so much against the Indian mind, the Indian tradition, the Indian way of thinking, that nobody is going to support me. If you want, I can propose it before the cabinet, but the next day you will hear that Indira is no longer prime minister.”
Then just by the way, I said, “Then why don’t you throw out Morarji Desai first, because he is the man who will manipulate all others. All those others are pygmies. They don’t have any national character; they are all provincial people. In certain states, in Bengal or in Andhra or in Maharashtra they are important, but a provincial person cannot fight with you, he has no grounds.
“Only one man can manipulate all those pygmies, and that is Morarji Desai, so first finish him. And they will all be with you if you finish him – because of him none of them can become the second man. So create the situation that this man is blocking everybody’s way; throw him out, and nobody is going to support him.”
And exactly that happened: within eight days Morarji Desai was thrown out, and nobody supported him. They were all happy because now they were all equal; nobody was of national importance except Indira. So once Indira had gone, died, or something happened, then those pygmies were bound to have the power; otherwise they could not have it. So Morarji’s removal was almost half the journey finished; now Indira was the only problem.
Morarji was not aware of it, but later on he became aware. Indira’s secretary, who was listening from the other room, told him. But before the secretary told him, Morarji Desai had asked me to help him. He said that he had been thrown out and it was unfair, unjust; without being given any reason, any cause, he had just been told to resign.
And he said, “The strangest thing is that just eight days before there was no question of any change, there was no conflict between me and her. And another strange thing is: I had always thought that the other people would support me against Indira. When I was thrown out, not a single cabinet minister was against it. They rejoiced! They had a party, a celebration.” He said to me, “I need help.”
I said, “You have asked the wrong person. I would be the last person in the world to help you. If you were drowning in a river, and I was going along the side, and you shouted, ‘Help! Help! I am drowning.’ I would say, ‘Do it quietly. Don’t disturb my morning walk.’”
He said, “What! Are you joking?”
I said, “I am not. With politicians I never joke; I am very serious.”
Later on he found out that it was basically my suggestion that got stuck in Indira’s mind; it was clear mathematics that if she threw this man out, then there was nothing to be worried about. All the others were provincial people, then she could do whatever she wanted to do and nobody could oppose her, because nobody represented India as such. And India is such a big country – thirty states – that if you represent one state, what does it matter? So it stuck in her mind. And Morarji became even more inimical.
Just as he had asked for my help, he was asking everybody’s help, whomsoever he thought had some kind of power over people, he was asking everybody. He was a beggar. And he found one man who was a national character, Jaiprakash Narayan, but he was never in politics. He had renounced politics, and he was a sincere man, but as I go on explaining to you, even the sincerest man…
He was a great public servant, he did much service for India in many ways, but he proves my point. He devoted his whole life to the freedom struggle, and after freedom Jawaharlal wanted him to be his successor – he refused. Naturally, anybody would think that he was a humble man – what more humility, what more meekness? He accepted to remain nobody when Jawaharlal was offering him: “Just be in my cabinet and I will make you my successor. I am ready to declare it.” And he was capable of being the right successor to Jawaharlal.
Morarji went to him too, and Jaiprakash Narayan agreed to help him for a strange reason – that’s why I am telling the story so that you understand that even such a man, who could renounce the premiership of India, was still a deep egoist. That renunciation was not out of humbleness, the renunciation was out of ego: that “I don’t care.” Perhaps the very idea that Jawaharlal was offering him the successorship was not acceptable to his ego. He can become the prime minister on his own. Who are you to announce, proclaim, declare that he is your successor?
He had his own authority, and he was very influential – perhaps next to Jawaharlal in India, he was the most loved by the people. And the love became more and more as Jawaharlal became more and more engulfed in politics, and became farther and farther away from people. Jaiprakash became more and more close to the people, and the people started loving him because: “Here is a man who can renounce.” And in India, renunciation is the last word; you cannot go beyond that. That is the highest point. But a small thing triggered him and all the humanity, all the meekness, everything, disappeared.
I have told you that the richest man in India, Jugal Kisore Birla, had offered to give me a blank checkbook if I was ready to spread Hinduism to the world at large, and create a movement in India to force the government to ban cow slaughter. When I refused him he said, “Young man, think twice because Jawaharlal gets money from me, Jaiprakash Narayan gets money from me, Ram Manohar Lohia gets money from me, Ashok Mehta gets money from me.” All these were the topmost leaders.
He said, “And every month I am giving them money, as much as they need. Even to Ashok Mehta who is the president of the Socialist Party of India, which is against the rich people – even he is my man.” He said, “I give to all party presidents, important people; whoever comes to power will be my man. Let them say what they say; talking does not matter – I have purchased them.”
I told Indira about Jaiprakash, just in that conversation in which I talked about Morarji: to throw him out. She was shocked! She could not believe it because she called him uncle; he was almost like a brother to Jawaharlal. He had been Jawaharlal’s secretary for many years and their relationship was very close. And Indira was brought up in front of his eyes; when just a small child she used to call him Kaka – uncle.
And when I said, “Jugal Kisore himself has told me, and I don’t think that old man was telling a lie. In fact, how does Jaiprakash maintain himself? – because he does not belong to any party. He does not have any group of supporters; he has renounced politics. He does not earn a single pai. How does he manage to have two secretaries, a typist? How does he manage to continually travel in airplanes? Money must be coming from somewhere, and he has no visible source. My feeling is that Jugal Kisore was not lying.”
Indira mentioned this to Jaiprakash: “Do you get a salary every month from the Birla house?” And that was the thing that hit him hard; that was when he decided that Indira could no longer be tolerated. He willingly became a partner of Morarji Desai and all the people – it always happens whenever you are in power that you manage to create enemies – all the enemies together. But Jaiprakash was the key. Morarji was not capable of gathering anybody – he is simply retarded – but Jaiprakash was an intelligent man.
He managed to overturn the government and to show his last renunciation: that although he had overturned the government, he was not going to be the prime minister. He wanted to prove that he was higher than Jawaharlal. That was his only, his deepest longing: to be higher than Jawaharlal. So he placed Morarji Desai in the prime ministership just to show to history: “Somebody was trying to place me as premier, but I don’t care about these premierships, I can create my own premiers.” But it was all egoism.
I used to speak in Patna – Maitreya is here, he will be aware of the fact – and because Jaiprakash also belonged to Patna, his wife used to come to attend my meetings. I was puzzled. I inquired of my host, “The wife comes, but I never see Jaiprakash.”
He laughed, he said, “I asked the same question of Prakashwati, Jaiprakash’s wife. She said, ‘He comes but he sits in the car outside and listens from there. He cannot gather courage to come in and let it be seen by people that he has come to listen to somebody.’”

The ego is so subtle and so slippery. And the politician is sick because of his ego. Now there are two ways: either he can cover the wound by becoming a president, a prime minister. He can cover the wound, but the wound is there. You can deceive the whole world but how can you deceive yourself? You know it. It is there; you have covered it.
I am reminded of a strange story…

It happened in Prayag, the very holy place for Hindus, where three rivers meet. You know in India the whole country is treated as a toilet; there is no demarcation where the toilet is and where it is not. Wherever you can find a place, that is the toilet.
One brahmin, early in the morning, must have gone to take his bath, and before his bath he went to defecate. Perhaps he was in a hurry, perhaps he had some stomach trouble or something, but he just went on the ghat. Ghat means the paved place where people put their clothes and go to take their bath. It is not allowed; nobody prevents you, but it is not conventionally allowed that you defecate, on that paved place where people are going to put their clothes.
But the man must have been in trouble. I can understand, I don’t doubt his intention – I never doubt anybody’s intention. He defecated there, and as he was finishing he saw people coming. So he simply covered his shit with the flowers that he had brought to worship with. What else to do?
The people arrived and they asked, “What is this?”
And he said, “A shivalinga, I am worshipping.” And he started worshipping, and because a brahmin was worshipping, others started pouring their flowers on it – a shivalinga had appeared! It is thought to be a great miracle in India – whenever any statue just appears or whenever you want to create a miracle, this is the simplest way. Other people started chanting mantras, and what to say of that man… He was feeling so bad. Not only had he dirtied the place, he had lied. One lie begets another lie, and then… Now what was he doing? He was worshipping it, and others were worshipping it!

But how can you forget it? Is there any way for this man to forget what is under the flowers? The same is the situation of the politician: just pus, wounds, inferiority, feeling worthless.
Yes, he had reached higher and higher, and on each step of the ladder, the hope was that on the next step the wound would be healed. Inferiority creates ambition, because ambition simply means an effort to prove yourself superior.
There is no other meaning to ambition but an effort to prove yourself superior. But why make an effort to prove yourself superior unless you are suffering from inferiority?

I have never voted in my life. My uncles, my two uncles – I have two uncles who both were in the freedom struggle – both have been to jail. Neither of them could complete his education because they were caught and imprisoned. One uncle was just here for the festival. He was only in his matriculation class when he was caught, because he was part of a conspiracy to destroy a train, to bomb a bridge. They were making a bomb – and he was a student of chemistry, so he used to bring from the chemistry lab things needed to make the bomb. He was caught when he was just going to take the examination, just ten days before. And his education was finished, because after three years when he came back it was too late to start again and be…
So he went into business. My elder uncle was in his BA final when he got caught, because he was also part of a conspiracy group against the government. My whole family was political, except my father. So they were all asking me, “Why don’t you register, why don’t you vote, and why are you wasting your energies? If you move in the direction of politics you can become the president of the country, you can become the premier of the country.”
I said, “You have completely forgotten with whom you are talking. I don’t suffer from any inferiority, so why should I be interested in becoming the president of the country? Why should I waste my life in becoming the president of the country? It is almost as if I have no cancer and you want me to be operated on for cancer – it is strange. Why should I be operated on unnecessarily?
You suffer from some inferiority complex, and you are projecting your inferiority complex on me. I am perfectly okay as I am. I am absolutely grateful to existence wherever I am. Today whatsoever happens is good. More than that I have never asked, so there is no way to disappoint me.”
They said, “You talk of strange things. What is this inferiority complex and what has this inferiority complex to do with politics?”
I said, “You don’t understand simple psychology and neither do your great politicians understand simple psychology.”

All these politicians on top in the world are sick people, so one way is to go on covering their wound. Yes, they can deceive others. When Jimmy Carter smiles you are deceived, but how can Jimmy Carter deceive himself? He knows it is just an exercise of the lips. There is nothing else inside, no smile.
People reach to the highest rung of the ladder; then they become aware that their whole life has been a wastage. They have arrived, but where? They have arrived at the place for which they had been fighting – and it was not a small fight; it was tooth and nail – and destroying so many people, using so many people as means, and stepping on their heads.
You have arrived at the last rung of the ladder but what have you gained? You have simply wasted your whole life. Now to even accept it needs tremendous courage. It is better to go on smiling and go on keeping the illusion: at least others believe that you are great. You know who you are. You are exactly the same as you were – perhaps worse, because all this struggle, all this violence has made you worse. You have lost all your humanity. You are no longer a being.
It is so far away from you, that Gurdjieff used to say that not every person has a soul, for the simple reason – not that it is literally true, but he used to say – “Not everybody has got a soul, only a very few people who discover their being have.” They have it; others are simply living in the illusion, because scriptures say, and all the religions preach, that you are born with a soul.
Gurdjieff was very drastic. He said, “It is all nonsense. You are not born with a soul. You have to earn it; you have to deserve it.” And I can understand what he means, although I will not say that you are not born with a soul.
You are born with a soul but that soul is only a potential, and whatsoever Gurdjieff is saying is exactly the same. You have to bring that potential to actuality. You have to earn it. You have to deserve it.
The politician recognizes it when his whole life has gone down the drain. Now, either he has to confess – which seems very stupid because he is confessing that his whole life has been the life of an idiot…
Wounds are not healed by covering them. Religion is a cure. The word meditation and the word medicine come from the same root. Medicine is for the body; what medicine is for the body, meditation is for the soul. It is medicinal, it is a cure.
You ask me, can a politician be religious? Remaining a politician, it is impossible. Yes, if he drops politics, then he is no longer a politician; he can become a religious man. So I am not dividing, not preventing the politician from becoming religious. What I am saying is: as a politician he cannot be religious because those are two different dimensions.
Either you cover your wound or you cure it. You can’t do both together. And to cure it you have to uncover it, not cover it. Uncover it, know it, go deep into it, suffer it.
To me that is the meaning of austerity – not standing in the sun, that is an idiotic act. And particularly in Oregon you should not do that. Stand in the sun, the Oregonian sun and the Oregonian atmosphere, and immediately you will become the Idiot General of Oregon. Avoid it! Or starving yourself or standing in the cold, in the river, for days together, this is not the way to cure yourself; you are just being befooled. Anybody who knows nothing is going to give you advice: “Do this and you will be cured,” but it is not a question of doing something for the cure.
What is needed is an exploration of your whole being, unprejudiced, without condemnation, because you will find many things which you have been told are bad, evil. So don’t shrink back, let them be. You simply need not condemn them.
You have started on an exploration. Just note that something is there, note it and go on. Don’t condemn it; don’t name it. Don’t bring any prejudice against or for, because that’s what prevents you from exploring. Your inner world closes immediately, you become tense – something evil. You go inside and you see something, and you become afraid that it is evil: greed, lust, anger, jealousy. My God! All these things, in me – it is better not to go in.
That’s why millions of people don’t go in. They simply sit on the staircase outside their house. They live on the porch their whole life. It is a porch life! They never open the door of their house. And the house has many chambers; it is a palace. If you go in you will come across many things which others have told you are wrong. You don’t know, you simply say, “I am an ignorant man. I don’t know who you are. I have just come to explore, to do a survey.” And a surveyor need not be bothered about what is good and what is bad, he simply goes on looking, watching, observing.
And you will be surprised by the strangest experience: that what you have called love up to now, hidden just behind it is hate; just take note. What you have been saying up to now is humbleness, just behind it is hidden your ego; just take note.
If somebody asks me, “Are you a humble man?” I cannot say, “I am,” because I know humbleness is only the ego standing on its head. I am not an egoist, how can I be humble? Do you understand me? It is impossible to be humble without having an ego. And once you have seen that both are together, the strangest thing happens, as I was telling you.
The moment you see that your love and your hate, your humbleness and ego are one; they evaporate.
You have not to do anything at all. You have seen their secret. That secret was helping them to remain in you. You have seen the secret, now there is no place for them to hide. Go in again and again, and you will find less and less things there. Gatherings inside you are withering; crowds are going away. And the day is not far off when you will be left alone, and there is nobody, emptiness is in your hands. And suddenly you are cured.
Don’t compare at all, because you are you, and somebody else is somebody else. Why should I compare myself with Yehudi Menuhin or with Pablo Picasso? I don’t see the point at all. They are doing their thing; I am doing my thing. They are enjoying doing their thing, perhaps – because about them I cannot be certain. But I am certain about myself that I am enjoying whatsoever I am doing or not doing.
I said I cannot be certain about them because Pablo Picasso was not a happy man, in fact very unhappy. His paintings show his inner misery in many ways and he has spread that misery on the canvas.
And why did Picasso become the greatest painter of this age? The reason is because this age knows inner suffering the most.
Nobody would have thought him a painter five hundred years ago. They would have laughed, and they would have put him into a mental institution. And five hundred years ago, mental institutions were not easy places to be in. They did all kinds of things, particularly beating, because they thought it was possible to beat the madness out, because madness was thought of as something like an evil spirit possessing you. A good beating every day, and they thought the madness would go.
They used – just three hundred years ago – to take blood out of the madman, so he became weakened. They thought that his energies were being possessed by an evil spirit; if you took his energies out, the evil spirit would leave the place because there was nothing to feed on: it was feeding on his blood. Good logic – and they were doing just that.
Nobody would have thought that these were paintings. Only this century could believe that Picasso is a great painter, because this century suffers, is a little alert of suffering, of inner misery – and this man has put it in color. What you cannot put even in words, Picasso has been able to put in color. You don’t understand what it is, but somehow you feel a deep at-one-ment. It has an appeal; something clicks in you. It is not intellectual because you cannot figure out what it is, but you remain stuck watching, looking, as if it were a mirror and something of your inside, of your intestines, is there. Picasso’s paintings became the greatest in this age because they served almost like an X-ray. They brought your misery out. That’s why I said perhaps. And about anybody else I can only say perhaps.
Only about myself can I be certain. I know that if you go on exploring your inner world without condemnation, without appreciation, without thinking at all, just watching the facts, they start disappearing. A day comes, you are left alone, the whole crowd has gone away; and in that moment, for the first time you feel what psychic healing is.
And from psychic healing the door opens to spiritual healing.
You need not open it, it opens on its own. You just reach to the psychic center and the door opens. It has been waiting for you, perhaps for many lives. When you come, the door immediately opens, and from that door, you not only see yourself, you see the whole existence, all the stars, the whole cosmos.
Hence I can say absolutely: no politician can become religious unless he drops politics. Then he is not a politician, and what I am saying does not refer to him.
You have also asked: can a religious man become a politician? That is even more impossible than the first because there is no reason at all for him to become one. If inferiority is the cause that drives you into ambition, then how can a religious man become a politician? There is no driving force. But once in a while it has happened in the past, and it may happen in the future, so let me say this to you.
In the past it was possible because the world was dominated by the monarchy. Once in a while, the king’s son might turn out to be a poet. It is very difficult for a poet to become the president of America; who is going to listen to him? People think he is crazy, and he will look like a hippie. He cannot shape up himself, and he is trying to shape up the whole world?
But in the past it was possible because of the monarchy. The last emperor of India, from whom the Britishers took over, was a poet – that is why Britishers could take over India – Bahadurshah Zafar, one of the greatest Urdu poets. Now, it is not possible for a poet to become an emperor; it was just accidental that he was born a son of an emperor.
The enemy forces were entering the capital and he was writing poetry. When his prime minister knocked on the door and said, “It is absolutely urgent, because the enemies have entered the capital,” Bahadurshah said, “Don’t disturb me. I am writing just the last four lines. I think I will be able to finish these four lines before they come here. Don’t disturb.” And he started writing. He finished his poem; that was more important for him.
And he was such a simple and good man; he came out and he said, “What is this nonsense of killing people? If you want the country you take it, what is the fuss about? I was burdened with all the anxieties, now you can be burdened with all the anxieties. Leave me alone.”
But they would not leave him alone because they were politicians and generals. To leave this man in New Delhi was dangerous: he may collect his forces, he may have resources – nobody knows. They took him from India into Burma; he died in Rangoon. In his last poem that he wrote from his deathbed, he said, “How poor I am. I cannot get even six feet in my beloved’s street.” He is talking about New Delhi, which he loved, which he had created; and he was a poet so he made the city as beautiful as possible. He said, “I cannot get even six feet to be buried in my own beloved’s street. How unfortunate Zafar” – Zafar was his poetic name – “How unfortunate, Zafar, you are.”
He was buried in Rangoon; they did not even bring his dead body to New Delhi. He insisted, “At least when I am dead take my body to my city, to my country. A dead body cannot be dangerous.” But politicians and generals think in different ways. Bahadurshah was the emperor loved by the people. Seeing him dead, “There may be a revolt, there may be some trouble, why get into trouble? Bury him there in Rangoon. Nobody will even hear for years that he has died.”
So in the old monarchical days it was possible that in the western hemisphere a man like Marcus Aurelius could happen. He was a religious man, but this was just accidental. Marcus Aurelius could not become a president or a prime minister today because he would not go asking for votes; he would not beg – for what?
In India it happened a few times. Ashoka, one of the great emperors of India, was a religious man. He was so religious that when his son asked – the only son, who was going to be the successor – to become a monk, he danced. He said, “This is what I have been waiting for, that one day you would understand.” Then his daughter, his only daughter, he had only two children, one son and one daughter, when the daughter, Sanghamitra, asked him – she also wanted to go into the world of meditation – he said, “Go. This is my only happiness.” But today it is impossible.

In India there was one great king, Poras; he fought against Alexander the Great. And you will be surprised at how western books have been unfair to this man Poras. Alexander the Great becomes a pygmy before Poras. When they reached India, Alexander played a trick – he was a politician…
Alexander sent his wife to meet Poras, on a particular day. There is a day in India, the day of the sisters, when the sister just binds a thread on your wrist. You may be her real brother, you may not be her real brother, but the moment she binds the thread on your wrist you become a brother to her. And it is a double oath: the brother says, “I will protect you,” and the sister says, “I will pray for your protection.”
On that particular day, Alexander sent his wife to Poras. He was staying outside Poras’ kingdom. There is a river that was the boundary of Poras’ kingdom; he was staying outside, and he sent his wife. And when it was declared in Poras’ court, “The wife of Alexander the Great wants to meet you,” he came out to greet her, because in India that was a tradition. Even if the enemy comes to your home, he is a guest, and the guest is a god.
He took her into his court, gave her a throne to sit on, and said, “You could have called me. There was no need for you to come such a long way.”
She said, “I have come to make you my brother. I have no brother, and today, I heard, is the sisters’ day; I could not resist.”
This was a political game. And Poras could understand what Alexander and his wife understood about sisters’ day, and why Alexander waited up to this day to send his wife, but he said, “This is perfectly right. If you don’t have any brother, I am your brother.” She had brought the thread; she tied it and Poras touched her feet. The brother has to touch the feet of the sister; whether she is younger or older does not matter.
A tremendous respect for womanhood has been there, side by side with a tremendous bitterness against women. Perhaps the bitterness was created by the monks and the priests, and the respect was created by the religious people. Immediately Alexander’s wife said, “Now you are my brother, and I hope you will save me, but the only way to save me is not to kill Alexander. Would you like your sister to remain a widow all her life?”
Poras said, “There is no question about it. You need not speak about it – it is settled. Alexander will not be touched at all. Now we are related.”
And this happened: the next day Alexander attacked, and a moment came in the fight when Poras killed Alexander’s horse. Alexander fell from the horse and Poras was on his elephant – because in India, the elephant was the real fighter’s animal, not the horse – the elephant was just going to put his feet on Alexander, and Alexander would have been finished. Just by habit Poras pulled out his spear and was going to kill Alexander, when he saw the thread on his wrist. He put his spear back, told the mahout, the man who guides the elephant, “Move away, and inform Alexander that I will not kill him.”
That was the moment when Alexander would have been killed, and all his desire for conquering the world would have been finished; the whole of history would have been different. But Poras was a religious man, made of a different mettle: ready to be defeated but not ready to be demoralized. And he was defeated – he missed his chance.
Poras was brought before Alexander in his court, a temporary court, with chains on his hands and his legs. But the way he walked… Even Alexander said to him, “You are still walking like an emperor, even with chains on your feet and chains on your hands.”
Poras said, “This is my way of walking. It has nothing to do with my being an emperor or a prisoner; this is my way of walking. This is how I am.”
Alexander asked him, “How would you like to be treated?”
Poras said, “What a question! An emperor should be treated like an emperor. What a stupid question.”
Alexander says in his notes, “I have never come across a man like Poras. He was in chains, imprisoned – I could have killed him immediately, then and there – but the way he walked, the way he talked…” Alexander was really impressed. He said, “Take away his chains; he will remain an emperor anywhere. Give his kingdom back to him. But,” he said, “before we leave I would like to ask you one question. When the chance was there when you could have killed me, why did you pull your spear back? Just one more second and I’d have been finished, or your elephant could have crushed me, but you prevented it. Why?”
Poras said, “Don’t ask that. You know it; you are a politician, I am not. This thread – do you recognize it? You had sent this thread with your wife; now she is my sister, and I cannot kill my own brother-in-law. It is not possible for me to make her a widow. I chose to be defeated rather than to kill you. But there is no need for you to feel obliged toward me; this is just how a really centered man should behave.”

So in the past it was possible because of the monarchy. But within the monarchy idiots also became kings, madmen also became kings, everything is possible. So I am not supporting monarchy, I am simply saying that it was possible within the monarchy for a religious man, by accident, to become an emperor.
In the future, democracy is not going to last long, because the politician is already ignorant before the scientist; he is already in the hands of the scientist. The future belongs to the scientist, not to the politician.
That means we will have to change the word democracy. I have a word for it: meritocracy.
Merit will be the decisive factor. Not whether you can gather votes by canvassing all kinds of promises and hopes, but your merit, your real power in the scientific world will decide. And once government comes into the hands of the scientist, then everything is possible because I have called science, objective religion; and religion, subjective science.
Once it comes into the hands of science, the world map will be different, because what is the fight between the Russian scientist and the American scientist? They are both working on the same projects; it will be far quicker if they work together. This is sheer stupidity, that all over the world the same experiments are being repeated in every nation; it is unbelievable. All these people together can do miracles. Divided, it becomes more expensive.
For example, if Albert Einstein had not escaped from Germany, then who would have won the Second World War? Do you think America and Britain and Russia would have won the Second World War? No. A single man’s escape from Germany, Albert Einstein escaping from Germany, has shaped history. All these bogus names: Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Hitler, they don’t mean anything. That man did the whole thing because he created the atom bomb. He wrote a letter to Roosevelt: “The atom bomb is ready with me, and unless you use it there is no way to stop the war.”
He regretted it his whole life, but that’s another story. The atom bomb was used, and the moment it was used there was no question of Japan going on fighting. The war was won: Hiroshima and Nagasaki burning ended the Second World War. Albert Einstein was working on the same project in Germany. He could have written to just a different address – instead of to Roosevelt, to Adolf Hitler – and the whole history would have been different, totally different.
The future is going to be in the hands of the scientist. It is not far away. Now there are nuclear weapons, politicians cannot manage to be on top. They know nothing about it, not even the ABC.
It was said while Einstein was alive that only twelve persons in the whole world understood his theory of relativity. One of those twelve people was Bertrand Russell who wrote a small book for those who could not understand it: The ABC of Relativity. He thought that at least they could understand the ABC – but even that is not possible, because if you can understand the ABC then the whole alphabet becomes simple. It is not a question of only understanding ABC; then XYZ is not far away. The real problem is to understand the ABC.
Now all these politicians don’t understand anything at all. Sooner or later the world is going to be in the hands of the people who have merit. First it will move into the hands of the scientists.
This you can take almost as a prediction that the world is going to move into the hands of the scientists. And then a new dimension opens up.
Sooner or later the scientist is going to invite the sage, the saint, because he cannot manage it alone.
The scientist cannot manage himself. He can manage everything but he cannot manage himself. Albert Einstein may know all about the stars of the universe but he knows nothing about his own center.
This is going to be the future: from politicians to scientists, from scientists to religious man – but that will be a totally different kind of world. Religious people cannot go asking for votes. You will have to ask them. You will have to request them. And if they feel that your request is sincere and the need is there, they may act in the world. But remember it will not be politics at all.
So let me repeat, the politician can become religious if he drops politics; otherwise it is impossible. The religious man can become part of politics if politics changes its whole character; otherwise it is impossible for a religious man to be in politics. He cannot be a politician.
But the way things are moving, it is absolutely certain that first the world will go into the hands of the scientist, and then, from the scientist it will go to the mystics. And only in the hands of the mystics can you yourself be safe.
The world can be really a paradise. In fact, there is no other paradise unless we make one here.

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