From Ignorance to Innocence 27

TwentySeventh Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - From Ignorance to Innocence by Osho.
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What do you want man to do? What is right and wrong according to you? Is there something like sin and its punishment too?
My concern with man is not about his doing, but about his being. And this is a very fundamental issue to be understood by you.
All the religions have been concerned about man’s doings. They have been labeling a few acts as wrong, a few other acts as right, a few acts good, a few acts bad. They have not at all pondered over the real problem.
Man is asleep, and when a man is asleep the question is not what he should do or should not do. The question is: he should be awakened, he should be awake.
And remember, awakening is not a question of doing right, avoiding wrong; not committing sin, doing virtue.
Man’s sleep is not an ordinary sleep. He walks, he talks, he does things, but it is all being done in sleep. So when I say man is asleep, I mean metaphysically, spiritually, man is asleep. He knows nothing about himself.
His innermost center is in darkness, and the society, the religions, the parents, the cultures, civilizations – nobody is bothered about his being awake. Their concern is that he should do things which are comfortable to them, convenient to them.
They reward you, they give you respectability, and they encourage your greed: so even in the other life, if you go on doing the right thing you will be immensely rewarded, and if you do the wrong thing you will be punished, heavily punished.
Centuries of conditioning have made you ask this question. I am not at all interested in what you do, because a man who is asleep, unaware of himself, whatever he does is wrong.
Let me repeat it: whatever an asleep man does is wrong. He may be doing virtuous acts: charity to the poor, opening hospitals, schools, colleges, universities; educating people, donating to every cause, helping in every calamity – but I still say whatever he does is wrong, because he is asleep. He cannot do right. In sleep it has never been possible to do right.
Just the other day, Sheela brought me the news: in India, in one of the biggest cities, Bhopal, a few days ago there has been a great accident. One big factory which produces some poisonous gas – must be for military reasons – exploded. It is just in the middle of the city. Two thousand people who were close to the factory died immediately, and one hundred thousand people have been seriously injured.
It is a big accident, and naturally – you can guess – Mother Teresa is running from Kolkata to Bhopal, because these people like Mother Teresa are praying every day to the Lord, “Give us an opportunity to serve.” And the Lord, their Lord, is so compassionate, he goes on giving opportunities to serve. She went to Bhopal, moved around the injured, went to the families whose people have died, and what she said to them is very important. She said, “Don’t take it as a tragedy.”
This is what the religions have been doing for thousands of years: befooling people. This is a tragedy. She told people, “Don’t think of it as a tragedy, it is a great opportunity. Look positively. It has brought the best out in man. So many people are serving others, helping in every way. Look at this side of it: the situation has brought the best out in thousands of people. They may never have done anything good in their life, but they are doing it now.”
But do you understand the implications of it? It means it should happen in every factory! It should happen in every city, because it brings the best out in people. What can be more beautiful than this? A great opportunity to be good, to do good, to serve those who need your service, to help those who are in a helpless condition. This is a God-given opportunity for do-gooders. And nobody objected to her!
Perhaps I am the only person here, on this whole earth, who is objecting that this is befooling people. This is creating a camouflage, a bogus spiritual jargon. If God has any sense, any intelligence at all, he should find some better way to bring the best out in people. This does not seem to be very intelligent. If this is what God is doing then where is the Devil? And what will the Devil do? God has taken his job too; the Devil is unemployed.
And people applauded her; she is a great saint. And what present has she brought to them? – a small statue of Mother Mary. A great help: “Pray to Mother Mary, and don’t take it as a tragedy and don’t complain that it is the fault or carelessness of certain officers concerned; no, that is not good.”
Of course if those people were not careless, and those officers had not allowed this tragedy, then Mother Teresa could not be a saint. Her sainthood depends on these stupid officers, this bureaucracy. Now she is consoling people, giving them the impression that it is a God-given opportunity.
Two thousand people have died, two thousand families are now on the streets; children, wives, old parents will become beggars. One hundred thousand people are seriously injured; many of them will die, and if they don’t die they will live a crippled life: somebody blind, somebody without legs, somebody without hands, somebody deaf, somebody dumb. Mother Teresa is consoling these people, giving them a Madonna, Mother Mary’s statue saying, “Pray to Mother Mary and everything will be okay – and don’t complain against the officers.”
Now, that’s strange! Why? – because those officers, the government, go on showering money on her charitable trusts: “All help to Mother Teresa, all great titles of the country to Mother Teresa.” Every university is competing with the others to give honorary degrees to Mother Teresa; naturally she has to protect those people also. These people should be punished if it is their carelessness – but she is protecting them: “Don’t complain, because your complaining means you are taking things negatively. Take it positively.”
So she is doing two things: consoling people – which is just rubbish, because this consolation is not going to help, the tragedy is not going to become comedy, they will have to suffer it. And secondly she is protecting those people whose fault it was. They should be really punished! But they are not to be punished, “Don’t complain against them” – because she is gathering favor with the government, gathering favor with the officials, with the hierarchy, the bureaucracy.
And the last thing she did, which was her real purpose in going there, was to tell her secretary to write down all the names of the orphans. Many children have become orphans. That was her actual purpose in going there: she is in search of orphans. She has many orphanages, which are just factories to turn orphans into Catholics. You see the works, the miracles of saints!
All those orphans will be taken by her. The government will be happy, the people will be happy, the city will be happy that all those poor children… Who was going to take care of them? They would have been a nuisance. And in India if two thousand people die that means at least twenty-four thousand children must have been left as orphans. This great chance she could not miss.
Kolkata is far away from Bhopal – a thirty-hour journey by train – but she rushed immediately. Nobody takes note of where these orphans go on disappearing to. She goes on collecting these orphans, then where do they go on disappearing? She goes on giving them for adoption to Catholic families – but remember, only to Catholic families.
One American wanted a child; he simply went for that because the doctors had said that the situation was such that he and his wife couldn’t have children; they would have to adopt. He simply went to India to get a child from Mother Teresa. But he forgot one thing, that he is a Protestant. He would have never thought about it. And when he wanted a child to adopt, the secretary asked him about his religion, because she had to fill in the form. When he said that he was a Protestant, she said, “There is a difficulty. Right now we don’t have any orphans to give for adoption.”
Now, in India you don’t have any orphans…? Mother Teresa is collecting hundreds of orphans every day. And if there was no orphan, why did you want him to fill in a form in the first place? You should have told him before, “There is no orphan right now, we are helpless. We will inform you; you just leave your address.”
But the secretary was willing to give him a child – just fill in the form, and you go in and choose a child – but as he was a Protestant… He is still a Christian, what to say about a Hindu, a Mohammedan or a Jaina. And those children belonged to Hindus, to Jainas, to Mohammedans.
For example, in Bhopal – Bhopal is a Mohammedan city – those children will be mostly Mohammedans. They will not be given to Mohammedans, to Hindus, to Jainas, no – even a Protestant Christian is denied. And what an excuse: “There is no orphan available.” There were seven hundred orphans already inside that orphanage, and the secretary was denying that there was one orphan.
These children go on increasing the Catholic population. God is gracious, compassionate: let all the factories explode! Let everybody become an orphan so Catholics go on increasing by millions, and the pope again becomes the emperor of almost the whole world.
There is no wonder that the pope respects Mother Teresa and gives her all the great titles of the church. There is no wonder that she receives the Nobel Prize, because she is being recommended even by the pope. You can’t get a Nobel Prize unless you are recommended by a certain category of people. Either they have to be Nobel Prize winners, or they have to be kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers.
The pope is the king of that small kingdom of the Vatican, eight square miles. He is the king of that kingdom – he has twenty soldiers, and six hundred million Catholics around the world. He has great power, and people like Mother Teresa are working everywhere to bring in more and more people.
You ask me what I want man to do. First thing: I want man to recognize that he is asleep, because unless he accepts and acknowledges that he is asleep there is no possibility of waking him up. Can you wake a man who thinks he is awake? He will slap you! “Stop all this nonsense, I am awake! What are you doing?” First you have to recognize it, create a recognition.
I have always loved this story:

A few friends, on a full moon night, got drunk. The night was so beautiful and they wanted to enjoy it, so they drank to the full and went to the beautiful river. The boatmen had gone, leaving their boats on the bank on the river. It was the middle of the night, the full moon was just above their heads, and it was a fairyland all over.
Seeing the boats, one of the friends said, “It will be good if we go in the boat, on the river. Just look! The moon is reflected in the river, and when something, a waterfowl, runs over the water or takes a dip into the water, the whole water becomes silver. The moon spreads all over the river.”
They were just a little bit awake the way man is: ninety-nine percent they were drunk. They went into a boat, they took the oars and started moving out into the river. The others who were just sitting went on telling the people who were rowing the boat, “Go faster, it is so beautiful. Don’t move so slowly, make speed.” And the oarsmen were trying hard and perspiring.
As the morning was coming closer, one of them said – because a cold wind started blowing and they came back to their senses a little bit – one of them said, “We must have come miles away from our place. Somebody should get out and have a look where we are, so that we can go back home. Soon the sun will be rising, and before that we have to get back; otherwise that boatman whose boat we have picked up without asking will create trouble.”
One man got out and started laughing madly. They said, “Why are you laughing?”
He said, “Just come here and you also will laugh.”
They all climbed out – and then they sat there laughing, because they had forgotten to unchain the boat! The whole night they had rowed and had tried to go faster and faster and they were exactly where they had started. Not a single inch… The boat was tied on the bank, it was locked.

This is the story of man as he is.
Now, Mother Teresa must be thinking that she is doing good. I have no doubt about her intentions, but I have tremendous doubt about her wakefulness. She is not awake, she is fast asleep. In sleep at the most you can go on dreaming good dreams or bad dreams; but what does it matter? If it is a dream, whether you dream of heaven or hell, what does it matter? In the morning you will find both were dreams.
In a dream you can be a thief, or you can be a monk. And of course in the dream you will enjoy being a monk and the ego that comes with it; it is part and parcel of a very polished, cultured ego. And if you are a thief, certainly, even in your dream you will feel bad that unfortunately you have to become a thief. You don’t want to become one, but situations are forcing you to become a thief even though it is a sin.
You ask me: “Is there something like sin?” There is only one sin: that is not recognizing your sleep, not recognizing your state of deep hypnotic slumber. That’s the only sin. There is no other sin.
Out of this one sin, millions of things can arise, but this is the root. And if this sin is there you cannot do anything right. Even if you try to do anything right you will do it for the wrong reasons, the wrong motives. The action may look right, but the motivation will be wrong. You are wrong; so from where can you get the right motivation?
Now, what is Mother Teresa running around for in her old age? There should be a time of retirement even for saints. These poor saints never retire; they become senile but still nobody retires them. Nobody tells them, “Now retire, you have done enough. Now let others do some good works; otherwise you will be the only monopolist in heaven. Share with other saints also. Now retire, and we will do the good things you were doing.” But no, saints never retire.
Sinners retire but saints never retire. Strange… It’s because the saint never gets tired, for the simple reason that his ego goes on becoming stronger and stronger. And he is collecting virtue; his treasure in the other world is increasing more and more. He is coming closer to God every day, so certainly he needs orphans, he needs accidents, he needs poor people.
On the one hand the pope says, “The idea of class struggle is a sin. The poor have to remain poor; they should not make any effort to change the structure of the society. This is the only society that has been given to them by God. Who are you to think that you can improve upon it?
“If the class structure is there it is a great opportunity, not a tragedy. If you are poor it is a great opportunity: Blessed are the poor for theirs is the Kingdom of God. If you want the Kingdom of God then don’t make any effort to change the society, to create a revolution, to create some kind of structure where there is not so much distance between the rich and the poor.”
I know it will be difficult for the asleep man to create a society where there is no class at all. A classless society can only be an enlightened society. Before that, a classless society is not possible. Marx is as much asleep as you are. Communists are as much asleep as the capitalists.
So in the Soviet Union, what happened? Sixty years, more than sixty years have passed. They changed the old structure; now there is nobody who is rich and nobody who is poor. That division they destroyed, but a new division has come in: between the bureaucracy – one who is in the government – and one who is just an ordinary citizen. Now all the power is in the hands of the bureaucracy: much more so than had ever been in the hands of rich people.
Rich people had power because they had money; through money they could purchase anything. But in the Soviet Union, the bureaucracy has every power over every individual: to let you live or to finish you off, to keep you in the country or send you to Siberia to die in that eternal world of ice. They have power over your life and death. Such power was never in the hands of the people who had money.
Yes, they had certain powers. They could have a better house than you, they could have more luxuries, more comforts than you, but they did not have the right over your life and death. If they killed you, then in the court they were treated in the same way as everyone else. Perhaps they may have managed a little bit by bribing the court, the judge, but that was very indirect, very difficult. In the Soviet Union it is blatantly naked: direct power is in the hands of the bureaucracy.
I have heard that when Stalin died… Stalin remained in power perhaps longer than anybody else in the whole world. Alexander the Great died very young; he was thirty-three, the same age as Jesus was when he died. Napoleon Bonaparte died on a small island, Saint Helena, as a prisoner. Adolf Hitler committed suicide.
Stalin seems to be the only man in the whole of history who ruled over the biggest of empires – because Russia is one sixth of the whole earth – for almost half a century. He had all the powers that you can imagine. He killed millions of people. Nobody could even raise a finger, because the moment you raised a finger against Stalin, the next day you disappeared.
When he died Khrushchev came to power, his second man, his very right hand. And at the first communist party meeting he spoke against Stalin. He said, “I have been watching all these years what this man has been doing. He has brought back the classes; only the name has changed. There are powerful people and there are powerless people, and the distance between them is the same as it was before. In fact the distance has increased, it has become bigger, tremendously big” – because in a capitalist country a poor man has every chance to move into a higher society: he can become rich.
Henry Ford was not born rich, and he became the richest man in the world, just through his own talent, his genius. When he was a child he used to polish boots for people. And when his children were born, he was already moving higher and higher, becoming richer and richer. When they came from college he said, “First, start polishing people’s shoes in front of the factory” – where he created the Ford cars – “in front of the doors, start polishing shoes.”
They were shocked. They said, “What are you saying? We are your sons and we should polish the shoes of your servants, your workers?”
Henry Ford said, “That’s the way I made it, and I would not like you to just inherit capital; that is below your dignity. You are a Ford. You have to earn it, you have to show your mettle.” And you will be surprised – his sons had to polish people’s shoes in front of Ford’s own factory. That man was absolutely right: those people, starting from scratch, became rich in their own right. And Ford said, “Now everything of mine belongs to you. You deserve it.” But just being a son of Henry Ford was not enough.
In a capitalist society it is difficult for a poor man to rise, but it is not impossible. In fact rich people’s children, because they are born in riches, don’t know how to create wealth, and slowly, slowly their wealth disappears. By the third or fourth generation you will find them on the streets among the hippies. The poor man’s son knows what poverty is; it hurts. He puts his total energy, all his talents to work. His only focus becomes how to get out of this imprisonment of poverty.
Yes, it is difficult, but not impossible. In fact, the richest people of the world come from poor families. But in a communist world it is almost impossible to enter into the elite few. It is almost impossible. First, to become a member of the communist party in the Soviet Union is very difficult.
The Soviet Union is not like other countries where you pay a little money and you become a member of the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, the Liberal Party or the Socialist Party. In the Soviet Union, to become a member of the Communist Party you have to prove that you are a communist every inch, that there is not even a lurking shadow of the bourgeoisie. And that you have to start proving it from your very childhood, because there are many layers of the communist party – even the kindergarten communist party!
Now what do you think of that – little kids, the kindergarten school? From there the conditioning begins. And the teachers recommend who is possibly the right candidate to become, one day, a member of the communist party. Then there are youth leagues. All those kindergarten children who have come with recommendations will not be chosen for the youth league, but only a few of them: a few fortunate ones who have proved their devotion.
And how do you prove your devotion? A very strange method of proving your devotion – to spy on your mother, to spy on your father, to spy on your family and to report to the communist party that your mother has been complaining against the government, that your father is deep down against communism… And it is not just a question of complaint; you are arranging murder, imprisonment – a life sentence, a death sentence for your mother and father – and you know it.
But this is the only way to prove your devotion. Wives spying on husbands and reporting against them, husbands are spying against wives and reporting them. And they know what that report means. It means that tomorrow the wife will be simply missing; you cannot even find where she has gone. There is no case in a court, there is no question of appeal – she simply disappears.
Either she is killed… Mostly they were killed, because Stalin never believed in unnecessarily burdening the economy of the country with people who were against communism, and if you keep them in prison you have to feed them, you have to give them clothes. And why should your country feed its enemies? What is the point? Get finished with them. Unburden the country. And he really unburdened in millions.
Khrushchev was very angry, and he said, “This man is the greatest murderer in history, and it is good that he is dead. We should remove his grave from Red Square” – because when Stalin was in power, at that time he had ordered his grave to be made near Lenin’s grave in Red Square. While he was in power, the grave was already made according to his design, according to his idea. It had to be the grave of one of the greatest communists.
Khrushchev said, “We have to remove that grave. It is an ugly spot.” And he removed it. Stalin’s bones were taken out and sent back to the faraway Caucasus where he was born. There, near a monastery where he was educated, is now his poor grave, made with ordinary earthen bricks. That marvelous Italian-marble grave simply disappeared from Red Square.
While he was speaking to the communist party, a member at the back stood up and said, “You have been with Stalin all these years; why didn’t you say these words then?” And the man sat down.
Khrushchev said, “I will answer your question; just please stand up again and say what your name is. Comrade, stand up again!” Nobody stood up again. He said, “This is my answer. Why aren’t you standing up again and saying your name? And now you know why I was silent too; because tomorrow you would disappear. If I have lived to this day, it is because I kept absolutely silent.” Even walls have ears in Russia; you cannot even whisper in your bathroom, because nobody knows… And particularly people who were in power, like Khrushchev, who was next to Stalin. His bathroom, his bedroom, everything must have been bugged. A slight suspicion and that was enough.
Stalin never wanted proofs for anything; just a suspicion was enough proof for him. The idea of justice that has prevailed in the world, the whole world, is that not a single innocent man should suffer. Even if ninety-nine criminals have to be left unpunished, not a single innocent man should suffer. That has been the criterion.
Stalin reversed it. He said, “Not a single criminal” – and criminal means one who is against communism – “not a single criminal should be left, even if ninety-nine innocent people have to be killed.” Just the suspicion was enough; there was no need of finding proof.
And what harm was there? – because communism believes that man is only matter. Is there any harm if you dismantle your chair? Is there any harm if you take your clock apart and put the parts all over the place? Nobody can call you a criminal, although the clock was something alive, moving, and all these parts separated cannot show you the time and will not give the tick-tock of a clock.
Marx’s idea about man is exactly like a clock; man is only a by-product of matter. In a certain arrangement, he speaks, talks, thinks, loves, feels – but all these are epiphenomena, not real phenomena. Put all the parts aside, take man apart: put the head on one side, leg on another side, hands there, heart here, and everything stops, nothing is left. And you can weigh all the parts, they will weigh exactly the same as the man. That is his scientific logic: that no soul has left the body. Nothing has gone, it is the same weight. You have just dismantled the organism – it was a machine.
According to Marx, in summary: man is a robot. So to kill a robot who is creating a nuisance can’t be thought of as anything bad. Stalin did not think he was doing anything bad. He was serving the society, serving the great ideal of communism, bringing the classless society closer and closer. But all that he brought was a new class society, divided between the bureaucracy and the people. Now the bureaucracy is exploiting the people in every possible way, torturing them. Every property belongs to the government. There is no private property any more.
In the very beginning of the revolution, that is from 1917 to 1927, for ten years, the idea was discussed continually, “Should we do the same with women also as we have done with other property?” – because a woman is property. She should not belong to a single man; all women should belong to the nation.
But it seemed difficult, too difficult. The whole nation was against it. Nobody wanted his wife just to be public property like a public bench in the park or a public bus. Even the communists themselves were not ready for that, although Stalin was very much in favor of it. He treated his own wife almost like a thing; he used to beat her.
I have met Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana. After Stalin’s death she came to India. Just by chance I happened to be in Delhi, and the woman I was staying with… She is a rare woman. I will not tell you her name because what I am going to say refers to people who are still alive, and particularly to a person for whom I have tremendous respect. This woman is now nearabout seventy-five. I have never come across a woman that old and yet so beautiful.
She was in love with J. Krishnamurti. She wanted to marry J. Krishnamurti, but Theosophists did not allow Krishnamurti even to meet with any women. They wanted him to become a world teacher, and a married world teacher does not look right – I don’t know why. Perhaps it creates the suspicion that whether you are a world teacher or not, if you have a wife she will be boss. And the world teacher should not have a boss. He is the boss. So they prevented it in every possible way. And finally J. Krishnamurti, even though he renounced the Theosophical movement – their world teacherhood that they were going to impose on him – he continued to have the idea that a man like him should not be married.
This is how millions of years of conditioning goes deep. If you don’t want to marry that is perfectly okay; it is your decision to be married or not to be married. But to make it something unholy – that is strange. He still stays in this woman’s house if she is in Delhi, because she is in a very high government post. Her principal house is in Mumbai. If he is in Mumbai then he stays in her house in Mumbai.
It is because of Krishnamurti that she became interested in me, because Krishnamurti was continually speaking against me to her. Naturally she became interested, because if Krishnamurti speaks against me… And he never speaks against anybody else by name, that is below him: this is a subtle kind of ego. For example, if I criticize Mahatma Gandhi, I criticize him openly. Krishnamurti criticizes him but he never mentions his name; that is below him.
But with me Krishnamurti is really cross, particularly because of my sannyasins. Wherever he goes, anywhere in the world, they are sitting in the front row. And the moment he sees their red clothes and the mala, he freaks out. Then he forgets on what subject he was going to speak. Then he starts speaking against me, against sannyas, against the rosary, against disciplehood and against masters.
In Mumbai I have many sannyasins and they used to ask me what to do. I said, “Just go and sit in front. There is nothing you have to do, just smile and enjoy it.” And the more they enjoyed it, the more he would beat his head; he would just go out of his senses. He would forget all awareness. He would act just like a bull does when you wave a red handkerchief or a red umbrella or a red flag: the bull becomes mad. I think Krishnamurti must have been a bull in his last life.
So he was continually speaking against me to this woman. And the woman’s sisters, sisters-in-law – her whole family became very much interested in me; they were all my people. Krishnamurti was speaking against me and all the family was speaking for me. Finally the woman decided that she had to meet me. She invited me, saying, “If you pass through Delhi, stay with me this time.”
I was staying with her and she told me, “Svetlana is here. Would you like to see her?”
I said, “That’s very good. I wanted to meet Stalin, but no harm; some part of Stalin…at least royal blood!”
When I asked her, “How was he behaving with your mother?” she just started weeping.
She said, “He was a monster. He used to beat my mother. He used to beat me for any small thing and we could not say a single word against him, because he would do the same to us as he would have done to anybody else – he would kill us. We were treated just like servants.”
Even Stalin’s wife could not enter his room without knocking and asking permission. She had to make an appointment – and they lived just in the same house. Stalin was very much in favor of what he called women’s liberation. And people thought it was not women’s liberation; it was just making all women prostitutes. Everybody was against it. All of the communist party’s high-ranking people were against it; not a single person was in favor. That’s why the policy was dropped.
Otherwise everything that was private became public – and by public it simply meant it became state-owned. Your house, your horse, your hands, your land – everything became state-owned.
Hence, in the Soviet Union it is not communism. I call it state capitalism. The state became the only “monopolist.” In America there are many capitalists; in the Soviet Union there is only one capitalist. And certainly to have many is better. Rather than giving all the power to one person… And it is like a pyramid: the communist party is the base and then slowly the pyramid becomes smaller and smaller with higher bureaucrats and finally and ultimately comes the central committee of the communist party with only twelve persons.
One of the central committee will be the president and one of them will be the prime minister. And the prime minister is the real power; the president is only a rubber stamp. He has to sign anything that the prime minister decides. Even if the prime minister decides that the president has to be sentenced to death, he has to sign it. He has no other power except to stamp it. Whatsoever comes from the prime minister, he stamps it. This is a new class structure.
Now, the pope seems not to be aware that to call the class struggle a sin means you are supporting not only America, you are also supporting the communist countries. Of that he is not aware. That’s the situation of a man who is asleep. He does not know the implications of his own words, his own actions, because class exists everywhere on the earth. There is no country which is classless.
And yes, it is needed that one day the world becomes classless. And by a classless society I don’t mean communism. I simply mean enlightened people who can see that there is no need for poverty to exist; we have enough technology to destroy it. There is no need to destroy the capitalist. All that is needed is to spread capitalism so that everybody becomes a capitalist.
Now, my approach is just the opposite of communism.
In Russia, in China, in other communist countries what have they done? They have destroyed all the capitalists and made the communist party the only monopolizing agency, the only capitalist alive. And what have they distributed? Poverty! – because after sixty-five years Russia is still poor, still starving, still without enough clothes, still without enough medicine. Seventy percent of their budget goes to the army. Only on thirty percent of the budget does the country live. Seventy percent is absorbed by arms and the army and the piling up of nuclear weapons.
It is such a small thing to see: if we stop the idea of war, which the pope does not call a sin… War is okay. He does not include war in his long list of sins. War is okay – because if he says war is a sin then all the popes up to now have been sinners because they have been continually warring, crusading against Mohammedans, against Jews, against everybody. And they have been saying that the crusade is a holy war!
No war is holy. No war can ever be holy. How can destruction be holy? How can killing be holy? How can butchering, slaughtering innocent people, children, women, old people, be holy? It must be holy in the same sense as the Holy Ghost: it is absolutely unholy.
But the classes are there. The capitalist wants the classes to remain because he feels that without the poor he will not be rich. That is wrong! That is absolutely wrong! Do you think that if poor people breathe then you cannot breathe? All that you need is enough air.
Certainly if air is in short supply then only rich people will breathe, because you will have to pay for it. Of course millions of poor people will die because they cannot pay – they don’t have money to breathe. It is just like in a desert: you have to pay for water.

When Alexander came to India he met a fakir. The name of the fakir, he reports in his diary, does not seem to be Indian, but perhaps he misspelled it, mispronounced it, which is natural – just like me!
The Oregonians are very angry because I pronounce it Oreg-on; it should be Oreg-un. I cannot do that. I will go on pronouncing it Oregon. Oregun? – sounds like son-of-a-gun. It doesn’t feel right.
Alexander pronounces the name of the fakir, Dandamesh. Dandamesh is not an Indian name at all, it cannot be. It must have been Dandami. And there is in India a sect of monks who carry a staff in their hands called a danda: danda means “a big staff.” These monks are called Dandadhari, staff holders; that is their symbol, their sect’s symbol. Perhaps that man was carrying a danda and was known as Dandami: one who always keeps a danda. He was a naked man but the danda was absolutely necessary.
You may not understand why it is so. India is so full of dogs, and for certain reasons dogs are very much against monks, policemen, postmen: anybody who has a uniform. All the dogs are against uniforms. I don’t know whether it is true in other countries or not, but in India… Indian dogs are absolutely against uniforms; anybody in uniform will be in trouble. And because of nonviolence, dogs cannot be killed, so their population goes on increasing.
This staff was invented so that the poor monk, who has nothing, can at least protect himself against the dogs, because naked men also look like they are in a uniform, to the dog. In a way it is a uniform. All the naked monks, and there are many… And at the time when Alexander went to India, India was full of naked monks. The poor naked monk had to keep the danda, the staff.
He met Dandami, and a small dialogue between the two happened. Dandami was so blissful that Alexander felt jealous. He writes in his memoirs, “I felt jealous. That man had nothing except a staff and he looked so fulfilled, so contented, so immensely rich that I, Alexander the Great, the very great conqueror of the whole world, standing before him, looked like a beggar. The very flavor of the man was that of an emperor.”
Alexander said to Dandami, “I would love it if you can accept my invitation. I would like to take you to Greece, particularly, because my teacher” – his teacher was Aristotle – “has asked me when I was leaving for India, ‘If you come across a real sannyasin – because a sannyasin is something Eastern – if you find a real, authentic sannyasin, invite him as a royal guest and bring him here. I would love to see and meet a sannyasin. I have heard so much; so many rumors have been coming about sannyasins.’”
Dandami laughed and he said, “What can you give to me?”
Alexander said, “Whatever you ask.”
He said, “If I ask for half of your kingdom?”
For a moment Alexander was stunned; what to say? But before he could say anything, Dandami said, “Okay, I ask for the whole kingdom. Don’t be worried. I can see your worry – it is not up to your standards to give just half the kingdom. Okay, you give me the whole kingdom.”
Alexander said, “You are asking too much. I had never thought…”
But Dandami said, “Do you think your kingdom is too much? In a desert you would give it for one glass of water; that’s the value of your kingdom. Keep it, I was just joking. I am not going anywhere. If Aristotle wants to see a sannyasin he will have to come here. The thirsty go to the well, not the well to the thirsty. Tell Aristotle that you have met me. But your kingdom is not worth more than a glass of water. In the last stage in a desert, at the last moment when you are thirsty and dying, and somebody says, ‘Here is a glass of water, but I want your whole kingdom’ what will you say?”
Alexander had to accept it: “Yes, I would give the whole kingdom for one glass of water.”

When water is scarce then of course rich people will be able to have control over water. If air becomes one day scarce, as is possible, because with more and more great happenings like Bhopal – that great opportunity, where the best comes out of man… The air is becoming polluted, so much so that soon you will see that only rich people will be capable of breathing – not everybody – because they will have stores of oxygen and oxygen masks. Just let there be a nuclear war anywhere and you will see that rich people will have facilities to protect themselves, and poor people will simply be dying.
There is no need for war; there is no need for poverty. We have enough money, enough resources, but seventy percent of the whole world’s resources goes toward war. If that seventy percent is prevented from going toward bringing death to humanity, there is no need for anybody to become less rich. The living of all poor people can be raised higher. Marx’s idea, Lenin, Stalin, Mao – their whole philosophy is to bring the richer people down to the level of the poor people. That they call communism; I call it stupidity.
My idea is to raise every poor person higher and higher and bring him to the level of the richest person. There is no need for poverty.
I will also have a classless society, but it will be of rich people. If Marx succeeds, he will also have a classless society – but phony. First, it will be of poor people. Secondly, because of those poor people, you will need a very strong and powerful bureaucracy to keep them down; otherwise they will revolt.
In America there is a possibility of a revolution, but in the Soviet Union you cannot conceive even the idea of revolution. You cannot talk with anybody about revolution. The very word will be enough for you to evaporate in some gas chamber.
Russia is not classless. America is not classless. Yes, there are different classes, but nobody is classless. And when the pope says that the idea of a class struggle is a sin, he certainly implies that the idea of creating a classless society is also a sin. No, the poor should remain poor, the rich should remain rich.
The very idea of class helps the so-called religions, because if everybody is rich and everybody has everything that is needed and everybody lives comfortably and luxuriously, who is going to bother about your heaven? Instead people will pray, “Please, send me back to the earth. I don’t want to come to your heaven.”
In the first place heaven will be a very ancient place – perhaps even bullock carts may not be available there, because I have never heard that God created bullock carts. And the spinning wheel… I sometimes feel sad for Mahatma Gandhi: if he has reached heaven, what will he be doing? – because the spinning wheel is not available there. There is no mention in any religious scripture that the spinning wheel is available to the angels.
Mahatma Gandhi will be simply dying to get back to the earth to find his spinning wheel again, because the whole day he was spinning. In the train, traveling, he was spinning; talking to people, he was spinning; dictating letters, he was spinning; dictating articles, he was spinning. He carried the spinning wheel everywhere.
There is no need for poverty, but the spinning wheel will keep people poor. Even if you spin for twelve hours a day you will not be able to create enough clothes for yourself. And there are other things to do, not just make clothes. You will need to eat something, drink something. And there are many other things you will need, not just clothes. Even if after twelve hours spinning you can make enough clothes to cover your body somehow, by that time the body will have disappeared because there will not be any food.
Gandhi wanted cultivation also to be done by ancient methods. That would mean that India had to fall back to Buddha’s time, twenty-five centuries back. Then there were only twenty million people in India. Now there are seven hundred million people in India. You would have to cut out six hundred and eighty million people completely. And this will be nonviolent?
Yes, two million people, twenty million people are capable of living by ancient methods – a little food they can manage – but what to do with seven hundred million people? By the end of this century India will be the biggest country in the world, it will have gone ahead of China. Right now China has the biggest population: India will have passed beyond that by the end of this century.
But there will be more orphans, more poor people to be converted to Catholicism, to be made Christians, and more Saint Teresas.
No, a man asleep cannot do right. You ask me what is right, what is wrong?
I say to you to be awake is right. To be asleep is wrong. I don’t determine acts wrong and right as such. My focus is your being. My effort is that you are there, in your being.
Then whatever you do is right.

A Zen monk used to steal – and he was a great master – but I say it was right because he was fully awake. Now, stealing in itself does not matter; whether it is right or wrong. It is a question of who is doing it. And why was this master stealing? He had never said why in his whole life.
All his disciples suffered for it because everybody was telling them, “What kind of master have you got? He talks about great things and then suddenly one day you find him stealing some small thing. And he always gets caught. Even ordinary thieves don’t always get caught. And you say he is fully aware, careful, alert. And we understand, because even his disciples have a different quality surrounding them. And we know your master, we see him. We are surprised – why should he steal?”
And the disciples used to ask him and he would simply laugh. At last, when he was dying, a disciple said, “Now at least tell us why you were doing this stupid thing. And you have not been stealing big treasures or anything, just somebody’s cup and saucer, somebody’s coat, somebody’s shoes, even one shoe! – which is meaningless. What were you going to do with one shoe? And then too you would be caught. And the judges are tired of you, the jailers are tired of you.”
At the last moment he said, “I was stealing because nobody takes care of those thieves and prisoners inside the jail. That’s a great place to teach awareness; and those people are very innocent. And I love them because I have found them getting the idea more quickly than the so-called ordinary people. So I have been stealing and going inside the jail because that was the only way to get in. But those idiot judges would not send me for a long time, for two months, three months, because I am a great Zen master.
“I used to tell them, ‘Give me as long a term as you can manage,’ and they would say, ‘What kind of man are you? We respect you. What do you want for just stealing one shoe – that we should send you for your whole life? Fifteen days will do.’”
He used to quarrel: “No, not fifteen days. At least three months, four months.”
“But for what?” they said.
He simply said, “I love to be there. Outside I don’t like it at all.”
The jailers were tired, and they would see him and say, “Again!”
He said, “Where to go? Outside I don’t like it at all. Inside the jail looks almost like my home.”
And in fact it was his home because almost his whole life he had lived there. For just a few days he would be out, and then soon he would be in again. But he changed thousands of people inside the jail. He said, “Where can you get so many people? In the monastery people come, but not in such quantity; and not such qualitatively innocent people.”

So to me it is not a question of what you do: the act is neither right nor wrong, the act is neutral. It depends on who does it, that person’s integrity, awareness. If an awakened man is doing it, it is right. Otherwise whatever you do, it is going to be like Mother Teresa’s work: on the surface looking really great; deep down just third-rate.
You also ask: “Is there something like sin and its punishment?” I have told you there is only one sin: that is unawareness. And you are being punished every moment for it. There is no other punishment.
Do you want more? Your suffering, your misery, your anxiety, your anguish – and you are still hoping to be thrown in hell? You are not satisfied with all the misery that you are going through? Do you think hell is going to be better than Oregon? What more punishment is there?
Each moment of unawareness carries its own punishment, and each moment of awareness carries its own reward. They are intrinsic parts, you cannot divide them.

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