From Misery to Enlightenment 11

Eleventh Discourse from the series of 29 discourses - From Misery to Enlightenment by Osho.
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Can you talk about responsibility and what it means for us? I feel its importance more and more, but I am also confused about it. Am I avoiding something?
The problem of responsibility is one of the most fundamental issues. But before we can go into it, a few words will have to be understood rightly. The so-called religions have prostituted language as much as they could. In fact they are responsible for all kinds of prostitution in the world – they have not left even language alone.
Responsibility in itself is a beautiful word of tremendous grace, significance, but in passing through the hands of the religious people it has become almost ugly, disgusting. First, the natural meaning of the word: it comes from response. To understand response you have to understand reaction.
Somebody insults you; that is his action. You get irritated, annoyed, angry; that is reaction. You are not acting on your own – the other has pushed your button. He is the master, you are behaving like a slave.
Let me tell you one story, but don’t let me drift…because stories are dangerous, intriguing. And when I start a story I have something in my mind, and by the time I end the story I have forgotten why I had started it. So I have to start again from something, where the story ends. But this story is not like that.
It is reported that Gautam the Buddha was passing by the side of a village. The village was populated by anti-Buddhists; so much so that although Buddha had just bypassed them – he had not even entered the village for the simple reason that he did not want to create any unnecessary scene there – those idiots were not going to leave him so easily.
They came rushing out of the village behind him surrounded him and started abusing him in every possible way, using language which one should not use against another human being – what to say of a man like Gautam the Buddha. The followers of Buddha really became angry. They were ready to hit back, but in front of Gautam the Buddha it was impossible for them to take any action before he said something. And what he said puzzled everybody, shocked everybody.
He turned to his disciples and said, “You have disappointed me. Those people are doing their thing. They are angry. They think that I am an enemy of their religion, of their moral values – naturally they are angry. And I am listening to them; they are abusing me, not abusing you. Why are you getting angry? Although you are controlling yourself, that does not make any difference. You have allowed those people to manipulate you. Are you their slaves?”
The people of the village were also puzzled. They fell into a strange silence. Buddha said to them, “I am in a hurry to reach the other village, where people are waiting for me. If you are finished, I can go. Or if something else is still there in your mind, when I come back I will inform you ahead. At that time you can complete the whole thing. So am I allowed to go?”
Those people said, “We have been abusing you, saying all sorts of dirty things against you; many of them are lies, we know – but in love and war everything is right. But you are so cool and calm, as if we have just welcomed you, greeted you, and you are asking our permission to go ahead.”
Buddha said, “Whatever you have done, that is your problem. I do not react, I act. Nobody can force me to do something, nobody can influence me to do something. If I want to do it, nobody can prevent me from doing it. My actions are my actions – they are never reactions.”
When you act, that is response; when you react, that is not response. But to act you have to be very conscious so that nobody can push your buttons, so that nobody can manipulate you into a certain kind of action.
Everybody is being manipulated.
Our whole society depends on manipulating.
Parents are manipulating their children, politicians are manipulating the masses, priests are manipulating their congregations.
Even children start manipulating their fathers, their mothers…very small children. Even a child six months old starts learning how to manipulate. He knows that if he smiles he is going to get toys, sweets, hugs, kisses. He had no desire to smile, but he has learned a certain exercise of the lips. It is just there on the lips, an exercise – he just opens his lips. It looks as if he is smiling, but if you look into the eyes of the child you will be surprised – there is a politician.
A six-month-old child has to become a politician: What kind of society have we created?
He manipulates, and you go on rewarding his efforts of manipulation. Slowly slowly, he may forget that his first smile was false and all other smiles are just a continuation of his first smile. Perhaps his last smile when he is dying will be also just a continuity of the I first.
He may never discover what a real smile is – a smile that comes from within you for no motivation, not to ask something, not to be rewarded by something. It is not a business deal. You are so joyful inwardly that a smile spreads all over your body.
When a real smile is there it is all over the body. You may be able to detect it only on the lips, perhaps in the eyes, but it is all over the body. Every fiber of your being is rejoicing. So it is not a question of being rewarded. It is not a question of desiring something, bribing somebody…. But it is not only the smile, he learns to manipulate with everything else too.
Buddha said to his disciples, “You are behaving like slaves to these people.” And he said to the villagers, “You have come a little late. You should have come ten years earlier – then I would have cut off your heads, then you would have known what it means to abuse. Now it is too late! I cannot function like a slave. Now I am a master – you cannot manipulate me.
“I would like to ask a question of you. In the last village people brought sweets, fruits, flowers, just to greet me. I told them, ‘We had our breakfast in a village earlier; now take these fruits and these sweets with my blessings. We cannot carry them. We don’t carry food, we don’t carry anything for the future. We will see what happens later on: somebody may offer something. And it has always been happening, so there is no problem in it.’
“l ask you: those people had taken the sweets and fruits back – what must they have done with them?”
One of the men in the crowd said, “They must have distributed the fruits, the sweets, to their children, to their families, to themselves. They must have enjoyed them.”
Buddha said, “That’s where you make me sad. Now what will you do? I reject, I don’t take your abuses. If I can reject fruits and sweets then those people have to take them back. What can you do? I reject your abuse, I don’t take such things. For ten years I have not taken any such things from anybody. So now carry the load back home, distribute it among yourselves, to your children, your friends; whatever you want to do you can do.
“But this is your doing; I have nothing to do with it; I simply refuse. And I have the right to refuse anything. You are giving it to me and I am saying, ‘Thank you, I don’t want it.’ You cannot force it on me. I only act out of my own consciousness. You cannot cloud my consciousness with your abuse and make me unconscious, and make me react.”
Reaction is unconscious. You do not know exactly that you are being manipulated. You are not aware that you are behaving like a slave, not like a master.
Action out of consciousness is response.
But the religious people have made such an ugly association with the word responsibility that it has lost all its original quality: They have made you “responsible” for many things. What is right, they have told you; what is wrong, they have told you – they have not left you to decide. No religion leaves you to be really responsible – because to me the word responsible means you are capable of taking decisions. You are mature. You are conscious enough to decide what to do and what not to do.
Just now I had this news: Pope the Polack, addressing the youth in Latin America, said, “My dear ones, beware of the devil. The devil will tempt you with drugs, alcohol, and most particularly premarital sex.”
Now, who is this devil? I have never met him, he has never tempted me. I don’t think any of you have ever met the devil, or that he has tempted you. Desires come from your own nature, it is not some devil who is tempting you. But it is a strategy of religions to throw the responsibility on an imaginary figure, the devil, so you don’t feel you are being condemned.
You are being condemned, but indirectly, not directly. He is saying to you that you are the devil, but he has not the guts even to say that. So he is saying that the devil is something else – a separate agency, whose only function is to tempt people.
But it is very strange…millions of years have passed and the devil is not tired, he goes on tempting. And what does he gain out of it? In no scripture have I found what is his reward for all this arduous work for millions of years. Who is paying him? By whom is he employed? That is one thing….
And the second: Is not your God omnipotent? That’s what your scriptures say, that he is all-powerful. If he is all-powerful, can’t he do a simple thing? – just stop this devil from tempting people. Rather than going to every person and telling every person, “Don’t be tempted by the devil,” why not finish this one person? Or whatsoever he wants, give it to him. This is something to be decided between God and the devil. What business is it of ours to be unnecessarily trampled between these two?
God has not been able in millions of years to convince the devil or to change the devil or to finish the devil. And if God is so powerless before the devil, what about his poor people to whom these representatives of God go on saying, “Don’t be tempted by the devil”? If God is so powerless and impotent before the devil, what can ordinary human beings do?
For centuries these people have been telling these lies, and not even once have they themselves tried to be responsible. This is irresponsibility – telling young people, “Be aware, the devil is going to tempt you.”
In fact this man has put the temptation already in the minds of these people. They may not have been thinking right then of drugs, alcohol, premarital sex. They had come to listen to the pope, to some spiritual sermon. They will go back home thinking of premarital sex, how to get tempted by the devil, where to find the drug dealers.
And alcohol is certainly not a temptation of the devil, because Jesus Christ was drinking alcohol – not only drinking it but making it available to his apostles. Alcohol is not against Christianity. Christianity accepts alcohol perfectly because to deny alcohol would be putting Jesus in jeopardy. Jesus was not a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. He enjoyed drinking, and he has never said that drinking is a sin – how could he say it.
Now the Polack Pope seems to be far more religious than Jesus Christ. And I can certainly visualize that if the only begotten son drinks, the father must be a drunkard, and the Holy Ghost too. These people may be the cause because from where did Jesus learn? Certainly the devil could not tempt him. We know that the devil used to tempt him, and he said to the devil, “Get behind me, I am not to be tempted by you.”
But these people seem to be mentally sick. You never come across the devil, and you don’t talk with the devil this way: “Get behind me, and let me go on my way. Don’t prevent me, don’t try to tempt me.” And if you do say these things and somebody hears, he is going to inform the nearest police station that here comes a man who is talking to the devil, and we don’t see any devil anywhere.”
Jesus is also contaminated by the rabbis and the priests. It is the same company, just with different labels and different trademarks. But the business is the same, the company is the same, their work is the same – they corrupt human beings, they destroy your innocence.
This Polack Pope is worried about premarital sex – it must be on his mind, otherwise how can it come out of it? And that is his most emphatic thing. But what is wrong with premarital sex? It was a problem in the past, but have you entered into the twentieth century or not?
It was a problem in the past because sex can lead to pregnancy, to children, and then the problem will arise of who is going to bring up those children? Then who is going to marry that girl who has a child? So there will be complications and difficulties.
There need not be – it is just in the mind. In fact most marital difficulties arise because premarital sex is denied. It is as if you are told that until you are twenty-one you cannot swim: Don’t be tempted by the devil; pre-adult swimming is a sin.
Okay, one day you become twenty-one but you don’t know how to swim. And thinking that now you are twenty-one you are allowed to swim, you jump into the river. You are jumping to your death because just by becoming twenty-one, there is no necessity, there is no intrinsic law that you will learn how to swim. And when are you going to learn to swim?
What actually are these people saying? – they are saying that before entering the river you should learn to swim; if you enter the river you are committing a sin. But where are you going to learn to swim – in your bedroom, on your mattress? For swimming you will need to go to the river.
There are aboriginal tribes which are far more human, natural, where premarital sex is supported by the society, encouraged, because that is the time to learn. At fourteen years of age the girl becomes sexually mature; at eighteen years of age the boy becomes sexually mature. And the age is going down: as human societies become more scientific, technological, food is sufficient, health is taken care of, and the age goes on falling.
In America girls become mature earlier than in India. And of course in Ethiopia how can you become sexually mature? – you will die long before. In America the age has fallen from fourteen to thirteen to twelve because physically people are more energetic, have better food, a more comfortable life. They become sexually mature early, and they will be able to function also longer than in poor countries.
In India people simply cannot believe when they read in the newspapers that some American at the age of ninety is going to get married. The Indians cannot believe it – what is happening to these Americans? By the time an Indian is ninety he has been in the grave almost twenty years; only his ghost can get married, not he. And even if they are in their bodies, a ninety-year-old person marrying a woman who is eighty-seven…just great! Simply unbelievable! And they go on a honeymoon….
They are really very practiced, they have done this all their lives many times – getting married, going on a honeymoon – and they have been fortunate enough so that in one life they have lived at least five, six, seven lives.
Premarital sex is one of the most important things to be decided by human society.
The girl will never be more alive sexually than she is at the age of fourteen, and the boy will never be so sexually alive as he is at the age of eighteen. When nature is at its peak, you prevent them. By the time the boy is thirty you allow him to get married. He is already declining in his sexuality. In his life energy he is already on the decline, he is losing interest. Biologically he is already fourteen or sixteen years late – he has missed the train long ago.
It is because of this that so many marital problems arise and so many marital counselors thrive, because both partners have passed their peak hours, and those peak hours were the time when they could have known what orgasm is. Now they read about it in books and they dream of it, fantasize about it – and it doesn’t happen. They are too late. The popes are standing in between.
I would like to say to you: don’t be tempted by the popes. These are the real evil ones. They will spoil your whole life. They have spoiled the lives of millions of people.
When you are thirty you cannot have that quality, that intensity, that fire that you had when you were eighteen. But that was the time to be celibate, not to be tempted by the devil. Whenever the devil tempts just start praying to God, repeating a mantra: om mani padme hum. That’s what the Tibetans do.
Whenever you see a Tibetan quickly doing “Om mani padme hum,” you can be certain he is tempted by the devil, because that mantra is used to make the devil afraid. And the faster you do it, the faster the devil will run away.
In India there exists a small book, Hanuman Chalisa. It is a prayer to the monkey god, Hanuman, who is thought to be a celibate and a protector of all those who want to remain celibate. So all people who want to remain celibate are worshippers of Hanuman. And this small book you can memorize very easily.
They go on repeating this prayer, so Hanuman goes on protecting their celibacy, goes on protecting them from the devil who is always around, waiting for the chance to get hold of them and tempt them.
Nobody is tempting you.
It is simply nature, not the devil.
And nature is not against you:
It is all for you.
In a better human society premarital sex should be appreciated just the way it is appreciated in a few aboriginal tribes. The reasoning is very simple. First: nature has prepared you for something, you should not be denied your natural right. If the society is not ready for you to get married, that is society’s problem, not yours. The society should find some way.
The aboriginals have found the way. It is very rare that a girl gets pregnant. If a girl gets pregnant the boy and the girl get married. There is no shame about it, there is no scandal about it, there is no condemnation about it. On the contrary, the elders bless the young couple because they have proved that they are vigorous; nature is powerful in them, their biology is more alive than anybody else’s. But it rarely happens. What happens is that every boy and every girl become trained.
In aboriginal societies I have visited, it is a rule that after the fourteenth year the girl, and after the eighteenth, the boy, are not allowed to sleep in their houses. They have a common hall in the middle of the village where all the girls and all the boys go and sleep. Now there is no need for them to hide behind the car, in the car porch. This is ugly. This is society forcing people to be thieves, deceivers, liars.
And their first experiences of love have happened in such ugly situations – hiding, afraid, guilty, knowing that it is a temptation of the devil. They cannot enjoy it when they are capable of enjoying it to its fullest, and experiencing it at its peak.
What I am saying is that if they had experienced it at its peak, its grip over them would have been lost. Then their whole life they would not be looking at Playboy magazines; there would be no need. And they would not be dreaming about sex, having sexual fantasies. They would not be reading third-rate novels and looking at Hollywood movies.
All this is possible because they have been denied their birthright.
In the aboriginal society they live together in the night. One rule only is told to them: “Don’t be with one girl more than three days, because she is not your property, you are not her property. You have to become acquainted with all the girls, and she has to become acquainted with all the boys before you choose your life partner.”
Now, this seems to be absolutely sane. Before choosing a life partner you should be given a chance to be acquainted with all available women, all available men. No astrologer can manage to fit you to each other….
One astrologer used to live by my house. And he was very famous. People from far away used to come for his advice about marriage, and they would bring the birth charts of the boy and the girl. His fee was higher than anybody else’s…. And I used to see him being beaten by his wife.
One day, walking in the morning, suddenly I came across him. I asked him, “I can understand that you are a great astrologer, but what happened? – you could not manage your birth chart? And your wife beats you!”
He said, “Don’t say it to anybody. This is the only problem in my life; otherwise my profession is going so good and I am earning so well. But this woman…I have to keep her out of the view of my customers and clients, because if they see her and her behavior with me they will think, What kind of astrologer is he?”
I said, “Then you have to promise me one thing; otherwise I am going to make it well known, I am going to publish it in the newspaper.” I was editing a newspaper, so I said, “I am going to publish it. This is cheating.”
He said, “I will do whatever you say.”
I said, “Just promise me – whenever I say, ‘Let these two get married,’ you have to manage it.”
He said, “I will do it, there is no problem, this is just a game. Whatever you say I will do.”
And once in a while it used to happen…. One of my friends was very worried because his girl’s birth chart was not matching with any boy’s, and he was tired of it all.
I said, “Don’t be worried. Just bring both charts I
have the best astrologer.”
He said, “But his fee is too high and I am a poor man.”
I said, “Don’t be worried, there is no fee. Just give me both charts and I will take them to him and he will manage.”
And what he used to do if they were not meeting – he would make another chart which did meet, and throw the old one! He said, “There is no problem in it. Sometimes people come to me and say that these two charts should not be allowed to meet. I take my fee for that. I don’t let them meet; I tear one up, even if they are meeting, because another astrologer could fix them – so I just change the chart.”
These people, and they are very religious people…. But this is not the way. You can see all over the world that neither arranged marriage has been successful, nor what you call love – marriage. Both have failed, and the basic reason is that in both cases the couple is inexperienced; the couple has not been given enough freedom to find the right person. There is no other way than through experience to find the right person.
Very small things can be disturbing. Somebody’s body smell may be enough to spoil your whole marriage. It is not a great thing but it is enough: everyday…how long can you tolerate it? But to somebody else that smell may be very fitting, may be the smell that he likes.
Just let people have experience – and particularly now, when problems of pregnancy are no longer there. Those aboriginals were courageous to do it for thousands of years. And then too there have not been many problems. Once in a while the girl may get pregnant, then they get married; otherwise there is no problem.
In those tribes there are no divorces, because, of course, once you have looked at all the women, have been with all the women of the tribe, and then you choose, now what else are you going to change? You have chosen out of experience, so in those societies there is no need, there is no question of divorce. The question has not arisen.
It is not that divorce is not allowed; the very question of divorce has not arisen in those tribes. They have not thought about it, it has never been a problem. Nobody has said that they want to separate.
All civilized societies suffer from marital problems because the husband and wife are almost enemies. You can call them intimate enemies but that does not make any difference. It is better that the enemies are far away and not too intimate. If they are intimate that means that it is a twenty-four-hour a day war, continuously – day in, day out. And the simple reason is the stupid idea of these religious teachers: Beware of pre marital sex.
If you want to beware, beware of marital sex, because that is where the problem is. Premarital sex is I not a problem, and particularly now when all birth I control methods are available.
Every college, every university, every school, should make it a point that every child, girl or boy, goes through all kinds of experiences, all types of people, and finally chooses. This choice will be based and rooted in knowing, in understanding.
But the problem for the pope is not that the whole of humanity is suffering from marriage, that all couples are suffering from marriage, and that because of their suffering their children start learning the ways of suffering – he is not concerned. His whole concern is that birth control methods should not be used. In fact the pope is not saying, “Beware of the devil”; he is saying “Beware of birth control methods.”
Real problems are not being dealt with, only unreal, bogus ones. And he goes on advising the whole world…. And this time when he goes back to the Vatican he will find all the workers in the Vatican – eight hundred in all – are threatening a strike because they are not paid well.
The promises that had been given to them have not been fulfilled. For eighteen months they have been waiting and asking. So this time they are ready; when the pope comes back from his tour of Latin America, then they are going to give him a hard time.
He cannot manage eight hundred people – and he is trying to manage the whole world. Everybody’s psychological problems he is trying to manage – and he cannot manage even eight hundred poor people. And they must be desperate, only then could they have come to the point of declaring that they are going on strike if action is not taken immediately.
And the pope is now the richest person in – the world. Six hundred million Catholics go on pouring their money into the Vatican – and you cannot feed eight hundred people rightly? And you go around the world preaching great sermons….
These people have given a wrong idea of responsibility: you are responsible to your parents, you are responsible to God, you are responsible to the priest, you are responsible to the teacher, you are responsible to the society; you are responsible to everybody except yourself. This is the idea that they have imposed upon you.
And I want to say to you that you are only responsible to yourself, and nobody else.
And when I say it, don’t misunderstand me – because a person who is responsible to himself is automatically responsible to everybody with whom he comes into contact. He cannot be irresponsible. His every act comes out of consciousness, how can it be irresponsible?
What have religions done? – they have done just the opposite. No religion says you have to be responsible to yourself; but to the motherland, to the fatherland to the church…to all kinds of nonsense. And by being responsible to all that nonsense you destroy your freedom, your consciousness.
They have given you another word, conscience. Otherwise there was no need. They have repressed consciousness and put on top of it a conditioned layer, which they call conscience. Conscience means what your religion wants you to do; if you go against it you are being irresponsible. And the scripture decides what is right and what is wrong.
No, no scripture can decide what is right and what is wrong. Each moment the situation changes, and each moment you have to come up with a fresh decision, whether it is right or wrong. No dead principles can help, but only living consciousness. And there is no need….
Only a blind man asks, “Where is the door?” and, “Should I go to the right or to the left?” But when you have eyes there is no need to ask, “Where is the door?” – you can see. In fact, there is no need even to think where the door is; when you want to get out you simply get out, you have eyes.
Consciousness gives you eyes.
Conscience gives you only words.
And then everybody is ready to exploit you.
One of my professors was annoyed with me, and the reason for his annoyance was valid. He was the professor of economics. And just then it was happening that in Indian universities the change of the medium from English to Hindi was taking place. The professors were all accustomed to English – although they all could speak Hindi. They were Hindi speakers, it was their mother tongue, but as far as their subject was concerned English was easier for them. They were accustomed to teach in English, but once in a while they got stuck at a certain word.
This professor knew that I had always been of help to him; whenever he was stuck with an English word and he could not find the equivalent in Hindi, I used to supply him the equivalent Hindi word. So he trusted me – but he had no sense of humor at all. One day he was teaching about bargaining and haggling. On the word “haggling” he got stuck. What in Hindi is haggling? So he asked me, “What is the Hindi word for haggling?”
I said, “Chakallas.” It sounds close to haggling, the sound of the two words was very close, but chakallas means “joking,” it does not mean haggling. So he started using chakallas. Now whenever he said, “You go to the market and you start chakallas,” the whole class would laugh. Whenever he used the word chakallas, everybody would laugh; so he said to me, “What is the matter? Why do you all suddenly start laughing for no reason at all?” But he could not figure out that it was chakallas, the word, that was creating the whole trouble.
But he must have inquired of others, and they said, “That boy played a joke on you. Chakallas does not mean haggling, that’s why they all were laughing.”
Next day when he came in he was very angry, and he said to me, “You stand up!”
I said, “I know…it must be chakallas.”
He said, “Yes.”
I said, “But it was only chakallas – don’t take it seriously. You are so serious that this was the first time in your class there was laughter. You should enjoy it.
And nobody was harmed, nobody was insulted – we just enjoyed it. Do you hate us enjoying ourselves once in a while and laughing once in a while?”
He said to me, “Nobody has asked me before, but because you have raised the question, it makes me really feel sad for myself because I have never enjoyed laughter. And if others are laughing I feel irritated, I am angry.”
I said, “Then you are in a great mess. We can pull you out. As far as I can tell you must have been in a convent school.”
He said, “Yes.”
I said, “That’s what convent schools do to people – they make them serious.”
Everything religious is serious, and everything that is joyful is somehow condemned. Have you ever seen any picture of God laughing? I don’t think He has ever smiled in millions of years – he is running a serious affair. The thing is so serious that even the devil does not laugh. You can just think to what extent existence has become serious: even the devil has forgotten laughter.
This professor called me home, and he said, “I thought about it again and again and I feel that I am missing something. My life seems to be so dry, and I cannot even make friends with people.”
I said, “You need just a little chakallas.”
He said, “Don’t use that word! That word made me the laughing stock of the whole college. Now everybody saying that I was befooled. This translation into Hindi such a trouble, and I have to take your help. Never do such a thing again.”
I said, “I cannot promise because promising is not my way of life. Tomorrow we will see, tomorrow will take care of itself. I never promise. If you are afraid, stop asking me. You can ask anybody else, or you can manage on your own; I am not interested. But if you ask me once in a while there will be chakallas. I don’t like that serious, dead class. And how can you manage for years living in this deadness? What is the point? If you cannot even laugh, commit suicide.”
These people have destroyed so much in human beings that you will be surprised: If it all can be replaced, you may feel for the first time really alive. They have taught you “responsibility” for everything.
In my final years in the university, in India a law was imposed on all the university students that everybody had to take army training. I went to the vice-chancellor and said, “I cannot follow this law. If there is any punishment I am ready for it.”
He said, “No, there is no punishment but they have created trouble: if you don’t bring the certificate from the army office that you have been attending their courses regularly then we cannot give you the certificate. Their clearance is needed first.”
So I said, “I won’t ask for the certificate.”
“But,” he said to me, “you have a responsibility toward the motherland.”
I said, “Don’t talk nonsense to me. The whole earth is mine so why should I have responsibility only to this small piece of land? And on what grounds have you divided it? Who are you to divide the earth into lands and then impose the idea of responsibility?
“l am responsible toward existence. I am not responsible to any nation, to any political division. And I am going to fight for it – if you don’t give me the certificate I will go up to the supreme court to fight for it. You cannot impose on me any army training, because I don’t want to kill anybody. I would prefer to be killed – there is no problem in it – but I don’t want to kill anybody, and I don’t want any training of this kind.”
He understood that it was going to be tough and I some trouble for him. So he said, “Don’t be worried I will talk to the colonel in the army and I will manage somehow to get a clearance for you.”
I said, “That is your business. You have to give me the certificate, otherwise I go to the court. I don’t have any responsibility for any piece of land. And you have to prove on what grounds and on what authority I have any responsibility to any part of the land.
“Just a few years before I was responsible to the land which is now Pakistan. Now I am not responsible to it. It was my mother country; now it no longer is. Bangladesh was my responsibility; now it no longer is. So what guarantee is there? – I may die for this land, and tomorrow it may not even be my motherland?
“You first give me a clear-cut idea of what my motherland is – because I have seen before my eyes part of the country become Pakistan. It is no longer my motherland, it is an enemy country, and this whole I training is for nothing but to fight with Pakistan. Bangladesh was my part of the country, now this whole training is to fight with Bangladesh. Tomorrow perhaps Punjab will become an independent country, then it is no longer my motherland.
“So what kind of mother is this? – hands, head, legs go on disappearing, and to whatsoever remains I am still responsible. My responsibility does not reduce with my mother reducing continually. At least that much freedom should be given to me: as much as you reduce my mother….”,
He managed something with the army. He gave me a certificate and he said, “You keep it to yourself because if you spread this thing then other students will create trouble. For one I can manage but for everybody I cannot manage. And I know you are right.”
The land is simply land. Either the whole earth is our mother or no land is our mother. Countries go on being born and disappearing – just political games, chess. Israel was not there for hundreds of years, now it is there. And now it is the motherland of the Jews, and their responsibility is to die for it – and they are dying for it.
And they will have to continue to die for it because it is never going to be a safe, secure, peaceful land; that is impossible, because it is surrounded, all around, by the Mohammedans. And in fact for centuries it has been a Mohammedan country – Palestine. Centuries before, sometime, it was Israel, but you cannot go back. And those Mohammedans are not going to leave it.
When it was created I was a very small child, but even then I said, “This is simply stupid. Look at the map: it is surrounded by Mohammedans, it is a Mohammedan country. You are just changing its name and giving it to the Jews because you are now in power.”
Britishers and Americans – because they won the second world war and were in power, and their armies were there – simply handed over Israel to the Jews. I don’t think that this was an act of friendship, this was an act of absolute enmity.”
They have created an eternal trouble spot for Jews for the future, one which will never be solved; there is no way to solve it. The Jews will have continually to fight, and they will have to be continually beggars, asking for help from all over the world, particularly help from America.
So America has played a good political game: fix the Jews there so their whole problem is there, their trouble is there. If Jews were intelligent enough, they would have refused it, and said, “We don’t want a country which has been Mohammedan for centuries, populated by Mohammedans, dominated by Mohammedans. Now it is their country.”
If America is so compassionate toward Jews, then give them Oregon. Make it the new Israel – that will be perfectly good. And all the money that is being wasted in Israel would remain in America, and Oregon would become a beautiful country.
Jews have done tremendous labor there, but it is all futile. And they have poured all their money there, which is all futile. Nothing is going to help: the trouble spot will remain continuously a trouble spot. It is just a small island in an ocean of Mohammedans. You cannot finish that ocean; that ocean is, sooner or later, going to drown you all.
Giving Oregon to the Jews – this would have been generosity, compassion, friendliness. Anyway, fifty percent of Oregon’s land is already federal government land, and the remaining fifty percent they also want to purchase. They want to make it a federal, a completely federal, state.
So it would have been very easy to give it to Jews; there would have been no problem. It would have helped the Jews, it would have helped America. The money would have remained here, the people would have remained here. New people would have come from all over the world. And New Israel would be far better than getting that old rotten Israel which Moses had found. And he did not find it really….
Moses was tired of searching, so finally he said, “This is it” – because at some point he had to say it…forty years’ search! Just the way I have said, “This is it”…. How long can one go on searching? Otherwise, do you think of this desert I was going to say, “This is it”? But now there is not much time for me, and I cannot go on and on.
The same I know happened with Moses. Israel is not something better than you have got; it is worse. He was just tired, utterly tired. His disciples dying every day, three-quarters of the original already dead…. A new generation had come up who did not even recognize him, who he was and what he was. And they didn’t care about him at all, because there was a gap, a big gap. And even his closest friends were angry: “It is time; forty years we have been wandering – where is your Israel?”
This is the trouble with all utopians. They can paint the utopia so beautifully that many become fascinated. But once you start searching for the utopia then the trouble starts, because that kind of utopia never exists anywhere. It has to be created, not found. And that was the basic mistake; they were searching, believing that somewhere there was Israel. I
Nowhere is there any Israel. You have to create it.’
So I have not been searching that way: thinking that somewhere some place is there and we have just to reach there and all is okay. I have been looking for a place where we can create it. It is always going to be a creation.
But now that Mohammedan country is the responsibility of the Jews….
One of the great poets of India was always complaining about his sons because they were not listening to him and they were not following him. And he was a well-respected man; he was known as the national poet. He was Maitreya’s friend, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar. Tired of his continuous talking about his sons, that they didn’t listen, I asked him, “Did you ever ask them before giving birth to them, ‘Do you want to be born? “‘
He said, “What?”
I said, “Have you asked them? It is your responsibility, not their responsibility. You brought them on the earth and now you go on imposing every kind of responsibility on them: ‘I am your father; you have to respect me, and you have to do things according to me.’ Why should they? In the first place you forced them to come into the world without their permission, and now you want them to continue to follow you – and you want them to feel guilty about it.
“You again and again are asking me…for what reason? You want me to tell your sons, ‘This is your responsibility.’ I cannot say that. You lived your life the way you wanted. Now let them live their life the way they want. Why are you interfering? And they are not children.”
He looked at me for a few moments. He said, “So I you are also with them?”
I said, “No, I am not with them. I have never seen them, I have never met them. But if you want, then next time I come to Patna, arrange a meeting.”
He said, “No, I don’t want any meeting with you – you will spoil them more. You are saying that it is my responsibility that I have given birth to them?”
I said, “Then whose responsibility is it? Mine? And even after giving birth to them, into this miserable world, you want them still to follow you? It is enough that they don’t kill you!”
That was the last time…. After that I used to inquire, “What about your sons?”
And he would say, “Never mind my sons! Don’t bring that subject up at all; I have dropped that subject. At least with you I am not going to discuss that subject.”
Fathers and mothers go on forcing on children that, “this is your responsibility.” They have given the word responsibility a strange turn.
It simply means response-ability. Break it in two: not responsibility, but response-ability, your ability to respond. That means you have to drop all your conscience, things that people have told you are right and wrong. It may have been right and wrong for them, you have nothing to do with that.
Drop your conscience, which is imposed, and become conscious of every situation that faces you. And every moment there is a situation that faces you; become conscious of it, and out of that consciousness, act.
And whatever you do out of consciousness is right.
And whatever you do unconsciously is wrong.
So to me the act itself is not right or wrong. To me it depends on you – your consciousness, the quality of awareness that you bring to the act. Then everything has a different perspective.
I will tell you a few Zen anecdotes. One is: A great Zen master had this habit, that once in a while he would just raise his finger toward the sky for no apparent reason. Talking of something else, without any relevance, not in context, suddenly he would raise his finger toward the sky, as if there was some undercurrent also going on of which nobody was aware.
One of his young disciples was just a little boy of twelve years old who used to stand by his side to fan him because it was too hot. He also saw this finger, and he learned to imitate it because he was standing at the side a little back; the master could not see him.
Once in a while, just while fanning the master…and then everybody would start laughing, and he would start fanning him again. The master could not figure out what was happening, why people started to laugh, and from where it came. And that boy was just waving his fan again, and once in a while…. Finally the master found out.
One day when the boy did it, the master caught hold of his finger – he had a knife with him – and he cut off the boy’s finger completely! It was a shock. Nobody could have even imagined that the master would do that. He cut the finger completely off! And not only that, he said, “Now, point it again!” The boy was in such a shock – the blood was falling from his finger, and the finger was already on the ground, but the master said “Point!” And the boy pointed the finger which was no longer there.
For a moment there was great silence. And then the boy came in front, bowed down, touched the master’s feet and said, “I had never thought…I have been listening, standing there, knowing that it is not for me, but then…no thought, no mind, and bliss started showering.
“When you shouted at me I was full of pain, but I forgot it when you shouted, ‘Now point your finger!’ And you pulled me in front and I pointed my finger which was not there. And because my finger was not there and I was pointing it, suddenly my whole thinking stopped. My mind could not make any sense out of it, what was happening?”
It was so sudden – the cutting of the finger and the shouting of the master, everybody in shock, blood on the floor, the finger on the floor…and he says, “Now point it!”
And the boy said, “At that moment, just for a split second, there was no mind. I was not there. Just as my finger was not there, I was not there, and there was no mind. And you are right, master, blessings started falling on me.”
Now cutting off anybody’s finger, is it right or is it wrong? – moral or immoral? Very difficult to say. If a Zen master does it, you cannot say it is wrong. And the result shows it is not wrong: that boy became his master’s successor. That cutting of the finger began a process in his life of which he was not aware at all. He was just a servant, he was not even part of the congregation.
It is difficult to decide just on the act itself. The question is, what do you make of it? The question is, who does it? From what consciousness does it come? and to what result does it lead?
It came from a pure, conscious mind, and it led to a moment of pure consciousness. The cutting of the finger means nothing. If the master had cut off the whole hand even then it would not have been bad. Even to cut off the head and give a chance for a moment to pass without a thought, without a mind, to make time stop…. Even if the man is beheaded the act is absolutely right.
I am not saying that you should start beheading people. My emphasis is that the act is unimportant. That’s what all religions have been trying to teach: The act is right or wrong. If you do it, you are responsible; if you don’t do it, you are irresponsible.
I am changing the emphasis from the act to the actor.
It is you who are right or wrong, it is never the act.
It is always my consciousness which is decisive.
The act in other hands may be immoral, but in the hands of a conscious mind it changes its very quality.
Consciousness is the only magic there is.
So I call responsibility ‘action with awareness.’
And if you simply go on doing the so-called responsibilities unconsciously, I don’t consider them responsibilities; you have been cheated.
Now that is what the pope is going to do with the academy of sciences that he has created in the Vatican. The whole purpose is to create a sense of guilt in the scientist…because this is a very strange step. Popes have always been against science, against scientists.
Three hundred years ago no pope could have even thought that in the Vatican there would be an academy of sciences. But if they had had the whole idea of what is behind it then they would not have been surprised. For three hundred years they have been trying to prevent science in every possible way. They have failed, they could not prevent it. Now they want to persuade.
It is no use trying to be antagonistic – for three hundred years they have been enemies and Christianity has failed; science has been the victor. Now the pope is taking another move. If by enmity it was not possible, then perhaps it may be possible through friendship. He is certainly a cunning man. And scientists are never cunning, that is the difficulty.
Priests are always cunning, and scientists are always innocent people, even lacking in common sense because their whole mind is concentrated on their work. They are absolutely oblivious of the other aspects of life. They live a very simple life, concentrated on their own work. But priests are cunning.
Now this academy of sciences is one of the most cunning steps a pope could have taken – and the scientists are falling prey, falling into his trap because he is making it a question of great respectability. To be a member of the academy of scientists, to be an academician of the Vatican academy is a respect which will not be available to all. Very few people, like Nobel prize winners, will be accepted; great scientific institutes can suggest a few names and they will be considered.
And because science is mostly a Western monopoly there is not going to be much trouble: most of the scientists are Christians and half of them or more than half, will be Catholics. Most of the scientists are spread in America, in Europe, in England.
The only problem is about the Soviet Union. So he has opened the door for the Soviet Union too; their scientists are welcome. Four have already joined the academy. Of course Soviet scientists will join for a different reason. They will join to find out what is going on there, so that nothing should go against the Soviet Union. They will be spies there.
But the pope is going to make a fuss about it, that I now this is an international, the only international academy where all are represented, even atheists, communists – all are represented.
And what does he want to do with this academy? He wants to decide what science should do and what science should not do. That will be the pope’s decision. And he will corrupt these scientists’ minds – because just now he has declared that science is not the ultimate value; the ultimate value is religion, morality. So the decisive point is going to be religion and morality, not science.
The position does not change, the position is the same. That’s what they have been saying for all these centuries, that the scientists should listen to the pope, to the church, because the ultimate value is religion. Science has to be only a servant. It can be a good servant if it follows religion, otherwise it is a bad servant.
The same position…. Now he declares that science is not the ultimate value, the ultimate value is religion and morality. Of course religion and morality have to be decided by the pope.
The academy’s function is to review what is happening in different fields of science, just a synopsis of the latest developments in different fields, so the pope can declare whether they are moral or immoral, whether they should be pursued by Christian scientists or not. It will not be said directly Christian scientists – they are all Christian – but in this way he will sabotage scientific progress and try to turn it toward lines that the church wants science to go on.
I would like to say to you:
Science is the ultimate value.
And there are only two kinds of sciences: one, objective science, that decides about the outside world; and two, subjective science, which up to now has been called religion.
But it is better not to call it religion. It is better to call it the science of the inner, and to divide science into science of the outer, and science of the inner-objective science and subjective science. But make it one solid whole, and science remains the ultimate value – nothing is higher than that. And the decision should not come from a third-class pope who knows nothing about science. The decision should come through a consensus among scientists themselves.
If we were to create an academy here of scientists then I would like them to meet – we should only provide a meeting place, a relaxing place, a holiday for them. They should meet here and they should come to a consensus among themselves. That is their business – what has to be done or not done. If they want any help from us, we can give that help in a totally different form, not as a decision – because who are we to decide?
Our help can be only through meditation. We can tell them to meditate with our meditators.
That will give them more consciousness, more awareness.
And out of consciousness whatsoever they do will be responsible. And out of unconsciousness, even if the pope guides them, whatever they do will be irresponsible.

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