From Misery to Enlightenment 28

TwentyEighth Discourse from the series of 29 discourses - From Misery to Enlightenment by Osho.
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Would you please say something about aids?
I do not know anything about even the first aids, and you are asking me about the last AIDS! But it seems I will have to say something about it. And in a world where people who know nothing about themselves can talk about God, people who know nothing about the geography of the earth can talk about heaven and hell, it is not inconceivable for me to say something about AIDS, although I am not a physician. But neither is the disease now called AIDS just a disease. It is something more, something beyond the limitation of the medical profession.
As I see it, it is not a disease in the same category as other diseases; hence the danger of it. Perhaps it will kill at least two-thirds of humanity. It is, basically, the incapability to resist diseases. One slowly, slowly finds oneself vulnerable to all kinds of infections, and one has no inner resistance to fight those infections.
To me it means humanity is losing the will to live.
Whenever a person loses the will to live, his resistance falls immediately, because the body follows the mind. The body is a very conservative servant of the mind; it serves the mind in a religious way. If the mind loses the will to live, it will be reflected in the body by the dropping of resistance against sickness, against death. Of course the physician will never bother about the will to live – that’s why I thought it better that I say something.
It is going to become such an enormous problem all over the world that any insight from any dimension can be of immense help. Just in America, this year, four hundred thousand people are affected by AIDS, and each year the number will double. Next year it will be eight hundred thousand people, and then one million six hundred thousand people; that way it will go on – doubling. Just this year America will need five hundred million dollars to help these people, and still there is not much hope of their surviving.
Just in the beginning it was thought to be a homosexual disease. And from all around the world researchers supported the idea that it was something homosexual; and it was found that it happens more in men than in women.
But just yesterday a report from South Africa changes the whole standpoint. South Africa is greatly involved in researching about the disease because South Africa is the most affected area. It seems blacks are almost twice as vulnerable to the disease as white people. South Africa is suffering from a great epidemic of AIDS; hence, they have been researching. It is a question of life and death.
Their report is very strange. It says that AIDS is not a homosexual disease at all, that it is a heterosexual disease, and it happens if people go on changing partners – mixing with many women, with many men, continually changing partners. This continuous changing is the cause of the disease. Homosexuality has nothing to do with it, according to their research. Now all the researchers in Europe and America are on one side, and the South African report is on the opposite side.
To me it is very significant. It has nothing to do with either heterosexuality or with homosexuality. It has certainly something to do with sex. And why has it something to do with sex? – because the will to live is rooted in sex. If the will to live disappears, then sex will be the most vulnerable area of life to invite death.
Remember perfectly well that I am not a medical man, and whatever I am saying is from a totally different point of view. But there is much more possibility of what I am saying to be true than what these so-called researchers are saying, because their research is superficial. They think only of cases; they collect data, facts.
That is not my way – I am not a fact-collector.
My work is not of research but of insight.
I try to see into every problem as deeply as possible.
I simply ignore the superficial, which is the area of the researchers.
My work you can call insearch, but not research.
I try to penetrate deeply, and I see clearly that sex is the phenomenon most related to the will to live. If the will to live declines, sex will be vulnerable; then it is not a question of heterosexuality or homosexuality.
In Europe and in America they started looking into it because it was just a coincidence that the first cases happened in homosexuals; perhaps homosexuals had lost the will to live more than heterosexuals. The whole research was confined to California, and most of the victims were Jews; obviously the researchers found that it is linked to homosexuality. If any heterosexual was also found to have the symptoms then it was naturally assumed that he had got it from some homosexual person.
California is such a stupid part of the world – and as far as sex is concerned, the most perverted part of the world. You can also say avant-garde, progressive, revolutionary, but these beautiful words won’t hide the truth: that California has become too perverted.
Why does it happen, this perversion? And why has it happened in California particularly? – because California is one of the most cultured, civilized, affluent societies. Naturally, they have everything that you can hope for, everything that you can desire – and that’s where the problem of the will to live arises.
When you are hungry you think of getting work, food; you don’t have time to think about life and death. You don’t have time to think about what the meaning of existence is. It is impossible: a hungry man cannot think of beauty, of art, music. Take the hungry man, starving, into a museum filled with beautiful pieces of art. Do you think he will be able to see any beauty there? His hunger will prevent him. These are luxuries. Only when all his basic needs are fulfilled does man come to face the real problems of life. Poor countries don’t know the real problems.
Hence, when I say that the richest man is the poorest, you can understand what I mean by saying it. The richest man comes to know the unsolvable problems of life, and he is stuck; there is nowhere to go. The poor man has so much to do, so much to achieve, so much to become. Who cares about philosophy, theology, art. They are too big for him; he is interested in very mundane things, very small things. And it is impossible for him to turn his consciousness upon himself and start thinking and brooding about existence, being – just impossible.
California is, unfortunately, one of the most fortunate parts of the world, in every way: it has the most beautiful people, beautiful land, and it has come to the highest peak of luxury. And there, the question arises. You have done everything; now what else is there to do? That’s the point where perversion begins.
You have known many women and you have come to understand that it is all the same. Once you put the light off, every woman is just the same. When the light is off, if the woman goes into the other room and your wife comes in – and you are not aware – you may even make love to your wife, giving her beautiful dialogues, not knowing that she is your wife. What are you doing! If anyone comes to know about it, that you speak these beautiful dialogues – learned from Hollywood movies – to your own wife, they certainly will think that you have gone crazy. These are meant for other people’s wives, not for your wife. But in darkness there is no difference.
Once a man knows many women, a woman knows many men, one thing becomes certain – that it is the same, a repetition. The differences are superficial, and as far as the sexual contact is concerned, they make no difference: a little longer nose, or a little blonder hair, a whiter face or a little suntanned – what difference does it make when you come to make love to a woman? Yes, before making love to a woman all these things make a difference. And it continues to make a difference in countries where monogamy is still the rule.
For example, in a country like India, the disease AIDS is not going to happen, it is impossible – for the simple reason that people know only their wife, only their husband, their whole life. And they always remain curious about what the neighbor’s wife would feel like. It always remains a tremendous curiosity, but there is no possibility for perversion.
Perversion requires the basic condition that you are fed up with changing women, you want something new. Then men start trying men – that seems to be different; women start trying women – that feels a little different. But for how long? Soon that too is the same. Again, the question arises.
This is the point where you try all kinds of things, and slowly slowly one thing becomes settled: that it is all useless. Curiosity disappears. Then, what is the point of living for tomorrow? It was curiosity: tomorrow something new may happen. Now you know that the new never happens. Everything is old under the sky. The new is just a hope, it never happens. You try all kinds of designs in furniture, houses, architecture, clothes – and everything fails finally.
When everything fails and there is no hope for tomorrow, then the will to live cannot go on with the same fervor, force, persistence. It starts dragging. Life seems to lose juice. You are alive because what else to do? You start thinking of committing suicide.
Sigmund Freud is reported to have said, “I have never come across a single man who has not thought, at least once in his life, of committing suicide.” But Sigmund Freud is now too old, out of date. He was talking about psychologically sick people; those were the people with whom he was coming in contact.
My own experience is that the poor man never thinks of committing suicide. I have come across thousands of poor people; they never think of committing suicide. They want to live, because they have not lived yet; how can they think of suicide?
Life has so many things to give, and they see that everybody is enjoying all kinds of things and they have not lived yet. There is a great urge, force, to live. Much has to be done, much has to be achieved. There is the whole sky of ambition open, and they have not even begun to scratch the ground. No beggar ever thinks of committing suicide. Logically it should be just the other way: every beggar should think of committing suicide, but no beggar ever thinks of it – even a beggar who has no eyes, is blind, is paralyzed, crippled.
In my university there used to be a student of mine who was the son of a beggar. Just accidentally I found it out. That beggar used to stand at the railway station, and I was continually coming and going, coming and going. It was almost a routine thing that whenever I came I would give him one rupee, and whenever I went I would give him one rupee. And he was very happy because nobody else was giving one rupee. And in a month I would pass at least eight or ten times, so he was getting good earnings from me. We became friends.
But one day when I came to the station, I found the beggar was not there. The train was late so I looked around to find where he was, because his rupee…otherwise this would be a kind of betrayal – that he was not present and I just escaped with his rupee. So I tried to find him. I found him in the goods shed, talking to this boy who was my student. And they both became very shocked; I was puzzled.
I said, “What is the matter? I have been looking for you – the train is late and you were not in your place. You just take your rupee and relieve me because I am unnecessarily worried. And always remember, at that time you should be there. And what are you doing with my student?”
He said, “Now I cannot hide it from you. He is my son: I am teaching him. But please don’t tell anybody that he is my son. He is respected, and people think that he belongs to a rich family” – and he had kept him like a rich man’s son. His earning was good; in India, beggars earn more than professors.
I said, “No, I will not tell anybody. There is no need to say anything to anybody; and there is no harm.”
He said, “I am living just for him. He is my hope. What I could not do in my life he will do. Perhaps I may not be able to see it – him living in his own home, having his own car, his wife, children, a good salary, or a good business. Perhaps I may not be able to live that long, but I pray to God to give me a little more life.
“I just want to see him – I will never go close to his house, I will not disturb his life. Nobody will ever know that he is the son of a beggar. And the woman who was his mother was also a beggar; we were never married. She has died, with the same hope. We both were working hard to keep him in a boarding school. Meeting him in hiding…. He comes here once in a while to meet me – in this goods shed we meet because nobody comes here.
“I can suffer as much as my fate decides but only one hope is enough to keep me tolerating every suffering, every humiliation, every insult. My son is now in the final MA; next year perhaps he will be in a good job. It is a question of only a few years until he will be having his own house – I never had one; he will be having his own wife – I never had one. He will be having his own children – and although I have him, I cannot claim to be his father because I was never married.”
Now this man…I asked him, “Have you ever thought of committing suicide?”
He said, “Suicide? What are you saying? I am thinking only of life, more life.”
Through him I became acquainted with many beggars. And I asked all of them, whenever we were alone, “Have you ever thought of committing suicide?” And they were shocked the same way: “Why have you asked this question? Why should we think of committing suicide? We want to live – we have not lived yet.”
One beggar told me, “I have been putting my money in a bank hoping that one day I will drop this begging and just live a relaxed life. Once in a while I would like to give something to a beggar. People have insulted me so much; even in their giving they insult. It is not given with compassion, it is not given with love: it is given just to get rid of you – you are a nuisance. And we know, so we create a nuisance because nobody gives out of compassion. They give to us if they want to get rid of a nuisance.
“So we never beg from a single person if he is walking on the road alone, because he will say ‘go to hell!’ We beg when there are people around before whom he cannot misbehave because he is a respectable man, known to be kind and compassionate; now this is the time to show the compassion. We see in their faces that they are boiling with anger that we have caught them in the wrong place – but for us that is the right place.”
In poor countries nobody thinks of suicide, in poor countries the question of meaning has not been raised. It is a Western question. What is the meaning of life? In the East nobody asks that. The West has come to a saturation point where everything you could live for you have already lived. Now what? If you are courageous enough, you commit suicide – or murder.
In one of the existentialist novels, a man is brought before the court. His mother has been murdered; the murderer has not been caught, but many people have suspicions about the son – although nobody says that they have ever seen them fighting. In fact they have never seen them together, so there is no question of a fight. The son was living on his own, the mother was living on her own. He never used to come to see her, and nobody has ever seen them together; but still they suspect.
The suspicion was based on a few factors: one, when they informed the son that his mother had been murdered, the son said, “What a great relief to have been murdered! Nobody murders me. That woman, my mother, had everything: now even in murder she is ahead of me.” This is a strange thing to hear from a son whose mother has been murdered.
They said, “You have to come for the final departure of your mother.”
He said, “But she has departed – you said she is murdered – so now what is the point? You can finish with the body. Dust unto dust – she is no more there. Why drag me along?” But finally they managed to drag him.
The same night he was seen with a girlfriend – he was dancing. They could not believe that his mother had been murdered in the morning and by the evening he was dancing with his girlfriend. These were the facts, and while this kind of fact didn’t prove that he was a murderer, it certainly created suspicion in the mind. And the next day he had thrown a party….
The magistrate asked him, “These are strange things. Although nothing proves you a murderer, everything creates suspicion.”
The man said, “I don’t understand: what suspicion?”
The magistrate said, “How could you dance the same evening, when your mother was murdered in the morning?”
He said, “Do you want me to stop dancing for my whole life just because my mother has been murdered?”
The magistrate said, “I am not saying for your whole life but just for that evening.”
He said, “Whenever I begin, it will be after my mother’s murder. One hour after, two hours after, how do you manage to demark a certain line beyond which I will be out of suspicion? One day, two days, three days; one week, two weeks, three weeks? But now, whenever I dance it will be after my mother’s murder so it doesn’t make any difference. Or do you think it will make any difference?”
And the magistrate said, “Just the next day you had to throw a party?”
He said, “The party was arranged beforehand. Now my mother is murdered; I could have postponed the party but it would have made no difference. And those fellows whose mothers are not murdered, why should they be disappointed? – let them enjoy. And I had arranged the party beforehand. I had no idea that my mother was going to be murdered and that the next day a party would not be right. So just for myself, why would I make them unhappy?”
And the magistrate said, “You were laughing and joking.”
He said, “It is the same point again and again; you don’t have a single different fact. The whole point is: if everybody after one’s mother’s death becomes sad never jokes, never laughs, never smiles, never dances, never goes with a boyfriend or a girlfriend, never has a party, what will happen in the world? What do you want?”
The magistrate said, “Okay, leave these things” – because he also could not decide on a time limit; there is no criterion – “but you said that woman was always ahead of you, even in being murdered.”
He said, “Of course, because I have been thinking again and again of committing suicide, but I don’t have the courage. Then I started thinking that somebody may some day murder me, and that idea gave me a great relief She has already proceeded on the journey – I am left again. And this was happening our whole life. This was why I separated from her; she was always ahead in everything, and it was so insulting. Now this is the last thing she has done.
“And do you realize the fact that she got murdered on Sunday? That woman had a habit of spoiling everything.” After six days’ work in the office I was hoping to enjoy Sunday – and this was the enjoyment! But she was clever; she must have chosen that day so she could spoil at least one of my holidays. This is her final gift to me.”
The judge said, “There is no reason to think that you murdered her, but the way you are talking, what you are saying, unnecessarily makes you sound like a criminal.”
He said, “That is only my hope – you sentence me to death. Yes, these are the facts which prove that I murdered my mother Just sentence me to death – because I cannot kill myself. I have tried but turned back. Many times I went to jump into the river but I would look down and say, ‘The water is too cold, and who knows, it may be too deep also.’”
California is the peak of Western culture. People are finished with life, that’s why there are so many cults: Hare Krishna, Moonies, EST, Esalen – all kinds of strange things. You have just to be a little bold and you can make a cult out of anything. Primal therapy, or scream…. Nowhere ever in the whole world was anybody so inventive as to make a scream a religion!
But in California you can do anything. Hugging therapy! And people are doing it, and paying for it, for hugging therapy! Hugging strangers – you are doing the hugging and somebody else is collecting the fee. You both are giving the fee to a third person, and you are doing the work! It is really great.
I was reading a news article some five, six years back. I don’t remember exactly what the therapy was called but I remember the picture that was in the magazine. It was of a naked man going on all fours with his tongue drooping out like a dog, barking. And you have to pay for it! You do the whole job…. And people were getting high on it. What else to do? When you have paid two hundred and fifty dollars for being a dog and barking, then it is better to say that you “got it.”
Now people are tired of this too. Esalen is dying, EST is finished. EST has been trying – Werner Erhard came to see me in Pune because at that time it had started falling. In California nothing lasts more than ten years. Every fashion…these are all fashions, but no fashion can last long. So Werner Erhard was in search of something – and he found it. In the East he saw the hungry people so he brought back home the “Hunger Project,” and he started claiming that within ten years there would not be a single hungry human being on the earth.
People were donating, and nobody bothered to ask, “What are you saying? Have you calculated how many people there are? Have you calculated how many hungry people there are? Have you calculated in ten years how many more hungry people will be there? And how many collections can you have?” But all those collections simply disappeared. Hunger is there; it has not disappeared – it has doubled!
But these so-called new cultists are not any better than the politicians. Henry Kissinger was saying exactly the same thing when he was in power, that within ten years there would not be a hungry child around the globe. And nobody asks these people, “Now five years have passed; at least half the hungry people should have disappeared, because otherwise how, within another five years, are things going to change? Hungry people have doubled. Hunger has not disappeared; Henry Kissinger has disappeared! Who knows where this guy is? And who cares!
Werner Erhard cheated people in every possible way. And the beauty of this is, you cheat people in every possible way. Werner Erhard is a Jew, but he changed his name to a German name because it would be difficult for a Jew to exploit Christians; for that a German name is far better. In some way everything imported is always better.
I used to think that this stupid idea existed only in India, but that is not the case. In America nobody bothers with the American guru, but imported from India? – he must be a great guru. Of course India cannot export cars and high technology, but it can export great gurus. And it goes on exporting them – and they all end up in California.
When Sheela was looking for a place for your commune, I told her, “Beware of California; just keep away from California.”
She said, “Why?”
I said, “You don’t ask why; you just keep away. Just forget that California exists. I don’t want to be counted among Indian gurus because I am neither an Indian, nor am I a guru.” But what can you do with these crackpot media people? They start calling you something and that’s what you become.
Where is Werner Erhard now? With hunger disappearing has he also disappeared? Authentic people? – he left his father, mother, his wife, his children, without even telling them that he was going away. He simply escaped, moving thousands of miles away, changed his name, may have changed his hair-do, clothes, and became Werner Erhard. And his parents, his wife, his children were all dependent on him, they were starving. And he was proposing a hunger project – “within ten years, hunger will disappear from the world.”
These people are not different from politicians – and cannot be, because this is also a power trip. Things that they are telling people not to do, they have been doing exactly those same things.
Just today I had the news: in Georgia, one Christian priest has been electrocuted on the charge of murdering a man. A Christian priest murdering a man? – seems to be strange. But this is how your world is. In Minneapolis the archbishop of Minneapolis, who was formerly the president of all American churches, has been caught for drunken driving. And these are the people…. Now he is behind bars – the president of the American Catholic priests! And these are the people who are teaching against drugs, against this, against that.
Once this disease, AIDS, spreads – and it is spreading, it is already epidemic, in America too…. The politicians are keeping quiet, the priests are keeping quiet, because the problem is too big, and nobody seems to have any suggestion as to how to solve it, so it is better to keep silent. But how long can you keep silent?
The problem is spreading, and once it spreads and becomes wider, you will be surprised: the profession that will be the topmost in this business of AIDS will be the priests, the nuns, the monks. They will be on the topmost, the most affected by it, because they have been practicing perverted sex longer than anybody else. California is just new. Those monks and nuns have been living in “California” for centuries.
As it appears to me, the disease is spiritual.
Man has come to a point where he finds the way ends.
Going back is meaningless because all that he has seen, lived, shows him there was nothing in it; it has all proved meaningless. Going back has no meaning; going ahead, there is no road: facing him is the abyss. In this situation if he loses the desire, the will to live, it is not unexpected.
It has been experimentally proved that if a child is not brought up by loving people – the mother, the father, the other small children in the family – if the child is not brought up by loving people, you can give him every nourishment but somehow his body goes on shrinking. You are giving everything necessary – medical needs are fulfilled, much care is being taken – but the child goes on shrinking.
Is it a disease? Yes, to the medical mind everything is a disease; something must be wrong. They will go on researching the facts, why it is happening. But it is not a disease.
The child’s will to live has not even arisen. It needs loving warmth, joyful faces, dancing children, the warmth of the mother’s body – a certain milieu which makes him feel that life has tremendous treasures to be explored, that there is so much joy, dance, play; that life is not just a desert, that there are immense possibilities.
He should be able to see those possibilities in the eyes around him, in the bodies around him. Only then will the will to live spring up – it is almost like a spring. Otherwise, he will shrink and die – not with any physical disease, he will simply shrink and die.
I have been to orphanages; one of my friends, Rekhchand Parekh, in Chanda Maharashtra, used to run an orphanage – nearabout one hundred to one hundred and ten orphans were there. And orphans would come, two days old, three days old; people would just leave them in front of the orphanage. He wanted me to come to see the orphanage. I said, “Sometime later on I will see it, because I know whatever is there will make me unnecessarily sad.”
But he insisted, so one time I went, and what I saw…. They were taking every care, he was pouring his money on those children, but they were all ready to die just any moment. Doctors were there, nurses were there, medical facilities were there, food was there, everything was there. He had given his own beautiful bungalow – he had moved to a smaller bungalow – a beautiful garden and everything was there; but the will to live was not there.
I told him, “These children will go on dying slowly.”
He said, “You are telling me? I have been running this orphanage for twelve years; hundreds have died. We have tried every possible way to keep them alive, but nothing seems to work. They go on shrinking and one day simply they are no longer there.”
If there was a disease the doctor could help, but there was no disease; simply, the child had no desire to live. When I said this to him, it became clear to him. He immediately, that very day, gave the orphanage to the government, and he said, “I have been trying to help these children for twelve years; now I know it is not possible. What they need I cannot give, so it is better that the government takes it over.”
He said to me, “I had come to this point many times, but I am not an articulate man so I could not figure out what it was. But in a vague way I was feeling that something was missing and that goes on killing them.”
AIDS is the same phenomenon at the other end.
The orphan child shrinks and dies because his will to live never sprouts, never springs up, never becomes a flowing current.
AlDS is at the other end:
You suddenly feel you are an existential orphan. This existential feeling of being an orphan causes your will to live to disappear. And when the will to live disappears, sex will be the first thing to be affected because your life starts with sex; it is a by-product of sex.
So while you are living, throbbing, hoping, ambitious, and the tomorrow remains the utopia – so that you can forget all the yesterdays which were meaningless, you can forget today which is also meaningless…but tomorrow when the sun rises and everything will be different…. All the religions have been giving you that hope.
Those religions have failed.
Although you go on keeping the label – Christian, Jew, Hindu – it is only a label.
Inside, you have lost hope, the hope has disappeared.
Religions could not help; they were pseudo.
Politicians could not help.
They were never intending to help; it was just a strategy to exploit you.
But how long can this false utopia – political or religious – help you? Sooner or later, one day man will become mature; and that’s what is happening.
Man is becoming mature, aware that he has been cheated by the priests, by the parents, by the politicians, by the pedagogues. He has been simply cheated by everybody, and they have been feeding him on false hopes. The day he matures and realizes this, the desire to live falls apart. And the first thing wounded by it will be your sexuality. To me that is AIDS.
When your sexuality starts shrinking you are really hoping that something will happen and you will go into eternal silence, into eternal disappearance. Your resistance is not there. AIDS has no other symptoms except that your resistance goes on dropping. At the most you can live two years if you are fortunate and don’t get accidentally infected. Each infection will be incurable, and each infection will be weakening you more and more. Two years is the longest the AIDS patient can live; and he may disappear sometime before that. And no treatment is going to help, because no treatment can bring back your will to live.
What I am doing here is multidimensional.
You are not fully aware of what I am trying to do; perhaps you may become aware only when I am gone.
I am trying to give you, not a hope in the future – because that has failed:
I am trying to give you a hope herenow. Why bother about tomorrow? – because tomorrow has not helped. For centuries the tomorrow has been keeping you somehow dragging, and it has failed you so many times that now you cannot go on clinging to it. That would be sheer stupidity. Those who are clinging to it still are only proving that they are retarded in their minds.
I am trying to make this very moment fulfillment, a contentment so deep that there is no need for the will to live.
The will to live is needed because you are not alive.
The will keeps picking you up: you go on slipping down, the will keeps picking you up. I am not trying to give you a new will to live, I am simply trying to teach you to live without any will, to live joyously.
And everybody is capable of living joyously.
It is the tomorrow that goes on poisoning you.
Forget yesterdays, forget tomorrows.
This is our day!
Let us celebrate it and live it.
And just by living it you will be strong enough so that without the will to live you will be able to resist all kinds of diseases, all suicidal attitudes.
Just being fully alive is such a power that not only can you live, you can make others aflame, afire.
This has been a well-known fact…. When there are great epidemics have you not wondered why the doctors, the nurses and others don’t get infected? They are human beings just like you, and they are overworked, more vulnerable to infection because they are continually tired.
When there is an epidemic you cannot insist on a five-hour day or six-hour day, and a five-day week. An epidemic is an epidemic; it does not bother about your holidays and your overtime. You have to work – people work sixteen hours, eighteen hours, every day, for months. Still, the doctors, the nurses, the Red Cross people, they don’t get infected.
What is the problem? Why are others getting infected? These are similar kinds of people. If just having a Red Cross on your shirt…then put the Red Cross on everybody’s shirt; on every house, the Red Cross. If the Red Cross is preventing infection it would be so easy – but that is not the thing.
No, these people are so much involved in helping others, they don’t have any tomorrow. This moment is so involving, they don’t have any yesterday. They don’t have any time to think, or even worry, “I may get infected.” Their involvement…. When millions of people are dying, can you think of yourself, and your life, and your death? Your whole energy is moving to help people, to do whatever you can do. You have forgotten yourself, and because you have forgotten yourself you cannot be infected. The person who could have been infected is absent: he is so involved in doing something, he in so lost is some work.
It does not matter whether you are painting or sculpting, or you are serving a dying human being – it does not matter what you are doing, what matters is: Are you totally involved in the herenow? If you are involved in the herenow you are completely out of the area where infection is possible. When you are so much involved, your life becomes such a torrential force. And you will see: even a lazy doctor, in a time of epidemic, when hundreds of people are dying, suddenly forgets his laziness. An old doctor suddenly forgets his age.
There have been cases…one case I know personally. In Raipur where I was a professor for a few months, a house caught fire. Raipur is a hot area, a dry area, and it is an everyday thing, houses catching fire. It was very close to the bungalow where I was living, so I ran there. And what I found was that nobody was interested in the house that was burning, everybody was interested in something else.
I somehow made my way in the crowd to see what was the matter. The matter was that a woman who was paralyzed for three years had suddenly come running out. She forgot her paralysis! The moment people told her, “What are you doing? You are not supposed to run, you can’t even walk. For three years you have been in bed” – when people said that, she fell immediately.
I went into the crowd and I told the woman, “Just try to understand a simple fact. It is good that the house is burned; it has made one thing clear – that you are not paralyzed. Somehow you have lost the will to live.” I brought her to my bungalow.
Her husband had died and on that very day she became paralyzed. It was really a shock, because in India, losing a husband means losing your life; you cannot get married again. She was young, not more than thirty. For her whole life, fifty years perhaps, she has to live alone, with no child.
She had been working, somehow cleaning people’s houses, washing their clothes, but there was no energy in it. While her husband remained alive, although he was sick for at least three years, she continued to work. But the signs were clear that the husband was disappearing. The doctors were hiding it, but you cannot hide-she could see the person was disappearing.
She managed the work somehow to feed her husband and to feed herself. But the day he died she feel ill, and since then for three years she had not risen from the bed; she was paralyzed. Now people were just giving whatsoever they could manage, and she was living on that. She was a beggar. I brought her to my place and I tried to explain to her, “If it was paralysis, whether the house was on fire or not would make no difference. Paralysis cannot understand that the house is on fire, to leave you alone at least for a few minutes and then come back.” I asked her, “What happened?”
She said, “I don’t know what happened. The moment I saw the house was on fire, I simply forgot everything else: I had to run out.” That brought her into the moment. The past, the husband – dead, alive – all the misery, all the suffering; the future, fifty years still to be carried on somehow…. This whole ugliness simply disappeared in a single flash! She ran out. She was herenow. The fire brought her whole being focused – in the moment.
I told her, “That’s what is needed. Don’t be bothered by idiots. If this place will not allow you to get married, I will arrange to send you somewhere else. I have friends all over the country; I can send you anywhere. You are beautiful, young – you can get married, you can live again.”
First she was not willing because it was against the tradition and convention. But I am not a person to leave somebody. If I get it into my heart, then…. I dropped everything else. My professors and students said, “Why are you after that woman? Forget about it if she is not willing.”
I said, “That is not the question. I know what she wants, but she is not courageous; I just have to persuade her. And it is a challenge to me I am going to persuade her. Till I see her married and settled there will be no peace for me.”
And I managed it within eight days, not more than that. The servant who was working with me, seeing my trouble, one morning said, “Sir, if you are so worried, I cannot sleep either. If I can be of any help, I am ready.”
I said, “Do you understand what you are saying?”
He said, “If you tell me to jump into the well I will jump, but please, I cannot see you so troubled. I am ready.” So I got that woman married to my servant, and just to protect her I moved her to my house. Of course she was married to my servant so I just said, “Move in.” And I was living alone in a big house which the government provides for the professors, so I said, “You live happily. I am alone – in fact the house is yours, I am confined to my room. The whole house you enjoy.” And she blossomed. When after six months I left that place, she was a totally different woman. And with her, her husband also was so happy.
He said, “I married her out of compassion, and out of concern for you that you may become ill or something. But she turned out to be a jewel. Now I love her, and I will remain grateful to you for my whole life because I had never thought about marriage. I am such a poor man, somehow managing my own food. To get married, and then to have children, then where to get the house, all the problems…. You solved all the problems.”
I said, “Don’t leave this house, continue to live in it. I am trying to contact the other professor who is coming and I will explain the situation to him. He is also alone so there is not much trouble – and if needed I will stay. When he comes, I will first convince him to be here and let you live here, and then I will go.”
But on the phone he agreed. He said, “If this is the situation – and I don’t need a whole house because I am alone just like you.”
I said, “That is perfectly good. And you will be here for at least five or six years. I cannot stay; otherwise I would have asked the government to let me live here. I have been posted wrongly. I have no work in this college because my qualifications are totally different. They don’t need these qualifications; and the qualifications they need, I don’t have.”
The principal from the very first day wanted me to go back. I said, “I am not going back. And it is not your business: if the minister of education has appointed me here, let him realize his mistake when he realizes it. For the time being why shouldn’t I enjoy it? And remember perfectly well that he is my friend. If you try to create any trouble for me, instead of my transfer, your transfer will happen.”
He phoned – his clerk told me that he phoned – the clerk of the education minister and asked, “Are these two people friends?”
He said, “They are friends. You could have understood it immediately because never before has the order been given directly to the person.” The order has to go by post to the person, and the original has to go by post to the institute. Unless the institute receives the order the person cannot come and say, ‘I have got the order.’
I brought both orders with me. I had told the education minister, “What nonsense! – by post it will take six days.” And sometimes in India you never know….
I told him, “I know a case: between Jabalpur and Katni – eighty miles…the letter took thirty-six years to travel eighty miles. Both the persons died – the one who wrote and the one to whom the letter was written. After thirty years the letter was returned stating, ‘the man is dead.’ But when it reached there the postman wrote on it, ‘There is nobody to receive it – the man is dead.’ It was published in all the newspapers about that great journey, eighty miles! If the envelope had just walked on feet, it would have reached long ago. Thirty-six years!”
So I said, “Don’t waste time, just give me both the orders. And you can believe your post office, your postman, but you can’t believe me?”
He said, “No, this is not a question of belief – just bureaucracy.”
I said, “Don’t mention bureaucracy. I am here; you give me both orders.” In fact, I took both orders from his table and I told him to sign; he had to sign. That’s how the mistake happened, because if it had gone through the bureaucracy they might have found out that this man was not for this college, this man had been selected for another college; so it was just a misplacement.
The man who had been selected for this college reached the place I was meant to go to. He asked me, “What should be done?”
I said, “You enjoy it there, I will enjoy it here. Till they find it out themselves you need not inform anybody. You just keep quiet, it has nothing to do with you. The government sends you – let the government find it out.” It took them six months; just such a small thing…six months. But it was impossible for me then to prolong my postponement so I told the man to come. He was a nice fellow: after two years I visited once, and he had kept my servant and his wife more respectfully than I had. And they were so happy, there was no question.
I asked her, “Has paralysis happened any time?”
She said, “No, no, paralysis, not at all. For these two years I have not even had a common cold. No sickness has happened.”
AIDS to me is an existential sickness, that’s why the medical profession is going to be in tremendous difficulty unless they try to understand the very root. And for that, medicine will not help; only meditation can help.
Only meditation can release your energy herenow.
And then there is no need for any hope, for any utopia, for any paradise anywhere.
Each moment is a paradise unto itself.
But as far as my qualifications are concerned, I am not qualified to say anything about AIDS. I have never even taken the course on first aid.
So please forgive my entering into something which is not my business. But I go on doing that, and I am going to continue to do that.

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