From Personality to Individuality 14

Fourteenth Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - From Personality to Individuality by Osho.
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Wouldn't it have been much easier for you to work without being associated with the word religion? What is the secret behind your choosing to do it this way?
I would have loved not to be associated in any way with the word religion. The whole history of religion simply stinks. It is ugly, and it shows the degradation of man, his inhumanity, and all that is evil. This is not about any one single religion, it is the same story repeated by all the religions of the world: man exploiting man in the name of God. I still feel uneasy being associated with the word religion. But there are a few problems: in life sometimes one has to choose things that one hates.
In my youth I was known in the university as an atheist, irreligious, against all moral systems. That was my stand, and that is still my stand. I have not changed even an inch; my position is exactly the same. But being known as an atheist, irreligious, amoral, became a problem. It was difficult to communicate with people, almost impossible to bridge any kind of relationship with people. To commune with people, the words atheist, irreligious, amoral, functioned like impenetrable walls. I would have remained so – for me there was no problem – but I saw that it was impossible to spread my experience, to share.
The moment people heard that I was an atheist, irreligious, amoral, they were completely closed. That I don’t believe in any God, that I don’t believe in any heaven and hell was enough for them to withdraw from me. Because I was a professor in the university, I was surrounded by hundreds of professors, research scholars, intelligent, educated people – and even they simply avoided me because they had no courage to defend what they believed; they had no argument for themselves.
I was continually arguing on street corners, in the university, in the pan wallah’s shop – anywhere that I could get hold of somebody. I would hammer religion and try to clean people completely of all this nonsense. But the total result was that I became like an island; nobody even wanted to talk with me because even to say hello to me was dangerous: where would it lead? Finally I had to change my strategy.
I became aware that, strangely, the people who were interested in the search for truth had become involved in religions. Because they thought me irreligious, I could not commune with them; and they were the people who would be really interested to know. They were the people who would be ready to travel with me to unknown spaces. But they were already involved in some religion, in some sect, in some philosophy; and just their thinking of me as irreligious, atheistic, became a barrier. They were the people that I had to seek out.
There were people who were not involved in religions but they were not seekers at all. They were just interested in the trivia of life: earning more money, being a great leader – a politician, a prime minister, a president. Their interests were very mundane. They were no use to me, and they were also not interested in what I had to offer to them because it was not their interest at all.
The man who wants to become the prime minister of the country is not interested in finding the truth. If truth and the prime ministership are both presented to him, he will choose the prime ministership. He will say about truth, “There is no hurry. We can do that – the whole of eternity is available – but the opportunity of the prime ministership may or may not come again. It rarely comes, and only to very, very rare people, once in a while. Truth is everybody’s nature, so we can find it any day. First let us do that which is momentary, temporal, fleeting. This beautiful dream may not happen again. Reality is not going anywhere, but this dream is fleeting.”
Their interest was in dreaming, imagination. They were not my people, and communication with them was also impossible because our interests were diametrically opposite. I tried hard but those people were not interested in religion, not interested in truth, not interested in anything significant.
The people who were interested were Christians, or Hindus, Mohammedans, Jainas, Buddhists: they were already following some ideology, some religion. Then it was obvious to me that I would have to play the game of being religious; there was no other way. Only then could I find people who were authentic seekers.
I hate the word religion, I have always hated it, but I had to talk about religion. But what I was talking about under the cover of religion was not the same as people understood by religion. Now, this was simply a strategy. I was using their words – God, religion, liberation, moksha – and I was giving them my meaning. In this way I could start finding people; and people started coming to me.
It took a few years for me to change my image in people’s eyes. But people only listen to words, they don’t understand meanings: people only understand what you say, they don’t understand what is conveyed unsaid. So I used their own weapons against them. I commented on religious books, and gave a meaning that was totally mine.
I would have said the same thing without commenting – it would have been far easier because then I would have been speaking directly to you. There was no need to drag in Krishna, Mahavira, and Jesus, and then make them say what they had never said. But such is the stupidity of humanity; I was saying the same thing that I had been saying before and they were not ready even to hear it, and now thousands started gathering around me because I was speaking on Krishna.
Now, what have I to do with Krishna? What has he done for me? What relationship have I got with Jesus? If I had met him while he was alive I would have said to him, “You are a fanatic and you are not in your senses. I cannot say that the people who want to crucify you are absolutely wrong, because they have no other way to deal with you.”
So this was the only way. When I started speaking on Jesus, Christian colleges and Christian theological institutes started inviting me to speak, and I was really continually giggling inside, because those fools thought that this was what Jesus had said. Yes, I used Jesus’ words – one has just to understand a little game with words and one can make any word mean anything – and they thought that this was the real message of Jesus: “Our own Christian missionaries and priests have not done as much for Jesus as you have done.”
I had to keep quiet, knowing that I have nothing to do with Jesus, and that what I was saying Jesus might not have been able to even understand. He was a poor fellow, absolutely uneducated. Certainly he had a charismatic personality so it was not difficult to gather a few uneducated people, fear-oriented and greedy for the joys in heaven. This man was making promises and asking nothing. So cheap: what was the harm of believing in him? There was no danger, no harm. If there was no heaven and no God, you were not losing anything. By chance if there were, and this man was the begotten son of God, then you were gaining so much for nothing: simple arithmetic!
But it is significant that not a single educated, cultured rabbi became Jesus’ disciple, because those rabbis knew far better expressions, far better ways of philosophizing. This man knew nothing; he was not giving a single argument, he was simply stating things which he had heard from others; and he was a stubborn type of young man.
What I said in the name of Jesus, I had been saying before also, but no Christian community, no Christian college, no Christian theological institute would have invited me. What to say of invitation? If I had wanted to even enter they would have closed the doors! That was the situation: I was prohibited from entering my own city’s central temple, and they had the support of the police so that I should not be allowed in. So whenever there was a Hindu monk speaking inside, a policeman was on guard outside to prevent me coming in.
I said, “But I want to listen to that man.”
The police officer said, “We know, everybody knows, that when you are there, everybody has to listen to you. And we have been called here just to prevent you, not anybody else; everybody else is allowed. If you stop coming we would not be bothered because we are unnecessarily standing here for two or three hours every day. While the discourse session continues I will be standing here outside the temple just for you, one person.”
But now the same temple started inviting me. Again the police were there – to prevent overcrowding! They said to me – one officer who was still there said to me – “You are something! We were standing here to keep you out, now we are standing here because too much crowding is dangerous – the temple is old.”
It had balconies and at least five thousand people could sit inside. But when I used to speak there, nearabout fifteen thousand people would turn up. So people would go on the balconies which were usually never used. One day it became so serious that it was almost possible the balconies would fall down – there were so many people on the balconies, and it was an old temple. Then naturally they had to arrange that from the next day only a certain number of people were to be allowed in.
That created trouble. That officer said, “Now new trouble! You speak for two hours, but people start coming two hours earlier, because if they come late they won’t get in.” He said to me, “But you are something! You were against God.”
I said in his ear, “I still am – don’t tell anybody because nobody will believe it. I will always remain against God. Before I depart from the world I will expose everything. But you are not to tell because nobody is going to believe you, and I will flatly deny that I have ever said anything to you.”
He said, “You are something. You are against God and speaking on God?”
But then I had to find my own ways. I would speak on God and then tell people that godliness was a far better word. That was a way of disposing of God. But because I was speaking on God, the people who were involved – who were true seekers being exploited by the religious priesthood – started becoming interested in me. I found the cream from all the religions.
There was no other way because I would not have been able to enter their folds, and they would not have been able to come to me: just those few words would have been enough to prevent them. I could not have blamed them, I would have blamed myself. I had to find a way so that I could approach them, and I found the way; it was very simple. I simply thought, “Use their words, use their language, use their scriptures.
“If you are using somebody else’s gun, it does not mean you cannot put your own cartridges in it. Let the gun be anybody’s, the cartridges are mine! The real work is going to happen through the cartridges, not the gun, so what harm?” It was easy, very easy, because I could use Hindu words and play the same game; I could use Mohammedan words and play the same game; I could use Christian words and play the same game.
Not only were those people coming to me, but Jaina monks, nuns, Hindu monks, Buddhist monks, Christian missionaries, priests – all kinds of people started coming to me. And you will not believe it: you have not seen me laughing because I have laughed so much inside that there was no need. I have been telling jokes to you, but I have not been laughing because I have been playing a joke my whole life! What can be funnier? I managed to befool all those priests and great scholars so easily.
They started coming to me and asking me questions. I just had to be alert in the beginning to use their vocabulary, and just between the lines, between the words, to go on putting the real stuff in which I was interested. I learned the art from a fisherman.
I used to sit by the bank of the river for hours because that was the most beautiful place in my village. The morning was beautiful, the evening was beautiful; and even in the hot summer there were spots where there were thick trees leaning over the river. You could just sit in the river, in the water, and it was so cool you could forget it was summer.
I was just sitting looking at the morning sun, and fishermen were there. In India they put out bait for the fish. Everywhere fishermen put out bait, but in India it has to be nonvegetarian, because the people who are catching fish and the people who are going to buy fish are both nonvegetarians. So the fishermen will cut small insects into pieces, which are delicious to the fishes, and hook them to their fishing lines. The fish will come and catch the insect and with the insect there is a hook; the hook will catch the fish. The fish will come to get the insect, but inside the insect the hook has been put, so once she swallows the insect, the fish is caught by the hook and she can be pulled out immediately.
Looking at this fisherman I thought, “I have to find a way that I can catch my people. Right now they are in different camps, nobody is mine.” I was alone: nobody was courageous enough even to associate with me or to walk with me because people would think that he was also gone, was lost. I found the bait: use their words.
In the beginning people were really shocked. Those who knew me for years, who knew that I had always been against God, were really puzzled, absolutely puzzled. One of my teachers, whom I had tortured for three years continually in my high school because he was a very pious type of man: praying morning and evening, and continually keeping on his forehead the symbol of his religion… I was continually harassing him about everything; he was incapable of answering any question.
In fact nobody can answer questions relating to fictions. If reality is there, some way can be found and any question can be answered. But if there is no reality at all and you are just feeling high on something fictitious, you will be afraid even to listen to a question from somebody because that brings doubt to your mind.
This teacher lived not very far from my house, so I used to go to torture him there – because in class he would simply say, “Get out!” before he took the attendance. I would say, “Please, first take my attendance; otherwise, I come every day, but at the end of term you will say that my attendance is not good enough and that I cannot appear in the examinations. So please, first take the attendance.”
He said, “That I will do – you need not even come.” He gave me exactly one hundred percent attendance, but he said, “Before I start my work, you get out!”
I used to go to his house, and I would say, “Here you have to treat me like a god because that is what scriptures say: atithi devo bhava – the guest is equal to God. Here you cannot tell me to get out; and English is not allowed at all because it is a religious conversation for which I have come.”
He would keep both his fingers in his ears. His wife would ask, “Why are you so afraid of this boy?”
He would say, “I don’t want to listen to what he wants to say. I cannot throw him out of the house. He is right, he is saying, ‘Atithi devo bhava: a guest is God, nothing less; treat him as if God has come.’ But no scripture says that you cannot put your fingers in your ears. I won’t listen to a single word from him because he creates doubts in me. His whole purpose in coming here is to create doubt.”
Once his wife asked, “Why do you unnecessarily take the trouble to come when he does not listen?”
I said, “But do you see? Do you think your husband is a religious man?”
She said, “Since you started coming I don’t think that he is a religious man. What kind of faith does a man have who is afraid of even listening to anything that goes against his beliefs?”
One day, when I was talking to his wife, he must have taken his fingers out of his ears to listen to what I was saying. When he heard that his wife was saying that he was not much of a religious man – “Perhaps you are right: he is such a coward, and I never knew”– he came running into the house because I was in the kitchen talking to his wife.
He said, “Now you are spoiling my wife! Can’t you leave me alone? Now she is saying that I am not a religious man. You have planted the idea in her mind; she will torture me. From you I can manage to escape, I can throw you out of the class, but where am I going to throw my wife?”
His wife said, “Whatsoever the boy says is significant. You have to answer him if you are a real believer.”
This teacher met me almost twenty years later in a discourse in Mumbai. I was speaking on the most popular Hindu scripture, the Shrimad Bhagavadgita. He could not believe it: thousands of people, and I was speaking on Bhagavadgita! And not only thousands of people, but hundreds of sannyasins too. He came to the back and waited there for when I came out.
He said, “What has happened? You are transformed!” And he touched my feet.
I said, “Don’t touch them. I am not transformed, I am the same man. And I am very stubborn: I am going to remain the same man to the last breath. Don’t touch my feet” – but he had already touched them.
He said, “You must be joking! If so many sannyasins…” That’s why I had chosen the orange robe, just to sabotage the whole idea of ancient sannyas. There was now no difference between my sannyasins and their sannyasins: it was difficult to figure out who was who. And my sannyasins were increasing every day, in every place all over the country. When he said, “So many sages are also sitting there,” I said, “None of them is a sage! Keep your eyes open and close your ears. You should not come here – you are a simple person, this is not for you.”
But he said, “I have heard you – the whole lecture – and I have been reading the Gita my whole life. Nobody has ever interpreted Krishna’s words the way you have. I have read many commentaries, but listening to you I found that all those were third rate.”
This was happening again and again. Once I was speaking in a Mohammedan institute in Jabalpur. One of my Mohammedan teachers had become the principal of this institute; he was not aware that I was the same person he knew. Somebody told him that they had heard me speaking on Sufis and that it was something incredible: “We had not thought about Sufis that way, and our institute will be honored if he comes.”
In India, or in any other country, if a Mohammedan comes and speaks on the Bible you feel very flattered, your ego is tremendously strengthened; or if a Mohammedan, a Hindu, a Buddhist, is speaking on Jesus, praising him and his words. Particularly in India where Mohammedans and Hindus are continuously killing each other, if somebody who is not a Mohammedan can speak on Sufism… My old teacher was very happy; he invited me to talk.
I was in search of all these invitations because I wanted to find my people, and they were all hiding in different places.
When my teacher saw me he said, “I have only heard of miracles, but this is a miracle! You are speaking on Sufism, on Islam, on the fundamental philosophy of Islam?”
I said, “To you I will not lie – you are my old teacher. I will be speaking only on my philosophy. Yes, I have learned the art of throwing in the word Islam to people once in a while, that much I will do.”
He said, “My God! But now we are caught: people are waiting in the auditorium, and you are the same mischievous person, you have not changed. Are you kidding or something? – because one of our trusted teachers who is an authority on Sufism has praised you. Because of his praise I have invited you.”
I said, “He has spoken rightly, and you will also praise what I say. But remember always, I will say only what I want to say. It does not matter, it is so simple a thing: if a Buddhist calls me I have only to change a few words, and from Sufism I talk about Zen, not about Sufis. I say the same thing; it is just that Sufism is changed a little here and there. I have to be alert not to forget about whom I am speaking, that’s all.”
And I spoke. Of course he had been sitting there very sad, but when he heard me he was so joyous. He came and hugged me and he said, “You must have been joking.”
I said, “I am always joking – don’t take it seriously.”
“You are a Sufi,” he said.
I said, “That’s what people say!”
I was speaking in Amritsar in the Golden Temple, which is now creating great trouble in India. This is the Sikh temple, and because of this temple Indira Gandhi has been assassinated; the whole country is shaken. I was speaking in that temple. Everywhere, all around the country, people had asked me thousands of times, “Why do you grow a beard?” I had become accustomed to the question and I enjoyed answering in different ways to different people. But in the Golden Temple when I was speaking on Nanak and his message, a very old sardar came to me, touched my feet and said, “Sadarji, why have you cut your hair?” That was a new question, asked for the first time. He said, “Your beard is perfectly okay, but why have you cut your hair? – you being such a religious man.”
Only five things are needed to be a Sikh, very simple things; you can manage them, anybody can. They are called the five K’s because each word starts with K. Kesh means hair, katar means a knife; kachchha means underwear – that I have not been able to figure out. It is the only question I cannot answer. What philosophy is being taught? Strange, but there must be some reason. I inquired of the Sikh priests and their high priest, “Everything is okay – grow your hair and have a sword or a knife – but this kachchha…? What theological, theosophical, philosophical meaning does kachchha have?”
They said, “Nobody has ever asked about it; we just have to follow these five K’s.” In Nanak’s time, when he chose the kachchha, it was a time of continual war between Mohammedans and Hindus. He changed the whole caliber of the Punjab. He gave them almost a new energy with which to fight; certainly a martial race was born out of the Hindus, who cannot fight, who don’t want to fight – they were all Hindus. Perhaps in a fight the Hindu clothes were not fitting. A loose dhoti, a loose gown, are comfortable, very comfortable, and in a hot country, very airy and comfortable; they remind one of a time when people did not need to work hard. But you cannot give that kind of clothes to soldiers, so Nanak changed it: instead of the dhoti he created the salwar, which is a kind of pajama. But in a war, at any time your pajama can go bananas because there is only a small thread that is holding it up.
Now Neelam is enjoying this because she is a Punjabi. She knows the Punjabis – they are all bananas! So Nanak must have thought that it was better to give them some underwear also, because their salwar could drop any moment, and then it would look a real mess and be embarrassing – a soldier need not stand naked in the field! Something like that must have been behind it.
This old sardar thought that I was a sardar because nobody who was not a sardar had ever spoken in the Golden Temple; it was unprecedented. He was certainly puzzled why I, such a religious man, had cut my hair. And I was only thirty at that time.
So I told him, “There is a reason in it. I don’t feel yet a perfect sardar, and I don’t want to claim anything that I am not. So I have kept four things but I have cut my hair. I will grow my hair when I am a perfect sardar.”
He said, “That’s right. It is tremendously significant that a man should think about this, that he should not pretend to be a perfect sardar. You are a better sardar than us: we think we are perfect because we have all five things.”
From among these people I found my people. It was not difficult, it was very easy. I was speaking their language, their religious idioms, quoting their scriptures and giving my message. The intelligent people there immediately understood and they started gathering around me.
All over India I started creating groups of my own people. Now there was no need for me to speak on Sikhism, Hinduism, Jainism; there was no need, but for ten years I had been continually speaking on them. Slowly, when I had my own people, I dropped speaking on others. After traveling for twenty years I stopped traveling also, because there was no need. Now I had my people: if they wanted to come to me they could come.
So speaking on religion was an absolute necessity; there was no other way to hook my people. Everybody is already divided. It is not an open world: somebody is a Christian, somebody is a Hindu, somebody is a Mohammedan. It is very difficult to find a person who is nobody. I had to find my people from these closed flocks, but to enter their flock I had to talk their language. Slowly, slowly, I dropped their language. As my message became more and more clear, proportionately I slowly dropped their language.
After my years of giving sannyas, I gave this three-year period of silence, a gap when anybody who wanted to leave me, could leave because I don’t want to interfere in anybody’s life. If I can enhance, good. If I cannot enhance you and your being, then it is better that you move away from me. The people who were with me just because they enjoyed my discourses could not stand silence: they have left. Of course when somebody leaves he has to find some excuse just to justify himself; he has to justify himself. He cannot just say, “I am going because Osho no longer speaks.” That would simply show that he was here not for me but only to listen to me. And he could have done that through a tape recorder, through a video; he could have read the books – that was not the problem. He was not with me. He was enjoying what I was saying, but it was not his search, it was only his entertainment.
This gap helped. First I had to find my people; but it is natural when you collect a large mass of people around you that a few unwanted ones are bound to enter accidentally. For example Neelam is with me whether I am speaking or not speaking, but her husband escaped. He was accidental; a nice person, a loving person, but he was only interested in my speaking. He used to come from the Punjab to Pune to listen to me; he came here too, but he could not find what he was seeking. It was just an entertainment. But to Neelam it was her life. He simply posed the question to her: “You can choose either to be here with Osho or come with me; I am going.”
It was hard for Neelam, difficult, but she chose me, dropped her husband and forgot all about her family life. There she was rich, had her own beautiful house, had her own car, and everything. Here I see her working hard in the garden, on the road; but she is immensely happy and radiant as she has never been before. Her husband waited a few months – perhaps she would come; her daughter is also here, but her daughter also refused to go. Her daughter, Priya, chose me, whom she can only see on the drive-by, and dropped her father who loved her very much. Priya is their only child, but she refused to go. Even if Neelam went, then too she was going to remain here. Neelam’s husband got married again, to a very rich widow. He was accidental: sooner or later, some way or other, he had to leave. He had just come following Neelam because he loved her.
So these three years helped: we have dropped all the unnecessary baggage – because as you move higher you have to drop more luggage. On the plains you can carry much luggage, but when you start moving uphill you will have to choose what is unnecessary and drop it. Still higher, a few more things have to be dropped.
When Edmund Hillary reached the peak of Everest he had no luggage at all. He was simply standing there with nothing, because everything had to be dropped by and by. When he started there had been so many things and equipment – this machine and that machine, and oxygen tanks… He was a scientific mind so there was all that luggage, with fifty servants carrying it. But by and by, at each camp something had to be dropped because it was becoming impossible. Just to carry yourself was enough. Standing on Everest, he was absolutely without luggage; one has to be weightless.
These three years have helped to drop much luggage; hence the difference you will see in my speaking. You will see many things; those who have heard me before and are hearing me now will feel in a great difficulty – so many shocks. But now I am simply speaking the truth that is mine, because now I can trust that you will understand, that you don’t need some via media: Jesus, Mahavira, Buddha, Krishna. I can talk to you directly, immediately. I don’t need to play a game with words.
So this gap was a discontinuity in a way. The game that I had to play was a necessary evil, otherwise it would not have been possible to find you. Do you think you would have come to an atheist, an amoralist, a godless, irreligious person? If you ask yourself that question you will understand why I had to use religion and religious terminology. I was using it against myself just for you. It was for your sake that I have been doing that whole number, but now there is no need.
Somebody has asked if people are sending me jokes the way they used to in Pune. They started sending jokes. I said no, because now I don’t need jokes. I needed jokes at that time because it was an entertainment. It is no longer entertainment. If a joke comes on its own, just by the way, I am not averse to it. But now I want to speak spontaneously, directly, immediately, the simple truth that is mine.
That’s why the lectures have become so long, because to talk on others was tedious for me, to tell you the truth. I managed to tolerate sixty minutes, seventy minutes, at the most ninety minutes. With more than that it was possible I may have forgotten on whom I was speaking! I had to keep questions and notes in front of me so I could remember that this was a Zen series, that this was a Sufi series, that this was a Hasid series, and didn’t get mixed up. Teertha read the story and I kept another copy with myself so I didn’t forget the story and get lost, because I could have easily moved in any direction.
Now there is no problem. I don’t have to remember anybody, I can simply say whatever comes; hence the lecture has become too long. People have inquired as to why sometimes I finish abruptly – I never used to do that. That is true. When I was just entertaining you I gave the right beginning, gave the right middle and gave the right end; rounded, complete. But right now it is all raw, uncut – unpolished diamonds from the mine itself.
So there is no beginning in fact, and there is no end. Abruptly, I start. So as not to shock you I have persuaded Sheela to begin with a question. Otherwise if I begin speaking abruptly you will think I have gone completely out of my mind! Nobody is asking and I am answering! But that’s actually the case: nobody is asking the questions, most of the questions I have to tell Sheela to write down. They are not somebody else’s. So poor Sheela has to write down a question, then ask it, and because it is my own question I don’t need to keep it in front of me. I am free to move in any way. Abruptly I start, and abruptly I stop – that’s truly existential!
In life things start abruptly, things end abruptly, and you don’t ask why. If somebody suddenly dies in the middle of the road, you don’t tell him, “At least you could have waited till you reached the other side. In the middle of the road – is this a way to die? You could have chosen a weekend. Now people will have to ask for leave to come. You have raised all kinds of unnecessary problems. Could you not have waited a little – for Saturday or Sunday?”
But life ends abruptly, there is never a full stop, it is always a semi-colon. Not a single life has ever ended with a full stop – cannot. Something is always incomplete. Something is always growing and has not come to its full flowering; something is always on the move, and then there comes the abrupt end.
Beginnings are abrupt. If you look closely existence is abrupt, sudden – and I want these discourses to be existential. Yes, I will stop anywhere I feel to stop; there is no other consideration. You can see clearly now why I had to use religious language, and why now I am continually telling you to flush God down the toilet, to forget all about heaven and hell, and that the law of karma is nothing but boo boo. I am no longer showing any respect to Jesus, or Buddha, Mahavira, Krishna. I am just treating them as a headmaster treats his children. If they behave rightly then they will not be punished, that’s all. If they don’t behave rightly, then I am going to give them real hits that they will never forget.
Now I have no need for any camouflage. I can stand fully naked, as I am, open to you. There is no desire anywhere in me to say a single word that I cannot authenticate on my own authority. That’s why I am saying my religion is godless, religionless. It looks strange to say a religionless religion, but the word religion in itself is beautiful. People have used it, abused it – that’s why I said I hate it. The original meaning of the word is really beautiful, but who cares about the original meanings?
The original meaning of the word religion is “to bring all the parts together, to make it whole.” As man exists he is many, a crowd. Religion means to put the crowd in such a harmony that it becomes one individuality. Literally so, because individuality literally means indivisibility: that it cannot be divided, that you are no longer fragments of a jigsaw puzzle, that every fragment is put where it should be and the puzzle disappears. The puzzle was there because fragments were in places where they are not supposed to be. Where your heart is supposed to be, it is not there. Where your intellect is supposed to be, it is not there. Where your emotions are supposed to be, they are not there. Everything is misplaced; your house is in a chaos. Religion means to create a cosmos within a chaos.
The word is beautiful in its original sense; hence I still use it. But to avoid misuse and the wrong associations, first I say religionless and then I say religion. All that you have understood about religion up to now, all that religions have been saying, I am denying in the word religionless. And all that has to be said and has not been said, I am saying in the word religion.
Those who are in search of truth will understand it, love it, enjoy it, will be nourished by it, because it is no longer intellectual entertainment; it is spiritual nourishment. I am pouring my heart into you. And now the time is ripe. Before it is too late I have to convey all that I have been waiting for years to convey.
I had to avoid a thousand and one things because they would have created immediate trouble. I said a thousand and one things because that was the only way to catch hold of my people. But now, allow me to relax so I can simply say whatsoever comes on its own. Not even I know what the next sentence or the next word is going to be. That’s why many times I simply stop in the middle of the sentence. I have to wait. If it comes, it comes; if it does not come, I look at the clock. Whenever I look at the clock you can understand that I am waiting for the word and it is not coming.
Vivek was saying to me, “You go on criticizing J. Krishnamurti; Krishnamurti goes on saying things about you. You must both be giggling inside.”
I said, “As far as I am concerned, I am certainly giggling. About Krishnamurti I cannot say that.” He is incapable of giggling, absolutely incapable. He has forgotten to laugh; he is too serious, and as he becomes older he goes on becoming more and more serious, I can understand, and I could have been of immense help to him, but he cannot even tolerate seeing one of my sannyasins; otherwise I can give him a whole commune.
Krishnamurti has been looking for people who can understand him and do what he wants them to do. Now I have so many communes around the world, I can give him a whole commune. It will be a joy to me if he can get a little satisfaction in the last years, perhaps the last days of his life. He is ninety, any time he will pop off. Before he pops off I offer him any commune. If he wants this commune he can take this commune – I will withdraw. If he can manage my people… It is up to him. But he could not even manage Deeksha, although she tried hard to convince him: “I have left Osho, I am no longer with him.”
He said, “It is good that you have left him, but I won’t allow you in my kitchen – just get lost!” Why? Deeksha is such a good cook, she would have managed his kitchen perfectly; and he has not much of a kitchen anyway.
In his school, in Brockwood, where he stays in England, there are not more than a dozen boys and girls. They are the problem children; no school accepts them. When parents are tired, fed up, they send them to Krishnamurti’s school because he allows anybody who comes. In fact not many come; I think not more than a dozen. Last time one of my friends visited, there were not more than eight children of all ages. And Krishnamurti lives there.
For Deeksha this would have been a very small job, but poor Deeksha would have felt good: if she has missed me, she has at least got hold of J. Krishnamurti. But he does not allow my sannyasins in his kitchen. He does not want to see any of my sannyasins sitting in front in his discourses. But that is his problem, it is not my problem. Many of his followers have become my sannyasins, many of his followers have been my lovers. Many of his lovers, many of his followers have been immensely interested in me. I don’t see any problem.
So I said to Vivek, “I giggle – the whole situation is so absurd. Poor Deeksha asking to be allowed in the kitchen! He should have allowed her. This is just inhuman, to tell her to get lost. As far as I am concerned I am willing: he can take any of my communes. If he wants people who can risk everything, then I have got the people.” But he cannot tolerate, he cannot risk being among my people. He is so enraged because what he wanted to do he has not been able to do, and I have managed to do it without much doing.
I don’t do anything. I have told you, I am just a lazybones. That’s how I have been my whole life: I don’t do anything. But there is something in me that attracts people who do – and for no reward except that they are with me, except that they can bathe, be showered, in my presence, in my love. What other remuneration have they got? They are risking their whole lives.
I can give him the people he has not been able to find because he moved wrongly. He missed the train; but I am in the train and I can pull the emergency chain. If he wants me to get down I can get down and be in his place and he can take my place; there is no problem in it. But that will be a great problem to him because this world that I have created around me can be managed only by a non-existent manager like me.
He is after people too much. To each single person he will talk for three hours. He is after you too much – he will drive you nuts. One interview will be enough, you will not ask for a second interview. You may ask one thing and he will answer something else – completely, totally different. He is not listening to your questions; he is full of his own ideology. Your question is just a jumping board and then he starts throwing his ideology over you. Basically what he is doing is a contradiction: on the one hand he teaches that there is no need for a guide, no need for a master; and on the other hand he continues guiding people.
What is it all about, to go around the world, if you are not teaching people? Are you mad or something? You are teaching people. Perhaps you are teaching them to be against teaching but that does not matter; it is still teaching. You may be saying that there is no master, no disciple, but they start following that: “Yes, there is no master, no disciple; but we are Krishnamurti-ites, we follow you.” You become the master, they become disciples. You get angry because you put people in a dilemma.
It is a very complex dilemma. If they really understand you, nobody should come to listen to you. That should be tried sometime: he comes to speak in Mumbai or New Delhi, and he simply sits there and nobody comes – because there is no master and there is no disciple, no teaching, no philosophy, nothing.
So he sits near Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai where all the crows of Mumbai gather in the evening – a great place he has chosen! Those crows must have been religious masters in their past lives because they are all teaching simultaneously, all the crows, while Krishnamurti teaches. And he tells people, “If you are attentive and aware, don’t be bothered by the crows, you just listen to me.”
But why? They are attentive and aware, and they are listening to the crows and not to you. Why should they listen to you? The crows are creating such chaos! That is their place: they are doing that every day, whether disciples come or not. You come only once a year for a few days; you are just an intruder in their territory. One day nobody should go, then his teaching will be fulfilled. But will he feel happy? No, he wants more people to come. And that’s what goes on troubling him.
So I said to Vivek, “I can giggle because to me he is not a problem; to me nobody is a problem.” But to him, somehow my existence hurts because this is what he wanted.
Just a few days ago Somendra wrote to one of the sannyasins here. The sannyasin had written to Somendra, “I am here in the commune, blissful as I have never been. I don’t think I want to be anywhere else; this is the place.” Somendra must have been trying to pull her away, because he is trying to create a commune in Switzerland.
Seeing by her letter that she is out of reach, he wrote, “If you are feeling happy there, then I am happy. God has given Osho what he wanted. I hope that one day God will give me also what I want.”
Now, Somendra is naive. Compared to Krishnamurti, Somendra is naive. He does not know what he is writing. He does not know that deep down he is trying to compete with me. One day God will give him too, he hopes. Now, poor Somendra, nobody is preventing him. I can give him one of the communes in Switzerland – we have a beautiful commune. Why give it to him? – because there is no God, I know, and his hope will not be fulfilled; so when I can give him one, why bother God?
Just a single hint from your side, and I give the commune to you, and you do whatsoever you want to do. But no, he thinks it is God who has given me what I wanted and he is hoping that God… Do you think God will help me? I don’t think so. God, if he is somewhere, must be trying hard to destroy everything: he must be entering the governor of Oregon, the attorney-general of Oregon, Senator Hatfield – or is it Fatfield? God must be getting into all the idiots of Oregon, the 1000 Friends of Oregon, all the watchdogs. God is barking from everywhere! And Somendra says that he has given me what I wanted. No, nowhere, in no scripture is it mentioned that God is so generous!
I am not a god, I am a human being: I can be generous. I have always been joking with Somendra; he was one of my patent fools – he could not understand it, he does not even understand now. A commune is not created by your effort or God’s help. A commune is a spontaneous phenomenon. I have never asked you to come to me, I have never written letters to you to come to me. You have found me on your own. It is your search that has brought you to me.
Now, Somendra is writing to all the sannyasins everywhere, “Come, we are going to create a great commune.” Nobody seems to be listening, and nobody seems to be coming. This is not the way. In the first place, he betrayed me. I had immense trust in him, and still have the same trust. I loved him as I love you. It makes no difference whether you are a sannyasin or not. What difference does it make?
But people who drop sannyas get into a very difficult situation. They cannot come back because they feel embarrassed: what to say now? – because when they dropped, people were asking, “Why are you dropping sannyas?” Then they were saying many things against me or against the commune or against the organization. Now, if they want to come back they have closed their doors on themselves. People will ask, “What happened? You were speaking against all these things; now is everything alright again?” With what face…?
I want to tell all of the sannyasins who want to come back that they will be welcomed with great joy. It is human once in a while to go astray. It is not something very serious at all, and with me nothing is serious. You wanted to taste the world as a non-sannyasin – perfectly good. Now you feel that it was not worthwhile, and you want to come back. It is your home – come back.
Why should this poor Somendra ask God? Because I know God is not there, nobody is going to answer. And if Somendra tries to create a commune on his own, he will get into a mess, into trouble, into all kinds of problems. He himself is not yet in a state where he can be of any real help to anybody. He himself needs help. His creating a commune is just like a blind man collecting other blind men and saying, “Come follow me.”
Perhaps a few blind people may start following you, but sooner or later you will find yourself with your whole group in a ditch. One should be absolutely aware: do you have eyes? Can you see the light? Do you have that energy that you can share with people? If not, then don’t try such an idiotic act because you are playing with people’s lives. You are in darkness and you will lead those people into more darkness.
In those days I had to speak in the name of religion, in the name of God. It was compulsory. There was no alternative: it was not that I had not tried it. I had tried it, but found it simply closed people’s doors. But I could see a simple way out. Even my father was puzzled, more so than anybody else, because he knew me from my very childhood – that I was an atheist, a born atheist; that I was against religion, against the priests. When I started speaking in religious conferences, he asked me, “What is happening? Have you changed?”
I said, “Not a bit, I have just changed my strategy; otherwise it is difficult to speak in the Hindu world conference. They won’t allow an atheist on their stage. An amoralist, a godless person, they won’t allow. But they invited me – and in the name of religion, I said everything against religion.”
The Shankaracharya, the head of the Hindu religion, was presiding over the conference. The King of Nepal – Nepal is the only Hindu kingdom in the world – inaugurated the conference. The Shankaracharya was in great difficulty because what I was saying was absolutely sabotaging the whole conference. But the way I was presenting it, people were getting impressed. This old man became so angry that he stood up and tried to snatch away the microphone. While he was trying to snatch it away, I said, “Just one minute and I will be finished.” So just for one minute he stopped – and in one minute I managed!
I asked the people – there must have been at least one hundred thousand people – I asked them, “What do you want? He is the president, he can stop me if he wants, and certainly I will stop. But you are the people who have come here to listen. If you want to listen to me, then raise your hands; and to make it clear raise both your hands.”
Two hundred thousand hands; I looked at the old fellow and said, “Now sit down. You are no longer president: two hundred thousand hands have canceled you completely. Whom do you represent? You were president – these people had made you president, now these people have canceled you. Now I will speak as long as I want to speak.” It would have been impossible otherwise. I found hundreds of people from that gathering: Bihar became one of the most potential sources of my sannyasins.
In the same way I moved around the country going into religious conferences and catching hold of people. Once I had my own group in that city then I never bothered about their conferences; then my group was holding its own conferences, its own meetings. But it takes time.
Now I am not searching for anybody. I have found the people who are enough for my work to spread worldwide. That’s why I want to complete the circle. Now I want to say things which I wanted to say in the beginning but which were difficult to say because nobody was ready to listen.
Now I have my people, whose hearts are open to absorb me, to take me in. And before I depart from the body, I would like to pour all that I have in you. It is almost like lighting one candle with another candle. You can go on lighting one candle with another candle: you can light millions of candles. The first candle does not lose anything, remember. It is not that it has lost so much light because now a million candles are burning. No, it has not lost anything, it has gained.
It was a lonely candle in a dark world. Now, millions of candles are showering their light all over the space. Their light is the same. Their flames are different. Each sannyasin has to be a flame unto himself, but the light of all the sannyasins will be the same: the light that I want to be spread all over the earth – because that is the only hope. Without it humanity cannot last more than fifteen years. But if we can create the light I am talking about, if we can make this whole world afire – and we can.
I started the journey alone. People went on coming and joining me; now there are thousands of sannyasins. And do you see? – I have not been on the road very long, just twenty-five years. The difficulties that I have been facing you will not be facing. The problems that I had to face, you will not be facing. One day, alone, I started. Now my candle is burning in thousands of candles.
Each candle has the same potential: it can light up millions of candles.
In the coming fifteen years everything will become intense: the danger will become intense; the challenge will become intense; the possibility of ultimate destruction will become intense. And the possibility of ultimate transformation will become intense. In these fifteen years everything is going to take the most intense form possible, because a planet that has been working for millions of years to create human consciousness has come to a space where either death or total transformation will be the only alternatives.
Old religions are just dead. They don’t give any option; they are dying with the dying society, and there is nobody except you. You should understand the gravity, the significance, the responsibility. There is nobody on the whole earth like you, nobody who has dropped all the old rubbish and who is ready to become a new kind of man.
Don’t be worried that you are such a small minority. The day I started I was alone. Even at that time I did not think that I was a minority, because truth is never a minority. Truth is always the whole – not even the majority but the whole, one hundred percent.
My grandfather used to ask me, “You are thinking to transform the whole world alone?”
I said, “With just a small candle I can burn the whole forest. An atom bomb is not needed; one just has to choose the right timing. If the wind is blowing toward the forest, then just a single candle and the whole forest will be afire. So don’t think that I am alone, and what can I do?”
My grandfather was not alive when I started initiating people into sannyas, otherwise he would have been immensely happy that what I had said to him had happened. You are not a small minority, don’t think in those terms. A single sannyasin – even a single sannyasin – is not a minority, because the truth that burns in him and the light that he holds in his hands, the torch that he holds in his hand, is enough to create the whole face of the earth.
It is going to happen – and not with God’s help, because God’s help has been coming for thousands of years and you see what has happened. This time, without God – at least give it a try this time without God, without heaven, without hell, without all that crap!
Just give a chance to pure humanity, to the ordinary, natural human being.
And I say to you it is going to happen – no God can prevent it.

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