From Personality to Individuality 23

TwentyThird Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - From Personality to Individuality by Osho.
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What is boredom? Are you never bored with life?
It is one of the most significant questions to be asked because it is only man’s privilege to be bored. No other animal has the capacity. Why has man the capacity to be bored? It is a by-product of intelligence. Nothing is wrong in it. Only idiots are not bored – or the enlightened ones, but they are few and far between. The major part of humanity, between these two poles of idiots and the enlightened ones, feels more or less bored.
Boredom means that you are intelligent enough to see that life is meaningless, that it is just futile to go on living: nothing comes out of it. Life is an effort to write your signature on water – not even on sand, because on sand it may remain for a while before the wind comes and destroys it. It is writing on water, and it disappears as it appears – immediately, instantly – and nothing is left behind, not even smoke.
How many millions of people have lived on the earth? What have they left behind? They were also people like you. They were doing everything that you are doing, thinking all kinds of thoughts, dreams, ideals. And they made every effort to be creative, to be fulfilled, to be contented. But what is left? Whether they had been or not makes no difference. If there had been not a single human being before us it would not make any difference. What difference are you going to make? And if you cannot make any difference then your life is uncreative.
Creativity means making a difference by your being here, not leaving the earth exactly the same as you had found it: your imprints will always remain there. You may be gone, but what you have created will go on influencing generations after generations.
Every man who has ever lived has thought about his life: what does it signify? Is it just vegetating? No animal is bored because no animal is bothered about meaning, no animal is concerned about creativity. A buffalo chewing grass is as contented as any Gautam the Buddha. She is not aware of her contentment – that is the difference. But she is perfectly contented: no tomorrow, no yesterday, no problems. Just watch a buffalo chewing grass and you can see the difference between man and animals.
A man may be sitting on a golden throne, or he may be a beggar – it does not make any difference – but both are immensely concerned about why they are here, for what? Is it just accidental, or is there some destiny to it? This question remains unanswered, hence the boredom. You cannot find contentment, blissfulness or meaning in anything. You see every day passing by and you know that death is coming closer, closer, closer, and life is not yielding anything. Your hands are empty.
Strangely, when a child is born he is born with closed hands, as if he is bringing something into life. When a man dies, he dies with open hands – all is lost. There is nothing to hold in his fist, there is no need for a fist. No man has ever died with closed fists, and no child has ever been born with open fists. It is significant. Physiologically it has different meanings. The child is not yet capable, not strong enough to open his hands. Physiologically they are not actually fists, it is because the child simply cannot open his hands. That is the physiological explanation, that he cannot open his hands yet. He needs a little strength, then he can open his hands.
And the dying man – his whole body becomes relaxed. Death is the ultimate relaxant. For the whole of his life he was tense; now life is leaving the body. The body was not tense, it was the life in it – the intelligence, the mind – that was making it tense. Now, the fist is a tense state of the hands. When life leaves the body, even if you are making a fist, it is bound to happen that your fist will open up, because now there is no more energy to keep the fist closed. The child had no energy to open it up, the old man has no more energy to keep it closed. It needs strength to keep it closed – that is a physiological explanation. But the metaphor is beautiful, and I am mentioning it as a metaphor.
Every child is born with the idea that there is going to be something great. Every child comes with hope, ambition, desire, and a confidence that all this is going to materialize; that his dreams are not going to remain dreams, they will become realities. To me, that is the metaphor of his closed fist. He is coming with a treasure, with a secret. He is not coming without a message – he is coming with a message to be fulfilled. He is coming with a destiny.
Hence children are not bored. They may cry, they may weep, they may laugh, they may smile, but you cannot find bored babies. They have not yet felt that life is not what it is supposed to be. They have not experienced life as made of the same stuff as dreams. It needs a little growth, a little experience. And the more intelligent a child is, the sooner he becomes bored. The stupid ones take a little longer, obviously, because to see the meaninglessness of life you need a very sharp intelligence.
You ask me, do I ever feel bored? Not now, but I don’t think any one of you has felt as much boredom as I felt for the first twenty-one years of my life. Perhaps I finished the quota – there is a limit to everything!
My parents were puzzled. I never participated in any games. If I make a joke of football today, it is not new; I have been making jokes of all games as long as I can remember. I have never participated in any game, in any play. My teachers were concerned, my parents were concerned: “What kind of a child are you? And what do you go on doing? Go out and play.”
I said to them, “Every parent is telling his children to come in and study – and you all go on forcing me to go out and play. Who is strange? Am I strange or are you strange? I don’t see any point in playing, I don’t see any outcome in it. It is just wasting time. Those who have time can waste it. I don’t have much time.”
From the day my maternal grandfather died, death became a constant companion to me. I was only seven years old when he died. He died on my lap. My maternal grandfather and my maternal grandmother used to live in a faraway village and I used to live with them. They had no other child than my mother. My mother was very young when I was born, but she had the whole responsibility of her husband’s family because my father’s mother died when I was only two years old. My father’s brothers and sisters were too small, too young; my mother was also very young, but she had to take care of the whole family. So my maternal grandfather and grandmother decided that it would be better if I lived with them. I could have more freedom and they could take more care of me. My mother would be a little less burdened, so that she could take care of her husband’s family now she was the oldest – although she was just a young girl.
The village was not very far away, only sixteen miles, but there was no road, no train. When my grandfather fell sick and the only physician in the village said, “It is beyond me – take him immediately to hospital,” we took him in a bullock cart because there was no other way. Those sixteen miles looked like thousands of miles because he was dying.
I could see his pulse was slowing down, he was becoming unable to open his eyes; he started breathing in a very strange way, he stopped speaking. I saw death coming closer and closer. He was in my lap because my grandmother was in so much misery and suffering that she was constantly crying.
I told her, “You should think of me! I am only a child – now I am to take care of the dying man and to take care of you. And you had brought me here to take care of! This seems strange. At least don’t cry, because if you cry then how can I stop myself from crying? I am not crying just so you can stop.” But she was not in her senses. I was continuously watching in every possible way to see whether the man was still alive or gone, and I saw him slowly, slowly, slowly drowning. By the time we reached my father’s place he was dead.
After that, death became a constant companion to me. That day I also died, because one thing became certain, that whether you live seven years or seventy years – he was seventy years old – what does it matter, you have to die.
My grandfather was a rare man. I could not conceive him telling a lie, breaking a promise, even judging somebody as bad.
I remember one night… In the village there was no police station, no police, nothing. My grandfather was the richest man in the village, and I used to sleep with him in his bed. One night a thief entered the house. My grandfather saw him cross the fencing and enter, and he started telling me a story. The thief had entered the house and was sitting in the corner – my grandfather started telling me a story and it seemed the thief also became interested in what he was saying.
My grandfather had the habit of continually chewing pan, the betel leaf. His bag was always with him, a very beautiful bag, and he was continually making his pan. This night he began to chew the pan and spit on the thief who was sitting in the corner! The thief could not escape, because he would be caught and he could not say, “You are destroying all my clothes.”
Finally it was too much and the thief said, “Nana – because I used to call my grandfather nana; nana means maternal grandfather, and because of me the old man had become nana to the whole village; everybody started calling him nana. So the thief said, “Nana, it is too much. I am enjoying your story but I cannot enjoy your pan. Please stop! You will spoil my all my clothes.”
My grandfather said, “Tomorrow you can come and take new clothes from me – because I have been deliberately spitting on you. It is not good of me, I should not have done it.”
“But,” the man said, “I am a thief, and you know I had come to steal.”
My grandfather said, “It is your business whether you are a thief or not, but tomorrow come and take new clothes” – because my grandfather had a shop, a multi-purpose shop. In small villages there are only multi-purpose shops; in the one shop you get clothes, sweets, shoes, umbrellas, medicines – everything is available. There was no other shop; he had the only shop for everything the village needed.
The next day the thief came and I told him, “You seem to have some nerve! You have come with your whole shirt and dhoti spoiled with the red of the pan.”
He said, “What else to do? I am a poor man, I cannot afford other clothes. Nana has promised me – and he is a man of his word.”
I said, “Are you certain? He can collect the neighborhood and have you caught because you entered with the intention of stealing. You have admitted it, otherwise what are you doing here? He has left all these marks on you as proof.”
He said, “Don’t create doubt in me. I know your nana: even if I had stolen – I have not stolen anything because I had no chance – he would never tell anybody.” And he went in and got new clothes. I told my nana, “This seems to be going a little too far. Don’t let him be caught, okay, don’t judge him as a thief – but you are rewarding him.”
He said, “No, I am not rewarding him. I spoiled his clothes; I am simply replacing what I have spoiled. And he has not stolen. Intentions are just intentions. Even if he had stolen, what is wrong in it? In this whole village everybody is poor, only I am rich; so if they take something away, it belongs to them. From where have I got all my riches? – from these poor people. They work for me: they work in my farm, they work in my garden. Everything that I have… I don’t produce anything – I don’t go to work in the field, to cut the crop or anything; these people do it. So if once in a while somebody steals, they are stealing their own things; I am not concerned in it.
He told me, “Don’t think about that man as a thief. That is not your business. And we enjoyed it, it was such great entertainment.”
I said, “That is true, we both enjoyed seeing him.”
The thief went on slipping into the corner, but the further into the corner he went, the more he was caught. He wanted to escape from the juice of the betel leaf, but he could not get out because that corner was just close to my grandfather’s bed. It was dark there, so in the beginning he thought that it was just accidental; but then he started slipping away and the spit started following him into the corner. Then finally he thought, “It is not accidental; that old man is spitting like a good shot. And the story he is telling is just to make me aware that he is awake: it will not be easy to steal anything.” So finally he had to declare himself. He said, “I am here, and suffering. Now stop and let me go!”
My grandfather was such a good man and always nice and helpful to everybody; whoever came to him, he helped. He would give money to people. If they had come for a loan, and they wanted to put something down as mortgage, he never accepted it. He said, “I don’t know – tomorrow I may die, then who will give you this mortgage back? Take the money. If you can manage to give it back, good. If you cannot manage, there is nothing to be worried about – I have enough.”
He never took those people’s signatures as proof that they had taken money. I told him, “You should have their signatures as proof that they have been lent money.”
He said, “It is not a loan, it is their money. They may think it is a loan, but I am not thinking of it as a loan. So if they return it, good; if they don’t return it, there is no loss because I was never expecting them to. They are so poor – how are they going to return it?”
Such a good man, a beautiful man, simply died. What was the meaning of his life? That became a tortuous question to me – what was the meaning? What had he attained? For seventy years he lived the life of a good man, but what was the point of it all? It simply ended. Not even a trace was left behind. His death made me immensely serious.
I was serious even before his death. By the age of four I started thinking of problems that people somehow manage to go on postponing to the very end. I don’t believe in postponing. I started asking questions to my maternal grandfather and he would say, “These questions! You have your whole life – there is no hurry – and you are too young.”
I said, “I have seen young boys dying in the village: they had not asked these questions, they have died without finding the answer. Can you guarantee me that I will not die tomorrow or the day after tomorrow? Can you give me a guarantee that I will die only after I have found the answer?”
He said, “I cannot guarantee that because death is not in my hands, nor is life in my hands.”
“Then,” I said, “you should not suggest any postponement to me. I want the answer now. If you know, then say that you know and give me the answer. If you don’t know, then don’t feel awkward in accepting your ignorance.”
Soon he realized that with me there was no alternative. Either you had to say yes… But it was not easy: then you had to go into deeper details about it – and you could not deceive me. He started accepting his ignorance, that he didn’t know.
I said, “You are very old, soon you will die. What have you been doing your whole life? At the moment of death you will have only ignorance in your hands and nothing else. And these are vital questions – I am not asking you any trivia.
“You go to the temple. I ask you why you go to the temple – have you found anything in the temple? You have been going your whole life, and you try to persuade me to come along with you.” The temple was made by him.
One day he accepted that the truth was because he had made the temple: “If even I don’t go there, then who is going to go there? But before you I accept that it is futile. I have been going there my whole life and I have not gained anything.”
Then I said, “Try something else. Don’t die with the question – die with the answer.” But he died with the question.
The last time he spoke to me, almost ten hours before he died, he opened his eyes and he said, “You were right: postponing is not right. I am dying with all the questions with me. So remember, whatever I was suggesting to you was wrong. You were right, don’t postpone. If a question arises, try to find the answer as quickly as possible.”
There are a thousand and one questions that every child asks you. And just because you are such a coward that you cannot accept your ignorance, you go on giving him bogus answers. He asks you, “Who created the world?” and you answer him, without knowing anything about God, “God created the world” – without even feeling ashamed, with no change on your face.
You answer as if you know, but you don’t know; you are deceiving. And you are deceiving not only the child, you are also deceiving yourself. It works both ways. If you succeed in deceiving the child, you have succeeded in deceiving yourself into thinking that perhaps you know. Telling people again and again that God created the world, you will start believing in your own lie. Then certainly you will not feel so bored. Lies are very interesting because they are your inventions. The search for truth goes through much boredom: it is not an entertainment.
Somebody has asked the question: “Why are people so disinterested in the discovery of truth?” There is not far to go to seek the answer. Even to raise the question about truth means you have to become serious. It means you are leaving the world of entertainment behind, of circuses, movies, carnivals, football matches. You are leaving that world which keeps people occupied, and you are moving in the opposite direction to entertainment: that is boredom.
Why are people engaged in all these entertainments? Simply to avoid being bored. Just watch yourself left alone for one day in the house. You start doing bizarre things. You will turn the radio on, then put it off, then turn the TV on – not that you are really interested, but what else to do? When you are just left alone, boredom starts descending on you. You will start phoning friends, “Would you like to come to my place, or I can come to your place, or we can meet in Zorba the Buddha.” He is bored, you are bored. It is interesting that two bored people start entertaining each other. As far as I can see, this is absolutely against arithmetic.
I don’t know much arithmetic. From the very beginning in my school I heard about these three R’s. “The whole of education consists of three R’s,” one of my teachers said: “Reading, writing, ’rithmetic.”
I said, “Whom are you trying to befool? ’rithmetic! Just to manage to make it the three R’s you are changing arithmetic into ’rithmetic.” I told him, “Education consists only of two R’s: reading and writing. Arithmetic I don’t take into account.”
I have never been at ease with that ’rithmetic, but this much I can understand: two bored persons meeting will make the boredom double. That’s what happens in marriages all around the world. Everybody knows both were alone and were feeling bored. They started entertaining each other, and immediately they fell into the fallacy that in their being together life would be interesting, there would be some juice in it. But that is possible only when you meet the girl or the boy on the sea beach, waiting twenty-three hours for one hour. Stolen kisses are sweet, otherwise how can kisses be sweet? It is stealing that makes them sweet.
I don’t see that kisses can be sweet, particularly French kisses. If French kisses were sweet, every Frenchman would be suffering from diabetes – so much sugar! But there is no sugar at all so diabetic people can kiss without any fear. But stolen, there is the sweetness that you are creating a small world of your own.
But meeting once in a while, you are both prepared, you are both ready. You have taken a shower, she has taken a shower, and for at least three hours she has been before the mirror and used all kinds of perfumes and deodorants, and lip-stuff and whatnot. And then you meet for a few minutes or an hour. Of course you both are far away; only your personalities, the masks meet. She has come with painted smiles and you have come with painted smiles.
The strangest thing is that you know that you are not what you are pretending to be, she knows she is not what she is pretending to be – but both believe that the other is exactly what the other is pretending to be. This is something unbelievable. Then naturally they want to live together: if one hour is so sweet, if one hour is so miraculous that all boredom disappears, they start imagining how beautiful it will be to be together twenty-four hours a day. The fallacy has continued all through history, and I don’t see any possibility that it is going to stop even in the future. If it stops it will be very significant, meaningful and it will give you a chance to understand boredom.
By understanding boredom, you can go beyond it. By avoiding it, you remain trapped in it. Marriage is a way to avoid it, just as there are so many other ways. But when you are together twenty-four hours a day, how long can you pretend? Pretension needs tremendous effort and energy. One day, two days, three days and the honeymoon is over: your mask starts slipping. You don’t even care anymore if it slips and falls down, because the girl’s mask is also slipping.
I have heard…

A man married a woman and they went on their honeymoon. The man said, “Before we go to bed, it is my old habit to put the light off. It is such a deep-rooted habit that I cannot go to bed unless I put the light off.”
The woman said, “This is strange! You can go to bed, I am coming from the bathroom and I will put the light off.”
He said, “Then I will wait outside the bed.”
But the woman insisted, “This is my habit. I will go into the bathroom and come out only if you have gone to bed.”
The man said, “This is strange: from the very beginning there is a conflict of habits.” Then he said, “Now there is no point… The truth is that I don’t have real legs, so I cannot undress in the light.”
The woman said, “Then it is okay – because I don’t have breasts. You can undress in the light, I can undress in the light. I was afraid that you may discover that I don’t have any breasts.”
The man said, “My God! I was afraid that you would discover that my legs are false.”

But the marriage is already on the rocks. The honeymoon has not even started – the light is still on! Every honeymoon, more or less, in different ways, ends in the same way. Once you have known the woman, her physiology, her topography, once she has known you – your great lovemaking, huffing and puffing and perspiring and stinking – now you know you are going to bore each other as much as when you were alone. Before, at least you were alone and bored; now you are bored and somebody else is also there to bore you.
Then husband and wife go on living “happily ever after.” That’s how every story ends, how every film ends: “After that they lived happily ever after.” After that, they did not live at all! They simply died. Every day they died more and more. But man’s stupidity is such that he won’t see the exact problem. You will think, “This woman failed me,” “This man failed me.” “Perhaps we are not meant for each other” – as if there is some woman who is meant for you or some man who is meant for you. Forgive me, there is no woman, just nobody is meant for you. You are born alone and you have to accept your aloneness. The sooner you do the better.
But aloneness is boredom because there is no entertainment, nothing interesting. Yes, for twenty-one years I was bored to death. Not only was I bored, I was boring everybody whom I could catch hold of. My father would immediately start looking in his books… I would see that he was sitting in the shop, not looking in the books, and as I entered he would start looking. Once I asked, “Why are you trying to look busy without business? I have seen you – you were just sitting. There is no customer, and you were not looking in the books. Why did you start looking in there?”
He said, “Can’t I even allow myself to be engaged in something to avoid you? Go somewhere else! You must be bringing some problems. I have my own troubles – take care of your own problems.”
My teachers would not allow me to raise my hand because – I don’t know how it happens in other countries, but in India if you want to ask a question you have to raise your hand. My practice was that before the teacher entered the class my hand was up. He would not even be seated and my hand would be up. He would say, “This is something! At least let me sit down. Is there some emergency?”
I would say, “Everything is an emergency. Why should I waste time? When you start teaching, you force me to keep my hand down because you are teaching and I should not disturb you.” Teachers would immediately start writing on the board so they could keep their backs toward me, but I was not so easily put off. Just the other day we were talking about Bible-bashing: I was book-bashing. I would go on hitting the book till they had to turn around.
I would say, “You cannot escape this way. My hand is up and I have a question” – and I had all kinds of questions. My teacher would say, “This question does not belong to my subject.”
I would say, “It is not a question of subject. Life cannot be divided into subjects. Your school curriculum may be divided, but life is undivided. When I go in the history class I am the same person, when I go in the geography class I am the same person: I go into every class with the same problems. So I don’t bother what subject you are teaching, I am concerned with my question. And my question is not only my question, it is yours too – that’s what is freaking you out.”
They were simple questions like, “What is the meaning of your life? Why are you living?”
Now, those teachers would say, “Do you want that we should commit suicide?”
I would say, “I have no objection, but before you commit suicide you will have to tell me why you are committing suicide. What are you going to gain out of it? You will have to answer that question. So suicide is not going to help, the question will remain the same: why are you living? Why are you dying? And if you can’t answer such a simple question such as why you are living, then what else is there?
“You try to teach me history about Alexander the Great, and you don’t know anything about yourself, even about your life. You want to teach me about religion, about Krishna and Rama – and you don’t know anything about the living principle in you, from where you got it. Are you aware of the source, and where you are going?”
Once you are skeptical then everything can become the object of immensely important questions. And when you are surrounded by questions and no answer is coming from anywhere, you feel betrayed by existence, betrayed by your parents, betrayed by your teachers, betrayed by your priest – because there is no answer and yet you go on living: committing suicide is a crime.
It is a strange world. Just the other day, a news cutting was brought to me: a man died near the White House in Washington. Hungry, cold, frozen, he was found just by the wall of the White House. When they found the dead body in the morning, they searched him and it was found that he was a Second World War veteran. Can you believe this? They gave him all the respect that is given to a war veteran. Alive, he was hungry, with no clothes to cover him from the cold: nobody cared. Dead, with great respect, with all military respect, he was given the salute. What kind of world are we living in? A living person has no means to live, and a dead person is given great honor.
In the same way, it is so funny that all over the world suicide is one of the greatest crimes. Strange: you don’t help people to find the meaning of their lives, and you force them to live – because to drop out of living, to just return the ticket and say, “I want to get out of this train of life, I am no longer interested,” is to commit a crime.
It becomes even funnier. If you are caught committing suicide, then you will be sentenced to death! We are living with such intelligent people all around – the great law-makers, constitution makers. That’s exactly what this man was going to do – die. Now, what is the need of all this hullabaloo? – catching hold of him, then for months keeping him in prison, and a court trial with the advocates fighting each other like cats and dogs, the great magistrate sitting seriously deciding. And the man is sentenced to death. When the poor man was doing it himself without any expense to the government, to the nation, to anybody, that was a crime!
Why is suicide a crime? From a very early age I have been thinking why suicide is a crime. It is a crime because it gives the idea to everybody else that life is not worth living: “That man did well.” You are not courageous enough, you are cowardly: you cannot commit suicide. How to hide this cowardliness? Of course! – you can make a law that he has committed a crime, and this kind of crime has to be prevented; otherwise many more people will start committing it.
They are really trying to repress in everybody’s mind the idea of dropping out of life. It is a well-known, well-established fact that anybody with a little intelligence thinks at least one time in his life – certainly that is the minimum – of committing suicide. Why? – because life seems to be just boredom. Marriage has failed. Religion has failed. Politics leads nowhere. You can have all the money in the world, still you are as poor as you were before.
Boredom is something very fundamental. It is part of not accepting your aloneness. It is part of not being able to enjoy your aloneness. You have been taught by the society to escape, to go on running, not to look back, but boredom follows you like a shadow. Boredom is your shadow.
Where are you going to escape to? You can’t escape from it. Perhaps for a few moments you can drown it in alcohol, but the next morning it will come back, worse than it was before. Then you call it a hangover. You suffer the hangover; still again you are going to drink, knowing perfectly well that the hangover is coming. But at least for a few hours you are absent. Drunkards are not bored. You can go into any pub and see the drunkards. They are utterly happy and enjoying, shouting, screaming and beating people, doing all kinds of things but they are radiant. You will not see them miserable, sitting in a corner philosophically like Rodin’s statue of The Thinker, with the hand under the chin, half-closed eyes.
The very posture of Rodin’s statue The Thinker shows sadness, it has exactly caught the mood of boredom. He is so bored, he has no energy even to open his eyes and look around. Inside, questions upon questions are standing in a row, an endless row.
When one marriage fails, people start getting divorces and searching for another woman. I have heard about one Californiac – yes, I use the word Californiac because you can find that kind of people only in California; whoever gave the name California to this part of the world must have in mind the idea of Californiac – one Californiac married eight times, nothing surprising in America…
In India, of course, wives go on praying to find the same husband in the next life. I have always felt so sorry for the poor husband: if these prayers are heard…! Every year there is a particular day in India: the married woman fasts, that is purification, and after fasting she prays that she should get the same husband life after life. I feel sorry for the poor husband, because if those prayers are heard what is going to happen to him? And I feel very strange about the women: are they aware of what they are asking? You want this dodo life after life? One life is not enough? But it is just tradition. In fact every day the wives are a pain in the neck of the dodos – and the same dodo goes on doing the same to them.
Everybody in this instance follows Jesus Christ: “Do unto others whatever you want to be done to you by them.” The husband is doing to the wife what he must want done to him; the wife is doing what she must want to be done to her. All are Christians in that way; particularly married couples are all Christians – whatever religion they belong to.
This man married eight times, and each time he found that somehow he ended up with the same type of woman. He must have been a slightly alert man. He watched, and thought, “This is strange.” But this is not strange, it is simple psychology. You fall in love with a woman. You have certain ideas about beauty, form, aesthetics; and that woman fits into your formula of who is going to be the right wife for you – as if right wives exist or right husbands exist! All are wrong, because the whole institution of marriage is idiotic. So there is no right husband, no right wife – unless somebody like me manages the marriage of two people.
For example, I know one couple who would have been the right couple: Morarji Desai, ex-prime minister of India, and Mother Teresa. I can say with absolute certainty that if they were married they would be the most perfect couple in the whole of history. But it is very difficult to find such a couple. It took fifty years for me to discover this one couple.
Because you choose a woman, you forget that you have a certain formula unconsciously working. Why do you suddenly choose a particular woman? – there are so many women in the world. It is because this woman fits with your idea of a right wife. Now, you divorce after three months because although you found that her nose fits with the formula, her hair color fits with the formula, her body fits with the formula, she is not only a combination of hair, eyes, nose; these are nothing. She is an individual, hidden from you completely. So you have only seen the outer side of the woman, and you don’t know her inner depths, where she really is. And she has only seen your outer form.
It is just like seeing a fence, and deciding this is the right house: you have only seen the fence around the house, not even the walls of the house – what to say about the inner chambers? What if there are scorpions or snakes, witches and devils? One never knows what is there, just the fence fits. But you can’t live outside the fence. You get married just to go inside the house, and when you enter each other’s house it is terrible because you have chosen each other out of boredom, not out of joy.
You have chosen not to share something but to get something. The woman has also chosen to get something because she is empty. Now two beggars are choosing each other thinking that the other is an emperor. Once you come closer, dreams are broken. You can divorce the woman, but how are you going to choose another woman? – You will choose again by the old formula that you know, that is fixed in your unconscious; perhaps you are not aware of it. The old formula will find the same kind of woman again, you cannot find anybody else. It is almost like marrying the same woman. And that’s what happened, that’s why I was going to tell the story.
The Californiac married eight women. When he married the eighth woman, after two days he found that he had married her once before. It took two days for him to discover it. They were all similar types but this one looked like an exact replica. And the woman was not yet aware that it was the same man; only when he told her did she become aware. He said, “My God! What have we done? Let’s be together for two or three months and then divorce.”
Wherever divorce has come as a fashion you are bound to find that you will always choose the same type. And the woman, on the other side, is going to choose the same type of man. You are perhaps not doing anything different than the Hindu wife. You are going into the unnecessary trouble of changing the wife, and the husband, and the house, and the job, and going through the courts. Hindus have discovered long before that it is pointless: you will again chose the same woman, she will again chose the same husband, so why not decide once forever, “We are going to be eternal companions, torturing each other, what is the point of changing? At least we will become accustomed of each other’s torture, perhaps we may start loving each other’s torture.”
One just needs a little practice and one starts loving any kind of thing – and practice for lives together. I think Hindus have some insight into it: why practice again with another? It is better to have the old companion you know perfectly well, she knows you perfectly well. There is no need to start everything from ABC, you can start from XYZ. There is no need for a honeymoon. You know there is nothing like honeymoon in India. What is the point, because this woman has been your wife for many lives before and she is going to be your wife many more lives, so why waste time? Why waste money?
I have heard…

A very miserly Christian was going to a hill station. In the train somebody sitting by his side asked, “Where are you going?”
He said, “I am going on my honeymoon.”
The man said, “But I don’t see your wife.”
He said, “She will be going next year because two persons going together is too expensive. So this time I am going, next year she will be going.”

I think that too is insightful, at least they will not destroy their honeymoon.
People are doing all kinds of things for the simple reason that they can forget themselves – because the moment they remember themselves there is boredom. And the whole society, all the cultures teach you to escape quickly from yourself, the further away the better.
I was also bored but I did one thing differently, and that was that I decided I was going to live with the boredom; I was not going to escape because escape was not going to help. You will be surprised how I lived my boredom. My family, my friends started thinking that I had gone mad because I would not participate in any entertainment, I would not go for any picnic. I would lie down on the floor and look at the ceiling for hours together, just to be as bored as possible. Now you don’t know Indian ceilings: you can’t find anything uglier. Just ugly beams covered with mud tiles full of dirt, spider webs, rats running on the beams, and I would simply lie down on the floor looking at this beautiful scene.
I had decided that whatever boredom was, I was determined to live with it. If this was how nature wanted me to be alone, okay, then let nature take its own course. But the strangest thing happened with my determination to live with boredom. One day it disappeared. I was there alone but no longer lonely. And since then it has not appeared again. Right now I have almost forgotten how it tastes. You have asked the question so I am trying to answer you, but my own experience has fallen so far away.
I have lost psychological track of all memories. Factually I can describe them but I cannot relive them. These two words will be helpful to understand: factual memory and psychological memory. You insulted me thirty years ago and I was angry: I can remember it factually that you insulted me and I was angry – this is factual memory. But to get into that anger again, to have that insult become a real thing again, not as a memory but as a living experience, is psychological memory. I have lost the psychological track of all memories. Factually, I can describe it, but I cannot relive it.
My life is absolutely alone. This is strange to say because I have lived thirty-five years of my life in crowds. But I am alone in the crowd. You are there, but I am alone. Even in the crowd I am not different in any way than when I am sitting in my room alone. My aloneness persists; it is incorruptible.
I live in just one room almost the whole day. My life is as much a routine as possible. I have meticulously arranged everything that creates boredom around myself: I have not allowed anything that may help me to escape from my aloneness. In the morning exactly at a certain time I get up. And do you know what I do first thing? Even Vivek does not know. The first thing is that I pinch myself to see whether I am still here or it is finished. Only after pinching myself and being certain do I push the button for Vivek to bring my tea. Because what is the point of pushing the button if I am not here? She will unnecessarily get up and prepare the tea and bring it – and that is not right.
So first I make certain that I am still here. Then I push the button for her to bring my tea. And what is my tea? No milk, no sugar, just hot water with tea leaves. But I enjoy it because it is the purest taste of tea. Sugar and milk destroy the purity of tea completely.
Everything is set up exactly the same every day. I have half an hour in my bathroom, then half an hour in my swimming pool. It must be the hottest swimming pool in the world: ninety-nine degrees Fahrenheit. It is just cooking yourself completely, twenty minutes in it and you are cooked well. And I don’t have a small swimming pool, it is Olympic size. You know I am a man of very simple tastes – I am satisfied with the best of anything: satisfied simply, but with the best of anything.
Sheela was asking me, “What are you going to do with the Olympic size?”
I said, “The point is not what I am going to do with the Olympic size. The size has to be Olympic: I cannot step into a smaller size swimming pool.”
Half an hour in that hot water, then back for half an hour under an ice-cold shower. You cannot have that ice-cold shower for more than two minutes. But after the ninety-nine-degree hot water it is a tremendously beautiful experience to be under ice-cold water. The change from hot to the opposite, to very cold, is again a deeper pinching. The first was on the body, this is on the soul. Then I am perfectly certain that I am here and going to prevail, at least for today.
Vivek brings my breakfast, which is really a great breakfast – just a glass of juice, the same. It would be the same for everybody else, but not for me because I don’t compare. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow has not come yet – I don’t compare it. Vivek was asking me today, “Are you really excited with the same food every day?” – because yesterday I said I was excited. She was asking, “Are you really excited?”
I said, “I am always excited with the same juice, the same food, because the problem arises only when you start comparing. When you start thinking that for ten years you have been having the same juice, then there arises the fear, ‘What are you doing?’” But I am not bored. I have dropped comparison. I don’t carry any psychological memory with me: I go on dropping it moment to moment, and then I can enjoy the same thing for the whole of eternity.
She must have been worried because of what I said. She must have talked with my personal physician, Devaraj, and said, “Should we change Osho’s complete menu?”
I said, “No, I am not going to allow you to change it. I am so settled with it that a change may create some trouble.” I am not bored with it. It is difficult to believe, but I have learned one thing: if you can enjoy your aloneness then you can enjoy anything. And if you cannot enjoy your aloneness, you cannot enjoy anything. That is an absolutely fundamental principle.
I had a friend who was a school inspector. One day he came to me very excited and said, “Just listen. Can you believe this?”
I said, “Just settle down – don’t be so excited. What has happened? I have never seen you excited. You are always bored with the same routine: going again and again to the same schools, to the same classes and the same questions. What has happened? Something extraordinary?”
He said, “You will not believe it! I went to a school…” First I have to explain to you the story, otherwise you won’t follow him.
Sita is Rama’s wife. Her father had declared, “Whosoever breaks the bow of Shiva” – that Shiva himself had given to Sita’s father as a gift – “my daughter will put a garland on his neck.” That was called swayamvar in India: the girl choosing her husband by a certain device. This was the device, and the device was really difficult. Shiva’s bow was so heavy that to break it by hand was almost impossible. It was difficult even to pick it up with your hands from the platform on which it was lying. Princes after princes, kings after kings came. Finally Rama came: he broke Shiva’s bow and married Sita.
This story was given to the students of a class to prepare for the next day, and by accident that was the day that my friend happened to visit the school. When he entered the class, the teacher was just asking the students, “Tell me, who broke Shiva’s bow?” A boy, very afraid and nervous, raised his hand. The teacher was surprised – this was the last boy he would have imagined would answer. He had never answered anything, but now he was raising his hand. The principal was there and the inspector of schools was there, so he said, “Okay,” but he was afraid that the boy would mess up the whole thing.
The boy stood up and said, “Sir, I have not broken it. And moreover, yesterday I did not even come to school.” Now, he had really messed up the whole thing. The teacher was boiling: what would the inspector think, what would the principal think?
But before he could say anything or do anything, the principal said, “As far as I’m concerned, this boy seems to be mischievous: I think he has broken it.” The inspector was at a loss. What to do now? This was becoming absolutely mad! He went to the chairman of the school committee to tell him what was going on.
The chairman said, “Don’t be worried. I will just tell the carpenter and he will fix it. Children are children and furniture gets broken – it is nothing to be worried about.”
I said, “But you should have enjoyed it – it was such a beautiful experience! But you don’t seem to have enjoyed it, you have become worried about it.”
He said, “Worried? It is a great concern. What is going on? Even the headmaster says, ‘I suspect that this is the culprit – his face shows it.’ And the chairman said, ‘Don’t be worried, I will tell the carpenter and he will fix it. This is an everyday affair. These children are children.’”
My friend said, “This is not the whole story. When I came home I told my wife, and my wife said, ‘Will you come to your senses or not? In our house so many things are broken, and nobody bothers. I have been telling you the chair is broken, the lamp is broken – and you are worrying about Shiva’s bow? What business is it of yours?’
“So I have come to you, to tell you that this is the state of affairs,” my friend said.
I said, “I think this is a very beautiful state of affairs – just go and enjoy it! Don’t get worried about it. The beauty of the story could not have been as good if the boy simply answered factually that Rama broke the bow. What would there have been in that? But the boy was original.”
He said, “My God, you say that the boy was original?”
I said, “I think everybody was original because they all managed to find some new idea. They were not repeating old things.”
To repeat old things becomes boring. There are two ways to get out of it: don’t repeat old things, which is impossible because life consists of small things. You will have to brush your teeth every day. How many original ways can you find? I don’t see that you can find many. As far as my dentist is concerned there is only one right way. Wrong ways you can find, but the right way is only one. If you start getting bored with that, then every morning you will start bored. Enjoy it, don’t compare. What is there to compare? If you don’t compare, it is no longer repetition; if you compare, it is repetition.
You will have to take a shower – and it is going to be the same. You will put on your clothes and you will do your work – it is all going to be the same, more or less. If you try to do everything new in order to be creative you will simply go crazy.
This story of Shiva’s bow reminds me of another, which happened in front of me in my own village. It was the same story. Rama’s life is played all over India every year, and this part is in it: Ravana was a competitor of Rama, and he was a mighty man. He was also as much a devotee of Shiva as Sita’s father, perhaps a greater devotee. So there was great fear that he might break the bow. Neither Sita’s father wanted that because Ravana was a monstrous man with ten heads, nor did Sita. She was afraid that he might succeed – everybody was afraid – so a conspiracy was created.
The moment Ravana was to stand up and go toward the bow, a man would come running in and say, “Your kingdom is on fire.” Sri Lanka was Ravana’s kingdom, and the story is that his capital in Sri Lanka was all made of gold. Of course if his kingdom was on fire then he would drop the idea of breaking the bow. He already had many wives, and he was not particularly interested in Sita: the only thing was the challenge to break the bow. He was interested in breaking the bow: Sita or no Sita was not the problem, as Ravana had many beautiful wives. So he dropped the idea and rushed toward Sri Lanka. Meanwhile Rama broke the bow and married Sita. This is the story and then the story goes on.
What happened in my village when this scene came, and the man came running and said, “Ravana, your kingdom is on fire,” was that the man playing Ravana said, “Let it be!”
Nearabout twenty thousand people, many of whom were asleep, just woke up! The whole crowd was awake: “What has happened?”
Ravana said, “Let it be – this time I’m going to break Shiva’s bow. Every year the same, the same, the same: ‘Your kingdom is on fire’ – and nothing is on fire.” And he broke the bow. It was nothing, it was just a bamboo bow. He simply broke it in many pieces and threw all the pieces away, and told the father of Sita, “Where is the girl? Bring her!”
It was a great shock, but really original. And he declared to the people, “Now go home because the story is finished” – because that was the point of the whole story. Rama gets married to Sita, then Ravana finds out that it was a conspiracy, that his kingdom was not on fire – it is just a trick to get him out of the way and to give time to Rama, so Ravana steals Sita just to take revenge. Then the whole story goes on: he steals Sita, then Rama fights and gets Sita back…
But he finished the whole story. He said, “It is finished. You can go home, and from tomorrow there will be no Ram Leela. For this year I have done it.” Later on it was found that the problem was that he had had a quarrel with the man who was managing the show. After the show they all used to get sweets and fruits, which people were bringing to offer to Rama. All the actors used to get them, and the day before, this man had got a smaller proportion. He was angry and he said, “Today I want double.”
The manager said, “No, nothing doing. If I give you double then everybody else will ask for double.”
He said, “Then watch out! If something goes wrong I am not responsible.”
The manager said, “What can go wrong?” He had never conceived that the man could do this.
I went backstage, and I really appreciated the man. I said, “You did something original. Every year somebody needs to do something original.”
The manager said, “You are supporting him! We are going to give him to the police because he has destroyed the whole thing. Now from where are we going to start the story tomorrow? Tickets have been sold and people will ask for their money back if the story is finished. It was just the opening day! We are going to give him to the police.”
I said, “No, that is not right – he is such an original person. Tomorrow find somebody else to play the role – just release him from the role – and start again from the very beginning.”
But the manager said, “How can we do that? – because he has broken the bow.”
I said, “Simple, just open the show tomorrow. Declare that the show will be on and that it will be the first show. When the curtain opens, Janaka, the father of Sita, will declare, ‘Yesterday, through the mistake of my servants, the real bow of Shiva was left in the palace. The bow that was broken was just a bow which children play with. Today, the real bow is here and the show starts.’”
The manager said, “That’s good – that will do.”
So the next day the show started. People were laughing because again it was a bamboo bow and if somebody wanted to break it, he could. But that Ravana was taken out and there was somebody else playing the role. The story continued and the people fell asleep and snored.
In life you cannot be original every moment. But what can be done… Since the moment I started enjoying just being myself, all psychological memory started falling like dust every day. Everything is new, is original because it is not compared with the past. I see you: I never feel that you are the same people, not for a single moment, because twenty-four hours have passed and you have all grown twenty-four hours older. So much water has gone down the Ganges, it is no longer the same water. So much life has flowed through you, you are not the same person. Yes, the face is similar, but not exactly the same.
Gautam Buddha used to say, “Life is just like a flame. You light a candle in the evening, and the whole night the candle burns. You can see that the flame is almost the same, but it is not the same flame. The flame is continually becoming smoke and a new flame is coming out. The old is disappearing and the new is appearing, but the disappearance of the old and the appearance of the new is so quick that you cannot see the gap between the two. That’s why you think it is the same flame. In the morning when you blow out the candle, never think that you are blowing out the same candle you had kindled in the evening. It is not. In these twelve hours the flame has been continually changing: it is a flux.”
So is life, so is everything – continuously changing, moving. Nothing is the same, nothing can remain the same for two consecutive moments. Once you understand that… But that understanding has to be first experienced in your own life flame. When you see that your own life flame is a flux, a continuity of movement, a continuum, then everything around it is always new – similar, but new.
The moment you can feel your newness, and everything’s newness around you, boredom disappears. Animals are not bored, idiots are not bored, because they don’t have the intelligence to see. Enlightened people are not bored because they can see the totality of their own being – that it is a constant newness, that dust does not gather there, that the mirror remains clean and everything that reflects in your consciousness is always new.
The tree outside the house will not be the same in the morning. Please don’t behave with the tree as if it is just the same. New leaves have come, old leaves have fallen; new flowers may have blossomed, old flowers may have disappeared. Change is the only permanent phenomenon in existence. Nothing else is permanent except change. So what is there to be bored about? But it has not to be just an intellectual understanding: it has to arise from your experience of being a flame. You are a flame which goes on changing. Every second something new is coming into the flame and something old is becoming smoke.
Once your aloneness becomes a constant newness then whatever you do is creative, is original, is new. And you cannot manage in any way to feel bored.
I have tried to feel bored one more time at least, to see how it was, but I have to confess I could not succeed. I have tried every way, but everything is so new – what can you do? From where to bring in something old? There is nothing old ever: all is new forever. But let this understanding arise from your innermost experience of aloneness.

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