Future has to be “yes”
Osho on Communist Manifesto
The Communist Manifesto was written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to serve as the platform of the Communist League. It became one of the principal programmatic statements of the European socialist and communist parties in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Communist Manifesto embodies the authors’ materialistic conception of history (“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”), and it surveys that history from the age of feudalism down to 19th-century capitalism, which was destined, they declared, to be overthrown and replaced by a workers’ society. The communists, the vanguard of the working class, constituted the section of society that would accomplish the “abolition of private property” and “raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class.”
The Communist Manifesto opens with the dramatic words “A spectre is haunting Europe—the spectre of communism” and ends by stating, “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workingmen of all countries, unite.”
Osho says, “Karl Marx, in his most famous book, THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO, has a beautiful sentence at the end. With that sentence he concludes the communist manifesto. The sentence has some great insight in it. It says, “Workers of the world, unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains.” He is calling on the workers, the proletariat, the poor people of the world, the laborers, to unite, to fight for their rights, to rebel against the whole system of exploitation, because what have you got to lose except your chains? You don’t have anything else except your chains, so there is no need to be afraid of fighting. The other party has to lose. If you win, you gain. If you are defeated, you lose nothing, because you don’t have anything in the first place…In India it could not happen because the religious tradition is so deep that it has convinced the poor people that, “You are the blessed people. Your poverty is just a test of your faith. All these small troubles are nothing before the blessings of paradise. This life is just a life consisting only of four days” There’s a proverb in India, that life is nothing but four days. Two days pass in desiring, the remaining two days pass in waiting. It is so small that half of it — while you are young, you have ambitions and desires to be someone, to be somewhere, to get your name carved for the coming generations — those two days pass in desiring. And the other half, when you start getting older, those two days pass in waiting for some miracle to happen and your desires to be fulfilled. This is all your life is: a soap bubble. For this small life are you going to lose the eternal blessings of heaven? Be patient. Have faith. Your poverty is a God-given opportunity. If you can pass this fire test — which is not a long journey, just four steps — the doors of paradise open, and you will be received with bands and singing and dancing. In India revolution seems to be impossible. It should have happened first in India, because what Karl Marx says has a truth in it. When you don’t have anything to lose, what is the fear of fighting, of rebelling, of risking?”
THIS MORNING THE TOP OF MY HEAD FLEW OFF TO GREET YOU. LIKE A LIDLESS POT I SAT DRINKING YOU IN.
SUDDENLY A QUESTION POPPED UP: ALL THE HISTORICAL REBELLIONS HAVE A HUGE “NO” AT THEIR SOURCE. YOUR REBELLION OF THE SOUL IS CENTERED IN THE MYSTERY OF “YES.” WILL YOU PLEASE SPEAK TO US ON THE ALCHEMY OF “YES”?
Devageet, there are a few very fundamental things to be understood. First, there has never been a rebellion in the past, only revolutions. And the distinction between a revolution and a rebellion is so vast that unless you understand the difference you will not be able to figure the way out of the puzzle of your question. Once you understand the difference…
Revolution is a crowd, a mob phenomenon. Revolution is a struggle for power: one class of people who are in power are thrown out by the other class of people who have been oppressed, exploited to such a point that now even death does not matter. They don’t have anything. Revolution is a struggle between the haves and the have-nots.
I am reminded of the last statement in the COMMUNIST MANIFESTO by Karl Marx. It is tremendously beautiful, and with a little change I can use it for my own purposes. First his exact statement: he says, “Proletariat” — his word for have-nots — “Proletariat of the world unite, and don’t be afraid because you have nothing to lose except your chains.” Moments come in history when a small group of people, cunning, clever, start exploiting the whole society. All the money goes on gathering on one side and all the poverty and starvation on the other. Naturally this state cannot be continued forever. Sooner or later those who have nothing are going to overthrow those who have all.
Revolution is a class action, it is a class struggle. It is basically political; it has nothing to do with religion, nothing to do with spirituality. And it is also violent, because those who have power are not going to lose their vested interest easily; it is going to be a bloody, violent struggle in which thousands, sometimes millions of people will die…
Revolutions in the past have happened all around the world, but no revolution has succeeded in doing what it promised. It promised equality, without understanding the psychology of human individuality. Each human individual is so unique that to force them to equality is not going to make people happy, but utterly miserable. I also love the idea of equality, but in a totally different way.
My idea of equality is equal opportunity to all to be unequal, equal opportunity to all to be unique and themselves. Certainly they will be different from each other, and a society which does not have variety and differences is a very poor society. Variety brings beauty, richness, color.
But it has not yet dawned on the millions around the world that revolution has not helped, and they still go on thinking in terms of revolution. They have not understood anything from the history of man. It is said that history repeats itself. I say it is not history that repeats itself; it only seems to repeat itself because man is absolutely unconscious and he goes on doing the same thing again and again without learning anything, without becoming mature, alert and aware. When all the revolutions have failed, some new door should be opened. There is no point in again and again changing the powerful into the powerless and the powerless into the powerful; this is a circle that goes on moving.
I don’t preach revolution. I am utterly against revolution. I say unto you that my word for the future, and for those who are intelligent enough in the present, is rebellion. What is the difference? Rebellion is individual action; it has nothing to do with the crowd. Rebellion has nothing to do with politics, power, violence. Rebellion has something to do with changing your consciousness, your silence, your being. It is a spiritual metamorphosis. And each individual passing through a rebellion is not fighting with anybody else, but is fighting only with his own darkness. Swords are not needed, bombs are not needed; what is needed is more alertness, more meditativeness, more love, more prayerfulness, more gratitude. Surrounded by all these qualities you are born anew. I teach this new man, and this rebellion can become the womb for the new man I teach. We have tried collective efforts and they have failed. Now let us try individual efforts. And if one man becomes aflame with consciousness, joy and blissfulness, he will become contagious to many more.
Rebellion is a very silent phenomenon that will go on spreading without making any noise and without even leaving any footprints behind. It will move from heart to heart in deep silences, and the day it has reached to millions of people without any bloodshed, just the understanding of those millions of people will change our old primitive animalistic ways. It will change our greed, and the day greed is gone there is no question of accumulating money. No revolution has been able to destroy greed; those who come in power become greedy. We have passed through a revolution just now in this country, and it is a very significant example to understand. The people who were leading the revolution in this country against the British rule were followers of Mahatma Gandhi, who preached poverty, who preached non-possessiveness. The moment they came into power all his disciples started living in palaces which were made for viceroys. All his disciples who had been thinking their whole lives that they are servants of the people became masters of the people. There is more corruption in this country than anywhere else. This is very strange — this is Gandhian corruption, very religious, very pious, and the people who are doing it were trained, disciplined to be servants of the people. But power has a tremendous capacity to change people; the moment you have power you are immediately a different person. You start behaving exactly like any other powerful people who have gone before.
I was very young when India became independent, so I have been watching this independence for forty years. My whole family was involved in the freedom struggle, and when freedom came there was so much celebration all over the country. But each year the celebration became less and less, and sadness started settling. I used to tease my father, my uncles, who had all been to jail, suffered as much as possible, and because all the elders were in the jails, we suffered too because there was nobody to look after the children. There were only women and children left, and Indian women cannot be of much help. They cannot even come out into society; they are not capable of earning money. I know how difficult it was when all the elders of the family were thrown into jail. After the freedom I used to tease them, “Is this freedom? You destroyed your family, you destroyed yourself, you suffered and you made us suffer. Is this freedom?”
And my father used to say, “Don’t say such things. We know this is not the freedom that we have been fighting for. We were thinking that when the country becomes free, everybody will enjoy freedom.”
But nothing has changed. Only the Britishers are gone, and in their place a single party has been ruling for forty years. Now it is not just a single party, but a single family; it has become a dynasty — and the exploitation continues and the poverty continues — it has grown at least a hundred times more since the British Empire has been gone. Everything has deteriorated — the morality, the character, the integrity, everything has become a commodity. You can purchase anybody; all you need is money. There is not a single individual in the whole country who is not a commodity in the marketplace; all you need is money. Everybody is purchasable — judges are purchasable, police commissioners are purchasable, politicians are purchasable. Even under the British rule this country has never known such corruption.
What has the country gained? The rulers have changed, but what does that signify? Unless there is a rebelliousness spreading from individual to individual, unless we can create an atmosphere of enlightenment around the world where greed will fall down on its own accord, where anger will not be possible, where violence will become impossible, where love will be just the way you live… where life should be respected, where the body should be loved, appreciated, where comfort should not be condemned. It is natural to ask for comfort. Even the trees… In Africa, trees grow very high; the same trees in India don’t grow that high. I was puzzled, what happens? I was trying to find out why they should grow to the same height but they don’t, and the reason I found was that unless there is a density of trees, trees won’t grow high. Even at a lesser height the sun is available, and that is their comfort, that is their life, that is their joy. In Africa the jungles are so thick that every tree tries in every way to grow as high as possible, because only then can it have the joy of the sun, the joy of the rain, the joy of the wind. Only then can it dance; otherwise there is nothing but death.
The whole of nature wants comfort, the whole of nature wants all the luxury that is possible. But our religions have been teaching us against luxury, against comfort, against riches.
A man of enlightenment sees with clarity that it is unnatural to demand from people, “You should be content with your poverty, you should be content with your sicknesses, you should be content with all kinds of exploitation, you should be content and you should not try to rise higher, to reach to the sun and the rain and the wind.” This is an absolutely unnatural conditioning that we are all carrying. Only a rebellion in your being can bring you to this clarity.
You say, Devageet, that in history all the rebellions were based on “no.” Those were not rebellions; change the word.
All the revolutions were based on “no.” They were negative, they were against something, they were destructive, they were revengeful and violent. Certainly, my rebellion is based on “yes” — yes to existence, yes to nature, yes to yourself. Whatever the religions may be saying and whatever the ancient traditions may be saying, they are all saying no to yourself, no to nature, no to existence; they are all life-negative. My rebellion is life-affirmative. I want you to dance and sing and love and live as intensely as possible and as totally as possible. In this total affirmation of life, in this absolute yes to nature we can bring a totally new earth and a totally new humanity into being. The past was “no.” The future has to be “yes.” We have lived enough with the no, we have suffered enough and there has been nothing but misery. I want people to be as joyful as birds singing in the morning, as colorful as flowers, as free as the bird on the wing with no bondages, with no conditioning, with no past — just an open future, an open sky and you can fly to the stars.
Because I am saying yes to life, all the no-sayers are against me, all over the world. My yes-saying goes against all the religions and against all the ideologies that have been forced upon man.
My yes is my rebellion. The day you will be able also to say yes it will be your rebellion.
We can have rebellious people functioning together, but each will be an independent individual, not belonging to a political party or to a religious organization. Just out of freedom and out of love and out of the same beautiful yes we will meet. Our meeting will not be a contract, our meeting will not be in any way a surrender; our meeting will make every individual more individual. Supported by everybody else, our meeting will not take away freedom, will not enslave you; our meeting will give you more freedom, more support so that you can be stronger in your freedom. Long has been the slavery, and long has been our burden. We have become weak because of the thousands of years of darkness that have been poured on us.
The people who love to say yes, who understand the meaning of rebellion, will not be alone; they will be individuals. But the people who are on the same path, fellow-travelers, friends, will be supporting each other in their meditativeness, in their joy, in their dance, in their music. They will become a spiritual orchestra, where so many people are playing instruments but creating one music. So many people can be together and yet they may be creating the same consciousness, the same light, the same joy, the same fragrance. It is a long way — “no” seems to be a shortcut — that’s why it has not been tried up to now. Whenever I have discussed it with people, they said, “Perhaps you are right, but when will it be possible that the whole earth will say yes?”
I said, “Anyway we have been on this earth for millions of years and you have been saying no — and what is your achievement? It is time. Give a chance to yes too.”
My feeling is that no is a quality of death; yes is the very center of life. No had to fail because death cannot succeed, cannot be victorious over life. If we give a chance to yes based in rebelliousness it is bound to become a wildfire, because everybody deep down wants it to happen. I
have not found a single person in my life who does not want to live a natural, relaxed, peaceful, silent life. But that life is possible only if everybody else is also living the same kind of life. I can understand the fear of people that individual rebellion may take a long time, but there is no problem in it. In fact each individual who passes through this rebellious fire becomes at least for himself a bliss and an ecstasy, and there is every possibility that he will sow the seeds around him.
But he has not failed; he has conquered, he has reached to the very peak of his potential. He has blossomed. There is nothing more that he can think of; the whole existence is his. So as far as that individual is concerned the rebellion is complete. He will be able to sow seeds all around. And there is no hurry; eternity is available. Slowly, slowly more and more people will become more and more conscious, more alert. Enlightenment will become a common phenomenon.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: Satyam Shivam Sundram
Chapter title: This great adventure
19 November 1987 pm in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
Osho has spoken on ‘rebellion, existence, love, gratitude, prayer, enlightenment’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Come Follow To You, Vol 3
- From Misery to Enlightenment
- I Say Unto You, Vol 2
- The Rebel
- The Secret
- The Zen Manifesto: Freedom From Oneself
- The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
- The Invitation
- Om Mani Padme Hum
- The Osho Upanishad
- The Razor’s Edge
- Sermons in Stones
- Sufis: The People of the Path