Guilt: The Most Poisoned Word
Birthday of Dutch Painter Rembrandt
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a Dutch draughtsman, painter, and printmaker. An innovative and prolific master in three media, he is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history. Unlike most Dutch masters of the 17th century, Rembrandt’s works depict a wide range of style and subject matter, from portraits and landscapes, genre scenes, allegorical and historical scenes, and biblical and mythological themes, as well as animal studies.
The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, Philosopher in Meditation, The Night Watch, Old Man with a Gold Chain, Head of Christ, The Three Crosses – these are some of his well-known works in the field of painting.
MANY TIMES I FEEL GUILTY BECAUSE I CANNOT RECEIVE YOU.
The word “GUILT” should never be used. The very word has wrong associations; and once you use it you are caught in it.
Guilt is not a natural phenomenon: it is created by the priests. Through guilt they have exploited humanity. The whole history of pseudo-religion is contained in the word guilt: it is the most poisoned word. Beware of it;
never use it, because in your unconscious mind it also has deep roots. You cannot find guilt in any animal: the animal simply is. It has no ideals, it has no arts; it exists, and simply exists. It has no perfections to be attained and hence the animal is beautiful, innocent.
Ideals corrupt. Once you have an ideal to fulfill you will never be at ease, and you will never be at home, and you can never be contented. Dissatisfaction follows ideals like a shadow, and the more dissatisfied you are with yourself, the more it becomes impossible to reach the ideal: this is the vicious circle. If you are not dissatisfied with yourself, if you accept yourself as you are, the ideal can be fulfilled immediately. And I emphasize the word ‘immediately’: with no time gap, right this moment, here and now, you can realize that you are perfect; it is not something to be attained in the future, it is something that you have always been carrying within you. Perfection is your nature — perfect you are.
That is the difference between a pseudo-religion and an authentic religion. The pseudo-religion says you have to be perfect, and creates guilt because you are not perfect. It creates morality because you are not perfect, and creates a deep anguish, a continuous trembling and fear because you are not perfect; and it creates hell and heaven. If you become perfect you will be awarded by heaven; if you don’t become perfect you are to be punished in hell. Authentic religion says you are perfect, not that you have to be. You cannot be imperfect, because out of God imperfection is impossible. If God has created the world, how can it be imperfect? And if you come from God, how can you be imperfect? You are gods — that art thou, TATTVAMASI. And this is a realization, an understanding, not an achievement; it is not something to be worked out. If you are silent, this very moment it is realized: you are perfect. And once you realize it, that you are perfect, you live perfectly, because whatsoever you do comes from you, arises from you.
So please, never use the word guilt: that word is dangerous, that word has been misleading you for centuries. If you cannot receive me, if you cannot understand me, let it be so; it is perfect. It may not be needed, it may not be your need. You are thirsty; then you seek water. Maybe the water is seeking you, and you are not thirsty. So what is wrong in it? This has to be remembered: if you cannot receive me, then that’s how it has to be. Then you are not at the stage where you need me. Don’t create any guilt. When you need me, you will receive me, otherwise it is not possible. Every state is right; every stage is right — wherever you are is right; and whatsoever you need, you are capable of receiving it. When your needs grow, your receptivity will grow. Don’t jump ahead; don’t try to overtake yourself. Then you will be in a very stupid state of mind, and then you will create your own anguish, and you will feel guilty.
There is nothing in the world for which one needs to feel guilty.
Accept yourself as you are, and accept totally, unconditionally. That is the way God wants you to be: the way you are, exactly, precisely. That’s how you are needed here in this moment. Don’t try to change. The very effort to change is foolish, because who is going to change? You will change. The very effort is foolish, because you are trying to pull yourself up by your shoelaces. You may jump a little, but back again you will be on the same earth — and in a worse condition, because guilt will come in — you couldn’t succeed, you failed.
If you are here, at least learn one thing from me — total acceptance. And total acceptance brings transformation of its own accord: that’s the beauty of it. When you accept yourself you start moving — not that you force; not that you push the river; not that you fight — you flow with life.
Wherever it leads is the goal. I am not giving you any goal. I am not giving you any ideal.
All perfectionists are neurotic. The very effort to become perfect is obsessive — it creates neurosis, it creates a sort of madness. Then you will never be sane. The only sanity there is, is to accept yourself as you are. Don’t condemn, and don’t judge. Don’t make standards to judge and don’t make criteria to judge. Suddenly you see that you have started moving, that the river is flowing. And the river reaches to the ocean of its own accord; nobody needs to force it. The more you try to change yourself, the more you will be in a vicious circle. And then guilt is created; and when you feel guilty, you feel condemned, and when you feel condemned, in that condemnation life becomes a hell. The hell does not exist somewhere; it exists in a wrong attitude. Then you live in hell, then your whole being is surrounded by a nightmare.
Drop that nightmare. Start living and flowing — a deep let-go, acceptance. And wherever you move, don’t be worried, because God is everywhere.
Wherever you reach, don’t be worried: he is everywhere. You cannot miss him. How can you miss him? That is impossible. You can go on forgetting him, but you cannot miss him — he is in you, he is everywhere; only he is. But when you create the idea of guilt, for whatsoever reason, then you create a gap; then you are surrounded by your own darkness. Drop that word guilt, and always remember that words are very potential and powerful.
Just the other day I was reading about Rembrandt. He had become old, and he was working on one of his most famous paintings: The Anatomy Lesson. He was very tired the day it was completed, and he looked very exhausted. His disciple said, “Master, you look very exhausted, tired.” Rembrandt, as if suddenly becoming alive, said, “Exhausted? No, never. Spent, yes. But exhausted, no.” The disciple could not understand the difference. He said, “The dictionary says they both mean the same.” Rembrandt said, “Forget about the dictionary, I say it through my experience: exhausted means wasted, empty, unfulfilled. Spent means flowered, completed, fulfilled.” And what a difference!
Don’t say you feel guilty; never use a wrong word. Drop guilt, and with the guilt you drop Christianity; with the guilt you drop Hinduism; with the guilt you drop Jainism; with the guilt you drop all nonsense that has been gathering around you. Immediately you become religious — not a Christian, not a Hindu, not a Mohammedan. Drop guilt and you become religious. Carry guilt, then guilt has many shapes — it is sold in the market in many forms and with many labels: Hindu, Christian, Mohammedan, Jain, Buddhist.
No guilt… and suddenly you accept existence, and existence accepts you. A deep covenant, a deep trust arises between you and the whole. If I am teaching anything here, if it can be called a teaching at all, a very simple teaching it is: to be yourself, and never try to become anything else.
If you cannot understand me it’s okay, you don’t need. Whenever you need, it happens. If you can understand something which you don’t need now, it will be dangerous. Let everything happen when it is needed; let everything follow its natural course.
I am saying so many things, and I am saying them to so many people — you are not all at the same stage. Somebody is young, somebody is old; the young have not seen the life, the frustration of it — the old have seen the frustration of it. When I say life is anguish, the old will understand, but the young will feel, somehow, that they can’t receive it. But that’s natural — how can you receive it? A child may be here, and I may be saying something tremendously serious, and the child cannot understand it — rather, he would like to play and jump around. But that’s how it should be; nothing is wrong in it. Wherever you are, there is no other way to be anywhere else; you can only be there. Be there. If you try to be somewhere else, you cannot be somewhere else. On the contrary, you will miss that which you could have been. So be, wherever you are; whatsoever you can understand, understand, and whatsoever you can receive, receive, and move, and flow. Sometimes it will happen that you will hear me today, and you will understand me years afterwards. It will remain like a seed if you have heard it — it will wait for its right time, for its right season: it will wait for ripening. Don’t be worried about it. And if you start feeling guilt, then you are creating such turmoil that even the seed may be lost.
I am not a priest. I don’t want you to feel guilty, because the priest exists on your guilt. The more you feel guilty, the more the priest becomes powerful, because then he has the keys to help you, to bring you out of your guilt. First he creates guilt, then he gives you the keys to come out of it. First he creates the disease, then he sells the medicine. I am cutting the root of the disease itself. I am not here to sell any medicine to you, but just to tell you how to cut the very root of the disease. So remember, each stage is right, each stage is necessary. Pass through each, and don’t try to jump ahead.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: Come Follow To You, Vol 3
Chapter title: Accept yourself as you are, and accept
12 December 1975 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken extensively on ‘art, poetry, music, dance, painting’ and painters & poets like Picasso, Michael Angelo, Salvador Dali, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Byron, Bhavabhuti, Coleridge, Dinkar, D.H. Lawrence, Kalidas, Kahlil Gibran, Keats, Omar Khayyam, Milton, Yeats, Shelley, Tagore and many more in the course of His talks. More on this subject can be referred to in the following books/discourse titles: