Hypocrisy: The Shadow of the Ideals

Osho on Hypocrisy


Deva Ashoka,

the very desire to be free keeps one unfree. Every desire is a chain, a bondage, an imprisonment. No desire can ever be fulfilled. By dropping the desire, its fulfillment happens.

Now, the greatest desire in the world is that of inner transformation. The desire for money is nothing, the desire for more power, prestige, is nothing. The greatest desire is the so-called spiritual desire. And once you are caught in that desire you will remain miserable forever.

Transformation is possible, but not by desiring it. Transformation is possible only by relaxing into that which is, whatsoever is. Unconditionally accepting yourself brings transformation.

We will have to go deeper into this phenomenon, because this is not only Ashoka’s question, it is everybody’s.

Man is in misery, man is in anguish. Hence everybody is searching for a state of bliss, a state of unity with existence. Man feels alienated, uprooted. Hence the desire is natural — to get roots into existence again, to be green again, to be blossoming again. These few things have to be meditated upon. First: to establish that perfect unity, consciousness must first unify itself in terms of all its personal aspects by rejecting nothing which is experientially real in itself. This is the first thing to be understood. You feel fear. Now the fear is an existential reality, an experiential reality; it is there. You can reject it: by rejecting it you will be repressing it. By repressing it you will create a wound in your being. You feel cowardice. You can manage not to look at it. But it is a fact, a reality; just by not looking at it, it is not going to disappear. You are behaving like an ostrich: seeing the enemy, seeing the danger of death, the ostrich hides its head in the sand. But by hiding his head in the sand, by closing his eyes, the enemy does not disappear. In fact the ostrich becomes more vulnerable to the enemy. Thinking that now there is no enemy because nobody is seen, thinking that seeing the enemy is what gives it existence, now the ostrich is relieved of the fear. But he is more in danger: the enemy is more powerful because it has not been noticed. Something can be done if the ostrich does not hide its head.

And that’s what people are doing. You see cowardice, you try not to notice it. But it is a fact. By not noticing it, you have created a part of your being which you will not be able to see. You have divided yourself into segments. Now one day there is something else, anger, and you don’t want to accept that there is anger in you. You stop looking at it. Then some other day there is greed, and so on and so forth. And whatsoever you stop looking at remains. But now you go on shrinking. Many more parts of your being become separate from you — you have separated them on your own. And

the more fragmentary you are, the more miserable you will be. The first step towards bliss is to be one.

That’s what Hakim Sanai is insisting again and again: to be one is so blissful, to be many is to be in hell. So whatsoever is experientially real, accept it. You cannot do anything by denying it. By denying it you create the problem, and the problem becomes more complex — it was simple.

You feel a coward — so what? So “I am a coward.” Just see the point: if you can accept cowardice you have already become brave. Only a brave person can accept the fact of being a coward, no coward can do that. You are already on the way to transformation. So the first thing: nothing that is experienced as a fact has to be denied reality. Second: in order to accomplish that, consciousness must first disidentify from all fixed conceptual selves with which it has identified itself, because if it holds to being some fixed and enduring conceptual self, there will be no tolerance for those experiential realities which are in contradiction with this fixed, conceptual, official self. If you have a certain idea of how you should be, then you cannot accept the experiential truths of your being. If you have the idea that you have to be a brave man, that bravery is a value, then it is difficult to accept your cowardice. If you have the idea that you have to be a Buddha-like person, compassionate, absolutely compassionate, then you cannot accept your anger.

It is the ideal that creates the problem. If you don’t have any ideals then there is no problem at all. You are a coward, so you are a coward. And because there is no ideal of being a brave man, you don’t condemn the fact — you don’t reject it, you don’t repress it, you don’t throw it into the basement of your being so that there is no need for you ever to look at it.

But anything that you throw into your unconscious will go on functioning from there, it will go on creating problems for you. It is like a disease that you have pushed inwards. It was coming to the surface, and from the surface there was a possibility that it might have disappeared. If a wound comes to the surface it is good, it is on the way to being healed, because it is only on the surface that it will be in contact with fresh air and the sun and can be healed. If you force it inwards, if you don’t allow it to come to the surface, then it is going to become a cancer. Even a small disease, repressed, can become a dangerous disease. No disease should ever be repressed. But the repression is natural if you have some ideal. Any ideal will do. If you have the ideal of being a celibate, a BRAHMACHARI, then sex becomes the problem. You can’t watch it. If you don’t have the ideal of becoming a BRAHMACHARI, a celibate, then sex is not rejected. Then there is no division between you and your sexuality. Then there is communion, and that communion brings joy.

Self-communion is the base of all joy.

So the second thing to remember is: don’t carry ideals. Just think, if you have an ideal that you have to have three eyes, a problem immediately arises because you have only two eyes and the ideal says you have to have three, if you don’t have three something is missing. Now you hanker for the third. You have created an impossible problem for yourself; it will not be solved. At the most you can paint a third eye on your forehead. But the painted third eye is just a painted third eye; it is hypocrisy.

Ideals create hypocrisy in people. And now look at the absurdity: people have the ideal of not being hypocrites — and hypocrisy comes through ideals. If all ideals disappear there will be no hypocrisy. How can hypocrisy exist? It is the shadow of the ideal. The bigger the ideal, the bigger the hypocrisy.

Hence in India you will find more hypocrites than anywhere in the world, because India has lived for centuries with great ideals. Strange, berserk ideals…

For example, a Jaina MUNI cannot be satisfied unless he is capable, like the mythological Mahavira, of eating only once in a while. It is said that in twelve years Mahavira ate for only one year. That means once after twelve days: one day eating and twelve days fasting. Now, if this is your ideal you are going to remain in great misery. If this is not your ideal then there is no problem. See it: the problem arises from the ideal. Now, a Christian monk is not puzzled by this, he has no problem with it. But the Jaina monk is continuously suffering because he cannot attain to the ideal; he falls short. If you are really pure, this is the Jaina idea, your body will not perspire. Now you have a stupid idea there. The body will continue to perspire, and you will continue to suffer.

The more ideals you have, the more will be your suffering and the more will be your hypocrisy, because if you cannot fulfill the ideals then at least you have to pretend. That’s how hypocrisy comes in. The world will not be hypocritical at all if we accept experiential facts without any judgment. Whatsoever is, is. If we live with the isness of existence and not with the oughts and the shoulds, how can hypocrisy arise?

Just the other day, somebody asked, “Beloved Master, are you not a hypocrite? Because you live comfortably, you live in a beautiful house, you move in a beautiful car, you live like a king.” Now, he does not understand what the word ‘hypocrisy’ means. This is my whole teaching — to live as beautifully as possible. I am not a hypocrite. In fact I am living the way I am teaching. If I was teaching to live in poverty, and I was living in a palace, that would be hypocrisy. But I am not teaching to live in poverty; poverty is not my goal.

You can go and tell Morarji Desai that he is a hypocrite. Or tell Sanjiva Reddy, the president of this country, “You are a hypocrite.” You cannot say that to me. You can say to the president, Sanjiva Reddy, “You are a hypocrite, because you teach Gandhiism and you still go on eating meat. You talk about nonviolence and you go on eating meat! This is hypocrisy — pure hypocrisy, unpolluted hypocrisy!” But you cannot say that to Jesus. He eats meat, but he has never propounded vegetarianism; he has never talked about that kind of nonviolence. You cannot tell him that he is a hypocrite. Jesus drinks wine you cannot tell him that he is a hypocrite, unless he teaches otherwise.

My whole approach towards life is that of total acceptance, is that of celebration, not of renunciation. How can you tell me that I am a hypocrite? I may be the only person on this earth who is not a hypocrite, because I have no ideals. The first necessity for the hypocrite is to have ideals. I have none; I am a nonidealist. I live naturally — and it is very natural to live in comfort and convenience. It is simply stupid, if comfort is available, not to live in it. If it is not available, that is another thing. Then whatsoever is available, live in it comfortably, manage to live in it comfortably. I have lived in many kinds of situations but I have always lived comfortably.

When I was a student I used to walk to the university, four miles every day. But I loved it. I walked those four miles every day with great comfort; I enjoyed it. When I was a teacher I used to go on a bicycle to the university; I enjoyed that too.

Whatsoever has been the situation, whether I have had only a bicycle or a Mercedes Benz, it doesn’t make any difference: I have lived in comfort. Comfort is an attitude of mind, it is an approach towards life. I have lived in very very poor houses. When I became a teacher in a university, I started living in one single room with no windows, no ventilation. The rent was just twenty rupees per month. But I loved it, I enjoyed it, it was not a problem at all. Whatsoever the moment allows, I have squeezed the moment to its totality. I have drunk fully of the moment, I have never repented and I have never desired for something else; if something else started happening I enjoyed that too.

You can never say to me that I am a hypocrite. It is impossible for me to be a hypocrite, because I have no ideals to fulfill, no oughts, no shoulds. The ‘is’ is all that is, and I live in it.

So the second thing to remember, Ashoka, is: don’t have certain ideas about yourself. You must be carrying many ideas of how you should be. Hence the problem arises: CAN COWARDICE AND HYPOCRISY ALSO BE BEAUTIFUL? Now if you have the idea to be a brave man then it looks ugly to be a coward. But cowardice is a fact, and the ideal is just an ideal, a fantasy of the mind. Sacrifice fantasies to reality, drop all ideals, and then life starts becoming integrated. All the rejected fragments start coming back home, the repressed starts surfacing. For the first time you start feeling a kind of togetherness; you are no longer falling apart. For example, if I hold myself to be a “kind” person, I will not be able to permit myself to recognize and accept angry feelings when they arise in consciousness, because kind people just don’t get angry. Therefore, to bring about a personal unity in consciousness, I must first take my stand as being nothing fixed or enduring, but hold myself to be only the moment-to-moment experiential reality which arises in consciousness. Thus some moments I am angry, then some moments I am sad, then some moments I am jealous, then some moments I am joyful. Moment-to-moment, whatsoever happens is accepted. Then you become one. And this oneness is the most fundamental thing to understand.

The master must help the disciple to confront and integrate with those rejected experiential aspects of self which he actually IS at any given moment instead of trying to help him actualize its compensatory opposite or what the disciple feels that he OUGHT to be, or that which he is trying to protect, enhance or affirm about himself.

My purpose here, my function here, is to take all ideals away from you. You have come here with ideals; you would like me to enhance your ideals, you would like me to support you and help you to become that which you want to become. That may be your motivation in coming here, but that is not my work here. My work is just the opposite: to help you to accept that which is already the case and to forget all about your fantasies. I want you to become more realistic and pragmatic. I want to give you roots in the earth, and you are hankering for the sky and you have completely forgotten the earth. Yes, the sky is also available, but only to those whose roots have gone deep into the earth. If a tree wants to rise high in the sky and whisper with the clouds and play with the winds and have some communion with the stars, then the tree will have to send deeper and deeper roots into the earth. The first thing is sending roots into the earth, the second thing happens of its own accord. The deeper the roots go, the higher the tree goes; there is no need to do anything else.

My effort here is to send your roots deep into the soil of truth. And the truth is that which you are. Then suddenly things will start happening: you will start rising. The ideals that you have always tried for and have never been able to achieve will start happening of their own accord.

If a person can accept his reality as it is, in that very acceptance all tension disappears. Anguish, anxiety, despair — they all simply evaporate. And when there is no anxiety, no tension, no fragmentariness, no division, no schizophrenia then suddenly there is joy, then suddenly there is love, then suddenly there is compassion. These are not ideals, these are very natural phenomena. All that is needed is to remove the ideals, because those ideals are functioning as blocks. The more idealistic a person is, the more blocked he is.

As peculiar and contradictory as it may sound, peace is to be found only in the midst of pain and never by struggling against or running away from what is considered to be the negative or painful. Yes, cowardice gives you pain, fear gives you pain, anger gives you pain — these are negative emotions. But peace can be attained only by accepting and absorbing the painful, not by rejecting it. By rejecting it you will become smaller and smaller and smaller, and you will have less and less power. And you will be in a constant inner war, a civil war, in which one hand will fight with the other, in which you will simply dissipate your energy. A very fundamental thing to be remembered: only communion with psychological pain opens the door for its liberation and transcendence — only communion with psychological pain.

All that is painful has to be accepted; a dialogue has to be created with it. It is you. There is no other way to go beyond it, the only way is to absorb it. And it has tremendous potential. Anger is energy, fear is energy, so is cowardice. All that happens to you has great momentum, a great quantity of energy hidden in it. Once you accept it, that energy becomes yours. You become stronger, you become wider, you start becoming more spacious. You have a bigger inner world then.

Only a yielding letting-be or full acceptance is its ending. Psychological pain ends only by accepting it in its totality. Psychological pain does not exist just because of the mere presence alone of some stimulus or reality termed “painful”. Rather, the pain is produced by the interpretation of the fact or reality which produces the tendency to avoid or resist that fact. Try to understand it: psychological pain is your own creation. Cowardice is not painful — only your idea that cowardice is wrong, your interpretation that cowardice should not be there.

Ashoka must be saying to himself, “Ashoka, you, a coward? No. How can you be a coward? You are a brave man.” You have a certain ego: that certain ego goes on condemning cowardice. It is because of that condemnation and interpretation that pain arises. And the cowardice is there, so it becomes a wound. You cannot accept it, and you cannot destroy it by rejecting it. Nothing is destroyed by being rejected; sooner or later you will have to cope with it. Again and again it will erupt, again and again it will disrupt your peace. Only when the mind recoils from a fact or reality is there pain. You are recoiling from the facts of cowardice, fear, anger and sadness. Don’t recoil. Recoiling from a fact creates pain.

Psychological pain is part and parcel of the process of escape and resistance. Pain is not inherent in any feeling but arises only after the intent to reject it arises. The moment you decide to reject something pain arises. Watch it inside yourself, become a lab of great experimentation. Just see: you are feeling fear. It is dark and you are alone, and for miles there is nobody. You are lost in a jungle, sitting under a tree on a dark night, and lions are roaring — and fear is there. Now there are two possibilities. One is, reject it. Hold yourself tight so you don’t start trembling because of the fear. Then the fear becomes a painful thing: it is there and it hurts. Even when you are holding yourself very tight, it is there and it hurts. The second is, enjoy it. Tremble. Let it become a meditation. It is natural — lions are roaring, the night is dark, danger is so close by, death can happen any moment. Enjoy it! Let the trembling become a dance. Once you accept it then trembling is a dance. Cooperate with the trembling and you will be surprised: if you cooperate with the trembling, if you BECOME the trembling, all pain disappears. In fact if you tremble, instead of pain you will find a great upsurge of energy arising in you.


Listen to the complete Audio Discourse at link below…

Discourse Series: Unio Mystica, Vol 1 – Chapter #8

Chapter title: The Great Palace of Consciousness

8 November 1978 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on Hypocrisy, ideals, acceptance, transformation, relaxation, celebration, consciousness, transcendencein many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. From Death to Deathlessness
  2. The Path of the Mystic
  3. The Secret
  4. From Bondage to Freedom
  5. Zen: The Path of Paradox
  6. Beyond Psychology
  7. Come Follow To You
  8. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
  9. The Invitation
  10. The Secret of Secrets
  11. Sufis: The People of the Path
  12. Tantra: The Supreme Understanding
  13. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega
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