I am NOT an Orator

24th November is the birthday of the American writer & speaker Dale Carnegie famous for his two bestsellers How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936) and How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (1942). 

Born in 1888, the son of a Missouri farmer, Dale discovered his talent for public speaking at school. After college, he built a successful career as a salesman. He took a career break to dabble with acting, at which he failed miserably. He then took a job teaching public speaking at the YMCA. This was when he hit a goldmine – he found that the average American lacked self-confidence, a gap that his lectures could help plug. From 1912 till his death in 1955 he lectured around the country and promoted his self-help books.

Osho has spoke on Dale Carnegie in His discourses. OSHO says Dale Carnegie is the prophet of the modern age. Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, has sold next only to the Bible. And what he teaches is simply diplomacy. Diplomacy has fanned out beyond politics and entered every arena of life. And wherever it enters it brings pretensions, falsity; it destroys authenticity, sincerity, honesty. It makes you many instead of one; you become a crowd. You go on carrying many masks with you because you never know which mask will be needed when! A religious person has to drop all diplomacy. He has to be sincere. He has to be as he is: no false personalities, no facades. The moment you can gather that much courage you will be so filled with joy… you cannot even conceive right now, because it is our falsities which are like parasites on our being; they go on sucking our blood. The more falsities you create around yourself, the more miserable you become, the more you are in a hell. To live in falsities is to live in hell: to live authentically is to be in heaven.

The question arises almost for everyone, that the way I talk is a little strange. No speaker in the world talks like me – technically it is wrong; it takes almost double the time! But those speakers have a different purpose – my purpose is absolutely different from theirs. They speak because they are prepared for it; they are simply repeating something that they have rehearsed. Secondly, they are speaking to impose a certain ideology, a certain idea on you. Thirdly, to them speaking is an art – they go on refining it.

As far as I am concerned, I am not what they call a speaker or an orator. It is not an art to me or a technique; technically I go on becoming worse every day! But our purposes are totally different. I don’t want to impress you in order to manipulate you. I don’t speak for any goal to be achieved through convincing you. I don’t speak to convert you into a Christian, into a Hindu or a Mohammedan, into a theist or an atheist – these are not my concerns.

My speaking is really one of my devices for meditation. Speaking has never been used this way: I speak not to give you a message, but to stop your mind functioning.

I speak nothing prepared – I don’t know myself what is going to be the next word; hence I never commit any mistake. One commits a mistake if one is prepared. I never forget anything, because one forgets if one has been remembering it. So, I speak with a freedom that perhaps nobody has ever spoken with. I am not concerned whether I am consistent, because that is not the purpose. A man who wants to convince you and manipulate you through his speaking has to be consistent, has to be logical, has to be rational, to overpower your reason. He wants to dominate through words.

One of the very famous books of Dale Carnegie is about speaking and influencing people as an art – it has been sold second only to THE HOLY BIBLE – but I will fail his examinations. He used to run a course in America to train missionaries, to train professors, and to train orators. I will fail on all counts. First, I have no motivation to convert you; I have no desire anywhere to impress you. And I don’t remember what I have said yesterday, so I cannot bother about being consistent – that is too much worry. I can easily contradict myself, because I am not trying to have a communication with your intellectual, rational mind.

My purpose is so unique – I am using words just to create silent gaps.

The words are not important so I can say anything contradictory, anything absurd, anything unrelated, because my purpose is just to create gaps. The words are secondary; the silences between those words are primary. This is simply a device to give you a glimpse of meditation. And once you know that it is possible for you, you have travelled far in the direction of your own being.

Most of the people in the world don’t think that it is possible for the mind to be silent. Because they don’t think it is possible, they don’t try. How to give people a taste of meditation was my basic reason to speak, so I can go on speaking eternally – it does not matter what I am saying. All that matters is that I give you a few chances to be silent, which you find difficult on your own in the beginning.

I cannot force you to be silent, but I can create a device in which spontaneously you are bound to be silent. I am speaking, and in the middle of a sentence, when you were expecting another word to follow, nothing follows but a silent gap. And your mind was looking to listen, and waiting for something to follow, and does not want to miss it –naturally it becomes silent. What can the poor mind do? If it was well known at what points I will be silent, if it was declared to you that on such and such points I will be silent, then you could manage to think – you would not be silent. Then you know: “This is the point where he is going to be silent, now I can have a little chit-chat with myself.” But because it comes absolutely suddenly…. I don’t know myself why at certain points I stop.

Anything like this, in any orator in the world, will be condemned, because an orator stopping again and again means he is not well prepared, he has not done the homework. It means that his memory is not reliable, that he cannot find, sometimes, what word to use. But because it is not oratory, I am not concerned about the people who will be condemning me – I am concerned with you.

And it is not only here, but far away… anywhere in the world where people will be listening to the video or to the audio, they will come to the same silence.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Chuang Tzu Auditorium, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune, India.

Discourse series:

The Invitation

Chapter #14

Chapter title: Silence is the right soil

28 August 1987 am in Chuang Tzu Auditorium


Osho has spoken on famous lecturers and public speakers like Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Werner Erhard and more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. From Darkness to Light
  2. From Ignorance to Innocence
  3. From Personality to Individuality
  4. From False to Truth
  5. From Misery to Enlightenment
  6. Zen: Zest, Zip, Zap, Zing

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