Inferiority Complex: A Destructive Force

Birthday of German Dictator Adolf Hitler

20th of April 1889 must be the day of misfortune in the recent human history as one of the biggest dictator, leader of NAZI party, initiator of world war 2nd and, the genocidist of Jews, Adolf Hitler was born.

He was born in Austria, brought up in Linz, Served German army in world war first and in 1919 joined German worker’s party, the precursor of NAZI party. In 1921 became the leader of NAZI party.  In 1923, he attempted to seize governmental power in a failed coup in Munich and was imprisoned with a sentence of five years. In jail wrote his autobiography Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”).

After he returned from jail, NAZI party and its affiliated organizations were banned. The opportunities for Hitler’s political agitations were limited now. Hitler agreed to respect the state’s authority and promised that he would seek political power only through the democratic process. But one day after giving a provocative public speech he was again barred till 1927. After his release he started preparing for the reunion of party. And the moment came when US stock market dropped in 1929 and millions of people in Germany lost their jobs and banks got collapsed. Hitler and the Nazi Party prepared to take advantage of the emergency to gain support for their party. They promised to repudiate the Versailles Treaty, strengthen the economy, and provide jobs.

Osho says “It is said that Adolf Hitler wanted to become a painter, but he was refused admission. Just think: the whole world would have been totally different if he had been accepted in the academy. There would have been no Second World War. The whole humanity would have been totally different. But this man could not be creative. He wanted to be creative, he had the energy; certainly he had tremendous energy: he dragged the whole world towards destruction as no other man has ever been able to do. But it was the same energy; it could have become creative, but became uncreative”.

Osho Says…..

I had compared Adolf Hitler also with so-called saints living in the monasteries. That was not to praise Adolf Hitler — but you know the German mind, they could not get the point. They have never been able to get the point. It was said to condemn the saints in the monasteries. Adolf Hitler really lived like a monk. He used to get up very early in the morning, the way monks are supposed to get up. He used to go early to bed, at exactly the time that every monastery follows. He was a vegetarian. To be a vegetarian in India is simple — everybody is, but in Germany to be vegetarian…. He never ate any meat, any fish, he was absolutely a vegetarian.

He lived his life almost entirely in an underground cell; just the way monks live in their cells in the monastery, he lived in an underground cell. He was a bachelor almost his whole life, except for the last three hours when he got married.

Hitler never allowed any woman to sleep in his room. His reasons were different: the monks are afraid that they may get interested in the woman; Hitler was also afraid, but his fear was different: his fear was that the woman might kill him when he was asleep. Who knows if she is a spy? He never allowed anybody — man or woman. He would lock the door from the inside, because in sleep anything can be done to you. He never trusted anybody, he had no friends. He lived a very structured life. That’s why I said he lived like a saint in the monasteries.

Why do you praise the saints in the monasteries?  — because of their disciplined, structured life, ascetic life. But Adolf Hitler fulfills all these conditions. He never tasted wine. On that point he scores better than your saints, particularly the Christian saints. They are not prohibited from drinking wine. In fact, you may be surprised that the best wineries were Christian monasteries. The best wine has come out of the monasteries. The monks were not only drinking, but making alcohol too. Great religious job!

I was condemning the monks when I compared them with Adolf Hitler. I was condemning Mahatma Gandhi when I compared him with Adolf Hitler. I was not praising Adolf Hitler. I was using him as a comparison. The reasons that you respect a saint — he fulfills them perfectly. The reasons Mahatma Gandhi is thought to be a great soul — Adolf Hitler fulfills perfectly. And yet the man turned out to be the biggest monster in the whole history of humanity. You can now see my standpoint. Neither vegetarianism, nor a structured life, nor celibacy, bachelorhood, is going to transform you. These things could not transform Adolf Hitler. How could these things transform Mahatma Gandhi? How could these things transform the thousands of saints and monks living in the monasteries? These things have no relevance as far as the transformation of man is concerned.

The Christian saints have been responsible for immense violence throughout two thousand years of Christian history. They have killed Jews, they have killed Mohammedans. They have burned people alive — particularly they have burned millions of women alive. And if Adolf Hitler burned one million Jews in a very scientific, peaceful way — nobody was tortured — what is the difference between these people? Gandhi managed to repress violence — which was bound to explode one day, and it did explode. And in that explosion he himself was assassinated. Strange, a man who has been teaching nonviolence his whole life is assassinated. Not much difference…. Hitler committed suicide, Gandhi was assassinated, but both died in an unnatural way. In fact, before Gandhi was assassinated, in his diary, he mentions many times, “Now I would like God to take me away from life.” When he was young he had written in his autobiography, “I would like to live one hundred and twenty-five years.” And he repeated it again and again until India became independent.

When India became independent, his followers… they were not really his followers, because none of them was listening to what he was saying. He was against smoking, but almost all his political followers, the leaders, were smokers; they were all drinkers. His successor, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, was a meat-eater, Indira too, was a meat-eater. Strange, a country of nonviolent people, a country of vegetarians has been for the last forty years almost continuously ruled by a single family who are not vegetarians. Now again, Indira’s son is there on the throne, and he is not a vegetarian either. So those disciples were not listening to him, but they still kept him high in the sky because he had immense influence over the Indian masses. The Indian masses were not interested in his politics, they were interested in his mahatmahood, his saintliness.

His followers were not interested in his mahatmahood. They all laughed behind his back, they thought that he was a crackpot. But they were interested in political power, and that man had the whole country in his hands. So until these political leaders came into power, they went on listening to Gandhi. The moment they were in power, nobody bothered about Gandhi.

Gandhi said, “I have become absolutely useless. Nobody listens to me, nobody is ready to follow my advice. It would be good if God took me away from life. Now I do not want to live for one hundred and twenty-five years.” Asking God to release you from your body is a religious way of being suicidal. He could not commit suicide, because that would go against his whole philosophy. But he was waiting for somebody else to do the dirty job. And one man, Nathuram Godse, did it.

The last words of Gandhi when he was assassinated were, “Ah, God!” My feeling is that he felt immensely relieved. He was in a constant torture after the freedom. First the explosion of violence all over the country — one million people dead, many more crippled, blinded, their hands cut, their legs cut; many more made beggars because their houses were burned….

And this man was thinking that after independence there would be an era of nonviolence, peace. His intentions were good, but his understanding was poor. His intentions were good, but how to implement those intentions in reality, he was absolutely unaware. He was not a meditator. He used to pray every day, but prayer is not meditation. Prayer is faith, belief in God. You start with a lie! You don’t know whether God exists or not; or even if he exists, whether he bothers about prayers or not. Gandhi’s religion is just the religion of the mediocre masses, it is not the religion of an enlightened man. So he was praying every day, his followers were praying every day, and all their prayers resulted in a chaos. That was the answer from God. Forty years of prayer, discipline, celibacy….

And about small things Gandhi was really nasty. He wouldn’t allow anybody to drink tea. In his ashram tea was prohibited, coffee was impossible to bring in. The question of alcohol did not arise. For forty years the people followed all kinds of ascetic disciplines, prayed morning and evening — and the answer was millions of people either murdered or half-murdered; and Gandhi himself assassinated. If this is the result of practicing nonviolence, then I don’t think there is any difference practicing violence. Adolf Hitler and Mahatma Gandhi both ended the same way. They both landed their countries in the same mess.

I have said I have a certain love for Adolf Hitler, for the simple reason that at least he was straightforward; Gandhi was not. Adolf Hitler was not cunning. Whatever he wanted to do he did. He was a little crazy, but a crazy man managed to be the world’s greatest conqueror. He had some integrity, some insight. Germany is a small country, but he managed to threaten the whole world. And he was not a hypocrite. That’s why I have said I love the man. I cannot love Mahatma Gandhi; he was a hypocrite, he was a cunning politician. Adolf Hitler was simply what he was, with no mask. Mahatma Gandhi had a mask, and I hate people who have masks, because they are deceiving everybody, including themselves. When you have a mask, slowly slowly, as many people start believing in your mask, you also start believing in your mask. And obviously, if you stand with a mask before a mirror, the mirror can only show your mask, not your real face. Adolf Hitler had no mask. Mahatma Gandhi had a very thick mask.

In the history books, Adolf Hitler will be condemned, Mahatma Gandhi will be praised. But I want it to be on record that Adolf Hitler was more sincere a man than Mahatma Gandhi…Gandhi’s whole life has to be studied — not by historians, but by psychologists, psychoanalysts, who can figure out this man, his cunningness, strategies, his lies, his political games. In comparison to this, Adolf Hitler is straightforward.

I am not saying that Adolf Hitlers are needed in the world. I am not saying that Adolf Hitler should be worshipped as a messiah. I am simply saying that we are living in a strange world where a man like Mahatma Gandhi, who has done everything undercover, is worshipped, and Adolf Hitler is condemned because he has done everything in the sunlight. Both have to be condemned. And when I said I have some love for Adolf Hitler, I meant I have love for sincerity, integrity, courage, straightforwardness. And these qualities were in that man. He misused them. I condemn the way he used his qualities, but I cannot condemn the qualities themselves. Every individual needs those qualities.

But of course, in Germany they must have misunderstood, because Germany has suffered so much because of Adolf Hitler. The wound is still there. Even the name of Adolf Hitler makes the German mind angry.

And when I compared him with the Christian saints in the monasteries, of course they were more offended. But what can I do? He lived like a monk. He did tremendous harm to humanity; but that is another side of his personality. And for that too — I have looked deeply into Adolf Hitler’s life — he alone is not responsible.

He wanted to be an artist, but no art school in Germany accepted him. Just the entrance examination — and he was failed. He was not a great artist, but his intention was to become an artist, a creator. When he failed in art schools, he decided to become an architect; he wanted to make new kinds of buildings, new structures. But no school of architecture accepted him. He was in love with a woman who simply rejected him because he was unemployed, uneducated. And of course you know his picture; nobody can say it is beautiful — particularly with that small mustache. He looks worse than Charlie Chaplin. And if any woman just got rid of him, we cannot blame the woman. But one thing is certain, he was rejected in every possible way by the society.

No love was given to him. His father was a very strict disciplinarian, continuously condemning him, continuously letting him down. It was his practice to call in the neighbors, and before the neighbors, condemn Adolf Hitler. This man, finding, “This world does not accept me in any way, I am just unworthy,” started feeling a deep inferiority complex.

It is natural: rejection from all sides will make anybody feel an inferiority complex. And the inferiority complex is the cause of what Adolf Hitler became in his life.

He  entered the army — that was the only place where he was acceptable, because in the army your face is not considered, whether it is beautiful or ugly. Ugly is better; in the army we don’t need film actors, we need monsters. And in the army he proved very successful — he won awards. And he found out one thing: that as a killer he could prove his superiority in the world; there was no other way. That’s how he entered into politics, and that’s how he became the chancellor of the country. He used army tactics.

When he made his party for the first time, the National Socialist Party, there were only nineteen members — all unemployed, because in the first world war Germany was defeated, and many army people were retired before the usual age. Hitler was also retired, and he was young. These nineteen people were all army people who had been thrown into unemployment; they made this party. And it is a miracle of history that nineteen men managed to come into power within ten years’ time. Their way of working was strange, one which no political party has ever known. This was their strategy. First, they were only nineteen people. They would go to all other parties’ meetings and disturb them. For that, nineteen people were enough. Those nineteen people would be sitting separately in the crowd, and suddenly they would start beating people. Naturally, if nineteen people start beating, others will stand up, others will get involved in saving or beating — but the meeting is finished. And by the time the people reach home, they are all hurt. Somebody has broken his leg, somebody has a fracture, somebody’s head is bleeding.

The biggest party in those days was the communist party. Slowly it became clear that it was dangerous to go to any party meeting. So communist party leaders would call the meeting, advertise the meeting, put the posters all over the city — and nobody would turn up to listen to the leaders. Then Adolf Hitler started having his meetings. And on his posters it was written, “Don’t be worried — in this meeting there is not going to be any disturbance. And we will see that if anybody does any harm, he is finished.” Of course, those nineteen people were standing on the gates. Soon it became clear in Germany that only Adolf Hitler’s meeting is safe.

People are political animals. They could not go to other parties, but they would like to know what is going on. They all started gathering at Adolf Hitler’s meetings. It was a miracle the way he managed. Thousands and thousands of people would come and spread the news that in Adolf Hitler’s meeting there was no problem; nobody was hurt, no chaos, no beating. This is the party! And people started joining it, because this was the only leader they were listening to. Within ten years’ time Hitler was the head of the government. And then he used all his qualities in a wrong way.

He had tremendous capacity to arouse people’s feelings, emotions, and he used it in a very scientific way to influence people. He used to have big rallies. For example, if a rally was happening in Munich, then all his followers from other cities would go there. But the people of Munich would feel that Munich had so many followers of Adolf Hitler! The rallies were arranged in the night with burning torches in everyone’s hands. Thousands of people with burning torches in their hands in the dark night left a tremendous mark on people’s minds.

When it was in Berlin, then the Munich people and other people would be in Berlin. Slowly slowly, he convinced the whole country that “The whole country is in my hands.” It was not true, but the way he worked it out proved perfectly successful.

This man would not have been there if he had been accepted by an art school, or an architecture school, or by a woman. This man would not have been the head of the government. There would not have been a second world war. What I want to say to you is: never reject a man. Even if you have to for certain reasons, make it as polite and nice as possible. Rather than making him feel unworthy of you, it is better to let him feel that you are unworthy of him. Then we can stop Adolf Hitlers in the world; otherwise it is impossible, they will be coming. The parents have to learn that the child should not be insulted, humiliated, condemned. If you want to help him, love him more. Appreciate what is good in him rather than emphasizing what is bad.

Talk about his goodness. Let the whole neighborhood know how nice and beautiful a boy he is.

You may be able to shift his energy from the bad side to the good side, from the dark side to the lighted side, because you will make him aware that this is the way to get respect, this is the way to be honored.

And you will prevent him from doing anything that makes him fall down in people’s eyes.

But parents go on doing the same as Adolf Hitler’s parents were doing. Teachers go on doing the same. Priests go on doing the same: calling people sinners, condemning them for everything. The natural outcome is, everybody is carrying an inferiority complex in him. And that is the most dangerous thing to carry within you. It hurts, and one wants to get rid of it. And the only way to get rid of it is to prove to the whole world that you are not inferior. Only when the whole world accepts that you are not inferior, will you be able to feel that that inferiority complex was wrong. The inferiority complex leads people into politics, makes people presidents, prime ministers.

The inferiority complex leads people into all kinds of ambitions, crimes. Unless humanity is completely freed from this complex, we cannot have a peaceful world.

And we need it very urgently, because if we cannot manage to have people who are contented with themselves, happy with themselves, relaxed with themselves — with no grudge, no complaint against the world — then the third world war is just on the horizon. Any stupid politician, to prove himself the biggest one, the one who started the third world war, is going to do it…

It is becoming more and more urgent that we create people who have no inferiority complex, people who have a certain serenity, silence, people who have a deep contentment within themselves, people who are no longer ambitious. We need a non-ambitious humanity; only then can the cloud of death that is looming on the horizon be avoided. My people can do it! There is nobody else to whom this great responsibility can be given. My people have no ambitions. They rejoice without any reason. They dance and sing — they don’t need any cause for dancing and singing, dance in itself is cause enough. We have to spread this red belt of energy around the earth. This is the only protection for humanity and life on the earth.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune. 

Discourse Series: From Death to Deathlessness

Chapter #15

Chapter title: We are the only alternative

16 August 1985 am in Rajneeshmandir


Osho has spoken on many politicians and rulers like Abraham Lincoln, Lenin, Mao Tse Tung, Jawaharlal Nehru, Kennedy, Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt, Alexander, Napoleon, and more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. From Bondage to Freedom
  2. From Ignorance to Innocence
  3. The Path of the Mystic
  4. From False to Truth
  5. From Misery to Enlightenment
  6. Zen: Zest, Zip, Zap, Zing
  7. Beyond Psychology
  8. Live Zen
  9. The Invitation
  10. Communism and Zen Fire, Zen Wind
  11. The Book of Wisdom
  12. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 3
  13. The Last Testament, Vol 2
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