Life is not given ready-made – not to humanity at least. That is the dignity of human beings, and the danger too. All other animals are born ready-made, pre-programmed. Their whole life is a simple unfoldment of something built-in. They need not live their lives consciously; their life is unconscious, it is mechanical. It can’t be good, it can’t be bad; it simply is. You cannot call a tree a sinner or a saint, and you cannot call a tiger or cat virtuous or full of vice. Those words are meaningless as far as existence below humanity is concerned. They become immensely significant referred to man.
Man has a special situation. He is born like all other animals, with a difference – a difference that really makes a difference. The difference is of tremendous value to understand, because one may go on avoiding it and to avoid it is to avoid your true life. There is every possibility to remain oblivious of it, because it seems more convenient and more comfortable not to be reminded of it. To be reminded of it means a great challenge: a challenge to adventure into the unknown, into that which is not pre-programmed.
God is not a built-in possibility; it is an open opportunity. It can happen, it may not happen. It all depends on you – how you live, how much consciousness you bring to your life, how nonmechanical you become.
Millions of people don’t want to be reminded of this dimension at all; hence their antagonism against Buddha, Christ, Socrates. These people – Buddha, Christ, Socrates – goad you, they don’t allow you to sleep comfortably. They bring the point again and again to your awareness that this is not the right way to live, that you are missing life. This is not human life that you are living, this is animal life.
And sometimes you can fall even below animals. No animal can become a Genghis Khan or Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin, because animals have no choice. They can’t become Buddhas, they can’t become Genghis Khans either. They remain whatsoever they are; they can’t move anywhere else. They have a life already arranged; they will simply follow the course.
Their life is like a movie: when you see it for the first time you are immensely interested, curious what is going to happen next but in fact, nothing is going to happen – the film is already pre-programmed. Next time you don’t feel so interested because you know already what is going to happen next. The third time you are bored, and if you are forced to see it a fourth time you will rebel, and if you have to see it a fifth time you may go mad. The same film…. Because now you know everything is already there, nothing is happening; the film is simply repeating a certain course.
Animals are like films – already made, unfolding whatsoever is built-in. Man lives in a world of choice; hence man has to decide what life he wants to live. He can fall below the animals, he can rise above the angels. He can exist accidentally or he can exist with a decisiveness.
It is through decisiveness that the soul is born. If you exist accidentally, like driftwood, you live without a soul; your life is not much of a life. It is pseudo, it is lukewarm; it has no intensity; it has no flame; it has no light. You cannot experience the truth. Living accidentally, knowing the truth is impossible. One has to be so decisive, so committed, so consciously involved with life, so intensely adventurous, that all is at stake every moment. One has to be creative – not only unfolding, but creative.
This is man’s privilege, his prerogative, and also his danger. Very few people will choose the life of choice, commitment, involvement, because it is dangerous, because the sea is uncharted and you don’t have any map. You have a very small boat and the sea is very stormy and who knows whether the other shore exists or not? Why leave the shelter on this shore? Remain here.
Buddha says millions of people simply go up and down on this shore, running hither and thither, just creating an appearance as if their life is a pilgrimage – and they are simply running up and down on the same shore. It is not a pilgrimage; it is mere occupation, befooling others and befooling yourself.
The pilgrimage begins when you leave this shore, its shelter, its security, its convenience, its comfort, its respectability, power, prestige. You leave your small boat at the mercy of the storms, at the mercy of the ocean, trusting that if this shore exists the other MUST exist, because one shore cannot exist….
With this trust – moving towards the other shore, risking all – real life begins. And real life is religious life. Real life is what I mean by sannyas. Life lived consciously is the only life; life lived unconsciously is mere existence. Animals only exist, they don’t live; only man can live. But all men don’t live either; only a few buddhas, a few awakened ones.
Become alert to what you are doing with your life. Are you really moving consciously, with a sense of direction – taking each step deliberately, in full awareness of why, to where? Or are you just imitating others? If they are running, you are running; if they are after money, you are after money; if they are after power, you are after power. Are you just imitators? Then your life will be imitation. Are you simply following others? Then your life will be a carbon copy. You will never know your original face.
And your original face is the face of God. But that original face has to be discovered with tremendous effort. With great risk one can actualize what is just a seed in you, one can make actual what is only potential. And then man is infinite; otherwise man is very small, ugly.
A life lived unconsciously cannot be beautiful, a life lived unconsciously cannot have freedom. And without freedom, how can there be any beauty? Beauty is a shadow of freedom. A life lived unconsciously can only be mediocre, mundane, superficial. Only with consciousness does your life start deepening; it attains a new dimension, the dimension of depth. And the dimension of depth is the dimension of the divine.
God is not somewhere else, but in your own depths, in your own ultimate depths. Truth is not to be found somewhere else; it has to be searched and looked for within.
Osho, The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 4, Ch 5 (excerpt)