Lazy people have never done any harm
Beloved Osho, who is a lazy man?
Prem Nirvan, it depends. To a workaholic, the answer will be totally different. To a workaholic almost everybody is lazy. But to the laziest, almost everybody is a workaholic.
There was an emperor in Japan who was himself very lazy and loved lazy people. Lazy people are good people, they have never been mischievous – they cannot be, because mischief needs activity. You have to be very active, only then you can be mischievous. Just think, if Alexander the Great had been a little lazy, Adolf Hitler a little lazy, Morarji Desai a little lazy, the world would have been so beautiful. All the mischief comes from the active people. Lazy people have never done any harm, that much can be absolutely said.
The king loved lazy people. He said to his prime minister, “Nobody has done anything for these beautiful people called lazy. I want to do something. It is not their fault that they are lazy, God has made them that way. And in a way they are very good because they don’t harm anybody. They need state protection. So you declare that whosoever is lazy can come and be part of the palace. He has to be served as a government guest and he can live his lazy life without any worry and without any torture from the so-called active people.”
The prime minister said, “It will be very difficult, because many who are not lazy will also come, and there will be great difficulty how to decide who is who.”
And that’s exactly what happened. Thousands of people started coming. The king was puzzled, he had never thought that so many people are lazy. Then a device was made: they were all placed in straw huts and in the middle of the night fire was put to the straw huts. Almost everybody ran out, except four – they simply went inside their blankets, they refused to move out. They said, “If God wants to kill us, it’s okay. If he wants to save us, he will find some way.”
So those four were accepted as royal guests. They were!
It is difficult – how to decide? Alexander thought that Diogenes was lazy, and Diogenes thought that Alexander was mad. Alexander tried to conquer the whole world – this is sheer madness – and Diogenes was so lazy that he remained naked, because it was such a botheration to put the clothes on and off. And then sometimes you have to wash them, and you have to look for Bahadur, and the soap, and this and that – it is a long sequence of things.
Diogenes had only one begging bowl. That too one day he threw in the river, because it was such a botheration to clean it. And the day he threw it, he saw a dog that gave him the inspiration. He was going towards the river, thirsty, with his begging bowl, and the dog was also thirsty and he was also going to the river.
The dog ran fast, jumped into the river, drank to his heart’s content. And Diogenes thought, “So the dog is far more intelligent. Without any begging bowl, and he is doing well. Why do I go on carrying this weight?” He threw the begging bowl, he thanked the dog; they became friends. They became so friendly that they started sharing the place – where the dog used to live Diogenes also started living. It was just a big pipe, the dog used to live there; that became the house of Diogenes too.
When Alexander went to see Diogenes – naturally, polar opposites are always attracted – he was lying down on the sand by the side of the river in the early morning sun, warm, naked, he was enjoying, singing a song. The dog was sitting by his side, also enjoying the morning. Alexander came with all his paraphernalia, the generals and the prime ministers, and they declared, as was part of the court mannerism, that “Alexander the Great is here!”
Diogenes looked at the dog and laughed. Alexander could not understand why he looked at the dog; he asked why. Diogenes said, “I looked at the dog because only he will understand. These fools that you have brought with you, they will not understand at all. This dog is very wise. In the first place he never speaks – so wise, never utters a word, just keeps everything secret. And he is the only one who can understand that one who declares that he is great, can’t be. Greatness need not be declared; it is there, or it is not there.”
Shocked, Alexander could not believe that this would be the way he would be received, but still he was impressed by the man – he was so joyous. He said, “I feel a little jealous of you. Next time, if God asks me, ‘Alexander, what do you want to become?’ I will ask to become Diogenes.”
Diogenes again looked at the dog. And it is said that the dog smiled. Alexander could not believe what was happening, what was transpiring. He said, “What is the meaning of it?”
Diogenes said, “It is so foolish to wait for the next life. We live moment to moment, me and my friend, and you are hoping for the next life. If you are so jealous of Diogenes, who is preventing you? Is God preventing you? Throw off the clothes – and tell these foolish people to go! And the bank is so big, we can share. That is our house. First only the dog used to live here, then I became a part of it; you can also become a part of it. We have nothing else, so there is no quarrel, no competition, nothing.”
It must have been one of the greatest moments in history. Just to think of it…. Alexander said, “I am happy that I came. I have seen a man worth seeing. Can I do something for you?”
Diogenes said, “You just move a little to the left, because you are hindering the sun. Nothing else is needed, because we don’t need anything.”
You ask me: “Who is a lazy man?”
It is very relative. My own suggestion is: act only when it is essential. And even while doing things, don’t become a doer, become a non-doer. Let God do things through you, then action and inaction are one.
That’s what Lao Tzu says: Wu-wei – action through inaction. Then action and laziness are no more opposite but complementary. A real man will have both the capacities: he can act; he can be lazy, he can rest.
What ordinarily happens is that people become addicted, either to work or to laziness – and that is wrong. Don’t become addicted. Do, but don’t become a doer. And then even while doing things you will remain at rest, perfectly at rest.
Alexander on the circumference and Diogenes at the center: that is my definition of a total man.
Mulla Nasruddin once told me, “My uncle has the laziest rooster in the world.”
“How can you tell?” I asked him.
“At sunrise, he just waits until some other rooster crows, then he nods his head.”
Enough for today.
Osho, The Book of Wisdom, Ch 20, Q 6