Money: From Individual to Commune

Osho on Money




Money is a loaded subject for the simple reason that we have not been able to work out a sane system in which money can be a servant to the whole humanity, and not the master of a few greedy people. Money is a loaded subject because man’s psychology is full of greed; otherwise money is a simple means of exchanging things, a perfect means. There is nothing wrong in it, but the way we have worked it out, everything seems to be wrong in it. If you don’t have money, you are condemned; your whole life is a curse, and your whole life you are trying to have money by any means. If you have money it does not change the basic thing: you want more, and there is no end to wanting more. And when finally you have too much money — although it is not enough, it is never enough, but it is more than anybody else has — then you start feeling guilty, because the means that you have used to accumulate the money are ugly, inhuman, violent.

You have been exploiting, you have been sucking the blood of people, you have been a parasite. So now you have got the money but it reminds you of all the crimes that you have committed in gaining it.

That creates two kinds of people: one who starts donating to charitable institutions to get rid of guilt. They are doing “good work,” they are doing “God’s work.” They are opening hospitals, and schools. All they are doing is trying somehow not to go mad because of the feeling of guilt. All your hospitals, and all your schools and colleges, and all your charitable institutions are outcomes of guilty people. For example, the Nobel prize was founded by a man who earned money in the first world war by creating all kinds of destructive bombs, machines. The first world war was fought using the means supplied by Mr. Nobel. And he earned such a huge amount of money… Both the parties were getting war material from the same source; he was the only person who was creating war materials on a vast scale. So whoever was killed, was killed by him. It doesn’t matter whether he belonged to this side or to that side; whoever was killed was killed by his bombs.

So in old age, when he had all the money in the world a man can have, he established the Nobel prize. It is given as a peace award — by a man who earned the money by war! Whoever is working for peace receives a Nobel prize. It is given for great scientific inventions, great artistic, creative inventions. And with the Nobel prize comes big money — right now it is near about two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The best award, and two hundred and fifty thousand dollars with it; and it goes on increasing because money goes on becoming less and less valuable. And such a fortune that man must have created that all these Nobel prizes that are distributed every year are given only out of the interest. The basic money remains intact, will remain intact forever. Every year so much interest accumulates that you can give twenty Nobel prizes.

All charitable work is really an effort to wash your guilt — literally. When Pontius Pilate ordered the crucifixion of Jesus, the first thing he did was to wash his hands. Strange! The order for crucifixion does not make your hands dirty, why should you wash your hands? It is something significant: he is feeling guilty. It took two thousand years for man to understand this, because for two thousand years nobody even mentioned or bothered to comment on why Pontius Pilate washed his hands. It was Sigmund Freud who found out that people who are feeling guilty start washing their hands. It is symbolic… as if their hands are full of blood. So if you have money, it creates guilt. One way is to wash your hands by helping charitable institutions, and this is exploited by the religions. They are exploiting your guilt, but they go on buttressing your ego, saying you are doing great spiritual work. It is nothing to do with spirituality; it is just that they are trying to console the criminals.

The first way is what religions have been doing. The other is that the man feels so guilty that either he goes mad or commits suicide. His own existence becomes just anguish. Each breath becomes heavy. And the strange thing is that he has worked his whole life to attain all this money, because the society provokes the desire, the ambition, to be rich, to be powerful. And money does bring power; it can purchase everything, except those few things which cannot be purchased by it. But nobody bothers about those things. Meditation cannot be purchased, love cannot be purchased, friendship cannot be purchased, gratitude cannot be purchased — but nobody is concerned with these things. Everything else, the whole world of things, can be purchased. So every child starts climbing the ladder of ambitions, and he knows if he has money then everything is possible. So the society breeds the idea of ambition, of being powerful, of being rich. It is an absolutely wrong society. It creates psychologically sick, insane people. And when they have reached the goal that the society and the educational system have given to them, they find themselves at a dead end. The road ends there; there is nothing beyond. So either they become a phony religious person or they just jump into madness, into suicide, and destroy themselves.

Money can be a beautiful thing if it is not in the hands of the individuals, if it is part of the communes, part of the societies, and the society takes care of everybody. Everybody creates, everybody contributes, but everybody is not paid by money; they are paid by respect, paid by love, paid by gratitude, and are given all that is necessary for life. Money should not be in the hands of individuals; otherwise it will create this problem of being burdened with guilt. And money can make people’s lives very rich. If the commune owns the money, the commune can give you all the facilities that you need, all the education, all creative dimensions of life. The society will be enriched and nobody will feel guilty.

And because the society has done so much for you, you would like to pay it back by your services.

If you are a doctor you will do the best you can do; if you are a surgeon you will do the best you can do, because it is the society that has helped you to become the best surgeon, given you all the education, given you every facility, taken care of you from your very childhood. That’s what I mean when I say that children should belong to the communes, and the commune should take care of everything. And all that is created by people will not be hoarded by individuals; it will be commune resourcefulness. It will be yours. It will be for you, but it will not be in your hands. It will not make you ambitious; it will make you more creative, more generous, more grateful, so the society goes on becoming better and more beautiful. Then money is not a problem.

Communes can use money as an exchange, because every commune cannot have all the things it needs. It can purchase from another commune; then money can be used as a means of exchange — but from commune to commune, not from individual to individual, so that every commune is capable of bringing in things which are not available there. So money’s basic function remains, but its ownership changes from the individual to the collective. To me this is basic communism: the money’s function changes from the individual to the collective.

But the religions will not want that. Politicians will not want it, because their whole game will be destroyed. Their whole game depends on ambition, power, greed, lust…

If you go on digging at the roots — which are ugly, which nobody wants to see…. That’s why words like `sex’ or `death’ or `money’ have become taboos. There is nothing in them that you cannot discuss at the dining table, but the reason is that we have repressed them deep down and we don’t want anybody to dig them out. We are afraid. We are afraid of death because we know we are going to die, and we don’t want to die. We want to keep our eyes closed. We want to live in a state as if “everybody else is going to die, but not me.” That is the normal psychology of everybody: “I am not going to die.” To bring up death is taboo. People become afraid because it reminds them of their own death. They are so much concerned with trivia, and death is coming. But they want that trivia to keep them engaged. It functions as a curtain: they are not going to die, at least not now. Later on… “whenever it happens, we will see.”

Sex they are afraid of because so many jealousies are involved. Their own life experiences have been bitter. They have loved and failed, and they really don’t want to bring the subject up — it hurts. And so is the case with money, because money immediately brings in the hierarchy of the society. So if there are twelve persons sitting around the table, immediately you can put them in a hierarchy; the similarity, the equality, for the moment is lost. Then somebody is richer than you, somebody is poorer than you, and suddenly you see yourself not as friends but as enemies, because you are all fighting for the same money, you are grabbing at the same money. You are not friends, you are all competitors, enemies. So at least at the dining table when you are eating you want no hierarchy, not the struggle of the ordinary life. You want for a moment to forget all those things. You want to talk only of good things — but these are all facades.

Why not create a life which is really good? Why not create a life where money does not create a hierarchy, but simply gives more and more opportunity to everybody? Why not create a life where sex does not make bitter experiences, jealousies, failures; where sex becomes just fun — nothing more than any other game, just a biological game. A simple understanding…

I can’t conceive why… if I love some woman and she enjoys some man, it is perfectly okay. It does not disturb my love. In fact I love her more because she is being loved by more people; I have chosen really a beautiful woman. It will be really ugly to find a woman whom only I love, and she cannot find anybody else in the whole world to love her. That will be really hell. And what is wrong if she is happy sometimes with somebody else? An understanding heart will be happy that she is happy. You love a person and you want him to be happy. If she is happy with you, good; if she is happy with somebody else it is as good. There is no problem in it.

Once we stop the old nonsense that has been poured into our minds continuously — of monogamy, of one-to-one relationship, of fidelity — which is all nonsense… When there are so many beautiful people in the world, why shouldn’t they be intermixing? You play tennis; that does not mean your whole life you have to play tennis with the same partner, fidelity…!

Life should be richer. So it is only that a little understanding is needed and love will not be a problem, sex will not be taboo. Nor will death be a taboo once your life has no problems, no anxieties; once you have accepted your life in its totality, death is not the end of life, it is part of it. In accepting life in its totality, you have accepted death too; it is just a rest.

The whole day you have been working — and in the night do you want to rest, or not?

There are a few insane people who don’t want to sleep. I have come across one person who was brought to me because he did not want to sleep. The whole night he made every effort to keep himself awake. The problem was that he was afraid that if he sleeps, then what is the guarantee that he will wake up? Now, who can give the guarantee? That is really a great problem — who can give him a guarantee? He wants a guarantee that “I will wake up. What is the guarantee that I will not go on sleeping? — because I have seen many people just go to sleep and… finished! People say that they are dead, and they take them to the burning place and burn those people. I don’t want to be burned. So why take the risk? This sleep is risky!” Now sleep can become a problem.

Death is a little longer sleep, a little deeper. The daily sleep rejuvenates you, makes you again capable of functioning better, efficiently. All tiredness is gone, you are again young. Death does the same on a deeper level. It changes the body, because now the body cannot be rejuvenated only by ordinary sleep; it has become too old. It needs a more drastic change, it needs a new body. Your life energy wants a new form. Death is simply a sleep so that you can easily move into a new form.

Once you accept life in its totality, life includes death, then death is not against it but is just a servant, just as sleep is. Your life is eternal, it is going to be there forever and forever. But the body is not eternal; it has to be changed. It becomes old, and then it is better to have a new body, a new form, rather than dragging the old.

To me, a man of understanding will not have any problems. He will have only a clarity to see — and the problems evaporate. And tremendous silence is left behind, a silence of great beauty and great benediction.


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

Discourse Series: Beyond Psychology

Chapter #1

Chapter title: Truth is the greatest offender

12 April 1986 pm in


Osho has spoken on Money, sex, understanding, silence, beauty, creativity and commune’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Beyond Enlightenment
  2. Christianity: The Deadliest Poison and Zen: The Antidote to All Poisons
  3. From Ignorance to Innocence
  4. The Last Testament
  5. The Messiah, Vol 1, 2
  6. Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries
  7. Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1, 2, 3
  8. The Book of Wisdom
  9. The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
  10. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, 2
  11. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega
  12. From Bondage to Freedom
  13. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
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