Religion: From Individual to Universal

Osho on Óscar Ichazo

Born on 24 July 1931, Oscar Ichazo was a Bolivian scholar and philosopher, primarily known for the development of integral philosophy. Ichazo was a well-spoken and well-versed man educated in the fields of medicine, philosophy, history, law, and psychology, along with extensively studying various religions such as Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Sufism, etc. He founded the Arica School in 1968, aiming to “offer a complete method of Enlightenment”.

Ichazo’s philosophy intends to address the lowest levels of human suffering to the highest level of human attainment. One of his school of thought concepts is the Enneagram of Personality, which represents the nine interconnected personality types of the human psyche. Ichazo integrated more such theories to form a delineated process for discovery and attainment. He published a book on the same – The Nine Constituents: The Science of the Human Condition from Ego to Enlightenment.

Osho addresses Ichazo’s school of thought, “A real Master wants a disciple to become a Master in his own right. But ordinarily you don’t want that independence yourself, you want somebody to cling to. You are a clinger. You want somebody to be very authoritative, somebody to sit on a high throne and say to you, ‘You don’t worry, I will take care of you. You forget all about everything. I am here so I will take care. You simply come and follow me.’ But if somebody is like that remember that this is a sure sign — this authoritativeness, this taking other people’s responsibility — this is a sure sign that the man himself wants people to depend on him. He is dependent on his dependents. He enjoys it. He loves the idea that so many people are dependent on him. He himself is a dependent, remember; he is not different from you. It is the same trip from the other end. If you all leave him he will suffer as much as you will suffer. Sometimes he may suffer more because his investment is more. If you leave a man like Ichazo, if all his followers disappear, he may go mad or he may commit suicide. He will be very shaky, he will tremble, he will not know what has happened, he will lose all his self-confidence. He gains all his self-confidence when he looks into your eyes and sees that you are looking towards him and you feel that he is right, he is true, he is the Master. When he sees that look in your eyes, when he sees that reflection in your eyes, he feels confident. Yes. It is so. This is a mutual deception.

My approach is absolutely non-political, hence it is absolutely individual. And that is the religious approach as such. Religion will remain individual, it will never become a collective phenomenon, it cannot. Politics will always become collective, it will never become individual.

Politics is collective, religion is individual, spirituality is universal. Remember it.”

Osho Says….

ICHAZO RECKONS THAT OUR CULTURE, THE WHOLE SOCIETY, IS NOW RAISING ITS CONSCIOUSNESS, THAT WE ARE NO LONGER ON AN INDIVIDUAL TRIP BUT THAT HUMANITY IS BEGINNING TO AWAKEN. AND HE SAYS THAT THE UTOPIAN VISION OF HUMANITY AS ONE ENORMOUS FAMILY IS NOW A PRACTICAL NECESSITY.

This is how politics enters into religion. And this is nothing new. Down the ages there have been people saying it again and again. This is how fascism enters into religion. This is what Friedrich Nietzsche was saying and he became the originator of Adolf Hitler and his philosophy. He was saying that now humanity had come to a point where it was going to enter into a new arena, the arena of super-humanity, superhumans. This is what Sri Aurobindo was saying in India — he was basically a politician and he remained a politician to the very end. He was also saying that now we had come to a point where collective effort, not individual effort, was needed. Remember that these ideas about collective effort are dangerous. That’s how politics enters into religion.

Religion is utterly individual and will remain individual. Only the individual can meditate. When you meditate you disappear from the collective world. If you start meditating here with five hundred people you may start with five hundred people but the moment you enter into meditation you are alone. Those four hundred and ninety-nine are no more. Meditation is a movement in tremendous aloneness. It has nothing to do with the collective. You can meditate together but when you go into meditation you go alone. Three words will have to be understood: the collective, the individual and the universal. Ichazo goes on getting confused between the universal and the collective. The individual is in the middle, the collective is below the individual, and the universal is above the individual. If the individual becomes part of collectivity, he loses something, he is no longer as conscious as he was before, he is no longer alert.

That’s why in a crowd you are no longer as responsible as you were when you were alone. A crowd can commit great sins. In a crowd you don’t feel responsibility. The collective is lower than the individual — all the great sins of history can be attributed to the collective. The individual is far better than the collective.

You see a mob burning a Hindu temple or a Mohammedan mosque. If you get each individual from the mob and enquire, he will say, ‘I did not really want to do it but other people were doing it and I was just standing there so I got into it.’ No individual Mohammedan will be able to say with a clear heart that he has done a great thing, a great job, a religious thing, in burning a Hindu temple. And no Hindu will say that he has done a great thing by killing a Mohammedan or by burning a mosque. But he will say that in the crowd he was lost. You may have also felt it. In a crowd you become lower than you ordinarily are.

In a crowd you become baser, you become lower; you are more animal than you are human. The collective is animal, the individual is human and the universal is divine.

When a person enters into meditation he does not become a part of the collective, he becomes dissolved into the universal which is a higher point than the individual itself.

But politicians always talk about the collective. They are always interested in changing the society — because in changing the society, in making efforts to change the society and the structure of society and this and that, they become powerful. The society has never been changed. It remains the same — the same rotten thing. And it will remain the same unless it is understood that all consciousness happens in the individual. And when it happens, the individual becomes universal. If it happens to many individuals then the society is changed — but not as a social thing, not collectively.

Let me explain it to you. There are five hundred people here. You cannot be changed as a collective unit, there is no way. You cannot be made divine as a collective unit, there is no way. Your souls are individual, your consciousnesses are individual. But if out of these five hundred people, three hundred people become transformed, then the whole collective will have a new quality. But these three hundred people will go through individual changes, through individual mutations. Then the collective will have a higher consciousness because these three hundred people are pouring their consciousness into the collective, they are there.

When one man becomes a Buddha, the whole existence becomes a little more awakened — just by his presence. Even if he is a drop in the ocean then too the ocean, at least as far as one drop is concerned, is more alert, more aware. When that drop disappears into the ocean it raises the quality of the ocean. Each individual being transformed changes the society. When many, many individuals are changed, the society changes. That is the only way to change it, not the other way round. You cannot change the society. If you want to change the society directly your effort is political. Ichazo must be getting political. It happens. When you start becoming powerful religiously, when you start leading many people, when you become a leader, then great ideas start happening in the mind. Then the mind says that now the whole humanity can be changed, now we should plan for a great change of the whole humanity. Then greed grows, ambition grows, ego expects. This has always happened and this will happen always. Beware of it.

Never become a victim of the idea of the collective; the collective is lower than you. You have to become universal. The universal is not social, the universal is existential. You have to fall in tune with the whole existence, you have to get hooked with the dance of the universe — not with the social, not with small communities or sects, not with Christians and Hindus and Mohammedans, not with this earth, not with the East, not with the West, not with this century. You have to get hooked with the whole of it, the whole existence. But that is higher than the individual.

The mass is a pitfall. The mob is always there to pull you down. And it happens to so-called religious people.

Ichazo is not really very religious to me. He has gathered techniques from here and there, he is very eclectic. From Gurdjieff’s work, from Sufis, he has gathered a few techniques. He is a technician. He knows the technology but he does not know the goal. And he himself has not attained to it. But he is very, very technically expert, skillful. His movement, Arica, can turn into a fascist’s movement any day. It creates a kind of fascism in its followers. There are a few Aricans here — ex-Aricans, I should say. The ways of the Aricans are very political. Just a few months ago, Amida — Amida was very close to Ichazo for many years — received a letter saying that she was expelled. Expulsion is basically political. How can you expel? What do you mean by expulsion? This is monopoly. She has come to me so she is expelled from Arica. Now my books and my tapes are not allowed there. No Arican is allowed to read my books. This is political. What nonsense! This is monopoly, possessiveness. This is how politics comes into being.

A religious mind is an open mind. You have to see, you have to listen to everybody, you have to learn from everybody. You should not be closed. Being with a really enlightened Master you become very, very open to existence, utterly open. You will even be open to the Devil if he comes to teach you something. You will be open and you will learn and you will trust yourself.

There is no fear because you know yourself — he cannot deceive you. These people who become so afraid that somebody may get out of the fold, may get hooked with somebody else, are really basically doubting their own philosophy. They don’t believe in their own philosophy. They know that somewhere something may be better, somewhere somebody may be higher, and people will go there and they will leave them. Their fear is the fear of losing followers, so they create China Walls around them. No, it never happens when there is a religious person. He gives you his love, he gives you his being, he gives you his wisdom, and he makes you free. And you can go on and on learning and each learning will prove that your Master is right. That is the trust. Wherever you go, even if you go to somebody who is against me and you listen to him, if I am right, listening to him will prove that I am right. It will not be a loss, you will become richer.

Trust needs no fear, love needs no fear. But it is not love, it is not trust, it is just fear — a fear is being created. If you go somewhere else you will be expelled. And people are very afraid of things like expulsion. Is this a communist party or what? Expulsion? People are very much afraid of being expelled because they want to belong to some group because they don’t have any soul of their own. In the group they feel good, they belong to a certain community — the chosen few, the elite, the heralds of a new world which is going to come, the leaders of the new world, the supermen, the first race of the super-men. They feel very good. But that you feel only in the group; when you are alone you become suspicious. And when you are in the group you need not feel responsibility. The group takes it from you, you are relaxed, the group takes care.

You have been brought up in dependence. First you were dependent on your parents. Then you become dependent on your own family — the wife, the husband — then you become dependent on your children. You have always lived a life of dependence — on the society, the state, the church, the family, the community. You have lived a life of dependence. So when you go to a Master you again want somebody to depend on. But

a real Master will not help you to depend on him. A real Master will try to make you independent. His whole effort will be that you should be on your own feet, you should become your own being. That’s what Zen people do.

I was reading just the other day….A young man came to Hui Neng again and again. Hui Neng was very rough. Only Zen Masters can be rough. Why? Because if they really want you to be independent they are rough. He was very rough. He would slap the young man, he would close the door in his face, he would shout — and once he threw him out of the window and he fell about fifteen feet into a ditch. And not only that — then Hui Neng looked out of the window and laughed. Certainly the man left him. This was the last straw. Enough is enough. He left him immediately, he didn’t come back for one year. And he went to other Masters and he learned many things and he roamed about and then one day, sitting silently in a cave, he became enlightened — the first satori happened. And then you know what? He rushed back to Hui Neng to thank him. The day that the satori happened he knew that exactly the same situation had been created when he had been thrown into the ditch. He had missed.

But now he knew because now he had again come to that point, he had come to that situation inside. Just a moment before the satori happened he was surprised to see that this was the same situation inside as Hui Neng had managed to create when he had thrown him out of the window and when he had looked down and he had laughed. And he had missed! That man had tremendous compassion. He came rushing towards him. He touched his feet and he said, ‘Master, thank you. Thank you that you were so rough with me. Thank you that you never taught me except to beat me. Thank you for all that you have done for me.’

A real Master wants a disciple to become a Master in his own right. But ordinarily you don’t want that independence yourself, you want somebody to cling to. You are a clinger. You want somebody to be very authoritative, somebody to sit on a high throne and say to you, ‘You don’t worry, I will take care of you. You forget all about everything. I am here so I will take care. You simply come and follow me.’ But if somebody is like that remember that this is a sure sign — this authoritativeness, this taking other people’s responsibility — this is a sure sign that the man himself wants people to depend on him. He is dependent on his dependents. He enjoys it. He loves the idea that so many people are dependent on him. He himself is a dependent, remember; he is not different from you. It is the same trip from the other end. If you all leave him he will suffer as much as you will suffer. Sometimes he may suffer more because his investment is more.

If you leave a man like Ichazo, if all his followers disappear, he may go mad or he may commit suicide. He will be very shaky, he will tremble, he will not know what has happened, he will lose all his self-confidence. He gains all his self-confidence when he looks into your eyes and sees that you are looking towards him and you feel that he is right, he is true, he is the Master. When he sees that look in your eyes, when he sees that reflection in your eyes, he feels confident. Yes. It is so. This is a mutual deception.

My approach is absolutely non-political, hence it is absolutely individual. And that is the religious approach as such. Religion will remain individual, it will never become a collective phenomenon, it cannot. Politics will always become collective, it will never become individual.

Politics is collective, religion is individual, spirituality is universal. Remember it.

Source:

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

Discourse Series:  Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1

Chapter #10

Chapter title: Philosophical Bastards

20 June 1977 am

References:

Osho has spoken on notable Psychologists and philosophers like Adler, Jung, Sigmund Freud, Assagioli, Wilhelm Reich, Aristotle, Berkeley, Confucius, Descartes, Feuerbach, Hegel, Heidegger, Heraclitus, Huxley, Jaspers, Kant, Kierkegaard, Laing, Marx, Moore, Nietzsche, Plato, Pythagoras, Russell, Sartre, Socrates, Wittgenstein and many others in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Hidden Splendour
  2. The Wild Geese and the Water
  3. This, This, A Thousand Times This: The Very Essence of Zen
  4. Nirvana: The Last Nightmare
  5. Beyond Enlightenment
  6. Beyond Psychology
  7. Dang Dang Doko Dang
  8. The Discipline of Transcendence
  9. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
  10. From Bondage to Freedom
  11. From Darkness to Light
  12. From Ignorance to Innocence
  13. The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1
  14. From Personality to Individuality
  15. I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
  16. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 4
  17. Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1
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