Religion: The Holistic View
Osho on Religion and Ecology
IN REFERENCE TO YOUR ADVISING INDIRA GANDHI TO IMPOSE A STRICTER EMERGENCY AND SUSPEND ELECTIONS FOR FIFTEEN YEARS, Mid-Day CARRIES THE HEADLINE: “STICK TO YOUR RELIGIOUS PURSUITS, MR. RAJNEESH!”
DO YOU HAVE ANY RESPONSE, OSHO?
I TEACH THE TOTAL MAN. One of the greatest problems that humanity is facing today is the fragmentary man. For centuries we have divided life into compartments. We have tried to make those compartments absolutely separate, so much so that one expert, one specialist knows nothing about anything else. He becomes very much informed, knowledgeable about one aspect of life at the cost of the whole. His vision becomes lopsided. They define science as knowing more and more about less and less. The problem now is how to make all these experts understand each other, how to create bridges, because man is not compartmentalized; man is one organic unity. Life is not divided, but we look at it AS IF it is divided; that “as if” is a fiction. A man is not only a father; he is also a husband, he is also a son, he is also an uncle, he is also a brother. He is so many things! You cannot define him by labeling him as father, as son, as brother. That will be absolutely unjustified and absurd. A man has a multi-dimensional being. Religion, in fact, is not one-dimensional. Religion is a very comprehensive view of the whole of life.
I am not a politician, and I am sticking to my pursuit — but religion is multi-dimensional, religion HAS to be all-inclusive. A politician may not be able to make any statement about religion, because he is working in a one-dimensional pursuit. Politics is one-dimensional, science is one-dimensional, art is one-dimensional, philosophy is one-dimensional. That’s where religion is totally different from all pursuits. It is not one of the pursuits; it is a vision that includes all. Hence a religious man has to be aware about the whole. That’s why sometimes I make statements about art, about science, about politics and about so many things. But up to now religious people have also thought that their pursuit is one-dimensional. After me they will have to redefine religion! I don’t believe in that definition.
And I would like to say that I am strictly sticking to my pursuit, but my pursuit is not ONE of the pursuits — it includes all.
Religion is like a bird’s-eye view: the hills, the rivers, the trees, the people, all are included. That’s the beauty of religion: it is not a specialized field.
And that’s why there is great hope that religion will have to be revived to its true nature, resurrected, because now sciences, philosophy, politics, they have all become so fragmentary that nobody knows what is actually happening. The physicist is not aware of what the chemist is doing, the chemist is not aware of what the mathematician is doing, the mathematician is not aware of what the politician is doing. That’s how the atom bomb happened: the physicists went on pursuing, and they were doing right as far as they were concerned. To know about atomic energy is one of the great revelations. Albert Einstein, the man who was most responsible for making us know about atomic energy, wrote a letter to the American president, not knowing anything at all about politicians. And his whole life he felt great guilt; he felt himself responsible for all that happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Of course, whatsoever he did he was not aware of the consequences. He was not at all conscious about the politician, his mind, his cunningness. He wrote a letter himself, saying, “Why don’t we make atom bombs? Now the secret is there, and America can use the energy in many creative ways. It can transform the whole scene on the earth. It can make man for the first time really rich, healthy; in every possible way atomic energy has the possibility to transform the whole earth into a paradise.”
The American politicians immediately jumped on the secret, but what they did was totally different: the earth has not been transformed into a paradise; it has become uglier than it was before.
In fact, there is no justification at all for dropping atom bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan, because Japan was already losing its fight, they were losing the war. It was only a question of days; maybe two weeks or four weeks more the war would have continued without dropping the atom bomb. And American politicians were in a hurry: before the war ended they had to throw the bomb to see what power they had gained through atomic energy, whether it was worthwhile or not. Thousands of people died, innocent people. Even this justification was not true, that it was needed to end the war. The war was ending on its own; the German and the Japanese resources were finished. They were going to surrender; it was only a question of a few hours or at the most a few days. In a hurry the atom bomb was dropped on two cities and two cities were reduced to deserts, within seconds.
Albert Einstein felt the weight of the crime on his own heart his whole life; he remained sad. And when he was dying he was asked whether if he was born again he would like to be a physicist again. He said, “Never, never again! I would like rather to be a plumber!” Can you see the point of it all? The politician has taken over whatsoever science has discovered. The same has been done in America, the same has been done in Russia. Now the politician has become so powerful that there is every possibility any madman — and they are all, almost all mad people — can destroy the whole earth. A scientist himself delivered the secret; it could have been prevented. But the scientific pursuit is one-dimensional. Now it is as if a man’s hands are working on their own, his legs are working on their own, his head is working on its own; his heart is going towards the north, his head is going towards the south, his hands are going towards the east, his feet are going towards the west — and man is falling apart! Who is going to keep man together?
Except for religion, nothing is capable of keeping man together. Hence every day the importance of religion will become greater and greater. And remember, when I say “religion” I don’t mean Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism: I mean a quality of religiousness. I am not a politician, but I can see what is happening in this country, and I can see better because I am not a politician. I have no vested interest in politics. I can observe more detachedly. I am just a witness. And because I have no vested interest, my vision is going to be more clear. The more meditative you become, the more clarity is there and life is no more like a puzzle. Things which were not fitting before start fitting with each other like a jigsaw puzzle; all the parts start fitting with each other. A pattern arises, a gestalt arises.
I say many things about art; I am not an artist. Neither am I a cook, but I can say whether the food is worth eating or not, whether it is tasteful or not; one need not be a cook for that. I don’t know even how to prepare tea! I have never done anything like that, but still I can say that this tea does not taste like tea at all. And you cannot say to me, “Stick to your own religious pursuit, Mr. Rajneesh! You have no right to say anything about tea because you don’t know how tea is made. You have no right to say anything about spaghetti!” I have not even tasted spaghetti ever. Only once it was brought to me — it was stinking! So I simply had to throw it away! That much I can do; for that I have absolute freedom. I talk about music — not that I am a musician, but I have got ears, and sensitive ears, and that’s enough. I can talk about art because I have got eyes and my eyes can see what is beautiful and what is not. I need not be a painter to see the ugliness of Picasso’s paintings! I need not be a sculptor to see the beauty of Konarak, Khajuraho or the Taj Mahal. I can see the beauty of Michelangelo’s work. I am not a novelist but I can see Dostoevsky’s great work; I can appreciate Tolstoy, Chekhov, Gorky. Nobody will say, “You are not a novelist so you cannot appreciate a novel like BROTHERS KARAMAZOV.”
I am not a politician, that is true, but I can see man in his totality because I am deep down utterly silent and clear. And I can see not only that which is happening but that which is going to happen. I can see in the seed the flower, I can see the child in the womb. I can almost visualize what is going to happen, and it is not imagination because I dropped imagination long long ago. It is not projection either because I have no desires left.
As far as I am concerned I am totally fulfilled. If I die this moment, herenow, there is no problem about it. You see? It always happens at the right moment! I can die absolutely blissfully, peacefully, because my life is fulfilled — the flower has released its perfume. So now any moment will be right because nothing is incomplete.
I would like to say emphatically that experts are good, but we need a new, comprehensive way of looking at things which can think of the whole man and which can make connections between sciences which are falling apart. It is very strange that whenever I have made any statement about politics, the journalists have always condemned me saying that being a religious man I should not make such judgments. But they never condemn the politicians who go on making judgments about religion! This is strange. Morarji Desai makes statements about religion every day. Just the other day he said, “I am serving the Almighty God.” What does he know about God? And just a day before he had said, “I have not yet known God, I have not yet realized God.” Then whom are you serving, and who is this Almighty? If you have not known God, if you have not seen God, how can you serve him? You are serving your own ego, but you want your ego to be puffed up. Even with the idea of God you want to decorate your ego. You are not doing ordinary work — you are serving God, the Almighty.
What service has Morarji Desai done for the poor God? His whole life he has been ambitious for himself. Does his life in any way give ANY indication that he has served the Almighty? And he says, “I don’t know, I have not yet realized.” But nobody will condemn him; they will appreciate him. They will say, “Look, our politicians are so religious!” And these politicians go to inaugurate religious conferences. What do they know about religion? In fact, the politician is the last person to know anything about religion, because religion needs simplicity, religion needs clarity, religion needs intelligence, and the politician lacks all these things. He is simply cunning, he is not intelligent. He is not even clever, just cunning. He is not intelligent, he is stupid. Otherwise, why should one waste one’s life in just becoming a prime minister or a president?…
Mahatma Gandhi also never knew the truth, because he was on the wrong track, as much as Morarji Desai is, because truth cannot be known the way Mahatma Gandhi was trying to know it. To know truth one needs meditation, but to know meditation is to get out of your mind. And then you cannot be a politician. That is the trouble: the politician has to be in the mind, constantly in the mind. Mind is a cunning mechanism. Mahatma Gandhi never knew anything of meditation. One man who knew meditation had written to him, but he felt offended and insulted. That man was also in Poona — Meher Baba. He had lived for thirty years in silence, in absolute silence, not uttering a single word. He was one of the greatest mystics of all the ages, but he was a condemned in Poona in the same way I am condemned.
Meher Baba, knowing that Mahatma Gandhi wanted to know truth, out of his compassion sent him a telegram. He was absolutely silent, but he used to make gestures, and the person, the one person who had remained with him for thirty years, had become capable of understanding his gestures. There had developed a communication, a deep, heart-to-heart communication, between Meher Baba and his secretary, Adi Irani. Adi Irani had come to see me once and I could see that this man had a beauty — such a beautiful space and such silence. It was bound to happen: to live with a Master like Meher Baba for thirty years, to drink his wine, his presence… And he was his interpreter. It was not from mind to mind, because Meher Baba’s mind was put aside; it was a heart-to-heart message.
So he was given the message. He telegrammed Mahatma Gandhi: “If you really want to know truth, come here. Be here with Meher Baba for a few days. He feels great compassion for you because you are striving so hard to attain to truth, but that is not the right way, what you are doing.” Mahatma Gandhi felt offended, as anybody would feel offended. If I invite Morarji Desai, saying, “Come here!” he will feel offended. He felt very insulted. His secretary replied to the telegram, saying, “You stick to your own pursuits. I am trying to find truth my own way and I will find it in my own way. I don’t want anybody’s help.” The politician is so egoistic. Even if somebody is willing to help he will not take it…
My approach is total. I am going to talk about art and painting and music and poetry, politics, philosophy, theology. I am not going to leave any dimension untouched. I am not an expert about anything. Just as science is defined as knowing more and more about less and less, religion is defined as knowing less and less about more and more. Religion is concerned with the whole. It cannot know as much as the expert knows, but it has a very inclusive view, a very organic view. It thinks of the whole; the religious man takes account of the whole, hence he is the only person who can guide humanity. The experts are dangerous.
A scientist was helping at the accouchement of his wife, holding the paraffin lamp. When the doctor had produced not one but three fine babies, the scientist disappeared with the lamp.
“Here, come back with the lamp. I think there is another!” called the doctor.
“I will not!” called back the scientist. “It is the light that attracts them!”
The live-wire salesman walked into the factory and demanded an interview with the manager. “Look here, sir,” he began energetically, “I would like to talk to your men and sell them my correspondence course on how to put fire and sparkle into their work.”
The manager turned pale. “Get out!” he yelled. “This is a dynamite factory, you idiot!”
On a plane flight there was a lively child who nearly drove everyone crazy. He was running up and down the aisle when the stewardess started serving coffee and he ran smack into her, knocking the cups of coffee to the floor.
As he stood watching her clean up the mess she glanced up at the boy and said, “Look, why don’t you go out and play?”
A little house is up for sale and the owner is showing around the philosopher who is going to buy the house. “The house is small,” he says to the philosopher, “but very comfortable and cozy — there is even an orchard. And the price is very low. There is only one inconvenience: every two hours there is a train which passes by just a few feet from this window. But I assure you, after a week you won’t notice it any more.”
“Well,” says the philosopher, “it means that for the first week I will sleep somewhere else!”…
The expert knows only his line, his dimension, and that is a very narrow one and it is becoming narrower every day, and he loses all contact with the whole of life. That’s why we have destroyed the whole ecology of the earth. Our expertise is responsible for it, because ecology means thinking about the whole.
The carpenter is interested in wood, he knows about wood; he does not know anything about what the trees are doing. He is not aware that they attract clouds and rain, that they keep the earth together, that without them the earth will become a desert, that clouds will not come any more or even if they come they will pass without showering their rainwater. He is interested in wood, he knows about wood — the texture of the wood, the beauty of the wood — but he is not interested in the WHOLE phenomenon.
So we went on cutting forests. Now we are suffering immensely, because trees are a must. The whole climate is disturbed, not only the climate but the whole atmosphere, because trees breathe in the carbon dioxide that we breathe out and they breathe out oxygen which we breathe in. We need oxygen, they need carbon dioxide; we are interdependent. If trees disappear, oxygen disappears, and then the air becomes more and more polluted with carbon dioxide which is not needed by your hearts, by your lungs, by your bodies. Already there is too much carbon dioxide in the air, which is dangerous to health. But the woodcutter or the carpenter has no vision; his whole interest is in the wood. The woodcutter is interested in how to find out more efficient ways to cut the wood. The person who knows about the oxygen and hydrogen and carbon dioxide knows nothing about wood and its texture; he knows nothing about the carpenter. He goes on working in HIS direction, the other goes on working in HIS direction, and they go on destroying the ecology.
Ecology means the interdependent cycle of existence. Everything depends on everything else; nothing is absolutely independent, cannot be. We are parts, very small parts, cogs in a wheel. Somebody has to know about the wheel; of course, the man who knows about the wheel will not be able to compete with any expert because he will know less and less about more and more. And the ultimate state of Buddhahood is knowing nothing about all.
And what will the ultimate state of the scientist, the expert be? — knowing all about nothing. That is the logical consequence. If science is knowing more and more about less and less, then what will the ultimate result be? — knowing all about nothing! It is becoming narrower, narrower, narrower, and there is only one point left: nothing, zero. And religion is knowing less and less about more and more, and what will the ultimate state be? — knowing nothing about all. That’s what Dionysius calls AGNOSIA. That’s why Socrates says, “I know only one thing, that I know nothing.” But that does not mean that Socrates did not make statements about politics. He did, and he suffered for that!
And I know that I will suffer, but now nothing can be taken away from me. Even if my life is taken away, nothing is taken away from me. So I AM going to make statements about everything, and that’s really sticking to my own work. I am not entering into anybody’s field. I am not an active politician and I am never going to be. I am not going to paint, I am not going to compose poetry, I am not going to write a novel. But I will go on making statements about every dimension so that I can give you a total vision of how it looks from far above, from the clouds, like when you sit on a cloud and look at the earth. The first man who walked on the moon, his greatest surprise was not the moon: his greatest surprise was to look at the whole earth as one single unit. For a moment he forgot that “I am American.” For a moment there was no America, no India, no Russia. He shouted, “My earth!” The earth was whole. Of course, from that distance the earth is one; all political boundaries disappear because they are only on the maps.
Of course, they will not be knowing much about India or China. As they go higher above, farther away, they will be knowing less and less about more and more, but they will have a comprehensive view. I am looking from the moon — my name means “moon.” Mr. Rajneesh means Mr. Moon! And whatsoever I am saying I am going to continue because I have nothing to lose. I have no vested interest, so whatsoever happens is good.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: Guida Spirituale
Chapter title: The Total Man
6 September 1980 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on ‘Religion, ecology, existence, interdependence, humanity, religiousness’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Christianity: The Deadliest Poison and Zen: The Antidote to All Poisons
- Communism and Zen Fire, Zen Wind
- Ecstasy – The Forgotten Language
- From Ignorance to Innocence
- From Darkness to Light
- I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
- Theologia Mystica
- Zen: The Path of Paradox
- The Book of Wisdom
- The Golden Future
- Om Mani Padme Hum
- Tao: The Three Treasures, Vol 1
- Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 10