Q: Why are we afraid, and sometimes even resent taking responsibility for ourselves, and we expect either you or the commune to take the responsibility?
It is because from your very childhood you have been taught not to be responsible. You have been taught to depend. You have been taught to be responsible to your father, to your mother, to your family, to your motherland, to all kinds of nonsense. But you have not been told that you have to be responsible for yourself, that there is nobody who is going to take your responsibility.
No, on the contrary, your parents were taking your responsibility. Your family was taking your responsibility. The priest was taking your responsibility for your spiritual growth. You were just to follow all these people and do whatsoever they said. When you are grown up and you are no more a child, a great fear arises because you have to take responsibility and you have not been trained to take responsibility for yourself.
You go to confess your sin to the priest… what kind of stupidity are you doing? First, to think that you have committed sin; second, feeling guilty that you committed it; third, now you have to go to the priest to confess it, so that he can pray to God to forgive you. A simple thing has become so complex, so unnecessarily long and circuitous.
Whatever you have done, you wanted to do it, that’s why you have done it. And who is there to decide what is sin and what is not sin? There is no criterion anywhere, no weighing scale that you can go and weigh how much sin you have committed – one kilo, two kilos, three kilos. How long a sin have you committed? – one yard, two yards, three yards? And what was this sin, and who is this priest you are going to confess to?
And this is his strategy: if you go on confessing to the priest, you are certainly afraid of him, because he knows all the ins and outs about you. The priest knows every gossip going in the town; he knows how many husbands are flirting with other people’s wives, he knows who is doing what. They themselves go on confessing it. This is the priest’s strategy to keep control of his congregation. You cannot leave the congregation because the priest can expose you. And also you are afraid that if you leave the congregation the priest may not ask God for you to be forgiven, and you have committed so many sins…. Now it is too late. You have to remain in the same herd, in the same crowd, for your whole life.
I teach you not to be responsible to anybody; the father, the mother, the country, the religion, the party line – don’t be responsible to anybody. You are not. Just be responsible to yourself. Do whatsoever you feel like doing. If it is wrong, the punishment will immediately follow. If it is right, the reward will follow immediately, instantly. There is no other way.
This way you will start finding what is wrong, what is right, on your own. You will grow a new sensitivity – Indians call it the third eye. You will start seeing with a new vision, a new eye. Instantly you will know what is wrong, because in the past so many times you have done it and always suffered in consequence. You will know what is right, because whenever you did existence showered great blessings on you. Cause and effect are together, they are not separated by years and lives.
You are responsible then. If you want and enjoy a certain act, although it brings suffering, then do it. It is good, because you enjoy it. The suffering is not big enough to deter you from the enjoyment that your act brings. But it is up to you, wholly and solely up to you to decide. If the suffering is too much and the act brings nothing, no joy, and necessarily a long anguish follows it, then it is up to you if you are an absolute idiot, and what can anybody do about it?
This is what I mean by being responsible to yourself. There is no God on whom you can dump your responsibility, but you are always searching to dump on somebody, even on a poor man like me, who is continuously telling you that I am not responsible for anything, for anybody. Still, somehow, deep down you go on carrying the illusion that I must be joking.
I am not joking. He is our Master, you must be thinking, how can He say that He is not responsible? But you don’t understand. Dumping your responsibility on me, you will remain retarded, childish. You will never grow. The only way to grow is to accept all good, bad, the joyful, the sorrowful. Everything that happens to you, you are responsible for. That gives you great freedom.
If I am responsible for something, then the key to your actions is in my hands. Then you are a slave to me. Then you are a puppet and the strings are in my hand. I say dance, you dance; I say stop, you stop. Of course, the puppet cannot be responsible for anything. The puppeteer, who is behind the screen, is always responsible.
God is the great puppeteer. And all these popes and saints and mahatmas are great puppets, just mediators between the big puppeteer and you. They are also puppets, but they are great puppets because they follow every single instruction from on high, absolutely. You are a little smaller puppet. Once in a while you dance on your own, too. Once in a while the puppeteer goes on pulling your strings and you don’t dance.
The moment I say there is no puppeteer, no God, no saint, it is all rubbish, I am trying to give you total freedom. I am making you absolutely responsible for everything that happens to you or does not happen. Rejoice in this freedom. Rejoice in this great understanding that you are responsible for everything in your life. This will make you what I call the individual. And to become the individual is to know all that is worth knowing, is to experience all that is worth experiencing. To be an individual is to be liberated, is to be enlightened.
Osho, The Last Testament, Vol 1, Ch 6 (excerpt)