I said to you the other day that all revolutions have failed, all but one. But that one has never been tried yet. That revolution is religion, the untried revolution.
Why has it not been tried yet? And it is the only real revolution possible; then why has it not been tried yet? It is real, it can really change the whole world, that’s why. People want to talk about change, revolution. They want to play around these words, they love philosophizing, but they don’t want really to go into revolution. They are not that courageous. They cling to their past. Talking is safe, going into revolution is very unsafe.
That’s why the real has been avoided till now and the unreal ones have been tried. The political, the social, the economic – those revolutions have been tried, because deep down man knows that they are doomed to fail. He can have the joy of being a revolutionary and yet can go on clinging to the past. There is no risk involved.
Those so-called revolutions that have been tried and have all failed are escapes from the real revolution. It will sound very strange to you. What I am saying is this: that all your so-called revolutionaries are escapists. To avoid the real they have been creating the false, the pseudo.
Society cannot be changed unless man is changed – this is a fundamental truth. There is no way to avoid it, to shirk it, to escape from it. Society is an abstraction; it exists not. That which exists is the individual, not the society. Man exists, the society is just abstraction, a concept, an idea.
Have you ever met the society? Have you ever met the nation? Whenever you come across something, you come across a concrete individual, alive, breathing. ‘Society’ is a dead word. It has its utility; it is just a symbol. By changing the symbol you will not be changing anything at all. You have to change the real stuff. The society is made of the stuff called man, man is the brick of the society.
Unless man is changed nothing is changed; you can only pretend. You can believe, you can hope, you can imagine, and you can go on living in your misery. You can dream. Those dreams are soothing, comfortable; they keep you asleep. In fact, modern research about dreams says it is so, exactly so – that’s the function of the dreams: they keep you asleep.
You are feeling hungry in the night, you start dreaming that you are going towards the fridge, and you start eating in your dream and the sleep remains undisturbed. If the dream does not happen then the hunger will be too much and the hunger won’t allow you to continue to sleep. The hunger will wake you up.
Your bladder is full and pressing, and you start dreaming that you have gone to the toilet. If you don’t dream of the toilet, the pressure is too much; you will have to wake up. The function of the dream is to help you remain asleep.
And that is the function of ALL other dreams – the dream that the society one day will be classless, the utopia will come, that one day there will be no misery, that one day the earth will become paradise. These are dreams. They are very consoling, comforting. They are like ointment on the wounds, but the ointment is false.
For five thousand years man has been dreaming that way – that the society will change, that sooner or later things will be good, the night will be over soon. But the night continues, the sleep continues. Society goes on changing but nothing really changes. Only the forms go on changing. One slavery changes into another slavery, one kind of oppression changes into another kind of oppression, one type of ruler is replaced by other types of rulers, but oppression continues, exploitation continues, misery continues.
I say religion is the only revolution because it changes man. It changes man’s consciousness, it changes man’s heart. It depends on the individual, because the individual is real and concrete. It does not bother about the society. If the individual is different you will have a different society and a different world automatically. And you cannot change the inner by changing the outer, because the outer is on the periphery. But you can change the outer by changing the center, the inner, because the inner is at the very core of it.
By changing the symptoms you will not change the disease. You will have to go deep into man. From where comes this violence? From where comes this exploitation? From where come all these ego-trips? From where? They all come from unconsciousness. Man lives asleep, man lives mechanically. That mechanism has to be broken, man has to be re-done. That is the religious revolution that has not been tried.
Osho, The Wisdom of the Sands, Vol 2, Ch 4 (excerpt)