I have heard you say that we are all enlightened, and that we have just all forgotten it. Did we forget it at a precise time, and if so, why?
Prembodhi, yes we have forgotten it at a precise time, and I will tell you why.
Just try to remember backwards – how far back can you go? Four years of age, or at the most when you were three years of age. Beyond that comes an absolute blank – no memory, no remembrance.
One thing is certain, that in those three years many things must have happened. You must have cried, you must have been loved, you must have been left alone, you must have been afraid in the dark night – a thousand and one experiences must have happened. You may have fallen, you may have been hurt, you may have been seriously sick … but you cannot remember anything. It seems as if in those three years, nothing was recorded by your memory mechanism.
That’s exactly the time when you forgot your self-nature. Let us say it in another way: the precise moment you forgot your enlightenment and the language of it, is the moment when you started remembering the world and thousands of other things of the world. When you started remembering others, you forgot yourself.
Now if you are fifty years old, for forty-seven years you have been remembering the whole world of things and people and events, so you have gathered a thick wall of memories. Behind this thick wall of memories – which goes on growing every day, thicker and thicker – is hidden that small time in the beginning of your life when you were utterly innocent. Even memory was not formed – you lived each moment and you died to that moment, and were born again.
In those three years, your life was moment to moment. You did not bother about the past, you did not bother about the future; you were so involved, so totally and so intensely in the moment, collecting seashells on the beach, or running after butterflies in the garden, or collecting wildflowers in the forest, as if that were all. There was no past, no future; you lived in the present in those three years. And those were the days of your glory, those were the days of your golden experience.
So I can say that it depends on everybody; it may be either four years or three years. For girls it will be three years, for boys it will be four years. Girls are one year ahead, they mature sooner. Sexually they mature one year sooner than the boys; mentally also they mature one year earlier than the boys. So girls can remember backwards to the age of three, and boys generally will be able to remember back to the age of four. That’s where you have lost your treasure.
And you are asking why. It is because you became interested in the vast world around you. And you went on becoming more and more interested; you became so curious about everything, you wanted to know everything. Just listen to small children – they go on asking all kinds of questions, they are untiring. You get tired, but they are so excited – they have entered into a new world.
For nine months they were in the mother’s womb, in utter darkness – no excitement, no problem, no responsibility, no companionship, just utter silence and relaxation. Then those three years, when their memory system was starting to be built up, their intellect was starting its ABC… by the age of three or four, they were able now, with a memory system and an intelligent, enquiring mind to go in search of this vast world – millions of things to know, unending pastures to be discovered. Naturally, in all this excitement, they forgot one thing: their own being. They went out and out and out, and farther and farther away from the home.
They reached to the stars, and now the home is so far away that they have even forgotten the way they had followed. And they don’t know exactly what it was in those three years … just deep down in the unconscious some feeling has remained like a shadow – that it was beautiful, that it was very peaceful, that it was majestic, miraculous, mysterious, that everything was a wonder, that every moment brought new experiences and joys. Just faint echoes, far back … you cannot say if they are real or you are imagining them, or if you are remembering from your dreams. It has become almost a dream.
The why is very simple: because the world was very intriguing, very interesting to enter, to enquire.
It is natural. I am not saying that you should not have done this. You would not have been able to avoid it, and it would not have been good to avoid it. It is good that you have gone so far. Now that you have known the world and experienced everything good and bad, bitter and sweet, beautiful and ugly, have seen pleasures and have seen pain, you are again becoming interested to know what is your self-nature.
Your self-nature is enlightenment.
I was reading one story, which is significant in a totally different context – which was not supposed to be part of the story. I don’t think that whoever invented the story had thought about it. The story is:
One day a black man showed up at the gates of heaven and was met by Saint Peter. “I would like to be admitted to heaven,” he said.
“Fine,” said Saint Peter, “but first tell me what you have done lately which would permit you to be admitted.”
“Well,” said the black man, “I marched in a civil rights march.”
“A lot of people did that,” said Saint Peter. “Maybe there is something else?”
“Yes,” said the black man. “I got married at twelve o’clock noon.”
“What is so unusual about that?” asked Saint Peter.
“I married a white woman,” said the black man.
“When was that?” asked Saint Peter.
“Ah, about two minutes ago,” said the black man.
As I was reading this, I remembered a scientific calculation. They say that if we think of existence just in terms of one day – as if the whole existence is twenty-four hours, reduced into this small measurement, so that at twelve in the night the existence began, the stars formed, the solar systems arose …. And they have the given exact hour when – for example, at four o’clock in the morning, at six o’clock in the morning – our solar system was born. Then our earth separated from the sun, just at eight o’clock in the morning; then the moon separated from the earth, just at eleven o’clock in the morning.
The earth for the first time saw life exactly at twelve o’clock noon, and man came into existence just two minutes later; that is, at two minutes after twelve o’clock.
If we measure the whole existence in terms of twenty-four hours, we have come into existence just two minutes ago.
Reading this story, that the black man said, “Ah, about two minutes ago,” I remembered that calculation of the scientists. This poor negro married a woman at twelve o’clock, and then he must have been shot two minutes later when he was coming out of the church, because whites cannot allow a black man to marry a white woman. So only two minutes he remained married.
If we go into more details – that if two minutes ago, man came into existence – then just fifteen seconds ago, a Gautam Buddha was born. Then enlightenment and the whole idea of enlightenment is not more than fifteen seconds old.
And we have still twelve hours more, if Ronald Reagan allows. Ronald Reagan is just a representative of all the mad politicians of the world. If they allow, then we still have twelve hours to evolve. If in fifteen seconds Gautam Buddha, Pythagoras, Lao Tzu, Mahavira, Jesus, Ramakrishna, Raman Maharishi,
J. Krishnamurti, Gurdjieff – if all these people have happened just in fifteen seconds, then the coming twelve hours, if man remains on the earth … one cannot imagine how fruitful these coming days can be.
What a great potential is ahead of us! And we have been on the earth only for two minutes. These foolish politicians are trying to commit suicide at a moment when we should be evolving as fast, as quickly as possible, because half the time of existence is gone – only half the time remains.
In this remaining time, the whole humanity has to become enlightened. If we can avoid this coming war, then this will be the new dawn of a totally new consciousness, of a totally new and fresh life, with a fragrance it has not known before. It is in our hands.
Osho, The New Dawn, Ch 12, Q 2