Q: It has been said that in times of great stress – social, economic, religious – that great good is possible. Is this formulation reflective of what we are in Poona experiencing in your presence?
Yes, a time of crisis is a very valuable time. When everything is established and there is no crisis things are dead. When nothing is changing and the grip of the old is perfect, it is almost impossible to change yourself. When everything is in a chaos, nothing is static, nothing is secure, nobody knows what is going to happen the next moment – in such a chaotic moment – you are free, you can change. You can attain to the innermost core of your being.
It is just like in a prison: when everything is settled it is almost impossible for any prisoner to get out of it, to escape from the prison. But just think: there has been an earthquake and everything is disturbed and nobody knows where the guards are and nobody knows where the jailer is, and all rules have dissolved, and everybody is running on his own – in that moment if a prisoner is a little alert he can escape very easily; if he is foolish, only then will he miss the opportunity.
When the society is in a turmoil and everything is in crisis, a chaos pervades – this is the moment, if you want, you can escape from the prison. It is so easy because nobody is guarding you, nobody is after you. You are left alone. Things are in such a shape that everybody is bothering about his own business – nobody is looking at you. This is the moment. Don’t miss that moment.
In great crisis periods, always, much enlightenment has happened. When the society is established and it is almost impossible to rebel, to go beyond, not to follow the rules, enlightenment becomes very, very difficult – because it is freedom; it is anarchy. In fact it is moving away from society and becoming individual. The society doesn’t like individuals: it likes robots who just look like individuals but are not individuals. The society doesn’t like authentic being. It likes masks, pretenders, hypocrites, but not real persons because a real person is always trouble. A real person is always a free person. You cannot enforce things on him; you cannot make a prisoner out of him; you cannot enslave him. He would like to lose his life, but he would not like to lose his freedom. Freedom is more valuable to him than life itself. Freedom is the highest value for him. That’s why in India we have called the highest value moksha, nirvana; those words mean freedom – total freedom – absolute freedom.
Whenever society is in a turmoil and everybody is tending his own business – has to tend – escape. In that moment the doors of the prison are open, many cracks are in the walls, the guards are not on duty… one can escape easily.
The same situation was at the time of Buddha, twenty-five centuries before. It always comes in a circle; the circle completes in twenty-five centuries. Just as a circle completes in one year – again summer comes back, one year’s circle and the summer is back – there is a great circle of twenty-five centuries. Every time after twenty-five centuries, the old foundations dissolve; the society has to lay new foundations. The whole edifice becomes worthless; it has to be demolished. Then economic, social, political, religious – all systems – are disturbed. The new is to be born; it is a birth pain.
There are two possibilities. One is the possibility that you may start fixing the old falling structure: you may become a social servant and you may start making things more stable. Then you miss, because nothing can be done: the society is dying. Every society has a life-span and every culture has a life-span. As a child is born and we know the child will become a youth, will become old, and will die – seventy years, eighty years, at the most a hundred years – every society is born, is young, becomes old, has to die. Every civilization that is born has to die. These critical moments are moments of the death of the past, the old; moments of the birth of the new. You should not bother; you should not start supporting the old structure – it is going to die. If you are supporting, you may be crushed under it. This is one possibility: that you start supporting the structure. That is not going to work. You will miss the opportunity.
Then there is another possibility: you may start a social revolution to bring the new. Then, too, again you will miss the opportunity, because the new is going to come. You need not bring it. The new is already coming – don’t bother about it; don’t become a revolutionary. The new will come. If the old is gone nobody can force it to remain, and if the new is there and the time has reached and the child is ripe in the womb, the child is going to be born. You need not try any Caesarean operation. The child is going to be born; don’t bother about it. Revolution goes on happening by itself; it is a natural phenomenon. No revolutionaries are needed. You need not kill the person; he is going to die himself. If you start working for a social revolution – you become a communist, a socialist – you will miss.
These are the two alternatives in which you can miss. Or you can use this time of crisis and be transformed, use it for your individual growth. There is nothing like a critical moment in history: everything is tense and everything is intense, and everything has come to a moment, to a peak, from where the wheel will turn. Use this door, this opportunity, and be transformed. That’s why my emphasis is for individual revolution.
Osho, Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 5, Ch 10, Q 2