On 14th of April Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was born also known as Babasaheb Ambedkar. He was an Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer, who inspired the Dalit Buddhist movement and campaigned against social discrimination towards the untouchables.
He was the person of his own kind, born in a lower caste family, suffered the discrimination of high caste Indian society, lived in utter poverty and still managed to gain immense education, sufficient enough to write the constitution of India. He was a member of the Constituent Drafting committee. He was independent India’s first Minister of Law and Justice, and considered the chief architect of the Constitution of India.
Ambedkar was an extraordinary student. He did doctorates in economics from both Columbia University and the University of London, and gained reputation as a scholar for his research in law, economics and political science. In his early career, he was an economist, professor, and lawyer. His later life was marked by his political activities. He was involved in publishing journals, campaigning for India’s independence, advocating for freedom of dalits; hence involved in establishment of independence of India from British rule. In 1956, he converted to Buddhism and initiated mass conversions of Dalits.
In 1990 posthumously govt. of India awarded him with highest civilian award, the Bharat ratna.
Osho says on Ambedkar, Ambedkar was a sudra, but he tried hard — he wouldn’t listen to anybody. He was ready to do anything, or to die; these were the only alternatives. And he proved himself a great giant: in every class, in every examination, he was always on top. And it was impossible to refuse him entry into a further class; it was impossible to refuse him a scholarship, because others were lagging far behind, there was no way. He got all the scholarships possible. He went to England on a scholarship, and in England he also came top in his examinations. When India became free, they could not find another person who was a better expert as far as law is concerned than Ambedkar. This is really a good slap on Manu’s face, that Ambedkar wrote the constitution of India — a good hit to all the brahmins. He was the chairman of the constituent assembly. Brahmins were only members; he was the chairman, and whatsoever he said became the law because he was a man who could not be refuted on legal grounds. That was impossible.
AND WHAT IS IT BUT FRAGMENTS OF YOUR OWN SELF
YOU WOULD DISCARD THAT YOU MAY BECOME FREE?
The real freedom is neither political, nor economical, nor social; the real freedom is spiritual. If it were not so, then Ramakrishna could not have become what he became — a light unto himself — because the country was living under the slavery of the British rulers. Then Raman Maharshi would not have been such a glory, such a silence, and such a blessing, because the British imperialism was still keeping the country under slavery. Spiritual freedom cannot be touched. Your self can be made a slave, but not your soul. Your self is sellable, but not your soul. Almustafa is saying that if you want to know what real freedom is, you will have to go on dropping fragments of your self — forgetting that you are a brahmin, not a sudra; forgetting that you are a Christian, not just a human being; forgetting what your name is — knowing it is only an ordinary utility, but not your reality; forgetting all your knowledge — knowing that it is all borrowed, it is not your own experience, your own attainment.
The whole world may be full of light, but deep inside you are living in darkness. What use is the world full of light, when you don’t even have a small flame inside you, slowly, slowly trying to understand that whatever has been added to you after your birth is not your true reality?
And as fragments of the self disappear you start becoming aware of an enormous sky, as vast as the sky outside… because existence is always in balance. The outer and the inner are in harmony and in balance.
Your self is not that which is confined to your body; your real soul is that which will not be burned even if your body is burned. Krishna is right when he says, nainam chhindanti shastrani — “No weapon can even touch me”…nainam dahati pravaka — “And neither can the fire burn me.” He is not talking about the body, the brain, the self — they will all be destroyed — but there is something in you indestructible, immortal, eternal. It was with you before your birth and it will be with you after your birth, because it is you, your essential being.
To know it is to be free, free from all prisons: the prisons of the body, the prisons of the mind, the prisons that exist outside you.
IF IT IS AN UNJUST LAW YOU WOULD ABOLISH, THAT LAW WAS WRITTEN WITH YOUR OWN HAND UPON YOUR OWN FOREHEAD.
Laws go on changing, constitutions go on changing. That shows that no law is ultimately true, no constitution is forever. As man’s understanding grows, he has to change his laws, his constitutions, his governments — everything. But Almustafa is saying, “Don’t condemn anybody because the law that looks unjust….” For example,
the law of the Hindu society that divides it into four castes is absolutely unlawful, unjust. It has no reasonable support for it — I have seen idiots who are born in a brahmin family. Just because you are born in a brahmin family, you cannot claim superiority. I have seen people who are born in the lowest category of Hindu law, the sudras, the untouchables, so intelligent: when India became independent, the man who made the constitution of India, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, was a sudra. There was no equal to his intelligence as far as law is concerned — he was a world-famous authority.
Brahmins were not called; shankaracharyas were not called and told, “You are superior beings — you should make the constitution of this country,” but a man who just by chance slipped out of the torturous, unlawful, unjust division of Hindu society. Somebody who had riches saw in the boy a great potential, and he sent him to England to study, because in India no sudra in those days was allowed in any school, college, or university. From the very roots their intelligence was destroyed. Ambedkar was educated in England, and he became the world-famous authority as far as constitutions are concerned. And when he came back to India, India became free and there was no choice; nobody was even close to him….
But for five thousand years the Hindu society has remained immobile; no movement is allowed. Even a Gautam Buddha is not accepted as a brahmin; he remains belonging to the second category lower than the brahmins. And the brahmins have not been able to create a single Gautam Buddha. But the man who wrote the Hindu law code, Manu, was a brahmin, and naturally, prejudiced. So for the brahmins there are all facilities, and for the lowest — who work the hardest, who do all the dirty work of the society…. In fact they deserve to be respected more, because the society can exist without brahmins, but the society cannot exist without those poor people. They are so absolutely essential, and still they are condemned. Even animals are better; they are below animals. Even their shadow, if by chance it falls upon you, makes you dirty; you have to go and take a bath. And this continues even today.
Everybody knows nobody can argue for the reasonability, justification, of this strange, fixed division. No education, no understanding, not even enlightenment can move you from the fixed structure of the society; you cannot go higher. And those who are born higher, they may be criminals. They are criminals, because all that they do are nonessential things. But they exploit the whole society in that they are uncreative, unproductive. They are sitting on the chest of everybody to suck his blood, and still you have to respect them, you have to touch their feet.
Almustafa is saying, “Still, five thousand years ago, when Manu was writing this Hindu law, you were also involved in it” — because the same blood, and the same bones, and the same marrow goes on being inherited by everybody. So you cannot just get yourself free from the responsibility — that it is others who have done something unjust; you are also to feel the responsibility. His effort is to show that human society is an organic whole, so whatever is done by one part is done by the whole. At least either you support it or you remain silent, you do not oppose. Certainly you were not there in the same body, but you must have been present somewhere, in some other body. Manu should have been opposed, but he has not been opposed for five thousand years. And if I oppose him today, I am opposing my own forefathers; I am not opposing anybody else.
I am condemned. I am ordered not to criticize anybody, but I am going to criticize anything that is unjust, because I am also part of it — however far away. Jesus is a cousin to me. Seeing anything unjust, if I do not criticize him then I also become a partner. Nobody will know it, but those who understand the deepest core of human being will not forgive me. Should I listen to the police commissioner of Poona, or should I listen to my own soul? I am not criticizing anybody else; I am criticizing only my own heritage. Even if you are lost in the morning, if you come back home in the evening, you should not be considered lost. If I can correct something which is unjust — it may have been there for thousands of years, it does not matter: I have been a part in it, either actively or silently.
But now that I have become aware that the whole humanity — not only the contemporary humanity but the whole humanity of the past and the future — is one single whole…. So when I criticize somebody, I criticize mercilessly, for the simple reason that I am criticizing myself.
To me, the Mohammedan, or the Hindu, or the Jaina, or the Buddhist, or the Christian, are arbitrary, artificial discriminations. Within me, Moses also has a part, just as Zarathustra has a part, just as Mahavira has a part. They are not somebody’s properties. Nobody can monopolize Gautam Buddha; he is yours just as he is mine.
And unless I am merciless, it will be impossible to destroy the unjust, the unlawful, the unreasonable that we have inherited. I would like to burn it all! And remember, in burning it, I am burning something in me too.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Messiah, Vol 2
Chapter title: The real freedom
20 January 1987 pm in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
Osho has spoken on many politicians and rulers like Abraham Lincoln, Lenin, Mao Tse Tung, Jawaharlal Nehru, Kennedy, Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt, Alexander, Napoleon, and more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- From Bondage to Freedom
- From Ignorance to Innocence
- The Path of the Mystic
- From False to Truth
- From Misery to Enlightenment
- Zen: Zest, Zip, Zap, Zing
- Beyond Psychology
- Live Zen
- The Invitation
- Communism and Zen Fire, Zen Wind
- The Book of Wisdom
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 3
- Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
- From Personality to Individuality
- No Mind: The Flowers of Eternity