Tao The Pathless Path Vol 2 05

Fifth Discourse from the series of 14 discourses - Tao The Pathless Path Vol 2 by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on oshoworld.com.

Mr. P’ang of Ch’en had a son who was clever as a child but suffered from an abnormality when he grew up. When he heard singing he thought it was weeping; when he saw white he thought it was black; fragrant smells he thought noisome, sweet tastes he thought bitter, wrong actions he thought right. Whatever came into his mind – heaven and earth, the four cardinal points, water and fire, heat and cold – he always turned it upside down.

A certain Mr. Yang told his father: “The gentlemen of Lu have many arts and skills, perhaps they can cure him. Why not inquire among them?”

The father set out for Lu, but passing through Ch’en he came across Lao Tzu and took the opportunity to tell him about his son’s symptoms.

“How do you know that your son is abnormal?” said Lao Tzu. “Nowadays everyone in the world is deluded about right and wrong, and confused about benefit and harm; because so many people share this sickness, no one perceives that it is a sickness. Besides, one man’s abnormality is not enough to overturn his family; one family’s to overturn the neighborhood, one neighborhood’s to overturn the state, one state’s to overturn the world. If the whole world were abnormal how could abnormality overturn it? Supposing the minds of everyone in the world were like your son’s, then, on the contrary, it is you who would be abnormal. Joy and sorrow, music and beauty, smells and tastes, right and wrong – who can straighten them out? I am not even sure that these words of mine are not abnormal, let alone those of the gentlemen of Lu, who are the most abnormal of all; who are they to cure other people’s abnormality? You had better go straight home instead of wasting your money.”
Tao is a unique vision. It is a vision, mind you. It is a darshan, not a philosophy. It is a clarity, a transparency, but not an ideology. It does not propose any system of thought – it does not propose anything at all. It neither proposes anything, nor supposes anything. It is not a system of thought; it is just a way of looking directly into reality, into that which is.
Not projecting anything from the mind; not allowing the mind to interfere, compare, interpret, it is wu-wei – non-interference with reality. Whatsoever is, is; it cannot be altered, it cannot be changed; whatever is, is, and whatever ain’t, ain’t. Things should be left untouched, as they are. The moment man enters and tries to change or improve things, confusion arises.
Tao is a great acceptance, Tao is a tremendous acceptance, an unconditional tathata. Whatsoever is, is – nothing can be done about it.
There is no need to do anything, either. The moment you start doing, you create mischief – the doers are the mischievous people. The non-doers are the real people; through non-doing, one can know what is. When you start doing something you bring your mind in, and the moment mind comes in there is confusion – all clarity is lost. Try to understand this as the basic, fundamental Tao.
Then today’s parable will be very easily understood. It is of tremendous beauty. It can open a new vista, it can open a door in your being, it can give you a vision of reality. But the fundamental rule is: do not interfere. That is real nonviolence.
If you go to Lao Tzu and say that somebody is a thief, he says, “So what? Somebody is a thief. Let it be so.” Lao Tzu is unworried about reality. If somebody is mad, Lao Tzu will say, “So what? Let it be so. If that’s how the whole wills it, then that is how it must be. Who are you? Who has given you the authority to change anything, to transform it? Leave reality to itself and everything goes beautifully, rhythmically. Interfere, and everything is disturbed.”
You have heard about the nonviolence of Mahavira, you have heard about the nonviolence of Buddha, but they are nothing compared to Lao Tzu. In their nonviolence there is a subtle violence still – the violence of interference. The good must be brought in, the bad must be destroyed; the immoral must be changed into moral, the wrong must be put right. They are still not in wu-wei, non-interference. The violent person is trying to change reality violently, the nonviolent person is trying to change reality nonviolently, but both are trying to change reality. And to change is to be violent. That is Tao’s understanding: to accept things as they are, to accept with no mind at all.
If you have a mind, you cannot accept. You will judge, you will compare; you will say that this should not be so, it cannot be so; you will say that this can be improved, this can be changed and made better.
The very idea that the world can be made better is the very root of all ego trips. The world is perfect; there is no way to make it better. If you try to make it better, you will make it worse. Things are in perfect rhythm. Nothing is bad; nothing is good. Good and bad are man-created concepts. Nothing is right; nothing is wrong – those are our conceptions. Reality simply is neutral, neither good nor bad, neither beautiful nor ugly. It simply is. This isness is Tao.
Now, enter this parable. We will go into it very slowly. Taste it step by step – it can become a revelation.
Mr. P’ang of Ch’en had a son who was clever as a child…
Every child is born clever. No child is ever born idiotic. To become an idiot one needs to be educated. To convert people to idiocy, schools and colleges and universities are needed. It is a great achievement. Idiocy is not natural; it must be learned, it must be earned. Great effort must be made before you can become stupid. A Buddha or a Lao Tzu or a Jesus are the people who somehow escaped from society, who somehow managed to prevent society from changing them into stupid people. They look rare because all of society has become stupid, otherwise they would be the norm. It should be natural to be clever, intelligent – as natural as breathing, as natural as health.
Watch a child, any child, black, white, Indian, Chinese, German – yes, even German! Watch any child. All children are intelligent and all children are beautiful. Have you ever seen an ugly child? The phenomenon does not exist at all. Have you ever seen a stupid child? Their intelligence is tremendous.
Society starts to cripple the child because society cannot allow that much intelligence. That much intelligence is dangerous. An intelligent child is a dangerous person. Society immediately jumps on the child from the very first day. The child is not even allowed the freedom to breathe on his own – the doctor slaps him on his bottom and society has started. The child is not even allowed to breathe on his own. You should wait. There is no need to slap the child.
Go and see a maternity ward. When the child is born, the doctor will take him by his legs, hold him upside down and slap him on the bottom to help him breathe. As if nature is not enough – your help is needed. Nobody slaps the animals – and they are all breathing, breathing beautifully. No doctor is needed, no nurse is needed, no midwife is needed. Just wait!
But the society cannot wait. Within seconds the society enters. Society has to slap the child. Now people who have been studying the phenomenon of slapping the child say that the first slap comes as a shock because the child is very delicate. For nine months he has lived in a very protected environment – that slap is like a great shock. His life starts with a shock. Then there are even crueler people. Jews and Muslims will do a circumcision – it is a great shock to cut the foreskin of the genital organs. You have started violence; you have started butchering the child. Society is on the way. Immediately everything must be forced on the child. Then the mother is told when to breast-feed the child and when not to breast-feed the child – after three hours.
As if every child is a Ford car, just like another Ford car. Each child is an individual. His needs are different. One child will find that he is hungry within two hours; another child will find that he is not hungry after five hours. This average of three hours is dangerous. One child will not be hungry but the mother will force him to feed because three hours have passed. Another child will be hungry and crying and weeping, but the mother will wait and look at the clock, and because three hours are not over yet she cannot feed him.
These are subtle tricks to destroy the delicate intelligence, the delicate life in the child. Then he must be trained about everything. From toilet training to God, he must be trained about everything. He is not allowed any spontaneity. Intelligence thrives in spontaneity, intelligence dies in discipline. The more disciplined the child, the more stupid he will be; the more intelligent the child, the more rebellious he will be. Rebelliousness and intelligence are synonymous; stupidity and discipline are synonymous. If you have succeeded in ordering the child to obey you and in making him conform to your ideas, you have succeeded in killing his intelligence.
Your schools, your colleges, your universities, all teach nonsense because they are all against sensitivity. Nowhere is sensitivity taught – nowhere. In fact, sensitivity must be destroyed. It is dangerous to allow the child to be sensitive and intelligent because if he remains sensitive, then society will not be able to force him to do foolish things throughout his life.
For example: a person goes on being a clerk his whole life, just piling up files. To do such a thing you need to be very insensitive. If you have any sensitivity, you will want to break out of this nonsense, you will want to go into the fields, into the forest. You may want to become a gardener, you may want to become a farmer, or a fisherman, or a carpenter, or a sculptor, or a poet – but you will not want to become a clerk in an office. Why would one want to be a clerk? When the sun is so bright and the flowers have bloomed and when the birds are singing and you are just doing a clerical job! It will not be possible. Society has to kill your intelligence, your sensitivity, so that you can be put into any job. When you are dull it is easy to force you in any direction. Then a person can keep on doing any nonsense job. When you do a nonsense thing for your whole life, naturally, by and by, you lose all possibilities of being intelligent.
A person can be sent into the army. If people were intelligent, who would go into the army? Why would they kill others and be killed? Life is to live, not to be killed and not to kill. Life is to enjoy; it is a divine gift. But millions of people are in the army, just getting ready to be butchered or to butcher. And their whole life – from morning to evening – is spent parading, polishing their rifles, following some foolish man’s orders: left turn, right turn. Doing this their whole life! Not even for a single moment do they think about what they are doing – what they are doing with their lives. Is life meant for this? Is this the destiny of life?
If you are singing and dancing, maybe it is meaningful, but turning left and right, doing the same march every day, just preparing for death – how can life be just a preparation for death?
Brutality, violence, insensitivity are taught so that millions of people can be turned into slaves. You think you are free people? Slavery has only become more sophisticated, that’s all. Slavery still exists. No society up to now has ever been a free society. All societies have been slave societies.
Yes, one thing is certain: slavery changes its forms. First it was very gross, now it is very subtle. And remember, subtle slavery is far more dangerous than gross slavery because you can rebel against gross slavery, it is so apparent, so obvious. But when the slavery is very subtle then you are not even aware of it. If you are a Mohammedan, if you are a Hindu, if you are a Christian, if you are a Jaina, you are a slave. Your mind has been conditioned to be a Hindu, to be a Mohammedan, to be a Christian, and you have become that.
You have never questioned it. Why should you be a Christian? Why should you be a Mohammedan? You were not born as a Christian, as a Mohammedan, you were born as pure consciousness. Why these limitations? Who has forced these limitations on you? You were born as a pure human being. Who has made you an Indian and who has made you Chinese? You are slaves. If you are Chinese or Indian or English, you are a slave. Slavery is very subtle.
If you are doing things which others want you to do, and you never do the thing that you always wanted to do, you are a slave. You go on loving a person you don’t love; you go on sleeping with a person you don’t love; you go on living in a relationship which is simply destructive, horrible, a hell, but you go on. You are a slave; you are not a free man.
A free man is one who takes back his intelligence, who takes back his sensitivity. To me, that is what sannyas is: to take back your intelligence, to take back your sensitivity – to become again sensuous, alive, to become again intelligent, to become again a child.
Mr. P’ang of Ch’en had a son who was clever as a child… All children are clever. No child is ever born who is not clever. Even if you sometimes think that a child is not clever that is just your thinking.
I have heard…

A boy was sitting on the fence watching his father working in the field. A bull came running. The child shouted, “Papa, a bull is coming!”
The father jumped out of the way and saved himself.
But he was more surprised at the child than at the bull because the boy had not spoken for seven years – he was seven years of age and he had not spoken a single word.
So the father said, “Forget about the bull. You surprised me more! Why have you not spoken up to now? And you spoke so suddenly – ‘Papa, the bull is coming!’”
The boy said, “There was nothing to say before, so there was no point in speaking.”

Even when a child appears to you to be stupid, beware of making judgments. It may only be because of your own stupidity. Whatsoever you have become, you compare from that viewpoint. If a child is not clever in mathematics you think he is stupid. But there can be a society where mathematics is not valued – music may be valued and the child would have a tremendous capacity for music. Then in that society he would be valued as intelligent. In your society a boy who can do mathematics well is valued and nobody bothers about his musical qualities. He may be absolutely non-musical. It depends. What society values is not a natural value, it is a chosen value.
In some societies silence is valued – then to be silent is to be intelligent. In some societies talking is valued, so to talk is to be intelligent. It depends. In some societies dance is valued greatly and one who cannot dance seems to be stupid. In another society dancing is not thought about at all. Then nobody bothers whether you can dance or not. If you can be good at mathematics, at the three R’s, reading, writing, arithmetic, then you are intelligent.
For thousands of years man has lived without these three R’s, yet people have been intelligent, otherwise they could not have survived. In fact, surviving today is very simple, problems have almost disappeared. To survive in the jungle, when there was no house over your head, no food supply, no security, and you were constantly in danger, man had to be very, very intelligent, otherwise there would have been no possibility of his surviving. Man is not a very strong animal, other animals are far stronger, but still man has survived because of his intelligence, his sensitivity. He can feel more, he can become more aware and more alert.
Remember this: you were born clever, talented – a genius. God never creates less than that; God always creates geniuses. This beautiful whole always creates perfect people, how can imperfection be born out of perfection? Have you thought about it?
In the Upanishads they say, “Perfection comes out of perfection. Perfection is born out of perfection.” God is born out of God – nothing else can be born out of God. You are gods and goddesses because you come from that source of divineness.
Each child brings heaven into the world again but we jump on him, and we destroy him, and we destroy his heaven and his paradise. Again and again each child loses his paradise, that’s why we go on seeking and searching for it. If we had not known it, how could we seek and search for it? We can only seek that which we have known before. Each child has known something which has become lost, so again we start seeking it. We have lost our own inner capacities; we have lost our own inner kingdom.
…but suffered from an abnormality when he grew up.
Everybody becomes abnormal. It is very difficult to find a grown-up person who is normal because whatsoever you call the growing-up process is the process of turning people abnormal.
For example: a man is obsessed with money; he is abnormal. Why should one be obsessed with money? You cannot eat it, you cannot love it, you cannot be loved by it. It cannot give you life, it cannot give you beauty, it cannot give you joy. But there are millions of people who are madly in love with money – money is their God, their only God. Now these are abnormal people.
Once this abnormality settles, there arises another abnormality: a few people renounce money and become great mahatmas. First these mad people are obsessed with money, then a new obsession arises from that obsession – they become obsessed with the fear of money. If you take money to Vinoba Bhave he will not touch it. Now, what is wrong in touching money? A poor currency note is just paper; why are you so afraid of touching it? There is some deep fear. And fear is nothing but lust standing on its head; deep down there is still some desire. The fear is: “If I touch the money, I may again become interested in it.” A man who is free of money will use money and not be obsessed either way, for or against. He will live in the world, he will not renounce the world – there is no need.
You cannot drop out of one madness by creating another – you are simply changing your madness. Your so-called money-mad people are mad, and your mahatmas are at the other extreme of the same madness. They are not different. Somebody who is mad for prestige, power, pull, is abnormal. You can sit on a very high chair that is not going to make you happy; you can become a president and you can become a prime minister but that is not going to make you happy. And life is to be happy, life is to celebrate.
You will become more and more unhappy, the more power you have – because the more power you have, the more you will constantly have worries, constantly be in conflict. You cannot be at ease because others will be rushing toward you; they will be ready to overthrow you because they also want the same chair, the same power. Power is scarce and everybody wants power. So you will be in a madhouse.
If you really want to see a madhouse, go to New Delhi. In India that is the greatest madhouse. Right now, because the elections are coming, you can see how many people are mad in this country.
To find a grown-up person who is still intelligent is very difficult, very rare. You can become intelligent only if you become very conscious of what has been done to you, of how your intelligence has been destroyed or covered up. You will have to rediscover it.
When I say these things, remember: I am not saying them only about others, I am talking about you. Notice your own being, watch how you behave, what you do with your life, and you will find many, many mad obsessions. Those mad obsessions have been given to you by society. You have been made ambitious, and ambition destroys intelligence. You have been put on a wrong track, you have been made competitive, you have been made jealous of others, you have been taught only one thing: to compete and to be first.
Life has nothing to do with being first. You can enjoy it wherever you are. You can enjoy it right this moment; there is no need to postpone it. To postpone life is to become unintelligent. You say, “Tomorrow I will live,” so tomorrow you will be intelligent. Intelligence comes only when you live; intelligence is a function of living. When you live tremendously you become intensely intelligent; when you postpone life, dust gathers on the mirror of your being.
You have been postponing. You say, “Tomorrow,” always, “Tomorrow.” People come to me and they say they want to take sannyas, but not today, tomorrow. They say they will come again. But why? Why wait? What are you waiting for? And who knows? Tomorrow may come or may not come. This moment may be the last moment to breathe, you may not breathe again. So why not live this moment as totally as possible?
A person becomes intelligent when he starts living moment to moment totally – as if this were his last moment. Then there is a great passion, a great intensity. One becomes aflame with life. In that aflame state of consciousness one is intelligent, otherwise one is dull, dragging. Tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, one is going to live – so what is the need of being intelligent today? Today you can afford to be stupid. Tomorrow, when you will try to live, you can become intelligent.
But if you are stupid today, you are creating a trend of stupidity, and there is every possibility that tomorrow will not be different from today because it will be a prolongation of today, a continuity of today.
Mr. P’ang of Ch’en had a son who was clever as a child but suffered from an abnormality when he grew up. When he heard singing he thought it was weeping; when he saw white he thought it was black; fragrant smells he thought noisome, sweet tastes he thought bitter, wrong actions he thought right. Whatever came into his mind – heaven and earth, the four cardinal points, water and fire, heat and cold – he always turned it upside down.
That’s what everybody is doing. Look at your life and you will find that you have turned everything upside down. That which is valuable has become valueless and that which is valueless has become valuable.
Look at your life, and be very true and honest in looking because if you deceive anyone, you deceive only yourself and nobody else. Look straight into your own being and you will be surprised. What have you been doing with yourself? Everything has become upside down. You are living for the non-essential and you have forgotten the essential. You are living for things, and things will be taken away when death comes. Money, power, prestige – nothing is going to be with you when death comes.
A person only lives when he lives in such a way that death cannot destroy anything; who creates his inner being in such a way that death cannot take anything away from him; who lives in eternity which death cannot touch; who lives in consciousness – only that man is intelligent. Otherwise everything has been turned upside down: you see white as black and you see black as white; you think fragrant smells nauseous; sweet tastes bitter. You have settled on the artificial. Plastic flowers – yes, that’s where you have settled.
Instead of moving into love you have settled with a marriage; instead of searching a real religion you have settled for Islam, Christianity, Jainism. Instead of searching for God you have settled for words about God. Instead of looking into existence you are carrying dead books. Instead of really living life you have only ideas about how to live life. Just ideas – nothing else.
You have not lived at all; you only carry a few ideas. That’s what I call mistaking the menu for the dinner. You may call the menu the Vedas, or you may call it the Koran, or you may call it the Bible, but it is a menu, it is not food, it cannot nourish you.
So if you are feeling unnourished, if you are feeling weak, if you are feeling death-like, it is natural. Nobody else is to be blamed for it.
…he always turned it upside down.

A certain Mr. Yang told his father, “The gentlemen of Lu have many arts and skills, perhaps they can cure him. Why not inquire among them?”
Remember the last story? It was also concerned with the gentlemen from Lu. This town Lu was a Confucian town. It was almost like Varanasi. In India, if you come from Varanasi, if you can say that you come from Varanasi, you are already a great scholar. It has prestige. It is the Hindu citadel. The town of Lu was exactly like Varanasi. It had Confucian scholars. It was a sort of Confucian university where Confucius lived with his disciples and created much scholarship, created many scholars and pundits. It had become very famous.
A certain Mr. Yang told his father “The gentlemen of Lu have many arts and skills perhaps they can cure him. Why not inquire among them?”

The father set out for Lu but passing through Ch’en he came across Lao Tzu and took the opportunity to tell him about his son’s symptoms.
One thing to be remembered of this parable at this moment is that the mind always looks for the Confucian. It comes across a Lao Tzu only accidentally. The mind is basically Confucian. The mind looks for a structure, an ideology. The mind looks for a principle. The mind looks for some technology so that it can become more powerfully in control. The mind looks for power. It is only accidental that you come across a Lao Tzu: you were not really looking for Lao Tzu, you were looking for Confucius.
For example: you have come here. You were not looking for me; you were looking for a mahatma. Only accidentally have you come across me. You may have been in search of a guru, a mahatma, but you accidentally have come across me. You were not looking for me; the mind cannot look for me. For the mind to look for me is simply to commit suicide. The mind looks for something that helps it to become stronger.
The father set out for Lu… He was in search of some Confucian man who would be able to help cure his son. One thing was certain to the father: his son was ill. He had not taken any time to think about it, to ponder over whether he was really ill, whether he was really abnormal. He had simply accepted the idea that he was abnormal. He did not know anything about what normality was or what abnormality was.
When you make such assumptions, be a little more aware. You think that somebody is mad? Don’t be in such a hurry. He may not be mad; on the contrary, you may be the mad one. Don’t judge. You immediately assume that somebody is a criminal – he may not be. On the contrary, you may be the criminal. The criminal may not be the criminal; the magistrate may be the criminal. The judged may not be the criminal; the judge may be the criminal. Things are very complicated; don’t make assumptions. Don’t fall victim to easy assumptions.
The father had taken one thing for granted: his son was abnormal. Beware of taking things for granted. Never take anything for granted. The moment you take anything for granted you are falling from intelligence. Intelligence never takes anything for granted. It examines it and it remains open. It never creates a prejudice. Who knows?

You must have heard the story about a woman who was brought to Jesus because she had committed a sin. Those who were condemning her were ready to kill her because the old law said that if a woman committed the sin of adultery, then she had to be killed by throwing stones at her. She had to be stoned to death. They came to Jesus. It was also a good opportunity to judge Jesus. Would this man follow the old law, or was he against the old law?
They asked, “What should we do?” And Jesus said, “Do one thing first. Those who have never committed any sin, those who have not even thought about committing adultery, should take stones in their hands. They are allowed to stone this woman.” The people started disappearing. Nobody was left: there was not even a single man who had not committed adultery, even if only in his mind.
Within minutes the crowd was gone and Jesus was left with the woman. The woman started crying. She felt tremendous respect for this man who had saved her. She said, “I am guilty. I have done wrong. Please punish me.” And Jesus said, “Who am I to punish you? Who am I to say that you a sinner? That is something between you and your God. I am nobody to judge.”
Jesus said, “Judge ye not, that ye be not judged.” All judgment is stupid. Only stupid people judge hastily. The more intelligent you are, the less judgment you carry. If you are really intelligent, all judgments disappear. Then suddenly you see whatsoever is before you. But you don’t carry any judgment; you don’t say, “This man is bad and this man is good.” You don’t say, “This man is a sinner and this man is a saint.” These are all judgments. Who are you to judge? Who has given you the authority to judge?

When you don’t judge anybody, when you drop all judgments, suddenly all of life looks so beautiful, so immensely beautiful, so divine. The Devil disappears the moment your judgment disappears.
This man came across Lao Tzu by accident so he: …took the opportunity to tell him about his son’s symptoms. He was not aware who he was talking to.
Lao Tzu is superb, unsurpassed. Unsurpassed before, unsurpassed after. There has never been such clarity in any man anywhere. Such total understanding, such absolute transparency! Even in a Buddha, even in a Mahavira, even in a Krishna, you will find a little judgment – but not in Lao Tzu.
“How do you know that your son is abnormal?” said Lao Tzu.
He raises a very fundamental question. Who is normal? What is the norm? And how do you decide? The crowd? Many people are like that, so is that normal? But the whole crowd can be mad.
There is a Kahlil Gibran story:

A magician came to town and threw some medicine into the town’s well. He said that whosoever drank from the well would go mad.
There were only two wells in the town: one for the ordinary people and one for the king.
By the evening the whole town had gone mad. They had to drink from the well, even though they knew they would go mad, because it was the only well available to them. It was a hot summer day, and they tried not to drink, but how long can you try? By and by they yielded. By the evening the whole town had gone mad.
The king was very happy. Standing on his palace terrace he looked around and he said to his prime minister, “Grateful we are to God that we have a separate well, otherwise we would also have gone mad. The whole town has become mad.” People were dancing, singing, jumping, screaming, howling. The whole town was simply unbelievable. What had happened? It was a nightmare. People were doing all sorts of things they had never done before.
But within hours the king’s happiness disappeared because the people came to the palace and they started shouting that the king had gone mad. The king’s army was also in the town and they went mad, and his bodyguard and his cook, and his servants. Only the king and the queen and the prime minister, three persons, were left.
Now what can you do against a whole town when it is mad? The king became very afraid and asked, “What should we do now?”
The prime minister said, “There is only one thing to be done. I will try and prevent them for a few minutes. Run and drink from that well. There is no other way. You must go fast.”
The king went, drank from the well, and when he came back he was dancing. The crowd shouted in joy and they said, “Thanks be to God. We are grateful to God. Our king’s mind has come back!”

If the whole crowd is mad, the sane person will look mad.
How do you know that all people are not mad? The exceptional looks mad; the common seems to be the norm.
Lao Tzu asked: “How do you know that your son is abnormal?”
I have heard…

A Brit was having tea on his lawn when a spaceship appeared in the sky. He watched calmly as it circled and came to earth nearby. A weird-looking creature stepped from the craft and slowly approached. The thing had two heads with one eye in the center of each head. It had only one arm which protruded from the middle of its chest. It had no legs but walked on a pair of short flippers.
“Earthman,” the apparition squeaked, “I wish to see your leader!”
The Englishman stirred his tea and gazed with distaste at his visitor.
“Nonsense, old man,” he said calmly. “What you want to see is a good plastic surgeon.”

The exceptional seems to be abnormal. He may be a normal person from another planet. If some day you go to some other planet, you will be abnormal; they will immediately send you to a plastic surgeon.
Lao Tzu asked: “How do you know that your son is abnormal?” What criterion is there? What standard do you follow? Norm means the standard. But how do you decide who is normal? Is Buddha normal? Is Jesus normal? Jesus was not normal to the people among whom he lived. They murdered him because he was abnormal, because he was talking about things which should not be talked about. Socrates – was he normal? Athens poisoned him because he was abnormal. If you look down the ages, all great people were abnormal. The ordinary seems to be the normal.
Lao Tzu wants to destroy the criterion. He wants to tell you that there is no criterion to judge. Each individual is unique – that is the vision of Tao. Each individual is so unique, so incomparably unique, that there is no way to judge who is normal and who is abnormal. Look at the freedom Tao gives: you can only say that people are different – nobody is normal, nobody is abnormal. People are simply different.
Once you understand that people are different you drop the idea of inferiority and superiority for the first time. For the first time, comparison becomes: “Somebody is this way, somebody else is that way.”

Somebody asked Bokuju, “Why are you so good and I am not so good? Why are you so silent and I am not so silent?”
Bokuju said, “Come out with me into the garden.” And he took him into the garden where there were two trees. One was very tall, almost touching the clouds, and another was very small. He said, “Look. This tree is small and that tree is tall, but I have never heard any discussion between them. The tall one has never said to the small one, ‘Look, I am superior.’ And the small one has never said to the tall one, ‘Because I am so small, I feel very inferior standing by your side.’”

No, the small is small and the tall is tall; there is no comparison. The small is beautiful in its smallness, and the tall is beautiful in its tallness. The tall is close to the clouds, the small is close to the earth. The tall enjoys tallness; the small enjoys smallness. What is wrong in it?
Nothing is wrong – that is the Taoist vision. Everything is good as it is.
Comparison comes from the human mind. The birds are birds; they are not worried about why they are not animals. The rose is a rose; the rose is not worried about why it is not the lotus. Hence they are not neurotic. Otherwise the rose will become neurotic because he is not a lotus, and the lotus will become neurotic because he is not the rose. And the small bush will lie down somewhere on some psychiatrist’s couch because he is not the Cedar of Lebanon. “Why? Why am I not the Cedar of Lebanon? Why has God made me so small – just a bush? What karmas am I suffering from?” He will make some philosophy to console himself, “I have created bad karmas in my past life, that’s why.”
All rubbish! All theories are rubbish! They are needed because you ask rubbish questions. So somebody has to supply rubbish answers. There is a law in economics: whenever there is a demand there is the supply. If you ask a foolish question some wise guy is going to give you a foolish answer.
It is very simple. Things are as they are. Things are different, certainly, but they are not unequal. Let me repeat it: things are different but they are not unequal. Everything is unique. You cannot find a single leaf in the whole world which is like another leaf. You cannot find a single pebble on the whole earth which is like another pebble. No, nothing is similar, but nothing is unequal. Each thing exists in its own way. That is the meaning of the saying that each thing has its own soul. That uniqueness is what soul means; that uniqueness is the meaning of the saying: “A man has a soul.” It simply shows that he is unique. The tree has a soul; it shows it is unique. The mountain has a soul; it simply shows it is unique. Nothing else is just like it.
“How do you know that your son is abnormal?” said Lao Tzu. “Nowadays everyone in the world is deluded about right and wrong, and confused about benefit and harm…”
First: because of these comparisons people have started to become imitations. Because you don’t recognize your uniqueness, you are not respectful toward your being. You are disrespectful.
A woman came to me and she asked, “What should I do? I am fat.” She was not very fat. Nothing… If she had not said so, I would not have thought that she was fat. But she herself goes on saying it. You must know her. She is called Veena and now she has become known as Fat Veena. And she is not fat. She is nothing like it. She does not know what a fat woman can be.
I have heard about one:

She came out of a hotel and said to the doorkeeper, “Please call me a taxi.”
The doorkeeper looked at her and said, “Okay, if you say so. I will call you a taxi, but you look to me more like a truck!”

But even if a woman is that fat she has a unique soul.
There is no need to be worried. Comparison should not be brought in. One should be respectful toward one’s own being. Comparison comes through others. You see somebody who is lean and thin and a comparison arises. You have a nose which is a little too long and somebody has one with exactly the desired proportion. Now a problem arises.
You may not have heard that even Cleopatra was worried. She had a nose she thought was a little too long. Cleopatra is thought to be one of the most beautiful women of the world, but she was always conscious of her nose. It was a little too long. So she was very worried. Her whole body was in proportion, but her nose created the trouble.
If you compare, you are going to be neurotic. Somebody has beautiful hair, somebody has a beautiful nose, somebody has beautiful eyes, somebody has beautiful legs and somebody has the right proportions and somebody has the right complexion and somebody is more intelligent and so on and so forth. All these people will create inferiority in you. Or, if your start thinking the other way round, you may start feeling superior. Both are illnesses. To feel inferior is ill, and to feel superior is ill; just to feel one is oneself is healthy. Not comparing is healthy.
This constant comparison creates imitation; people start becoming like others. You dress the way others dress, you purchase the cars that others have, you decorate your drawing room as others have decorated theirs – you go on imitating. And an imitator is never happy because an imitator becomes untrue.
Now what has happened to this man? He thinks that his son is abnormal – maybe his son is not like the son of his neighbor, that’s all. The comparison is bringing trouble to his mind. Maybe his son is not like him – but why should the son be like the father?
I have heard…

Three girls were arrested for soliciting. And a peddler, newly arrived in this country, was arrested for peddling without a license. They were brought before the court.
“What do you do for a living?” the judge asked, pointing to the first girl.
“Your honor, I’m a model,” she answered.
“Thirty days,” was the sentence. Then he turned to the second. “What do you do for a living?” he asked belligerently.
“Your honor, I’m an actress.”
“Thirty days.” Then he turned to the third girl. “What do you do for a living?” he demanded.
“To tell you the truth,” she answered, “I’m a prostitute.”
“For telling the truth,” he said, “I’m going to suspend sentence.”
Then he turned to the little immigrant peddler. “And you,” he said, “what do you do for a living?”
“To tell you the truth,” the peddler said twisting his ancient cap in his hands, “I’m a prostitute also.”

That’s how people go on imitating and they think that by imitating you can be true. By imitating, nobody can ever be true. Imitation is the basis of all falsehood.
“How do you know that your son is abnormal?” said Lao Tzu. “Nowadays everyone in the world is deluded about right and wrong, and confused about benefit and harm…” The mind is confusion. The moment you start thinking about what is right and what is wrong you will be confused. The moment you start thinking about what is harmful and what is beneficial you will be confused.
Haven’t you heard the story about the centipede?

A centipede has one hundred legs.
A rabbit saw him and could not believe it! It was almost impossible! A hundred legs. How does he manage? Which one must be moved first and second and third and fourth? A hundred legs. How does he manage?
The rabbit was very puzzled and said, “Uncle, I am very confused. I cannot imagine how you manage. If I had one hundred legs, I would never be able to walk. I would get so confused.”
The centipede had never thought about it, hence he was not confused. But now he said, “I have never thought about it, I will think over it.” And he pondered over it. For the first time he became self-conscious. He looked at his legs and he was confused. He fell down!
And he said to the rabbit, “Never ask such a question! I have always walked, and there was never any problem. Now you have confused me. Now I will never be able to walk correctly. The problem will haunt me. Which one first? Which one second? And there are one hundred legs!”

Lao Tzu says that the mind is confusion. The moment you think, you are confused. Thinking is confusion; hence nobody can get out of confusion by thinking. Thinking will make you even more muddled. One comes out of confusion by non-thinking, by dropping all thought, by dropping all distinctions between right and wrong, between harm and benefit. How can you know, how can the part know what is beneficial and what is harmful? The universe is so vast that one never knows what will finally be the result of your act.
You go and save a man who was drowning in a well; you make an effort and you get him out. And then the next day he commits a murder. Now, was your saving the man right or wrong? If you had not saved him, there would have been no murder. Now the murder has happened. You are also part of the crime. Without you it would not have been possible. But you never thought that way. You were just saving the person. Your whole idea was to help the person who was dying. So what is harmful and what is beneficial?
Sometimes poison becomes beneficial, and sometimes nectar can prove poisonous. Sometimes the person who wants to do good to you may do harm, and sometimes the person who wanted to do harm to you may do good. Things are very complex; in fact, almost incomprehensible by the human mind. Life is so deep and so complex and we are so small, so tiny, there is no way to figure it out.
So what does Lao Tzu say? Lao Tzu says: “Nowadays everyone in the world is deluded about right and wrong, and confused about benefit and harm.” How do you decide what is right? What is the criterion? Was Mohammed right when he took up a sword? He was not right according to the Jainas. To take up a sword is wrong. But according to the Mohammedans he was right because he took the sword in his hand to save religion. According to the Mohammedans, Mahavira is an escapist. When people were suffering he was standing there and meditating. When people were being exploited he was selfish. He escaped to the forest.
When Arjuna sad to Krishna in the Gita, “I don’t want to kill so many people; this seems to be the greatest sin that can be committed. I want to renounce the world and go to the forest and become a forest dweller,” was he right or wrong? If you ask the Jainas he was right. But Krishna says, “No, this is wrong. Don’t go. This is your duty. Do it. God wills it this way, so let it be this way. Escaping from your duty will be going against God. You did not arrange this war. It is happening. Just be instrumental in it. Go into it, but not as a doer, go into it just as an instrument. There is no need to escape anywhere.
“And, Arjuna, even if you do escape, you cannot escape because your whole training, your whole discipline of life, is that of a warrior. You cannot escape so easily. Where will you go? You are not a brahmin, you are not a meditator, you are a warrior. You have to attain your reality only through yourself. Svadharme nidhanam shreyah, it is good to die into one’s own nature; paradharmo bhayavaha, it is very dangerous to follow somebody else’s religion. To be a warrior is your religion. That is what you have trained for your whole life. Each cell of your being is that of a warrior. You cannot meditate, Arjuna. Even if you go into the forest and sit under a tree, if you see a lion passing by, you will immediately search for your bow, and you will kill it. You will become a hunter; you will not become a meditator. That is not right.”
Now, what is right and what is wrong? And who decides? If Arjuna had asked Mahavira, Mahavira would have blessed him. He would have said, “Right. For the first time reality has dawned upon you.” But Krishna says, “You are an escapist, a coward. This is cowardice.” Now who is right and who is wrong?
Ask Lao Tzu. Lao Tzu says that even the distinction between right and wrong is not possible. You simply live, whatsoever – as naturally as possible for you.
I have heard…

A man hired a taxi to the station. From the hotel to the station it was a fixed rate of one rupee. When the man got out of the taxi he gave one rupee to the taximan but the taximan looked unhappy. So the man asked, “Is it not right? Is it not correct?”
The taximan said, “Sir, it is correct but not right.”

You see the distinction? It is correct but not right. “You have paid me. Legally it is correct. But it is not right. You have not tipped me. That is not part of the formal law but it is a convention.”
So what is right? What is correct? Law is limited and life is excessive. If you live according to the law, you may be correct but you may not be right. If you live according to life, you may be right but you may not be correct.
Lao Tzu’s standpoint is that to make the distinction, to bring the distinction in, creates confusion. One should live spontaneously, naturally, and one should not try to follow any right and any wrong. One should remain surrendered. One should live out of a let-go.
“…because so many people share this sickness no one perceives that it is a sickness.”
This confusion has become so common that nobody now thinks it is a sickness. All are ill with the same sickness, the same confusion. Not only those who follow but those who lead as well: they are also in the same boat.

Hungry, exhausted and frightened, the hunter dropped his rifle, stumbled forward, and threw his arms about the man who had just emerged from a patch of timber.
“Am I glad to see you,” he cried. “I’ve been lost for two days!”
“What are you so glad about?” mumbled the other hunter. “I’ve been lost for a week!”

Leaders and followers, the teachers and the taught, are all in the same boat. Whom to ask? All are ill. The confusion is so common that people have completely forgotten that it is an illness.
“Besides one man’s abnormality is not enough to overturn his family…”
And then he asked, “Why be so worried? Even if you think one man is abnormal, what is wrong?”
“Besides, one man’s abnormality is not enough to overturn his family; one family’s to overturn the neighborhood; one neighborhood’s to overturn the state; one state’s to overturn the world.”
So why be worried? A single individual, even if you think he is abnormal, even if it is agreed that he is abnormal, why be worried? He cannot overturn the whole world. He can be accepted the way he is. Why try to change him?
“If the whole world were abnormal, how could abnormality overturn it?”
Then, as far as Lao Tzu’s own vision is concerned, he says the whole world is abnormal. People may be abnormal in different ways, but the whole world is abnormal. But nobody looks at one’s own abnormality. It is very easy to think about the other as abnormal; it is very difficult to think about yourself as abnormal. It is very easy to have a condemnatory attitude about somebody else. Have you ever seen a madman who thinks that he is mad? Never. You can go to the madhouse; you can ask, and they will laugh. They will say, “Are you mad?” A madman never thinks that he is mad. He cannot. If a madman can think that he is mad, then it is certain that he is not mad. Such a man, a man who can think that he is mad, cannot be mad.
A few anecdotes…

In a crowded restaurant the psychiatrist was approached by a woman. “See that man over there?” she whispered. “He’s my husband and he needs your help. He thinks he’s a traffic light. All night long he keeps opening one eye, then closing it, then opening it…”
The headshrinker nodded and said, “I’ll go over and have a talk with him.”
“No, wait,” shouted the woman. “The light’s against you!”

It is very difficult to see that you are mad and it is very easy to think that the other is mad. It is part of the mad mind to think the other is mad.

The woman pleaded for help from the psychiatrist. “My husband thinks he’s a washing machine. He rolls his head around and around and back and forth and soap and hot water come out of his ears.”
The psychiatrist said, “I know it’s distressing, but I can’t see that this hallucination is doing any harm.”
“You don’t understand, Doctor,” the woman said. “He isn’t getting the sheets clean!”

Whenever you think of somebody as mad, wait a minute. The greater possibility is that you are mad. A really sane man like Lao Tzu says that nobody is mad.
People are simply different. Many people are suffering unnecessarily in hospitals, in madhouses, in asylums – suffering unnecessarily. They are not mad; they are different. Certainly they are different. They look at things in a different way, but there is nothing wrong in it.

Van Gogh painted trees so high that they touched the stars. He painted the sun and the moon so small and the trees so big – they go higher and higher and touch the stars. Somebody asked, “Are you mad? Where have you seen such trees? And suns and moons so small and trees so big?”
Van Gogh said, “Whenever I look at a tree, I see the desire of the earth to touch the sky. The tree is the desire of the earth to touch the sky. It is the ambition of the earth. So why be a miser? What the earth cannot do, I can do in my paintings. That’s the way I see it: desires of the earth to touch the sky.”

That is a way of seeing things: nothing is wrong in it. It is very poetic. A man of real understanding will be neutral. He will be like the sun. The sun shines as beautifully and as poetically on the dunghill as on the diamond. No distinction is made. That’s how real understanding is.
Nobody is sane; nobody is insane. If someday the Tao vision becomes the universal vision, many people will be saved from unnecessary suffering. Who decides it? As yet there are no criteria. If you go to a psychiatrist he cannot decide who is mad. All that they decide is that this person is too different from others – that’s all. But why should he be mad?
And the psychiatrist cannot help much. Even when he tries to bring an insane person to sanity, what can he do? At the most he forces the person to adjust to the view of the crowd. He makes him less individual. He destroys his individuality. Nothing much changes.

A man met a friend who had been under psychiatric care. “How are you progressing?” asked the man.
“Fine,” said the friend. “For months I thought I was a fox terrier, but analysis has helped me.”
“Are you cured?” asked the man.
“Not exactly,” his friend replied, “but I have stopped chasing cars.”

At least this much can be done. Certainly you will think that a person who thinks he is a fox terrier is mad, but what about Adolf Hitler? What about Josef Stalin? What about Chairman Mao Zedong? They didn’t think they were fox terriers but they were more dangerous. The man who thinks he is a fox terrier, what can he do? Even if he chases cars it is very innocent. He is not doing any harm to anybody. It is an innocent idea. Nothing wrong in it. But this man will be put into a madhouse and Josef Stalin will become the dictator of Russia and will kill millions of people. Nobody will think that he needs psychiatric help.
This is a very strange world. Innocent people are thought to be mad but nobody thinks the real culprits are mad. Adolf Hitler killed many people, but nobody thought that he was mad while he ruled Germany. Politicians, power-addicted people, money-mad people – nobody thinks them mad. But if somebody sitting under a tree starts laughing for no reason at all, you think he is mad. He is not doing any harm to anybody. He may have some reason to laugh which may not be apparent to you.
And, finally, what is wrong if somebody laughs without any reason? Why is a reason needed to laugh? In fact, a reason is needed to be miserable but no reason is needed to be happy. Happiness should be natural – for no reason. It should be bubbling up. One should be radiant, in tremendous joy, for no reason at all.
“If the whole world was abnormal, how could abnormality overturn it? Supposing the minds of everyone in the world were like your son’s, then, on the contrary, it is you who would be abnormal.”
He is raising a beautiful point. He is saying, “Just think! If everybody was like your son, then you would be abnormal. Now everybody is like you, so your son is abnormal.” The question seems to be only one of numbers. Who is in the majority? Whosoever is in the majority is normal and whosoever is in the minority is abnormal.
But is this a criterion for judging? Then all buddhas are abnormal – that’s what psychoanalysts really say. They say that Buddha was abnormal because he was so rare. He must have been abnormal. Mahavira was abnormal. Jesus was abnormal. You don’t find so many Jesuses; no crowd of Jesuses exists. Then he must have been abnormal. If the majority means normality then Jesus and Buddha and Mahavira and Krishna were abnormal.
What do you want to be? Would you like to be a buddha, or would you like to be just a part of a mob? Even if Buddha was abnormal, one would like to be a buddha because he was so happy, so serene, so calm, so tranquil.
Lao Tzu is saying to drop these ideas; they are meaningless. These distinctions and judgments are foolish.
“Joy and sorrow, music and beauty, smells and tastes, right and wrong – who can straighten them out?”
He says that joy and sorrow are indefinable, so are music and beauty. Who can figure out what is what? Nobody has yet been able to define what beauty is. And nobody has yet been able to define what good is. Good remains indefinable – so does beauty and so does music. What is music to one is just a maddening noise to another. If you are trained for classical Indian music, modern Western music will look insane. If you are trained to listen to modern Western music – jazz and others – then Indian music will look very boring, dull. It depends on your training. What is music? Nobody has yet been able to define it. All that is significant remains indefinable. “Who can straighten them out?”
“I am not even sure…”
Look at the beauty of it. Lao Tzu says:
“I am not even sure that these words of mine are not abnormal…”
What can I say? This is Lao Tzu’s absolute health. Only such a healthy person can say, “I am not certain that my words are abnormal or not. There is no way to say.” Only a really sane person can say, “Maybe I am mad.”

Recently a girl we know found an old love letter which her father had written to her mother when they were courting. The daughter copied the letter, signed a masculine name to it, and mailed it to herself. Then she showed it to her father. There was an explosion like that of an erupting volcano. The father could scarcely express himself. He snorted, “That fellow is the biggest fool I have ever heard of. You better not let him come poking around here or I’ll make mince-meat out of him. We don’t want such a simp in our family. Any ding-busted, fat-headed idiot who would write such a mess of sickly, silly hogwash to any girl deserves to be ducked in a mud hole – and I’d like to do it!”

Now, he himself had written that letter. Haven’t you done foolish things when you are in love? Haven’t you written foolish letters when you are in love? Haven’t you observed that lovers always look mad to other people? And the same will happen to them; when they are in love, others will think that they are mad.
Religious people have always looked mad to the non-religious; worshipping and praying in a temple, you look mad to an atheist. You look like a fool, foolish. What are you doing? To whom are you praying? There is no God. A happy person looks mad to unhappy, miserable people.
Those miserable people sometimes accidentally come here too, and when they come here they see a great crowd of mad people around me laughing, dancing, enjoying, singing. They cannot believe it! They are so miserable, how can they believe it? You only believe that which you are. More than that looks impossible, cannot be, should not be. You think that you are the limit of existence, or, you are the definition of existence.
Lao Tzu says:
“I am not even sure that these words of mine are not abnormal, let alone those of the gentlemen of Lu who are the most abnormal of all.”
About Confucius and his followers he is absolutely certain – they are the most abnormal people. They are the moralists, the puritans; they are the most abnormal people in the world. In fact, they have driven all of humanity to abnormality. They have not allowed spontaneity; they have not allowed people to be natural. They have condemned everything; they have condemned so much that people are simply at a loss as to how to be, what to be. They have condemned reality so much that all of humanity has become fake, pseudo. Everybody is wearing a mask. And everybody has lost their original face.

Two women met on the street for the first time in several months. One of them asked, “How’s your son?”
“Haven’t you heard?” the other asked. “It’s all over town. My son’s a schizophrenic.”
“Really?” her friend said. “Where’s his office?”

All schizophrenic people have now become psychoanalysts. The question “Where is his office?” is relevant. All mad people have turned into moralists, moralizers. They are trying to change the whole world. Whenever you come across a person who is trying to change the whole world, escape from him. He is dangerous. Nobody is needed to change the whole world. Missionaries are the most mischievous people in the world.
Live your life, enjoy your life. If, through your enjoyment and delight, somebody else’s life becomes a little more beautiful, good. If not, that too is good.
“…let alone those of the gentlemen of Lu who are the most abnormal of all. Who are they to cure other people’s abnormality?”
Who are they to cure, to help, to manipulate? Who are they to change others? Don’t become self-appointed dictators.
Moralists are self-appointed dictators. They are ready to change everybody. They are ready to sacrifice their lives to change your life. And they do sacrifice their lives! In sacrificing they are insane. Then they cling to your neck, they suffocate you. The do-gooders are suffocating. They try to kill you. And you cannot even defend yourself because they say, “We are doing you good. We are servants of the people. We serve.”
These servants are the enemies. They have poisoned all of nature. Not only is the atmosphere poisoned, humanity is also poisoned. Scientists have poisoned the outside nature and the so-called religious people have poisoned inner humanity. The whole ecology is disturbed, outer and inner, both.
“Who are they to cure other people’s abnormality? You had better go straight home instead of wasting your money.”
Look at this advice. You may not be able to understand immediately, but the message is very simple. The message is: don’t interfere. The message is: don’t judge. The message is: you are nobody to change somebody else. That is not your responsibility. You are not meant to do that. Live your life and allow others to live their lives. Let everybody have the freedom to do his thing.
All judgment is immoral, and all effort to change somebody is destructive and violent. That’s what your mahatmas and your saints have been doing up to now. That’s why I say that Lao Tzu is incomparable, unique, unsurpassed – before and after. His vision is the ultimate vision of spontaneity, suchness, nature. If you understand him, your life will start moving in a totally different rhythm. You will become a non-interference, wu-wei. Only when you don’t interfere in another’s life do you respect life – that’s what reverence of life is all about.
My teaching is exactly the same. I cannot say that about anybody else, but about Lao Tzu I can say that my teaching is exactly the same. With Buddha I have differences, although I may not say them. With Mahavira I have many, many differences, although I may not talk about them. But with Lao Tzu I am absolutely in agreement. The agreement is unconditional and absolute because he seems to be the only one who has looked at life without any mind, who has looked at life straight, who has no idea, no ideology.
You can also have exactly the same clarity and transparency. That will be the day of benediction, that will be the day of enlightenment. That’s what enlightenment is.
Enough for today.

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