Teaching: A Power Trip
September 5th is the birthday of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan; a distinguished scholar, teacher and independent India’s second President. In his honour and at his behest, this day is celebrated as Teachers’ Day in India. He was a professor of philosophy and a strong proponent of education. He famously said reading a book gives us the habit of solitary reflection and true enjoyment. Dr. Radhakrishnan was the first Indian to hold a professorial chair at Oxford University. He believed that teachers should be the best minds in the country.
Students mark this occasion with dance, drama and cultural performances in schools and colleges. But the Teachers’ Day celebrations are not confined to educational institutions. Persons of all age groups fondly remember their favorite teachers from yesteryears and express their gratitude and love for them through greetings and tributes.
The role of teachers is crucial in guiding a child to actualize his/her potential. Osho says the world is in so much chaos because everybody is wrongly placed. The man who was meant to be a painter, has become a doctor. And the man who was meant to be a prime minister has become a plumber. Wrong education leads you to things that do not fit with you and unless something fits with you, you will not be healthy, you will not be whole.
Teachers’ Day is a reminder of the enormous contribution of teachers in the holistic growth and development of a child through right education. Osho explains what constitutes Right Education – My vision of a right education is to teach people how to grow the ego and how to be able to drop it; how to become great minds and yet be ready any moment to put the mind aside. You should know the mechanism to turn on and turn off your personality, your ego, your mind. … … … If education is right, then universities should not be against the universe; rather they should be jumping-boards into the universe. If education is right, then it will not be concerned about money, power and prestige. Rather it will be concerned about your happiness, music, love, poetry, dance. It will teach you how to open, unfold and grow. It won’t go on simply throwing information into your head. It will help you to come out of your being, to flower, to expand.
THE OTHER DAY WHEN YOU SAID THAT I WAS “COMING ALONG FINE, SLOW BUT STEADY.” FOR ME, IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL STATEMENT. BUT IT TOUCHED AN OLD WOUND THAT I WAS HARDLY AWARE OF.
THE WOUND COMES FROM SCHOOL AND BEING OFTEN TOLD THAT I WAS SLOW, A BIT DIM, NOT VERY INTELLIGENT AND DEFINITELY NEEDED TO TRY HARDER.
AND LISTENING TO YOU I HAD THE FEELING THAT MAYBE ALL THIS WAS TRUE. IS IT?
Vimal, whatever your teacher said to you is almost a universal problem.
Teachers hurt their students, not out of love, not to help them, but to feel a certain power…Sigmund Freud came to the same conclusion — that the people who teach in the schools, who choose the profession of teaching, somehow are people who don’t have the courage to go into politics but still want to dominate. That is one thing to remember about teachers. In my vision not everybody should be allowed to be a teacher. It is one of the most fundamental things in life. Only people who have a meditative understanding and no desire to dominate should be allowed to be teachers. Then they will not hurt others, just to feel powerful themselves…
Teachers are psychologically attracted towards the profession for the simple desire of dominating, insulting, humiliating — not out of love, not out of respect, not out of concern for your growth.
So it is good that you got your wound opened up. It has been created in your school, where they were telling you that you were “slow, a bit dim, not very intelligent and definitely needed to try harder.” Now you are saying, “And listening to you I had the feeling that maybe all this was true. Is it?” No. Something of it was true and something of it was not true. I will have to separate the truth from the untruth.
You are not unintelligent, you are not dim; these statements are ugly from any teacher towards any student. These are the statements which make people dim and unintelligent, because repeated often in every class, again and again, they become a kind of hypnosis. They start believing in them. And once a person starts believing that he is unintelligent, dim, he starts acting also in an unintelligent way, because he has to prove the idea that he has been given. But as far as your being slow is concerned, they were absolutely right. You are slow, you are lazy. And your laziness is not bone lazy; otherwise I will forgive it. You are just lazy by habit. Bone lazy is someone who cannot help himself; from his very bones he is lazy. I am bone lazy, so I know perfectly well what bone lazy means. I have never done anything. How I have managed my life I sometimes wonder. People have been doing so much, and still they cannot manage their lives. It is just a miracle; I have simply not done anything
One of my friends came from the Soviet Union to see me. He shook hands and he told me, “You should never go to the Soviet Union.” I said, “Why?”
He said, “Your hands! Anybody shaking hands with you will immediately say that you don’t belong to the proletariat, you are a capitalist, because you have never done anything — no sign on your hands that you have even carried a bucket of water.” And that’s true!
You are in a far better position, Vimal. I cannot help it, so I have not tried at all; I have simply relaxed in my laziness. People have understood that if somebody is bone lazy and you love him, what to do? — prepare food for him, prepare clothes for him, prepare his bed, prepare his bathroom, do everything. You are just habitually lazy. You can drop it, you are more fortunate than me. But that does not mean that you have to work harder. You have just to understand that laziness is your habit, and to be enslaved by any habit is against your own growth. I am not interested that you should work more or less — what does it matter? At least to me it matters nothing whether anybody works or not. This much is certain: that if for fifty-seven years I could manage without moving from my bed, moving from my chair… that is the only movement I do. I am the only man who enjoys freedom of movement — no obstacles, no problem.
But it will go against your own growth if you don’t drop the habit. And you have such a beautiful soul that it will be a great misfortune not to attain to the ultimate illumination I have been talking about. Your laziness may become a hindrance; it is just against your own growth.
So you can think: if you want to remain the same, I have no objection; if you want to grow, then just see that your laziness is not something natural to you. You have learned it just by your teachers telling you that you are unintelligent, you are dim. You accepted their ideas — and the natural effect of those ideas is laziness. You are neither unintelligent nor dim. Drop that laziness which is hanging around like darkness. By dropping it you will find your intelligence becoming sharper, better, your understanding more clear, more deep, your love gaining new flowers and new foliage…
Vimal, just give it a try.
I have nothing against laziness. It is not a sin, it is not a crime; it is only a hindrance to your own spiritual growth. But if you find it impossible and if you find that it is your very nature, then relax in it, it is perfectly good.
But first give it a try, because my understanding is that bone lazy people are very rare in the world, they cannot survive. How have I survived? Later on when you start writing about me, make it a miracle!
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Great Pilgrimage : From Here to Here
Chapter title: Om the master’s operating table
14 September 1987 pm in Gautam the Buddha Auditorium
Osho has spoken on ‘teacher, education, school, conditioning, religion, politics’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
- The Messiah, Vol 2
- Satyam Shivam Sundram
- Take It Easy, Vol 2
- Vedanta: Seven Steps to Samadhi
- Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
- The Secret
- The Guest
- Light on the Path
- Philosophia Perennis, Vol 2