The Dhammapada Vol 10 02

Second Discourse from the series of 13 discourses - The Dhammapada Vol 10 by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on oshoworld.com.

The first question:
Cannot the priests help humanity in some way or other?
They have been helping humanity for centuries; hence this miserable state of things. They have helped to create as many lies as possible – lies which appear comfortable. But in the end, lies are lies. Maybe for a short time they give you a feeling of warmth, coziness, security, but only for the moment. Sooner or later you are in a far darker state, far colder than ever.
Down the ages, priests have been inventing strategies for you to remain as you are. You don’t want to change; you simply want comfortable lies to be handed over to you so that you can go on living the way you are. To change oneself needs courage; priests help you to remain cowards. You are afraid of death. Priests go on consoling you, “Don’t be worried. Your soul is eternal.” And you don’t have any idea of the soul at all.
George Gurdjieff used to say that it is very rare to come across a person who has a soul. Others are just empty; there is nothing inside. Yes, there is a potential to create a soul in everyone, but it is not an actuality. You can be a soul, you can become part of eternity, you can be immortal, but that is only a possibility. Much work – hard work, arduous work – will be needed to make it a reality, to realize it.
But priests have been telling you for centuries that you already have a soul. Only the body dies and the soul continues on its eternal pilgrimage. It consoles you. It keeps you, in a certain sense, together. You don’t become too afraid of death. In fact, it would be better if you were too scared of death. That very fear might start an inquiry in you. That very shock might trigger a process of transformation in you.
Buddha used to send his disciples to see dead bodies being burned, to meditate there, to watch the flames consuming a body until in the end nothing was left, only a few bones and ashes. This was his usual procedure – for the new sannyasins to be sent to watch the burning bodies for three months at least, so that they could feel the reality of death, so that the reality of death could sink deep into their hearts.
Only that can wake you up. But now the priests are helping by giving you tranquilizers, to keep you asleep as comfortably as possible. That has been their service and they have been paid well for their service. They are as ignorant as you are, as unaware as you are. They are in the same situation as you are: they also need consolation. They look into scriptures for their consolation. They go on reading the scriptures, continuously repeating the same scripture again and again, because that’s how one gets auto-hypnotized. The Christian priest goes on reading the same Bible again and again, and the Hindu priest goes on reciting the Gita again and again. Every day, every morning he recites the same scripture. It becomes mechanical, it becomes like a gramophone record. He goes on repeating and it becomes part of his memory with no meaning, no significance. He is just like a parrot. But it gives consolation. Repeating certain truths again and again hypnotizes you.
Krishna says: “When the body dies, the soul does not die. You can burn the body, but the fire cannot consume the soul. Na hanyate hanyamane shareere – you can kill the body, but you cannot kill the spirit, you cannot kill the soul, because no arrow can reach to it, no sword can cut it. Nainam chhindanti shastrani, nainam dahati pavakah – neither any weapon can cut me nor fire burn me.” Go on repeating it again and again and again, year in, year out; you become auto-hypnotized. You start believing it, although you have not created any soul in you yet.
Krishna is right: the soul is eternal – but first you have to have it. It is not there. Soul means consciousness, soul means integratedness. Soul means that you know through your own experience that you are not the body and not the mind. It arises only through witnessing the bodymind mechanism. It is not created by repetition, repetition is hypnosis. It is experienced just the other way: you have to become dehypnotized, you have to become unconditioned. You have to forget all the scriptures and all the priests and you have to look into yourself. Howsoever fearful it is, you have to encounter your interiority.
The priests help you to remain on the circumference. They seem to be great friends, but in the final reckoning they are the greatest enemies. It is not Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong who are the real enemies of religion. The real enemies are the priests, the popes, the shankaracharyas, and so on, so forth. They don’t know what they are doing. How can they help you? They simply go on repeating tradition, handing over conventions to you, ancient conventions, but dead.
You ask me, “Cannot the priests help humanity in some way or other?” Yes, they can help, they can disappear! We no longer need them. Man has come of age. All these consolations are not needed. We need people, rebellious people, not conventional priests. We need buddhas, awakened people to wake you up. We need buddhas, not these priests who go on giving you new toys to play with. And they have created beautiful toys, no doubt about it. They are very clever, cunning. They have centuries of experience behind them in how to exploit humanity, how to exploit humanity’s weaknesses.
But remember: they don’t differ from you in any way as far as consciousness is concerned. Maybe they know more than you know, their information is greater than yours. That is a quantitative difference; it is not a difference that makes a difference. A qualitative difference is needed.
Being led by blind people is dangerous. They have destroyed the whole beauty of human beings, they have destroyed the freedom of human beings. They have destroyed all that is valuable. They have left you just deserted, empty, meaningless. It is felt all over the world. Why are people feeling so empty and meaningless? Who has done this to them? Centuries of priesthoods, of different religions, have been giving them false consolations. All those false consolations are no longer applicable. Man has become more adult. It is good to give children toys to play with, but when somebody comes of age and you go on giving him toys to play with, he will start feeling life is meaningless. He needs something more; he needs something more real. Beware of being led by blind people.

A young woman, hardly more than a girl, went to see the local rabbi. “You don’t know me,” she began with a catch in her throat, “but I just had to speak to somebody. You see, I have no mother or father and I don’t know much about worldly matters.”
“You don’t have to say another word,” said the rabbi. “I understand perfectly. It is a man, isn’t it?”
“Yes, and he is always trying to kiss me. Kiss, kiss, kiss – that’s all he ever thinks of.”
You must be firm,” said the rabbi sternly. “That kind of man you don’t need. Just tell him you don’t allow such kinds of goings-on.”
As she left, the rabbi said, “Come back in a week and let me know how you are making out.”
Sure enough, the girl returned a week later, but this time she was even more disturbed than before.
“What is the matter now?” asked the rabbi.
“I stopped him from all that kissing,” said the unhappy young lady, “but now – well, I don’t know how to put it…”
“Put, put!” urged the rabbi. “With me you got nothing to be ashamed.”
“He’s trying to – er – touch me with his hands,” she stammered in embarrassment.
The rabbi rose from his chair in righteous anger. “You tell that no-goodnik he should keep his dirty hands to himself!” barked the rabbi. “What kind of a way is that to treat a decent Jewish girl? Tell him to stop at once, you hear?”
But when she visited the rabbi again she was almost in tears. “I did everything you said,” moaned the girl, “but now he insists he wants to sleep with me.”
“What!” yelled the outraged rabbi. “I never heard of such chutzpah in my whole life. You go right home and the next time you see him I want you to throw that bum out of the house. You understand? I am ordering you! Throw him out!”
A few days later she visited the rabbi once more. Her eyes were red from weeping and her face was a picture of misery.
“Did you do like I ordered?” demanded the rabbi.
She nodded, and, still sobbing, she said through her tears, “Now he wants a divorce!”

Your priests are as unconscious as you are, or even more. They are not even aware of the situation man is passing through. They go on handing out old recipes which are no longer relevant. They go on giving you great advice which may have been useful sometime in the past but is utterly out of context in the present situation.
You don’t need more priests and their help. You need a few awakened people in the world. You need more meditators, not mediators. The priests have been mediators between you and God. You need more meditators, people who go deeper into their being, people who become centered, people who know the inner silence, the virgin silence and the tremendous beauty of it. They will help humanity, and they will not help humanity directly either. Their very presence will radiate new vibes which can transform.
A real person always helps people indirectly. He is not aggressive. He does not command you, “Do this, don’t do that.” He does not destroy your freedom in any way. He simply lives his life in the light that he has found within himself. And being with him, something transpires between you and him.
A real master is never a priest. And I have never heard about a priest who was a real master. If you are a master you cease to be a priest, and if you are a priest it is impossible for you to be a master. The priest belongs to a certain ideology – Hindu, Christian, Mohammedan. The master belongs to no ideology. He is more conscious, not more knowledgeable. He has more being, not more knowledge. He has more soul, not a bigger memory. He may not know the scriptures – because he himself is the scripture! And you will not find him in the temples and the mosques and the churches.

I have heard about a very religious black man who wanted to go to church, but there was only one church in his neighborhood and that belonged to white people.
The priest was a kindly man, as priests are supposed to be. When the man knocked on the door one day, the priest came out. The priest was in an embarrassing situation – whether to say yes to him or no. To say yes was dangerous because the whole congregation will be against it. It was the white people’s church and no black person had been allowed; that was a tacit agreement. But how to say no to this simple man whose eyes were full of tears and who said, “I want to come in and I want to pray to Jesus Christ”?
But priests are cunning people. Howsoever kind they may appear on the surface, deep down they are cunning. If they are not cunning they will not be in the profession of the priests at all, because that profession is far worse than any other profession. Even prostitutes are better than priests! At least they sell only their bodies, and priests are selling even their souls.
The priest immediately invented some strategy. He said, “Good, you can come, but not right now. First purify yourself, only then will your prayer be heard.”
That was a tricky strategy. No white man was ever asked to purify himself first, and then enter into the church. And who is going to decide when the man is pure enough? That will be up to the priest and he can always go on saying, “You are not pure enough yet.”
The man went back. He was really in a deep love affair with God; he cried and wept, and he tried in every possible way not to do anything wrong, to avoid anything that may make him impure. For three weeks he remained in isolation, fasting, praying. And after three weeks God appeared to him: his desire was fulfilled.
After that experience he went to the church. The priest was very much afraid – this man was coming again, and he had such a beautiful aura around him that the priest was very much afraid to say, “You are not pure yet.” His purity was shining; it was like a sun rising on the horizon. It was so clearly there that to deny it would be a sin, and the priest was afraid.
The man came very close to the door, just near the steps, stood there, laughed loudly, and turned back toward home. The priest was very much puzzled why he did this. He ran after him, got hold of him and said, “Why did you do this? Don’t you want to come in the church?”
He answered, “No, I don’t want to come in the church. I had just come to see you and the church once more, because last night God appeared to me and when he was there I asked him, ‘Can I enter into the church? Am I pure enough now?’ God said, ‘You are pure, more pure than anybody else who goes into the church, more pure than the priest himself. But please, don’t go into the church. They won’t allow you in. I know it from my own experience because for years I have been trying to go into that church and they don’t allow me. If they don’t allow me into the church, how can they allow you? Drop the whole idea. I have dropped it myself!’”

Your churches, your temples are empty. They are graves of religion. Religion no longer flowers there. Yes, when a Jesus is alive there is a great flowering, when Buddha is alive there is a great flowering, but not in a Buddhist temple, not in a Christian church.
Priests are the people who take advantage of the awakened ones. Once the awakened person goes, leaves his body, the priests jump upon his doctrine, start making a great business out of it, start making interpretations according to themselves.
Christianity has nothing to do with Christ, remember, and Buddhism has nothing to do with Buddha, and Jainism has nothing to do with Mahavira. It is a strange thing, but it has been happening consistently. No religion has anything to do with the original source. In fact, Christians are more destructive to Christ’s message than anybody else, and the priests are the leaders of the Christians. They don’t have any relationship with Christ, they can’t have. They are afraid of Christ. They must be afraid deep down that if sometime they come across Christ and he asks, “What have you done to my message?” how are they going to answer it?
I have heard…

Once the phone rang in the pope’s room in the Vatican. There was nobody else there so the pope himself took the call. It was from New York, and the archpriest from New York was trembling, his voice was trembling. He said, “Look! Listen! Believe me – a man has come into the church and he looks exactly like Jesus Christ. What am I supposed to do now?”
The pope pondered over it for a few moments and then said, “Look busy!”

What else to do?
Priests have dominated humanity. They are the politicians of the inner world, just as politicians are the priests of the outer world. And there is a conspiracy between the priests and the politicians, a mutual understanding, a division: “You rule man in his subjectivity and we will rule man from his outside.” They have exploited, oppressed. They have destroyed much.
And you ask me, “Cannot the priests help humanity in some way or other?” The only way that I can conceive is that because they are no longer needed, they should disappear. That will be their greatest service to humanity.

The second question:
I feel an urge for artistic expression and have had a disciplined, classical training in Western music. Often I feel this training imprisons spontaneous creativity and I have found it very difficult to practice regularly lately. I am not sure anymore what the qualities of true art are and by which process the artist produces and delivers authentic art. How can I feel the artist in me?
The paradox of art is that first you have to learn its discipline and then you have to forget it totally. If you don’t know its ABC you will not be able to move very deeply into it. But if you know only its technique and you go on practicing the technique your whole life you may become very skillful technically, but you will remain a technician; you will never become an artist.
In Zen they say that if you want to be a painter, for twelve years learn how to paint and then for twelve years forget all about painting. Just completely forget – it has nothing to do with you. For twelve years meditate, chop wood, carry water from the well. Do anything, but not painting.
And then one day you will be able to paint. Twenty-four years training: twelve years training in learning the technique and twelve years training in forgetting the technique. And then you can paint. Now the technique has become just a part of you; it is no longer technical knowledge, it has become part of your blood and bones and marrow. Now you can be spontaneous. It will not hinder you, it will not imprison you.
That’s exactly my experience too.
Now don’t go on practicing. Forget all about classical music. Do other kinds of things: gardening, sculpture, painting, but forget about classical music, as if it does not exist at all. For a few years let it remain deep down in your being so that it becomes digested. Then it is no longer a technique. One day a sudden urge will take possession of you and you will start playing again. When you play again, don’t be bothered too much about the technique, otherwise you will never be spontaneous.
Be a little innovative – that’s what creativity is. Innovate new ways, new means. Try something new that nobody has ever done. The greatest creativity happens in people whose training is in some other discipline.
For example, if a mathematician starts playing music he will bring something new to the world of music. If a musician becomes a mathematician he will bring something new to the world of mathematics. All great creativity happens through people who move from one discipline to another. It is like crossbreeding. And children that come out of crossbreeding are far healthier, far more beautiful.
That’s why in every country for centuries, marriages between brothers and sisters have been prohibited; there is a reason in it. A marriage is better if it is between people who are very distantly related or not related at all as far as blood is concerned. It will be good if people from one race marry into another race. And if some day we discover people on some other planet, the best way will be a crossbreeding between earth and the other planet. Then newer kinds, newer people will be coming into existence.
The prohibition, the taboo against brother–sister relationship, their marriage, is significant, scientifically significant. But it has not been worked out into detail to its extreme, to its logical extreme. The logical extreme is that no Indian should marry another Indian, no German should marry another German. The best thing is that for instance, a German marries an Indian, an Indian marries a Japanese, a Japanese marries an African, an African marries an American, a Jew marries a Christian, a Christian marries a Hindu, a Hindu marries a Mohammedan. That will be the best thing. That will raise the consciousness of the whole planet. It will give better children, more alert, more alive, richer in every possible way.
But we are so foolish that we can do anything, we can accept anything. Then what am I saying…?

Chauncey, a handsome, almost pretty young man, was speaking earnestly with his mother.
“Mumsie, the time has come – it really has – when we must have a heart-to-heart talk about my relationship with Myron. To be quite candid about it, our relationship has blossomed into – how shall I say it without sounding indelicate? – well, into something beautiful and good and even holy. The truth is, Mumsie dear, I love Myron and Myron loves me in return. We want to be married as soon as possible and we both hope you will give us your blessings.”
“But Chauncey,” the mother protested, “do you realize what you are saying? Can you honestly expect me to condone such a marriage? What will people say? What will our friends and neighbors think?”
“Ah, Mumsie, you are going to be dreary. I can feel it in my bones. And after we have been such good pals, too. I never would have believed it of you, of all people. I could just cry!”
“But, son, you can’t go against convention like this!”
“All right, Mumsie, let us have it right out in the open like civilized persons. Exactly and precisely what possible objection could you or anyone else have to Myron and me becoming husband and husband?”
“You know perfectly well why I object: he is Jewish!”

She is not objecting to a homosexual marriage; she is objecting because he is Jewish. People are so against each other. They have been conditioned for this antagonism for so long that they have forgotten completely that we are all human beings, that we belong to the same earth, to the same planet.
The greater the distance between the wife and the husband, the better will be the by-product of the marriage. The same happens in music, in painting, in mathematics, in physics, in chemistry: a kind of crossbreeding. Whenever a person moves from one discipline to another discipline he brings the flavor of his discipline, although that discipline cannot be practiced. What can you do with your music when you go into physics? You have to forget all about it, but it remains in the background. It has become part of you; it is going to affect whatsoever you do. Physics is far away, but if you have been disciplined in music, sooner or later you will find theories, hypotheses, which somehow have the color and the fragrance of music. You may start feeling that the world is a harmony – not a chaos but a cosmos. You may start feeling, searching into deeper realms of physics, that existence is an orchestra. Now, that is not possible for one who has not known anything of music.
If a dancer moves into music he will bring something new, he will contribute something new to music.
My suggestion is that people should go on moving from one discipline into another discipline. When you become accustomed to one discipline, when you become imprisoned with the technique, just slip out of it into another discipline. It is a good idea, a great idea to go on moving from one discipline into another. You will find yourself becoming more and more creative.
One thing has to be remembered: if you are really creative you may not become famous. A really creative person takes time to become famous because he has to create the values – new values, new criteria, only then can he be judged. He has to wait at least fifty years; by that time he is dead. Only then people start appreciating him. If you want fame, then forget all about creativity. Then just practice and practice, and just go on doing the thing that you are doing more skillfully, more technically perfectly, and you will be famous because people understand it; it is already accepted.
Whenever you bring something new into the world you are bound to be rejected. The world never forgives a person who brings anything new to the world. The creative person is bound to be punished by the world, remember it. The world appreciates the uncreative but skillful person, the technically perfect person, because technical perfection simply means perfection of the past. And everybody understands the past, everybody has been educated to understand it. To bring something new into the world means nobody will be able to appreciate it. It is so new that there are no criteria against which it can be valued. No methods are still in existence which can help people to understand it. It will take at least fifty years or more; the artist will be dead. By that time people will start appreciating it.
Vincent van Gogh was not appreciated in his day. Not even a single painting was ever sold. Now each of his paintings is sold for millions of dollars, and those same paintings people were not ready to accept even as gifts from Vincent van Gogh. He had given them to friends, to anybody who was ready to hang them in their room. Nobody was ready to hang his pictures in their rooms because people were worried. Others would ask, “Have you gone mad or something? What kind of painting is this?”
Vincent van Gogh had his own world. He brought a new vision. It took many, many decades; slowly, slowly humanity started feeling that something was there. Humanity is slow and lethargic; it lags behind time. And the creative person is always ahead of his time; hence the gap.
So, if you really want to be creative you will have to accept that you can’t be famous, you can’t be well-known. If you really want to be creative, then you have to learn the simple phenomenon: art for art’s sake, for no other motive. Then enjoy whatsoever you are doing. If you can find a few friends to enjoy it, good; if nobody is there to enjoy, then enjoy it alone. If you are enjoying it, that is enough. If you feel fulfilled through it, that is enough.
You say, “I am not sure anymore what the qualities of true art are…” True art means: if it helps you to become silent, still, joyous; if it gives you a celebration; if it makes you dance – whether anybody participates with you or not is irrelevant; if it becomes a bridge between you and existence – that is true art. If it becomes a meditation, that is true art. If you become absorbed in it, so utterly absorbed that the ego disappears, that is true art.
True art comes very close to religion. So don’t be worried what true art is. If you rejoice in doing it, if you feel lost in doing it, if you feel overwhelmed with joy and peace in doing it, it is true art. And don’t be bothered what critics say. Critics don’t know anything about art. In fact, the people who cannot become artists become critics. If you cannot participate in a running race, if you cannot be an Olympic runner, at least you can stand by the side of the road and throw stones at other runners; that you can do easily. That’s what critics go on doing. They can’t be participants, they can’t create anything.

I have heard about a Sufi mystic who loved painting, and all the critics of his time were against him. Everybody would come and show him, “This is wrong, that is wrong.”
He became tired of these people, so one day, he hung all his paintings in front of his house and he invited all the critics and told them to come with brushes, with colors, so that they can correct his paintings, because they have criticized enough; now the time has come to correct.
Not a single critic turned up. It is easy to criticize, it is difficult to correct, and since then critics stopped coming and stopped criticizing his paintings. He did the right thing.

People who don’t know how to create become critics. So don’t be worried about them. The decisive thing is your inner feeling, inner glow, inner warmth. If making music gives you a feeling of warmth, joy arises in you, ego disappears, then it becomes a bridge between you and existence. Art can be the most prayerful thing, the most meditative thing possible. If you can be in any art, music, painting, sculpture, dance, if any art can take a grip of your being, that’s the best way toward prayerfulness, the best way to meditate. Then you don’t need any other meditation; that is your meditation. That will lead you slowly, slowly step by step, into godliness. So this is my criterion: if it leads you toward godliness, it is true art, it is authentic art.

The third question:
What do you think of life after death?
I totally agree with Tristan Bernard, the French-Jewish writer, who was once asked the same question. He was asked what he thought of life after death. He replied, “With regard to the climate, I would prefer heaven, but with regard to the company I would give preference to hell.”

The fourth question:
What to do with the persistence of unblissful, seemingly infinite resistance?
Accept it, don’t resist it. Don’t resist the resistance. That’s what you are doing. The first resistance is not the problem at all; the second resistance creates the problem. You are resisting your resistance. Your misery is unnecessarily multiplied. Drop the second resistance and you will be surprised: if you drop the second, the first will evaporate on its own accord.
Jesus says: “Resist not evil.” This is a very strange statement; no other awakened person has given such a rebellious statement. Christian priests, missionaries, don’t talk about it at all. They talk about other things, but they don’t talk about this strange statement: resist not evil. It seems very illogical, irreligious. Evil has to be resisted, and Jesus says: “Resist not evil.” Why?
There is a secret in it. If you resist evil, you give energy to it. Every resistance gives energy to the thing resisted. “Don’t resist evil” means if you don’t resist it, it will drop on its own accord because you will not be nourishing it by your energy; you are disconnected immediately.
You say, “What to do with the persistence of unblissful, seemingly infinite resistance?” Nothing has to be done. If you do anything you will create more and more resistance; that’s how you have made it infinite. It is not infinite. Only godliness is infinite, nothing else. How can your resistance be infinite? But you are making it infinite because you are pouring your energy into it. You are trying to resist it, fight it, repress it in subtle ways, so it comes up again and again.
My suggestion is to accept it, and then see what happens. Whatsoever happens is good. In the beginning you may be afraid to accept it. In the beginning you will think, “If I accept it then I will have to follow it.” No, that is not the truth. If you totally accept it you will see it dying immediately, you have cut the very roots. That’s what Jesus means. He wants to destroy evil totally; hence he says: “Resist not evil.” If you resist, you will go on feeding it.
The first resistance is never the problem, the second resistance is. And you cannot do anything about the first; you can do something only about the second, because that is yours. What can be done? If resistance is there it is there – welcome it, accept it. But you are doing the second in many ways.
Amit Prem goes on writing letters to me: “I feel very sad, I feel very miserable, depressed. I suffer from an inferiority complex.” When I was reading his letter in which he talks about his suffering from an inferiority complex I was reminded about a politician who was going through psychoanalysis…

After three years of great psychoanalytic work, the psychoanalyst one day welcomed him beaming with joy, and he said, “Come in. I have found everything. Now there is no need for any psychoanalysis anymore. Your problem is solved!”
The politician was also happy. He said, “What solution have you found?”
And the psychoanalyst said, “You are not suffering from an inferiority complex. You simply are inferior, so there is no problem!”

This is acceptance. Amit Prem, you simply are inferior, accept it! You suffer from an inferiority complex because there is a great desire to be superior. That desire for superiority creates in its wake the suffering of an inferiority complex. Accept it.
I am inferior – look at me! You can’t be more inferior than I am. I am so ordinary! I cannot do any miracle, I cannot walk on water. I must be suffering from an inferiority complex because Jesus walked on water. You see how ordinary I am! But I am so blissful because I go on saying, “So what?” I can’t walk on water, that’s true. I don’t make a problem out of it. You can make a problem out of anything.
I have heard…

When Moses was coming from Egypt and the enemies were following on his heels and they came close to the sea, now there was a problem: what to do? The sea was a barrier and the enemy was closing in. They were coming closer and closer every moment.
Then suddenly a miracle happened: the sea became divided into two parts. Huge columns of water rose on both sides and a small pathway appeared in the middle.
Moses looked at the sky and said, “My God, only one thing I have to ask you. Why is it always me who has to be the first? Now I have to enter into this danger! Why do I always have to be the first?”

You can even complain about your miracles, and I don’t complain even about my ordinariness.

Golda Meir, the ex-prime minister of Israel, used to say again and again, “I cannot forgive Moses. For forty years he led our people in the desert, and he found Israel – the only place where there is no oil! I cannot forgive this man. And he passed many places which had oil.”

Simply accept the way you are. You can’t be anybody else. Because you are trying to be somebody else, that creates the trouble.
Amit Prem goes on writing to me, “I want to be an insider in the ashram, and I remain on the periphery.” So what is wrong with being on the periphery? I am not even on the periphery! You are at least on the periphery. Wherever you are, enjoy it. If you become accustomed to creating misery for yourself, even if you are at the very center you will be suffering. You will say, “God, why do I always have to be at the center and to carry the whole responsibility?”
I say, I am not at the center because I carry no responsibility at all. You will not find a more irresponsible person in the whole world than I am. I have no responsibility at all. Even on the periphery you have some responsibilities. Even the guards sitting on the gate have some responsibility.
Learn to enjoy wherever you are and whatsoever you are. Don’t make much fuss about it. If there is resistance it is natural, because this whole process is of surrender. Sannyas is surrender. Resistance is natural. So accept it, and through acceptance it will die a natural death.

The fifth question:
Are you against the Women's Liberation Movement?
I am not against women, I am all for them. But the liberation movement is something ugly – and I know the responsibility is on the male chauvinists. They have been doing so much harm to women down the ages that now the woman wants to take revenge. But whenever you start taking revenge you become destructive. The movement is still in a destructive phase; it has not become creative. And I am against destructiveness.
It is of no use to go on looking at past wounds. It is of no use to take revenge because of the past. One should learn to forgive and forget. Yes, it was wrong – accept it. Whatsoever has been done to women down the ages was absolutely wrong. Man has exploited them. Man has been very brutal, very animalistic. Man has reduced women to slaves; even more than that, he has reduced them to things, to possessions. But what is the point of taking revenge? Then you become the pursuer and man becomes the pursued. Then another kind of chauvinism begins to take form and shape. Then the female chauvinist is born. And this is not going to put things right. Then the women will start doing harm to men, and sooner or later they will take revenge. Where is this going to stop? It is a vicious circle.
My feeling is that instead of men stopping it, it is far easier for women to stop it, to come out of the vicious circle, because women are more loving, more compassionate. Man is more aggressive, more violent. I don’t have much hope from men, I hope much from women. Hence I am not in favor of the aggressive attitude and approach of the Women’s Lib. Movement.

Mrs. Farid presented herself at the gate of heaven and knocked with trembling hand.
“Madam,” said Father Abraham, peering suspiciously through a peephole, “from whence did you come?”
“From Flatbush I came,” replied Mrs. Farid with embarrassment, as great beads of perspiration spangled her spiritual brow.
“Never mind, my daughter,” replied the patriarch compassionately. “Eternity is a long time; you can live that down.”
“Mister, I got something to confess,” she went on, obviously worried.
“In our religion we don’t have confessions.”
“But this is different. If you will take a look in your records, you will see that maybe I don’t belong here. I – I – well – I poisoned my husband and I chopped up my brother-in-law. Not only that, I…”
Father Abraham suddenly grew stern. “Your aggressive behavior does indeed present a problem, madam. Were you a member of the Women’s Liberation Movement?”
The gates of pearl and alabaster swung open upon their golden hinges, making the most ravishing music, and the patriarch bowed low.
“Enter into thy eternal rest.”
But Mrs. Farid hesitated. “The poisoning, the chopping, the…the…” she stammered.
“Of no consequence, I assure you. We are not going to be hard on a lady who did not belong to the Women’s Lib. Take a harp.”
“But I applied for membership. They would not let me in.”
“Take two harps.”

Don’t be worried. There are many women here who have belonged to the Women’s Lib. Movement. But as they have come closer to me, their attitudes have changed, their approach has changed. Life’s problems can only be solved by love, they cannot be solved by any violent approach.
Men and women are different worlds; hence it is difficult to understand each other. The past has been full of misunderstandings, but that is not necessarily to be so in the future. We can learn a lesson from the past, and the only lesson is that man and woman have to become more understanding of each other and more accepting of each other’s differences. Those differences are valuable, they need not create any conflict; in fact, they are the causes of attraction between them. If all the differences between men and women disappear, if they have the same kind of psychology, love will also disappear because the polarity will not be there. Man and woman are like negative and positive poles of electricity: they are pulled toward each other magnetically. They are opposite poles, hence, conflict is natural. But through understanding, through compassion, through love, through looking into the other’s world and trying to be sympathetic to it, all the problems can be solved. There is no need to create more conflict. Enough is enough.
Man needs as much liberation as woman. Both need liberation – liberation from the mind. They should cooperate with each other and help each other to be liberated from the mind. That will be a true liberation movement.
That’s what sannyas is all about.

The last question:
Are you God the creator?
Do you think I am mad?

For almost a year, Grandpa Sulzberg had been a constant embarrassment to his family. He would mount a soap box on street corners in his neighborhood and proclaim himself the messiah. Then he would proceed to harangue the amused crowds that gathered, hurling fierce warnings and injunctions, reminding them of the dire consequences of their evil ways. In his long white robe which he had fashioned from a bed sheet, and his flowing, silvery beard, he did indeed look like a biblical patriarch.
Old Sulzberg’s delusion gradually worsened, and finally his sons and daughters and grown grandchildren held a conference and reluctantly agreed to send him to an institution. There, they hoped, with proper treatment, he might regain his sanity and then return home.
At the Cedars of Lebanon Home for the Mentally Disturbed, the “messiah” got along famously with his fellow patients. Until, that is, he made the mistake of exhorting them to abandon their godless ways.
“I am Moses reincarnated,” he thundered like a prophet of old. “I am the messiah!”
“Oh yeah?” yelled one of the patients. “Who said so?”
“I will tell you who said so,” yelled Mr. Sulzberg-turned-messiah. “God said so!”
And from the outer circle of patients an indignant voice rang out: “I did not!”

Enough for today.

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