The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty 12

Twelth Discourse from the series of 15 discourses - The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on oshoworld.com.

The first question:
How to sacrifice the ego?
It is impossible. The ego cannot be sacrificed because the ego doesn’t exist. The ego is just an idea, it has no substance in it. It is not something, it is just pure nothing. You give it reality by believing in it. You can withdraw belief and the reality disappears, evaporates.
The ego is a kind of absence. And because you don’t know yourself, hence the ego. The moment you know yourself, no ego is found. The ego is like darkness and darkness has no positive existence of its own; it is simply the absence of light. You cannot fight with darkness, or can you? You cannot throw darkness out of the room, you cannot take it out, you cannot take it in. You cannot do anything with darkness directly. If you want to do anything with darkness, you will have to do something with light. If you put the light on, there is no darkness; if you put the light off, there is darkness.
Darkness is only the absence of light – and so is the ego; it is the absence of self-knowledge. You cannot sacrifice it.
You have been told again and again. “Sacrifice your ego.” The statement is patently absurd because something that does not exist cannot be sacrificed. If you try to sacrifice it – something which is not there in the first place at all – you will be creating a new ego; the ego of the humble, the ego of the egoless, the ego of the person who thinks he has sacrificed his ego. It will be a new kind of darkness again.
No, I don’t tell you to sacrifice the ego. On the contrary, I tell you to try and see where the ego is. Look deep into it and try to locate where it exists, whether it exists at all or not. Before one can sacrifice anything, one must be certain about its existence. But don’t be against it from the very beginning. If you are against it, you cannot look deep into it. There is no need to be against anything. The ego is your experience – maybe it is just apparent, but it is still your experience. Your whole life moves around the phenomenon of the ego. It may be a dream, but to you it is so true.
There is no need to be against it. Dive deep into it, go into it. Going into it means bringing awareness in your house, bringing light into darkness. Be alert, watchful. Watch the ways of the ego, how it functions, how it manages at all. You will be surprised that the deeper you go into it, the less it is found. When you have penetrated to the very core of your being, you will find something totally different which is not the ego, which is egolessness. It is the self, the supreme self. It is godliness. You have disappeared as a separate entity and are no longer an island. Now you are part of the whole.
In that experience of being one with the whole, the ego is sacrificed, but that is only a way of speaking, a metaphor. Don’t take it literally. Try to understand the ego. Analyze it, dissect it, watch it, observe it, from as many angles as possible. Don’t be in a hurry to sacrifice it, otherwise the greatest egoist is born: the person who thinks he is humble, the person who thinks he has no ego.
That is again the same story played on a more subtle level. That’s what the religious people have been doing down the ages – they have been pious egoists. They have made their ego even more decorated and it has taken the color of religion, holiness. Your ego is better than the ego of a saint, your ego is better, far better – because your ego is very gross and the gross ego can be understood and dropped more easily than the subtle. The subtle ego goes on playing such games that it is very difficult. One will need absolute awareness to watch it.
The ego of the sinner is more easily dropped than the ego of the saint. The saint can always manage to pretend. His ego is so polished, so decorated, so holy, so sanctified by tradition, by convention, by the crowd, that he may almost forget about it.
The real search is not to make your ego humble; that is the ego standing upside-down, the ego doing shirshasan – headstand. Avoid it. Rather, follow a totally different path and meditate on the phenomenon of the ego, inquire what it is. As the inquiry deepens, the ego disappears. Inquiring into the ego, you will come to the self.
Remember, the self has nothing to do with the ego because the self has nothing to do with you at all. The self is always the supreme self: Aham brahmasmi – I am God. At that point you are not, only godliness is: Tattvamasi – thou art that. At that point, there is no distinction between thou and that. The dewdrop has disappeared into the ocean and has become the ocean itself. But no sacrifice. The non-substantial cannot be sacrificed, it can only be understood. In the very understanding is the disappearing. And this disappearance is beautiful because it does not leave any traces behind – no scars, no wounds.

The second question:
What is rationalization? I am asking this question because my husband is a professor of philosophy and whatever I say he almost always says that it is nothing but a rationalization.
Rationalization is a trick of the mind to deceive not only others but yourself too. Your husband may be practicing rationalization himself. Whenever he says to you, “This is a rationalization,” it may be nothing but a rationalization on his part. He wants to avoid, he wants to escape; he does not want to answer directly. He condemns you.
Of course he uses a big, very big word: rationalization. And naturally the wife is cowed down – there must be something wrong. The husband knows; he is a professor of philosophy, so he is bound to know. He is practicing rationalization himself.
Rationalization is not true reasoning. It is a strategy, a pretension. It pretends to be rational but it is not.

“Why do you drink?” asked Hogan.
“Booze killed me mother,” answered Kehoe, “and booze killed me father – I am drinking for revenge!”

This is a rationalization. If you want to drink, drink. But this is a very subtle way of deceiving yourself and others.

From a diary of an Italian girl on a Caribbean cruise:
Monday – was invited to dine at the Captain’s table.
Tuesday – spent the day with the Captain.
Wednesday – Captain made ungentlemanly proposals to me.
Thursday – Captain said he would sink the ship if I did not agree to his proposals.
Friday – saved five hundred lives.

This is rationalization. Man is very cunning and his cunningness is unlimited. People go on doing things in the name of reason.
Today Acharya Vinoba Bhave is going to start his fast unto death – because he wants a total ban on cow slaughter. He calls it his religious duty. How can this be a religious duty? This is blackmail, this is threatening the country. Where has he got the idea from? He says that his mother appeared in his dream and said to him, “This is the work that you have to do.”
Now for his dream, and the mother in the dream, he is threatening the country. “I will commit suicide if you don’t listen to me.” But rather than saying it directly, “I will commit suicide,” he says he will fast unto death.
These people are thought to be saintly, these people are thought to be great preachers of nonviolence. That’s exactly what his master, Mahatma Gandhi, did his whole life. Now he is perpetuating the rotten tradition. For these thirty years at least, India has suffered from these people. And there seems to be no end to it.
This is called nonviolence. If I threaten someone saying, “I will kill you if you don’t listen to me,” I will be caught by the police. I will be a criminal in the eyes of the law. But if I threaten saying, “I will kill myself if you don’t listen to me,” this is thought to be some holy act.
It is strange that no one says, “These people should immediately be caught and brought to the court because they are threatening suicide and it is a crime against the law.” Any attempt to commit suicide is a crime against the law. But Vinoba Bhave is a saint.
Morarji Desai went to see him to try to persuade him not to do it because he himself has been doing it, the same thing. That’s how he has come into power, by threatening to commit suicide. These are subtle ways of coercion, violence. Who is one single person to decide for the whole country? Then someone can say, “I will fast unto death unless everyone stops smoking – because my mother appeared in the dream and said, ‘Son, you have to do this great work.’”
Coercion becomes nonviolence. A threat to commit suicide becomes a beautiful thing when you call it a “fast unto death.” And rather than being caught by the police and brought before the court, the prime minister runs, the ministers run, and everyone is trying to persuade him saying, “Don’t go on your fast unto death.” No one is saying that this is a crime.
These are rationalizations. One can do anything if one has a cunning and clever mind to rationalize it. Sometimes you may be rationalizing – watch it. But my own experience of women is that they are not great rationalizers. Men are bigger rationalizers because women live more intuitively, more instinctively, and man lives more through the head, through reason.
Women don’t bother much about logic. Their behavior is more or less illogical – instinctive, spontaneous. They don’t try to masquerade it in a logical way, they simply jump from one point to another without bothering about the Aristotelian process of logic. They simply jump. Their leaps are quantum, from one point to another. You cannot see where the bridge is, how they manage to get from one point to another. Their ways are totally different from men’s.
More is the possibility that your husband is rationalizing, that this is his way of putting you down. He uses philosophical jargon: rationalization. Of course, you become afraid. You think you have done something wrong. I don’t think you can do much about rationalization; women don’t indulge in it. But it is better to understand because to be with a husband who is a professor of philosophy, it is better to understand what rationalization is. Next time, whatever your husband says, simply say, “This is a rationalization,” and watch what happens.

Just the other day I was reading about a psychiatrist who was mending his car. His son was playing with a little girl from the neighborhood on the balcony on the first story. He was down below tinkering with his car.
Suddenly his son pushed the girl from the balcony and she fell down to the ground. Of course, the father was angry. He looked up and before he could say anything, the boy asked, “Dad, can you tell me why I did it? You are supposed to be the psychoanalyst, psychiatrist. Tell me why I did it.”

Next time your husband says anything, don’t be worried. Just say, “This is a rationalization.” He is using a big word; a few people are obsessed with big words. But rationalization is a subtle process and people do indulge in it – men more. I have rarely come across a woman who indulges in rationalization; except the lib women, no one indulges in rationalization. They are following the footsteps of men all the way.
But it is good to understand what it is. If you indulge in it, it is better not to. It is a camouflage. It is better to be authentic, true, rather than hiding yourself behind smoke screens.
Now, it will be good if Vinoba Bhave simply says, “I want to impose my will on this country,” that will be simple. “I am ready to die if my will is not accepted.” But he will not say, “I want to impose my will on this country,” because then he will be exposed. “Who are you to impose your will? This is a democracy. You cannot impose your will. You have a single vote, a single vote equal to everyone else’s vote. No one’s vote is more valuable, so who are you?”
But this is how this goes on… Morarji Desai wants to impose prohibition on the country. Who are you to impose such things? Where is freedom and where is democracy? Yes, if you are against alcohol, teach, express yourself, argue, persuade. That’s what democracy means. Persuade people. If you are against the slaughter of cows, go around and persuade people not to eat cow’s meat. But threatening that you will commit suicide is very totalitarian, dictatorial, undemocratic. It is a crime against the people, against the law, against democracy.
You can hide the fact in religious terminology, you can go on doing something with a mask. People wear masks and rationalization is one of the ways of wearing masks. Be true. Be authentic. There is no need to be untrue because the more untrue you become, the farther and farther you will be from God.
I am not worried about your husband. I am worried about your being farther and farther away from God. If you indulge in strategies like rationalization, you will never come close to your own inner self where God resides. Drop all false faces so that you can find your original face. And to find the original face is the greatest blessing and the greatest benediction in life.

The third question:
When the question, “Who am I” arises, I get very afraid. Is there something to be said about it?
This question makes everyone afraid. It is nothing exceptional; it is absolutely the case with everyone. Whoever wants to go deep into the question, in the quest, of “Who am I?” is bound to feel fear at a certain point. Why? – because there comes a point where you cross the boundary of the ego and enter the world of egolessness. That point is the point of great fear – because it looks like death. In fact, it is a kind of death: the ego disappears.
Up to now that has been your identity. Up to now that’s what you have been thinking you are. Suddenly it starts evaporating. A great fear grips your heart. “I am dying!” Your identity is dying. You are not really dying; in fact, you are being born. It is a rebirth, it is a true birth.
It is like the seed dying in the soil. The seed must be feeling afraid, nervous, trembling. How can the seed trust that once he is gone there will be a great tree and a great flowering? The seed will not be there to witness it. No seed has ever witnessed it, so how can this seed believe and trust? The same happens with the ego. The ego cannot trust that there is anything more than itself. The ego is dying and it starts breathing its last. You become afraid. Many people turn back from that point and rush back out.
This is going to happen to every meditator. Hence your question is significant, very significant. Every meditator has to encounter this situation, this challenge. Many times people come to the point from where they would have entered godliness, but they could not take the risk, they could not gather courage. They became afraid, scared; they rushed out.
You have to take the risk. I tell you, from my own experience, it is not death. Yes, it is a death to the ego, but the death of the ego is the birth of the soul. You will die as a drop, but you will be born as the ocean. It is worth it. You will be dying only as a limited being, as a defined being and you will be born as undefined, undefinable.
Yes, you will disappear, with all your neurosis, psychosis, with all your tensions, anxieties, anguishes. You will disappear with all your problems, worries; you will disappear as you have known yourself up to now. But your disappearance is only a change of garments and you will be getting closer to your reality, deeper into your reality. You will get more rooted in being. That’s the whole search.
You ask me, “When this question, ‘Who am I?’ arises, I get very afraid.” It is natural. It is a good sign that you are coming closer to the boundary. You may be standing exactly on the boundary; that’s why whenever the question arises, immediately you become afraid. Feel blessed that you are so close to the boundary from where a totally new world and a totally new life can have a start. Just one single step… And you will be a new man, you will be an original man. Just a single step and all the garbage that society has dumped on you will have dropped. You will be just a pure consciousness. You will have wings. Now you are just crawling on the earth, and then you will be able to soar high toward the sun.
To be with a master simply means to learn trust, to learn the art of risking, to learn the ways of adventuring in the unknown. Yes, the sea is uncharted. It is dangerous to leave the shore, but it is only the people who leave the shore who taste something of immortality. It is only the people who take the risk of going into danger who really live; others only pass through life, but they really don’t live. Others only vegetate and only move through empty gestures.
So now this is a very decisive moment for you. You can go back, you can cling to your identity, or you can go ahead, not looking back at all. Be courageous. I can only say this much: the same has happened to me, the same fear. It is human. I had also gone back and forth. To cross this line is really difficult. But sooner or later, one decides – because going and coming back does not help. Once you have come so close to the line, you cannot be satisfied with your ordinary life any longer. So you can go out, but you will find everything has become meaningless. Now you will be in a dilemma.
This is the work of a master: to create the dilemma. The without becomes meaningless and the within seems to be dangerous. To live the ordinary life again becomes impossible and to take the jump into the new also seems impossible. But sooner or later, one decides to take the jump – because what is the point of clinging to something that has become meaningless, which has lost all significance. How long can you cling to it?
The master waits, the master remains patient. He allows you to go back and forth, he goes on watching that you are shunting in and out. But he knows one thing; that every day the outer will go on losing its significance more and more. One day it will be utterly useless, absurd, to be there. As the outer loses significance, the inner will become more and more magnetic. The process happens simultaneously.
One day it becomes irresistible and one has to cross the line. That day is the greatest day in a human being’s life, when you drop your old identity and enter the unknown – you have encountered godliness, you have come home.

The fourth question:
I always believed that an American, a Chinese, an African, a Swede, an Indian, could be happy and content and communicate with one another despite their varying colors, habits, beliefs, etcetera; just as long as they were natural and honest with themselves and each other. Why is mankind making this impossible for mankind?
It is impossible to have beliefs and still live in peace. The belief is the root cause of all conflict. Only a world of agnostic seekers can be one. Believers cannot allow the world to be one.
For example, the Christian believes that it is only through Christ that salvation is possible. Now, how is a Mohammedan going to tolerate it? The very idea is a dangerous one for him. He believes that only through Mohammed is true salvation possible. How can this be tolerated by the Buddhist who thinks that except for Buddha there has never been another enlightened person? Buddha and Mahavira lived together, they were contemporaries, but Buddhists don’t think that Mahavira is enlightened. Jainas, the followers of Mahavira, don’t think that Buddha is enlightened. Now, how is a Jaina going to believe that Jesus is enlightened? – because he is not a vegetarian, he is a nonvegetarian. How can a nonvegetarian become enlightened? The Jaina believes that one who becomes enlightened is bound to be vegetarian. How can he kill? His belief is going to become a barrier.
A Christian cannot believe in Mahavira because he never helped the poor. Just standing under a tree naked, meditating with closed eyes, looks very selfish to a Christian. Mahavira should have opened at least a few hospitals, schools; he never did anything. He did not do any miracles either – giving eyes to the blind, raising dead people back to life. What kind of enlightened person is he? No miracle, no service to humanity – only talks about nonviolence, but no compassion in his acts, deeds. A Christian cannot believe that Buddha is enlightened. What service has he done for humanity?
Now, these differing beliefs divide people. Belief is the way of division. Humanity can be one only when people drop beliefs. That’s what I am trying to do here. Be an inquirer, don’t be a believer. Inquire into truth, but don’t start with a prejudice. Don’t start as a Christian, a Mohammedan, a Hindu.
You say, “I always believed that an American, a Chinese, an African, a Swede, an Italian, could all be happy and content and communicate with one another despite their varying colors, habits, beliefs, etcetera; just as long as they were natural and honest with themselves and each other.”
The American believes in the American way of life and the Indian believes in the Indian way of life – the conflict is there. The Indian believes that India is the only holy country in the world, the only religious country in the world. American – the very word smells of materialism. To the Indian mind, the word American means something absolutely irreligious, unholy. The American represents to him the man of indulgence.
To the American, the Indian symbolizes snobbery, hypocrisy, egoism. How can these people meet? The American has to drop his being American and the Indian has to drop his being Indian. We have to start thinking in terms of the whole earth. Religious beliefs, political beliefs, beliefs of all kinds, divide people. Hence, all beliefs are dangerous, poisonous.
Here, you can see people of all races, all countries, all religions, meeting – with no problem. And no one has ever been told, “Be tolerant of others.” The very idea of being tolerant carries intolerance in it. Why should someone be told, “Be tolerant of others”? It simply means that there is intolerance and one has to learn to tolerate.
It is never said to anyone here that Hinduism, Christianity, Islam all mean the same thing; to say so means that you are suspicious. Mahatma Gandhi used to say that the Koran, the Gita, the Dhammapada all mean the same thing. And with great effort he used to try to find similarities. Why bother? The very effort shows that there is suspicion. The effort cannot succeed because they are not similar. The Koran has its own beauty, the Gita has its own beauty and they are not similar, not at all.
Trying to impose similarity on such unique, original scriptures is really sickening. How can Mahavira and Krishna have the same message? It is not the same. Just think if Arjuna had said to Mahavira, “I want to renounce the world and the war and go to the forest.” Mahavira would have immediately initiated him in renunciation. He would have said, “That’s what you should have done. It is already late, but still, good. War is violence and it is good that an insight is born in you. Renounce the world and go to the forest.”
But Krishna persuaded him not to go to the forest saying, “Fight the war because this is your duty. Your very being is such that you can only be a warrior; your type is such. Renunciation won’t suit you, it won’t fit you. You will be a misfit and even in the forest you will start hunting. You will not be able to meditate, you will hunt. I know you well, I know you from your very childhood. All this nonsense you are talking about is nothing but a rationalization. You are not against war.” And he was not. Krishna was right, his insight was deep – he was not against war. He was really against killing his own people.
The war was a family war between brothers and on both the sides were relatives. The fight was between cousin-brothers, all the relatives had to divide. A few had gone to this side, a few to that side. One brother was on this side, another brother was on that side. Even Krishna himself had divided; his army was fighting on the other side and he himself was fighting with Arjuna because both were his friends and both had asked for his help. So he had said, “You can choose. One can take my army and one can take me.”
Arjuna’s own teacher from whom he had learned all that he knew about war, who had made him a perfect warrior, Drona, was on the other side. His own master, from whom he had learned archery, was fighting on the other side. It was really a family war. Arjuna was not against war; he was against killing one’s own people. Seeing the whole war-field full of his own people – a few on this side, a few on that side – and both would be killed and many would be killed… He started thinking, “What is the point of it all? Killing my own family? It is better I should renounce.”
He was not against violence. If his own people had not been involved, he would have enjoyed the war like anything. Krishna persuaded him to see the fact that he was rationalizing; all this nonsense talk about nonviolence, no war, peace, renunciation, was just a rationalization. He forced him to see the trick of his mind.
Now, how can you say Mahavira and Krishna are saying the same thing? They are not saying the same thing. My own experience is this, that all those who have become enlightened in the world – Moses, Zarathustra, Lao Tzu, Mohammed, Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavira, Kabir and many, many more – what they have experienced is the same. But still their personalities are so different, their individuality is so unique. Their expressions are utterly different. You cannot force it or make it appear by any strategy that they are saying the same thing – they are not.
Their experience is the same, their ultimate experience is the same, but their choice of how life should be lived, how that ultimate experience should be approached, is totally different. Their paths are different, their goal may be the same – but the goal will be known only when you have arrived, not before that. Before the goal you will have to follow the path.
Mahatma Gandhi was trying somehow to prove that the Mohammedan, the Hindu, the Jaina are all saying the same thing. It was a forgery because he was choosing only sentences from the Koran which are harmonious with the Gita and not choosing sentences which are disharmonious with the Gita. The Gita is his criterion. He calls the Gita his mother, but he does not call the Koran his father. The Gita is his mother and he remains a Hindu, basically a Hindu. He goes on looking and finding sentences according to the Gita. Wherever anything can be found which is similar, he chooses it, picks it up, and anything that is not similar to the Gita, he simply drops it, he forgets all about it.
This is not the right approach. And still he could not convince anyone. In fact, the very effort was futile, an exercise in futility. He could not convince the Mohammedans and he could not convince the Hindus. The Mohammedans remained unconvinced. They continued demanding a separate country and they succeeded in having a separate country. He could not convince the Hindus. In fact, a Hindu murdered him, a fanatic Hindu murdered him. He could not convince anyone.
I cannot believe that he convinced himself either. His whole life he was singing in his ashram: “Allah-ishwar teri nam – Allah and Ishwar, both are thy names.” But when he was shot dead, Allah didn’t come to his heart. When the bullet passed into his heart, he cried, “Ram” not Allah, but “Hey Ram.” That is very decisive. At that moment all philosophizing was forgotten, the real Hindu surfaced. He could not remember Allah at that moment, could not remember Buddha, could not remember Mahavira. The person he remembered was Ram – the Hindu ideal, the Hindu incarnation of God. That shows that he could not even convince himself. What to say of others?
In this place, I am not trying to convince anyone and still things are happening. I am not trying to bring a synthesis of all religions because I know it is utterly futile. They are different, they are unique. I respect their uniqueness. In fact, the world is richer because there is a Koran, a Gita, a Dhammapada. The world is richer because Zarathustra, Lao Tzu, Buddha all happened; the world is richer because there is Nanak, Kabir, Farid. With so many different flowers, the world is a beautiful garden.
The rose is not the lotus and the lotus is not the rose – both are flowers, both have bloomed, that is true. Buddha has bloomed and Jesus has bloomed – both are flowers – but a rose is a rose and a lotus is a lotus. It is good that not all are roses, not all are lotuses.
But something very mysterious is happening here. You can see all kinds of people here, from almost every country, from every religion and no one teaches them to be tolerant and no one teaches them to be respectful of the other’s religion. These things are simply not talked about and still no one is intolerant. In fact, no one thinks in terms that the other is other. This is a totally different vision.
My approach is that you have to drop – not to imbibe tolerance, not to imbibe a certain synthesis, manipulated, man-made – this whole nonsense of the American way of life, the Indian way of life, the Chinese way of life. You have to drop this whole nonsense that “I am a Hindu, Mohammedan, Parsi, Sikh.” You are just a human being. Maybe your color is different – so what? It is good that there are people of different colors, different flowers. Your hair is different – good! It makes life more worth living, more interesting. The variety gives richness.
Your idea that people can live in harmony even though they have different beliefs is wrong. Those different beliefs are the problem. In fact, to believe is to go wrong. Knowing is good, believing is wrong. Inquiring is good, gathering prejudice is wrong. Be a seeker and be an agnostic.
By “agnostic” is meant: say clearly to others and to yourself, “I don’t know, so how can I cling to any belief? I was born in a Hindu family, so I have been taught the Hindu religion by my parents, but I don’t know what is right and what is wrong. It is just incidental. Had I been brought up by a Christian, I would have believed in the Christian religion in the same way. Or, if I had been born in Soviet Russia then I would have been a communist; I would not have believed in the trinity of God the Father, God the Son, the Holy Ghost. I would have believed in a totally different trinity. Marx, Engels, Lenin and the Kremlin would have been my Kaaba. Das Kapital would have been my Bhagavad Gita.”
Just see – it is simple. No one is born a Hindu, a Mohammedan, a Christian. These things are imposed on you. This is ugly that these things are imposed on you. In a really free world no religion will be imposed on anyone. All religions will be available to everyone. One should be free to shop around. One can go to the temple, to the mosque, to the gurdwara, and move around, do a little religious shopping. One can look in the Koran, the Bible, the Vedas and decide on one’s own.
Parents should not decide the religion of their children. It should be a crime against humanity to force any child into any religion. Yes, parents should teach the child to inquire and how to inquire. They should make available to him all alternatives, so if the child wants one day to become a Mohammedan – you may be a Hindu but if your child wants to become a Mohammedan – it is perfectly good. You should be happy your child has chosen a religion. It is good that he is becoming religious. Why does it matter where he prays, in the temple or in the mosque? The only thing that matters is that he prays.
But now, right now, that is not the case. No one is interested in prayer. Everyone is interested – in what? No one is interested in making you really religious; everyone is interested in making you a Christian, Catholic, Protestant, this and that. This is an ugly situation and that divides people.
We have to fight for a world where children will not be forced into any religion. Every child should be given all opportunities to choose. Who knows what is going to fit with him? My own observation is that if it happens that a man is born into a Jaina family, but he is not the type of Mahavira, then for his whole life he will be doing something for which he is not meant. He will follow Mahavira, but his heart will not be in it. His heart can go far more deeply with Meera, with Krishna – but that is not possible, he is a Jaina. And vice versa, a man may be born into a family which worships Krishna, but seeing Krishna no bells ring in his heart. Then what is he supposed to do? Pretend? Be a hypocrite? Go on believing because his parents are Hindus so he has to remain a Hindu? Seeing the statue of Mahavira naked, silent, his heart may be stirred, he may feel a new fluttering in his being, a new energy, a new flash of lightning. It may “click” – then that is his religion.
Religion has to be found by your own heart. All religions are good. All religions are different. All religions are ways; they reach the same goal. No one can follow all the ways. If you follow all the ways, you will go crazy. You have to follow one way, knowing perfectly well that all the ways are leading to the same peak of the mountain. Still one has to follow one way.
If the beginning is not a belief but inquiry, the world will be totally different. With beliefs it is not possible. Habits are okay and habits are going to be different.
In the Indian atmosphere there will be different habits. But habits are not a big problem. You can understand that in a cold country there will be different habits than in a hot country. That is very natural. But beliefs have nothing to do with cold or hot, they have nothing to do with climate. Beliefs have nothing to do with nature. Beliefs are man-made. Beliefs are all basically political, tactics, strategy, to manipulate the crowds, to control the crowds.
You ask, “Why is mankind making this impossible for mankind?”– because man is not yet born; mankind exists only in theory.
Once, a man asked George Bernard Shaw. “What do you think of civilization?” He replied, “It is a good idea, but someone has to try it.” Mankind is also a good idea – but someone has to try it. It has not yet happened.
Humanity has not yet arrived. Hindus are there, Mohammedans are there, Christians are there, Indians, Germans, Italians are there, but humanity has not yet arrived. It is a simple word, but empty, with no substance.
If someone asks you, “Who are you?” it is almost impossible to conceive that you will say, “A human being.” You will say, “A Christian, a Hindu, a Parsi, a Mohammedan etcetera.” You may say, “A doctor, an engineer, a professor, a scientist etcetera.” So on and so forth, ad nauseam, but almost impossible to comprehend, even to imagine that you will say, “A human being.”
If you say it, the other person who is asking will feel that you are a little crazy or something. “Yes, of course, you are a human being. But I am asking, who are you?”
Humanity has yet to happen. We have to prepare the ground for humanity to happen. It can happen only by dropping all kinds of beliefs. It can happen only by creating a great upsurge of inquiry, creating an atmosphere, a space, in which belief simply means that you are ignorant – you don’t know, still you are trying to pretend that you know. Belief is not knowing, but a deception.
A real man does not believe. Either he knows or he does not know. If someone asks you, “Does God exist?” if you are honest, sincere, you cannot say, “I believe in God, I believe that he exists.” You cannot say, “I don’t believe in God and I say that he does not exist.” No. If you are a sincere man, if you have any respect for truth, you will say, “I don’t know. I am searching, seeking. I am neither a believer nor a nonbeliever. I am a seeker, a searcher.”
And the day you know, do you think you will believe then? There will be no need to believe. You don’t believe in the sun. You don’t see people fighting that the sun exists, that the sun doesn’t exist, that the sun rises in the east or the sun rises in the west, south, north. You don’t see people fighting about it. Everyone knows the sun rises in the east and everyone knows that the sun is. There is no question of belief.
If you ask me, “Do you believe in God?” I will say, “No, because I know God is. I need not believe.” Knowing is the real thing and belief is just a camouflage, a cover-up.
Help people to drop beliefs. Help people to become inquirers. Help people to start functioning from not knowing. That is the state of meditation: to function from a state of not knowing is to function meditatively. To function from a state of knowledge is to miss the whole point. Knowledge is always old and life is never old. Knowledge and life never meet.
Hence, instead of the word knowledge, I am using the word knowing deliberately. Knowledge is a noun, knowing is a verb. Knowing is a flow, knowledge is static. Knowledge has a full point, knowing has no full point. It is simply an ongoing process. One never knows godliness in the sense of knowledge; one only knows godliness in the sense of knowing. Yes, there is a beginning, but there is no end. One goes on knowing more and more and more. The more one knows, the more one feels there is more to know.
You say, “I always believed that just as long as they were natural and honest with themselves and each other, they could all be happy and content and communicate with each other despite their varying colors, habits, beliefs, etcetera.” How can people be natural and honest when they are carrying so many beliefs? To be natural means to be without any belief. Children are natural, but you are not natural. Animals are natural, but you are not natural. Trees are natural, but you are not natural. What has made you unnatural and artificial? – your belief system.
But it is very difficult to drop the belief system. How can you be honest if you believe? It is a contradiction in terms: to be honest and to believe. If someone says, “I believe in God,” he is saying, “I don’t know – I have heard, I have been taught, I have been told. I believe in God; I don’t know myself.” How can he be honest? This is the beginning of dishonesty. Not knowing himself and still believing. What more dishonesty can there be?
Parents teach their children, “Believe in God and be honest.” This is such a contradiction in terms: “Believe in God and be honest.” Only one is possible. Either you believe in God and cannot be honest, or you can be honest and say clearly and loudly, “I cannot believe in God because I don’t know.”
But this is a double bind that is being created in every person. You are taught contradictory things, hence your schizophrenic state. You are taught such contradictory things that you remain split. You have been taught for so long that you don’t see the contradiction either. The so-called religious person – Christian, Mohammedan, Hindu – cannot be honest. If he is honest, he cannot be Christian, Hindu or Mohammedan. How can you be honest and still believe that Christ was born of a virgin mother? Just tell me – how can you be honest and still believe it? How can you be honest? Deep down you know it is not possible. Children are not born of virgin mothers.
How can you be honest and still believe that when a snake attacked Mahavira, instead of blood, milk flowed from his foot? How can you believe it – and still be honest? There is only one possibility, that in Mahavira’s body instead of blood, milk was circulating. But to keep milk circulating for so long – he must have been nearabout fifty when this snake attacked him – it would have turned into curd long before.
And curd cannot flow. Mahavira would have been dead long before. How can you be honest and still believe in this? If you are honest, questions will arise. If you believe, you have to be dishonest and you have to repress your questions.
Man can be natural and honest, but then beliefs have to be dropped. All kinds of beliefs have to be dropped. Dropping the beliefs, your energy is freed. That same energy becomes inquiry, that same energy can take you to the ultimate truth.
People are so religious, so fanatically religious, that I have heard…

“Is your grandfather a religious man?” asked the young coed of her date.
“He is so Orthodox,” replied the boy, “when he plays chess, he doesn’t use bishops – he uses rabbis.”

The last question:
What do you think about the statement that life is stranger than fiction?
It can’t be otherwise because fiction is only a reflection of life, only an echo, a faraway echo. How can fiction be more strange than life? It is just a shadow of life, the footprints of life. Life is really unbelievable, incredible. It should not be, and it is. It is utterly mysterious.
You become aware of the strangeness of a fictitious story and never become aware of the strangeness of life because you take it for granted. You take it for granted as the fish takes the ocean for granted – it never becomes aware of it. How can the fish be aware of the ocean? It was born in the ocean, it has lived in the ocean. The ocean was there from the very beginning. Just as you are not aware of the air and the weight of it, you are not aware of the gravitation and the pull of the gravitation. In the same way, the fish is not aware of the ocean; in the same way you are not aware of the incredible life that surrounds you within and without. You take it for granted and that’s what makes you miserable.
Stop taking life for granted and immediately you are constantly in awe. Each moment becomes a surprise, each moment becomes such a revelation of mystery that life takes a totally different color and flavor. You grow wings. You are no longer bored, you are no longer dull. Life is excitement, exhilaration, ecstasy.
And that’s what true religion basically is: to make you aware of the life, to make you alert to all that is happening around you – the sun, the moon, the stars, the rivers, the mountains, the people; this silence, this moment, your being here, my being here. What more mystery can there be than this communion? Your hearts beating with my heart, your life energy in rhythm with my life energy. This single moment, three thousand people in harmony, in such an utter silence, as if no one exists; this melting, this merging. What more mystery can there be? What more miracles?
Just to be is a miracle. Just to be able to breathe is a miracle. Just to be able to see the light and the rainbow and the starry night. What more can you ask for? What more can you imagine?
You ask me, “Osho, what do you think about the statement that life is stranger than fiction?” – I don’t think. It is. There is no need to think. I know. It is, it is so. Thinking is a lower activity, seeing is a higher activity. I see it is so. It is not a logical conclusion for me, it is my existential experience. I am constantly surprised – each moment, every breath is a surprise. This is not a statement, this is the truth. Just become a little more alert, a little more aware, a little more observant. Snap your fingers, slap your face and be awake. Look around. The silence, the beauty, and the benediction.
It is said that Hotei became enlightened and started laughing – and never stopped laughing. For many years he lived, he laughed. He laughed all the way to God, all the way to death. He became famous in Japan as the laughing buddha. People would ask, “Hotei, why do you laugh?” He would reply, “I laugh because life is incredible, so ridiculous, so absurd.” It should not be, but it is. For no reason at all, flowers go on blooming, birds go on singing. Every morning the sun returns, for no reason and if it doesn’t turn up one day, what can we do? – for no reason at all!
Everything exists in such harmony, accord, in such rhythm, that if you touch a grass leaf, you have touched the whole universe – because the small grass leaf contains the whole of the universe. It will not be there without the sun, it will not be there without the earth, it will not be there without the planets and the stars. It will not be there if this universe is not exactly the way it is. If that grass leaf is gone, the universe will be a little less, a little minus; it will miss it. Such an infinity and it goes on with such rhythmic flow, with such organic oneness, with such orgasmic joy.
Just watch life… And you will be able to laugh. It is absurd, it is ridiculous, it is strange, it is miraculous. No dream can be more dreamlike than life, no poetry can be more poetic than life – and no joke can create more laughter than life.

A couple of hillbillies from the backwoods country came into town to get married and brought their best man Zeke along. When they applied for a license, the clerk informed them that state law required blood tests before they could get a license. He told them there was a doctor around the corner who would make the tests.
As the MD took blood samples from the prospective bride and groom, Zeke watched with great interest. “What are you doing, Doc?” he asked.
“We check for venereal disease,” said the physician. “If we find any, the wedding can’t take place until it is cured.”
“Well then,” said the best man, “ain’t you gonna test my blood?”
“What for?” asked the doctor. “You aren’t getting married are you?”
“Oh, no,” said Zeke, as he pointed to the couple, “but I am gonna board with them!”

…You missed it! You will need another.

Payne and Butler were washing their hands in a Pittsburgh men’s room when three burly blacks came in and headed for the urinals.
“Wow,” whispered Payne, “those mothers are laa-arge!”
“Yeah,” said Butler, “and look how they are built. They must have the longest dicks in the state of Pennsylvania. I gotta get closer and see their size.”
He came back in a minute. “Wowee! They are built big,” said Payne, “not only that, the cat in the middle has one that is white!”
“Oh, man, whoever heard of a black man with a white wang! I’m gonna go look myself.”
He returned immediately. “Brother, those cats ain’t black!” exclaimed Butler. “They are Polish coal miners. And the guy in the middle is on his honeymoon!”

Enough for today.

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