The Idiot, the Sage
11th November is the birthday of the renowned Russian writer and philosopher Fyodor Dostoevsky. Known for books like Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment and The Idiot, Dostoevsky’s work gives a penetrating insight into the socio-political and spiritual climate of Tzarist Russia.
Osho has spoken extensively on Dostoevsky in His discourses. Osho says Just a single man, Fyodor Dostoevsky, is enough to defeat all the creative novelists of the world. If one has to decide on 10 great novels in all the languages of the world, one will have to choose at least 3 novels of Dostoevsky in those 10. Dostoevsky’s insight into human beings and their problems is greater than your so-called psychoanalysts, and there are moments where he reaches the heights of great mystics. His book BROTHERS KARAMAZOV is so great in its insights that no BIBLE or KORAN or GITA comes close.
In another masterpiece of Dostoevsky, THE IDIOT, the main character is called ‘idiot’ by the people because they can’t understand his simplicity, his humbleness, his purity, his trust, his love. You can cheat him, you can deceive him, and he will still trust you. He is really one of the most beautiful characters ever created by any novelist. The idiot is a sage. The novel could just as well have been called THE SAGE. Dostoevsky’s idiot is not an idiot; he is one of the sanest men amongst an insane humanity. If you can become the idiot of Fyodor Dostoevsky, it is perfectly beautiful. It is better than being cunning priest or politician. Humbleness has such a blessing. Simplicity has such benediction.
THESE DAYS I FEEL LIKE A FRUITCAKE. ALSO I’M READING THE IDIOT BY FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY. DO YOU THINK THERE IS ANY CONNECTION?
Vimal, there is nothing wrong in feeling like a fruitcake. It is really delicious. It is so nice… and it cannot have any connection with the reading of the great masterpiece of Fyodor Dostoevsky, THE IDIOT. THE IDIOT is only the name, but the person he calls the idiot in that great novel… That novel has to be considered one of the ten great novels in the whole world literature.
There is no way to think that anything better than Fyodor Dostoevsky’s IDIOT can be created. The idiot is a sage. He is called idiot by the people because they can’t understand his simplicity, his humbleness, his purity, his trust, his love. You can cheat him, you can deceive him, and he will still trust you. That’s why people think he is an idiot. He is really one of the most beautiful characters ever created by any novelist. The novel could just as well have been called THE SAGE. His trust is so much that it does not matter that you deceive. It does not matter that you cheat him; that is your problem, it is not his problem. His love, his trust will continue.
Dostoevsky’s idiot is not an idiot; he is one of the sanest men amongst an insane humanity. But this is the problem: if you are living in a society where everybody is blind and only you have eyes, you will be in constant difficulty. Those blind people will not believe that you have eyes; those blind people would like to destroy your eyes, because your eyes are giving them constant anxiety and tension. But somebody has something which nobody else has… so most probably they will destroy your eyes. In an insane world, to be sane is the most difficult situation. If you can become the idiot of Fyodor Dostoevsky, it is perfectly beautiful; it is really a fruitcake! There is no harm in it. It is better than to be a cunning politician, better than to be a cunning priest. Humbleness has such a blessing. Simplicity has such a benediction.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse name: The Golden Future
Chapter title: You have forgotten the way home
26 April 1987 am in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
Osho has spoken on prominent writers and philosophers like Albert Camus, Aristotle, Byron, Descartes, Fyodor Dostoevsky, D.H. Lawrence, H.G. Wells, Hegel, Huxley, John Milton, Kahlil Gibran, Kalidas, Kant, Leo Tolstoy, Nietzsche, Rabindranath Tagore, Shakespeare and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Come Come Yet Again Come
- Beyond Psychology
- The Dhammapada: the way of the Buddha Vol.1,3,7,9,10,12
- The Transmission of The Lamp
- I am That
- The Perfect Master
- The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
- Communism and Zen Fire, Zen Wind