The Last Testament Vol 1 01

First Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - The Last Testament Vol 1 by Osho.
You can listen, download or read all of these discourses on

Ken Kashiwahara
Good Morning America, ABC– TV, United States
First of all, thank you very much for speaking with us tonight.
A number of years ago you adopted a vow of silence. Recently, you have decided to speak out to your supporters and then to us here today. Why have you decided to speak out now?
I live spontaneously; I never decide anything beforehand, I keep tomorrow open. If I feel like speaking, I speak. If I feel like being silent, then there is no other way than to be silent. And I never ask myself “why,” because no “why” is answerable. All answers are arbitrary. So I simply go on floating with the river, never asking where it is going, why it is going, where it is going to end. And this is my basic approach to life: a total let go.
Was there a reason that you decided to adopt the vow of silence in the first place, or was there also no reason?
There is never any reason, I don’t live by reason. I simply allow things to happen. I don’t know why I became silent. I don’t know why I started to speak again, but I enjoyed being silent and I’m enjoying being out of silence again. I don’t know about tomorrow. I may be silent, I may be speaking. I may not be here at all.
When you went before the Immigration Service for a visa as a religious leader, the comment was made by the officials of the service that, how could you be a religious leader if you didn't speak? Did that have any influence on you at all?
No, nothing influences me. Nor do I want anybody to be influenced by me, because the very fact of being influenced is a kind of mental slavery. I keep myself totally free from influences, and I never influence anybody, never try to convert, convince anybody.
I am – for the first time – one who can claim to be religious. The whole past and its religions have been pseudo, false. To me religion has a totally different meaning. There is no God, there is no heaven and hell. All those past religions have exploited man with fear of hell and greed for heaven, and all those religions have kept man retarded, dependent on God – a big daddy somewhere above who is taking care of you. This made man irresponsible, this made man unintelligent.
My religion is basically centered around consciousness, silence. Silence has its own way of communication. Just as words speak, but can be misunderstood – they are misunderstood – silence also speaks. It can be misunderstood. To understand silence, the other side, the receiving side, should also be silent. Then there is a meeting of the hearts. Something starts falling into tune, harmony, a kind of synchronicity. Nothing is said, nothing is heard, but everything is understood. Lovers know it; just sitting side by side saying nothing, something goes on moving between them.
If you were to explain to someone listening and watching who knows nothing about you or your religion… What is your theology, what is your belief, what do you stand for, what are you trying to achieve?
I have no system of belief. I have no catechism like the Christians, and I don’t have any dogmas, principles, theology. If somebody wants to understand me he will have to learn meditation, learn being silent and sit with me, live with me. There is no other way. All those belief systems are nothing but a process of conditioning you.
A belief simply means you don’t know, still you believe. My effort here is that you never believe unless you know. When you know there is no question of believing; you know it. I destroy all belief systems and I do not give you any substitute. Hence, it is not easy to understand me.
You have no philosophy of life?
No philosophy of life. I have life itself. There are people who have philosophies of life, but they don’t have any life.
Your philosophy, if there is one, has been expressed in “the three L's,” love, life, laughter. Is that a philosophy of life?
Could you explain that?
It is just a consequence of being silent and in tune with existence: love arises in you, life becomes abundant – laughter too, for no reason, just because this whole existence is so hilarious. This is not philosophy, this is the consequence of being silent.
Is it to enjoy life and not worry about tomorrow?
There is no tomorrow. If there is a tomorrow, you cannot stop worrying about it. Tomorrow never comes, it is a process of worrying. Nor is there any yesterday. One is no more, one is not yet. All that is in our hands is the present moment, now, here. And this is a miraculous experience. If there is no yesterday, no tomorrow, and this very moment you are silent, all worrying disappears. All imagining, dreaming, projecting disappears.
And it is not that you have to enjoy this moment. That rejoicing arises out of this moment. But you are never here, you are always somewhere else. You are never in the now, you are always then. Otherwise, everything is available but you are absent. I want my people to understand a very simple fact – not a philosophy, something existential, not philosophical – be present to this moment and then see what happens.
Let me ask you about something you said a moment ago. You said you didn't believe in controlling people, and have no control. But do you not have either control or tremendous influence over three hundred and fifty thousand of your followers?
I don’t have any control. I don’t give these half-million people who love me any discipline. I don’t give them any commandments. I insistently emphasize that they are not my followers, but only fellow travelers. It is up to them to go a few miles with me or not to go. If they join with me, I’m happy; when they depart, I say goodbye.
If they look to you, they worship you, would they then not do whatever you tell them?
From my side, I am trying that there should be no worship. They should not be influenced by me. But if they worship and if they go on being influenced, they are not understanding me.
Who is the “Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh”? How did you become the “Bhagwan”?
The word bhagwan means “the blessed one.” When people started feeling my blessing throbbing in their hearts… When they started feeling that something has happened to me of immense value, which they would like to share; they started calling me “Bhagwan.” I could not deny it because it was a fact, I was the blessed one.
How did you know that you were the blessed one?
How do I know when I have a headache? I know it.
When did you know it?
Thirty-two years ago.
How did you know it?
That question is absurd. When you are sick, you know. How do you know? When you are healthy, you know. How do you know? That “how” is absurd, you simply know it.
Was there a vision?
No, there is no question of vision. Vision is always objective, of something else. It was an experiencing. Not even an experience, but experiencing. I was full of it. I was it. And since then, not for a single moment have I been otherwise. It was not something that happened and disappeared. It was a transformation. It has remained with me.
Did you know as a child, for example, that you would become “the enlightened one”?
No. I never knew, not even for a single moment before. But I was searching from my very childhood. I was seeking and trying in every possible way not to be influenced by any religion, by any ideology; because if I already have a faith, am already believing, the search stops. The inquirer has to be very alert and aware that no belief enters into his being. He has to remain open and agnostic, knowing perfectly well that he does not know. From that space of not knowing, the search, the seeking, arises. But who can say when it is going to be fulfilled? It is unpredictable.
Do you consider yourself a god?
My God! There is no God, so how can I consider myself a god? God is the greatest lie invented by man.
Because man feels so helpless, so afraid of death, so burdened with life’s problems. Because he has been raised by a father, by a mother, and those were the beautiful days; no responsibility, no worry, somebody was taking care of him. That psychological childhood is projected into all the religions: God becomes the father. And there are a few religions in which God becomes the mother. It is a simple psychological projection of a child. It has no basis in reality.
And whenever you are afraid, whenever you are in trouble, you start seeking help. No help ever comes. Even Jesus on the cross was waiting for the help to come, and finally got disappointed and shouted, “Father, have you forsaken me?” A great doubt must have arisen in him, a great question. Nothing is happening, and he was believing all these years that God would come to save him, his only begotten son. Nobody came. Jesus Christ must have died in utter disillusionment. I don’t have any illusion, I cannot be disillusioned.
But he also said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
That was again the same mind. I call Jesus’ mind sick.
Because his whole life, whatsoever he was teaching and doing, was just nuts. Only a crackpot can claim to be the only son of God. And then, preaching to people that he is the savior, and whosoever is with him will be saved, and whosoever is not with him will fall into hell – eternal hell, all these things… His behavior: he cursed a fig tree because he and his disciples were hungry and there were no fruits on the fig tree. In fact, it was not the season; it was not the fault of the fig tree, but he cursed the fig tree.
I cannot conceive of this man as sane. And this prayer to God, “Forgive these people because they know not what they are doing,” is again out of that same arrogant, egoistic idea. I don’t think that it is out of compassion. It is the emphasis of Christians for centuries that out of compassion he prayed even for his enemies. But let me repeat his sentence, “Forgive these people because they know not what they are doing.” In fact, it was not an act of compassion; he was still condemning the people that they knew not, and he knew.
But haven't there been some teachings handed down from Jesus which form the basis of much that is good in civilization today?
Nothing. Not a single thing has come out of Jesus which has helped humanity in any way. All those teachings have proved not blessings, but curses. They are beautiful words and because they have been repeated so often, you have – and everybody has – forgotten the implications of them.
He says, “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God.” It looks beautiful, but basically it is ugly. It is a consolation to the poor. It is an exploitation of the poor. It is giving false hope to the poor, and the ultimate result is that the world has remained poor.
Who would not like to inherit the kingdom of God? Jesus says that even a camel can pass through the eye of a needle, but a rich man cannot enter through the gates of heaven. Now this man is responsible for all the poverty in the world. He is condemning richness, he is condemning the creativity which can make the world rich.
I am all for richness in all dimensions, and I cannot say, “Blessed are the poor.” That is just what Karl Marx said: the opium of the people. It is possible to use beautiful words, but if you go into the implications… What are the Christians doing today and what have they done for two thousand years? They will open orphanages, they are against birth control, they are against abortion.
Some of them.
Those who are not will soon be expelled. They are being expelled. And those who are… For example the pope himself is against abortion, against birth control. He is against the greatest revolution in humanity – the pill. Population goes on growing, poverty goes on growing, and who is responsible for it? I think these people are criminals.
The pope?
The pope. He should be behind bars.
Teaching such stupid things to humanity: go on producing children, they are gifts of God. He is responsible for Ethiopia, he is responsible for poor India. Anywhere poverty happens, these people are responsible. On the one hand, they go on increasing the population, which is already too much, in the name of God. But the real thing is that they can convert only the poor to Christianity. I have never seen a single rich man being converted to Christianity in India; beggars, orphans, prostitutes – these people get converted.
Is there any part of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, any of the established religions that you think are good?
Nothing. I want to be completely finished with the whole past, I want it to be erased completely. I want a discontinuity with the past. Only then the new humanity is possible; and a new world, and a new man. So I categorically say everything is wrong. And the proof is there: the whole world is in a mess. These are the people who have given to the world principles, ideologies, systems on how to live. This is the outcome of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Mohammedanism. This is the outcome.
You say the whole world is a mess. What is it that you're trying to create in man, in the world?
I’m simply saying that there is a way to be sane. I’m saying that you can get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you.
Just by being a simple witness of your thought processes. That’s my method of meditation. It is not a prayer because there is no God to pray to. It is simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts passing before you. Just witnessing – not interfering, not even judging, because the moment you judge you have lost the pure witness. The moment you say “this is good,” “this is bad,” you have already jumped into the thought process. It takes a little time to create a gap between the witness and the mind. Once the gap is there, you are for a great surprise: you are not the mind, you are the witness, a watcher.
This process of watching is the very alchemy of real religion, because as you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start disappearing. A moment comes when there is no thought at all. You are, but the mind is utterly empty. That is the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment when for the first time you become unconditioned, sane, a really free human being.
Am I going to… Yes, I am… I got fascinated by it, sorry.
Since you came to this country a number of years ago, there have been a lot of things written – alleged – about you and the Rajneeshees. Since this is the first time you're speaking in public, I'd like to get you to set the record straight about some of these things that have been said.
For example, it has been written and people have talked about you as a “free sex guru,” believing in promiscuous sex with violent encounter sessions and mind control. True or false?
Do you think sex should be charged for? Should it not be free? Should it be paid for?
To me, sex is a simple, beautiful, natural phenomenon. If two persons want to share the energy with each other, it is nobody’s business to interfere. And to say “free sex” implies that you want sex also to be a commodity, that it has to be purchased – either from a prostitute for one night or from a wife for the whole life, but it has to be purchased and paid for.
Yes, I believe in free sex. I believe that sex is everybody’s birthright to share, to enjoy. It is fun. There is nothing serious about it. The people who have been talking about me as teaching free sex are really pathetic, they are sexually repressed people.
I think what they were implying is the image of wild sexual orgies going on.
No orgies are going on. And if people should want an orgy, it is nobody’s business. If a few people want group sex, what is harmful in it? If two persons can enjoy, why cannot ten persons enjoy together? Once we think of sex as natural, joyful fun…
That’s why I call the pill the greatest revolution since fire was discovered, because the pill has freed sex from all nonsense, seriousness, marriage, legalities. It has made man enjoy sex for the first time as man, and unlike the other animals who are in a biological bondage.
No orgies are happening here, but I am not prohibiting them. It is up to the people; if they feel like having an orgy, so far so good. But these people are also conditioned by your society. They also have the idea of relationship: one to one. They also have the monopoly, monogamy, planted in their minds.
Is that not good?
It is absolutely unnatural. Man is not a monogamous animal at all. He is polygamous and everybody knows it. You may have the most beautiful wife, but that does not mean you don’t get attracted to other women, that once in a while you don’t dream about other women. Somebody may have the best possible husband. That does not make any difference. Man is by nature polygamous. Monogamy is enforced on him.
Are you saying that man should follow his polygamous instincts?
He should simply follow nature wherever it leads. Polygamy is perfectly good. In fact, there is no need for monogamy or polygamy. I’m a little further ahead. I see the relationship of love or sex as an absolutely free phenomenon.
You seem to be saying – and I believe you've suggested before – that people should not have any so called “Western hang-ups” about sex. Recently you predicted that AIDS will kill two-thirds of the world's population, and you told your followers to engage in celibacy or have sex with one partner. Why?
AIDS is a totally new phenomenon, and the old religions are again responsible for it.
Responsible for AIDS?
They are responsible for everything that is wrong. Homosexuality and all kinds of perversions were created by religious people, by teaching celibacy. Now to force men or women to remain celibate is taking them against their biology, chemistry, physiology – their whole nature. It is impossible for them. They will find some way, and it will be perverted.
Nuns were kept in one monastery, monks were kept in another monastery. There are monasteries still where no woman has ever entered. Now these monks are the original homosexuals. These nuns are the pioneers of lesbianism. All kinds of perverted things have brought AIDS as the ultimate result.
I’m not telling my people to be celibate because celibacy has any spirituality. I’m telling them: if you can be celibate without any repression – just out of sheer understanding – you are not going to be rewarded in heaven for it, you will just be careful about your health. That is enough reward. But if you feel that celibacy is difficult for you, then use all possible methods to protect, to prevent AIDS, it is going to kill the larger part of humanity.
Why do you believe that?
Because it is spreading so fast. And it will spread; just one contact with a person who has AIDS is enough, and then those contacts will go on spreading. Just the other day I was looking into it because we are having a festival; fifteen thousand people are going to come here from all over the world. Now it was a problem, many people could bring AIDS and destroy the whole commune.
We tried to find out: two sannyasins had it confirmed, and we asked them how many other contacts they had. One woman had fifty contacts; those fifty people may be carrying AIDS and may be having other contacts. That’s why I have said to remain with one partner. It is nothing to do with monogamy, it is just pure hygiene, health. I am saying it on medical grounds, there is no religious basis to it.
Let me move on to another subject: again in keeping with some of the things that have been written and said about you and the Rajneeshees, and that is the fear when people see your bodyguards carrying weapons – submachine guns – and rumors that there are large caches of weapons here on the ranch. Is that true? And if so, why are the weapons kept here?
I’m not a man like Jesus Christ, I will not carry my cross on my own shoulders. And I’m not suicidal – Jesus must have been suicidal. I love life, my people love life. I’m not afraid of death; I will enjoy death as much as life, but my people don’t want me to leave the body now, and they have every right to protect me. I’m not going to prevent anybody who is going to assassinate me. Why should I prevent my people from protecting me?
If the assassin is free, I’m not going to interfere. And the people who love me and want to protect me, I’m not interfering with them either. This is something between those who love me and those who hate me. This is their business, I am simply out of it.
Yes, there are guns, but not as according to the rumors. Those rumors are too exaggerated.
Large numbers of guns?
No, not large numbers.
Do you expect to be attacked? Are you afraid of attack?
I am not afraid of anything. I have been attacked many times before, I can be attacked at any time. I’m not concerned about it, but my people are concerned. Who am I to prevent them if they love me and want to do something? And I have around me one of the most intelligent groups of people.
Jesus had only twelve fools – uneducated, unintelligent, fishermen, carpenters – and he himself was uneducated, uncultured. When he was crucified they all escaped; they were not in love with Jesus, they were hoping that through Jesus they would enter paradise, and enjoy paradise.
I give no hope to my people, no promise to my people. They are not going to gain anything as reward.
So why should they stay here?
They stay here because meditation is its own reward. There is no other reward beyond it.
In fact, recently you seem to be painting a very pessimistic future of the world and mankind, when you warned that a cyclone of destruction both natural and manmade will hit the world, and that the Osho religion will provide a “Noah's ark of consciousness,” allowing your supporters to survive.
It is not pessimistic, it is simply factual.
Could you explain that? What does that mean?
It simply means, that all the centuries that have passed have been bringing this day closer and closer. Religions have been talking about peace – and fighting and killing and murdering, burning people alive. On the one hand they will say God is love, on the other hand they will be burning living people. Christians have been killing, Mohammedans have been killing, Hindus have been killing. It is a strange phenomenon that Buddha was born in India, but in India there are no Buddhists. For twenty-five centuries there have been no Buddhists. They had to escape because Hindus were killing them.
But what are you saying will happen with this cycle of destruction?
We have destroyed the harmony of nature through our unguarded scientific experiments. We have now, in the hands of politicians – who are the most mediocre people in the world – such immense energy to destroy, that they can destroy this whole earth seven hundred times. Now if just one politician goes nuts, that’s enough – and they are all nuts… So I am not painting a pessimistic picture of the future. I am not a pessimist, neither am I an optimist; I am simply a realist.
A moment ago you said that you were not pessimistic; yet, if I may read another quote wherein you said, “This world is not worth saving. Once in a while I think it will be better if the Third World War happens and destroys this whole stupid humanity.” Isn't that pessimistic, very gloomy?
This is optimistic!
Because if something has gotten so rotten, it is better to be finished with it.
You think the world should be destroyed?
The world has become almost a madhouse. If we cannot change people’s consciousness, if we cannot destroy the boundaries between nations, the boundaries between colors, and the boundaries between religions – if that is not going to happen…
I am trying on my own whatsoever I can; but one cannot simply forget reality. The world is divided into nations, into religions, all fighting and trying to kill each other. One cannot forget America and Soviet Russia, ready to destroy the whole world any moment. This is simple realism. As I see it, this humanity, if it is not going to change, is not worth saving.
But you, as a religious leader, shouldn't your role be one to enlighten and to help to change…
That I am doing.
…rather than to say the world should be destroyed?
…that is part of my effort, that makes the thing emphatically clear: either change, or the world is going to be destroyed. So your change is absolutely necessary. It is not something that can wait: “Tomorrow we will change.”
Let me go back… I know we're running out of time.
When you first got here to Oregon, your supporters said that you wouldn't take over the town of Antelope. Yet now Rajneeshees are in control of the town and the residents there have charged that they were forced out. There have been suggestions that perhaps the Rajneeshees really want to take over the entire state of Oregon. True or false?
I want first to make it clear that I am not a Rajneeshee. You should ask Rajneeshees – that is their problem. I am an outsider. I am just a guest here, not even a resident. I am not even living in the City of Rajneeshpuram, but outside the city in a guesthouse. I am not a Rajneeshee, I don’t belong to any organization. Now, whatsoever they are doing, you should ask them.
Well, would you want to see them take over the state of Oregon?
I would like them to take the whole world! – because I feel that they can manage this world better than anybody else. But I am not interested. I am not a politician, and that is not my concern.
There is a perception that you and your religious following are extremely wealthy. Is it true, where did the money come from?
My people are rich. In fact, only the very rich, educated, intelligent, cultured can understand what I am saying. Beggars cannot come to me, poor people cannot come to me; the gap is too big. They can hear me but they cannot understand me. So it is natural: I am the rich man’s guru.
Isn't that a contradiction with the traditional perception of a life of austerity led by religious leaders and ascetics?
I simply think those traditions just rubbish. There is no question of contradiction; I am simply against them. I don’t want to be consistent with them, I want to drop all connections with the past. They have done enough harm.
My conception of a beautiful, flowering being is not that of austerity, it is of luxury. He will enjoy all that is beautiful in the world – great paintings, great music, poetry. I don’t conceive of him standing on his head in the hot sun of Oregon, fasting, slowly destroying himself. To me, all religions of the world up to now have been sadomasochistic. My religion is, for the first time, life-affirming.
One thing I think people on the outside remember about you when they read stories or see you on television is the fact that you own so many, or have so many Rolls Royces. Why is that?
How many?
Ninety. And they are not so many.
Why do you need ninety?
I don’t need even a single one. And they don’t belong to me, either. But my people want 365, one for every day. And I go for a drive only for one hour. But if my people want it, if they are happy and rejoice doing it, I don’t want to destroy their joy. It is perfectly okay.
Couldn't you tell them to give their money for something else, other than for Rolls Royces?
All other religions are doing that. Let them do that as their work, let me do my work. All other religions are looking after the poor. At least leave me alone to look after the rich.
There have been fears expressed, as you know, ever since you first got to Oregon, that Rajneeshpuram might turn into another Jonestown.
That’s absurd.
Are there any similarities between you and Jim Jones?
There is only one thing between me and Reverend Jim Jones, and that is of absolute opposition. He was a Christian, and Christians are too cowardly to take the responsibility for whatsoever happened in Jonestown. From Jesus till this Pope the Polack, all are responsible for it, because Christianity is a death-oriented religion. The cross is its symbol.
There is nothing in common between me and Reverend Jim Jones, everything is opposite to him.
People think the power you have over your followers…
I don’t have any power. I don’t have any position. I don’t even know my people by their names.
But you see them out there every day as you drive by.
I see them, but I don’t even know their names. I don’t relate with them personally, I don’t talk with them personally. What power? I don’t have any power.
You can see that they're devoted to you.
That is their thing. I am not exploiting their devotion for any power for myself. I could have declared myself the only begotten son of God, then it would have been a power trip. But I say I am simply an ordinary man just like you. And I emphasize it again and again so that my people can understand that if this experience can happen to me, it can happen to them, too. It is nothing special, it is absolutely natural and ordinary.
So you see no similarity between Rajneeshpuram and Jonestown?
Not at all. But I see every similarity between Jonestown and the whole world.
That the whole world will end up like that?
They are trying. Seventy-five percent of national incomes is going into making more and more weapons, nuclear weapons. Even poor countries are trying to create nuclear plants. They are all in tune with Reverend Jim Jones. Except Rajneeshpuram, the whole world has a similarity with him. This is the only place absolutely opposed to destruction. We believe in creativity; we don’t believe in the creator, we believe in creativeness.
And my people are creative, they have changed the shape of this desert. With all the hindrances from the state, the government, the politicians, the religious people; still, they have changed it into a small, beautiful oasis. If no barriers are created, we can make it one of the most beautiful places in the world.
A number of Oregonians have expressed a concern, however, that you will eventually attract up to one hundred thousand people to live in this city; and that it's simply a matter of time before you call all three hundred and fifty thousand of your supporters to come here to live.
I may.
You may?
Anytime. Tell the Oregonians that their fear is perfectly right; tremble, have nightmares, I can call my followers anytime.
And you may do it.
But I may not.
Some environmentalists say that this land simply can't support that many people, that it would hurt the land if that many people lived here. Are you concerned about that?
The people who say these things, have they ever come here? Just four years ago there was no water; we managed two big lakes, small ponds all around – enough water. And we can create more lakes, more water, we can make more land ready to be cultivated. It is only a question of effort, devotion, and the joy of creation. Those people are simply jealous, lazy, lousy, and nothing else. And it is our problem, not their problem. If my people die because there is not enough water, because the land cannot support them, then it is my problem, not their problem. I will not come to them for help.
Why do you feel you engender such hostility on the part of your neighbors and other Oregonians?
There are no neighbors. We are alone here, and we want to be alone here.
People in nearby towns.
We don’t want even to relate.
Why do you think there is this hostility?
It is not hostility. It is simply that we want to be left alone.
No, on the part of some people who live in Oregon, some Oregonians.
Now that is their problem, and you have to ask them. We don’t have any hostility toward them. All that we want is to be left alone to do our thing. They are hostile because this land was available here for fifty years, and they could not make anything out of it. And within four years we have made a beautiful place where five thousand people are joyously living, luxuriously and comfortably living. They are simply jealous and hostile because they know we can manage to have one hundred thousand people here. And to them, number is power. To us, there is no question of any power trip.
Isn't it really because you're different that they don't understand you? That people dress alike, wear various shades of red, wear beads?
There are so many other reasons besides. There was a time when the Christians were treated by the Jews the same way; just to be a Christian was enough to be a criminal.
Why do your people wear various shades of red? Why do the people here wear various shades of red and beads?
I want them to be recognized, by me and by other people. I want them to face the world…that they have dropped out of it. I want them to be clearly individual; that they don’t belong to this rotten world around. The day I see that there is no need, they will wear all the colors. It is nothing spiritual, nothing religious; it is simply an identification card put all over the body.
There have been those who have accused you and the people living here of obscuring the line between church and state. Is this a religious city, or is it a city that should, for example, qualify for school aid? What are your views on the separation of church and state?
This is not a religious city; the city has its own functions, religion has nothing to do with it. Religion is an individual phenomenon. It has nothing to do with the streets, the houses, the maintenance of the city. Religion is purely individual. The city is taking care of the collectivity of the community. They are two separate dimensions, they don’t overlap, they don’t meet anywhere.
But everybody living here believes and follows you.
Nobody follows me because I don’t have any followers. If somebody is walking behind me, that does not mean he is a follower. If somebody feels that what I am saying is true and experiences it as true, what does the city have to do with it? The truth of the individuals living in this city is their private experience. The city is for other purposes, mundane. It has nothing to do with religion.
What I am saying is true only about Rajneeshpuram, that there is no mixing of state and religion. About the outside world that is not true; everywhere state and religion are mixed. Otherwise, why should the Bible be in the courts for somebody to take an oath? What does it mean? Every Bible should be thrown out of every court; it is mixing it with religion.
And do you think the people who are presidents, premiers, governors, are not prejudiced in favor of some religion? Are they capable of discriminating, so that when they are in the office they are no longer Christians? It has not been our experience here.
Let me go back, if I can, a number of years, because there have been some things written about it. Why did you leave India?
For health reasons. I never wanted to leave; India may be poor, may have its troubles and problems, but it has a beauty of its own.
There were stories at the time that you were forced out. Is that true?
That is nonsense; I can go back there, nobody can force me out of anywhere. If Oregonians cannot force me out of Oregon, do you think Indians can force me out of India?
Do you plan to leave Oregon?
No, I never plan anything. But I can leave any day, or I may never leave.
Do you think the Immigration Service is hoping you will leave the country?
They are waiting, perhaps. They can wait… And if I don’t want to leave, I will not leave. I will go on fighting till the end, I will not leave. If I want to leave – even if the whole of America begs me to stay here – I’m not going to stay a single moment. Nobody forced me out of India; in India I was living with my commune, ten thousand sannyasins were living with me. It was my health that was getting worse and worse.
Are you recovered now? Are you better?
Not completely. I am feeling better, but it is just on the boundary line; at any moment a small thing, and the trouble can arise.
What does the future hold for you and for Rajneeshees?
I never think of the future. We are happy now.
I must tell you that I am not feeling well tonight because I've stopped smoking.
I knew. You must be feeling nervous; one hour more, and you will be in a nervous breakdown. Smoking is a difficult thing for people to stop.
Very! It's very bad for you, because of what you were talking of before – it takes over control of you. Never mind for the health reason, but for that reason alone, people shouldn't smoke – says he now!
Can you tell me a little bit, just briefly, of your daily routine, what you do here?
I am a very lazy man. I call myself the lazy man’s guide to enlightenment; I don’t do anything. In the morning I have started talking again, as I was doing for thirty years. I love it, it is not a lecture, a prepared speech, or anything. People ask questions, and whatsoever spontaneous response happens in me, I tell it to them. And because I am not concerned at all about any consistency, I have made it clear to my people never to say, “Yesterday you said this, and today you are saying this, and these seem to be contradictory.” I always insist whatever I am saying right now is the truth.
You've been described as a person of contradictions. Are you?
I am. Because life is full of contradictions and I am in tune with life.
I am not in tune with Aristotle. Aristotle, I think, is a disease; I call him “Aristotle-itis.” Life is very different, it is not a logical system. Now, modern physics has come across facts which baffle all the scientists, because they contradict Aristotle’s logic and Euclid’s geometry. They have no obligation to perform according to the logic man has created. They just go on their way doing their thing in their own way. I am not a logician, and I have never claimed that I am not a man of contradictions. “I am big enough…” as Walt Whitman once said, “I am big enough to have all the contradictions in me.”
And yet, there is a possibility that all those contradictions may become a deep harmony. They may not remain contradictions, they may become complementaries to each other. That’s how it is in existence; that’s how it should be in life.
Now, give him his cigarettes!

[Following is the text of an interview given on the same day by telex]

Jo McManues
Western Mail, Australia
Why after all these years have you decided to speak with the press?
I am a spontaneous person. I live moment to moment. There is no question of deciding because I am not a doer at all. Things have been happening in my life. I go on witnessing them; I am a watcher on the hills.
Are you planning on coming to Western Australia to visit or to resettle and live here?
I never plan anything, so everything is possible.
For people who don't understand or accept the Rajneeshees' teachings, what would you say to give them a clear understanding, and is it important to you that non-sannyasins do have an understanding?
I have no teaching as such. My function is that of a deprogrammer. I destroy people’s so-called belief systems but I do not give them another substitute program. I want them to be completely free to act on their own.
As far as the people who do not understand me are concerned, I do not care a bit. What is happening around me is simply beyond their intelligence and it is not my responsibility.
The public has focused strongly on the fact that you have many Rolls Royces and live a luxurious lifestyle. Why do you have so many cars and what do you say to the critics of your lifestyle?
I do not say anything to my critics. That is part of my lifestyle – to live undeterred in absolute freedom without thinking of any consequences. I am the poorest and the richest man in the world because nothing belongs to me. As far as the Rolls Royces are concerned you should ask my disciples around the world, because according to them they have managed only ninety Rolls Royces, which is not enough – they are planning for 365 Rolls Royces.
I believe that not to live a luxurious life is only for the retarded. To me, the blessed are not the poor but the rich. Religion happens only as a flowering of ultimate luxury. The poor man’s religion is a poor religion. And the whole world of religious leaders, political leaders, social workers – they are all trying to help the poor; nobody is looking at the poor rich men. I am the only one who is caring for them.
Rajneeshees I have met have a seemingly inner peace. What would you say is the reason for this?
It is not just that my people are seemingly at peace, they are peaceful; and once you are freed from your past and its garbage, you can also be immediately in the world of peace, serenity, and blessedness. It is a natural phenomenon which your culture, society, religion, civilization, educational system all have conspired to destroy – because a peaceful individual cannot be enslaved by the vested interests, neither can he be oppressed and exploited.
And remember, the moment you are free of the past you are also free of the future, because the future is nothing but the unlived past projected. These two are the causes of your disturbed neurotic life. Once past and future disappear, there is only this moment, the now and the here – these two words are the only reality. Your gods are bogus, your heaven and hell are religious fiction. My people are finished with all this nonsense, hence they are at tremendous ease, every moment at home. They are not going anywhere because they know that whatever is, is here and now.
Many people in Australia are afraid Rajneeshees will brainwash them and their children. Why are so many people so afraid and how important is it to you that non-sannyasins understand Rajneeshees?
They should be afraid because that’s what actually we are going to do. We do complete mindwash; brainwash is nothing compared to it. As far as I am concerned I do not care whether anyone understands me or not. It is his problem not mine. If he understands, he will go through a transformation. If he does not, then I am not going to interfere in his life, which is nothing but hell.
What is the basic philosophy of the Rajneeshee religion? And is it a religion?
It is not a philosophy, because philosophy is nothing but intellectual gymnastics. The truth is not to be discovered by argumentation, the only way to know it is to be utterly silent. And the philosopher’s mind is full of junk which prevents him from knowing the truth. The truth is not something outside, it is our innermost being.
It is not an ordinary religion either. I call it a religionless religion, to emphasize the fact that I have nothing to do with the past pseudo-religions. It is religionless also because it has no belief system, no catechism, no holy book, no god, no prayer. Its trust is not theological but existential.
We love existence, we do not worship any man-invented god. We dance with the wind, but we do not pray in man-made churches. We are utterly contented with the flowers, with the rivers, with the stars…and it is more than one can contain, the beauty of it, the blessedness of it.
Why is it that Rajneeshee communes around the world have no problem to be financially successful?
It is simply the result of understanding that life is to be lived in totality, intensely, intelligently, without any fear, without any guilt. Once you are free of guilt, the idea of sin, the fear of hell, the greed for heaven, your intelligence starts functioning at its peak. It will create everything that you need, all the comforts, all the luxuries.
I say to my people that a camel may pass through the eye of a needle but a poor man cannot enter into paradise. I stand for all dimensions of luxury. Money is only one dimension; there are also scientific creativity, art, poetry, music, and these are all always available for an authentic courageous man. My communes around the world are proving this simple fact.
What do you say to people who criticize you and your followers because you seem to do little or nothing for suffering people in the world?
I say to those critics, it is up to you: if you want to serve the suffering people why are you wasting time criticizing me and my people? – just go to Ethiopia.
The people who are suffering in the world are suffering because of themselves. They have lived stupidly, they don’t listen to reason. They go on producing children. The poverty in the world is created by these suffering people themselves. We don’t take any responsibility and we don’t have any time or energy to serve idiots. We don’t have enough time to live our own life.
The starving nations like Ethiopia or India are still listening to people like the Catholic pope or the Hindu shankaracharya, that birth control is sin, that abortion should be made illegal. Now these are the people who should go and serve the people in Ethiopia or anywhere else. They have to accept the responsibility of it.
I am in favor of complete birth control for at least twenty years, so that the population of the world can be reduced to one-fourth. But the great servants of the people will not allow it to happen, because if there are no poor people, no orphans, no starving nations, what will happen to these people like the polack pope, Mother Teresa, et cetera? Just for their glory they need the world to remain in poverty.

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