The Secret 11

Eleventh Discourse from the series of 21 discourses - The Secret by Osho.
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Once upon a time there was a fox who met a young rabbit in the woods.
The rabbit said, “What are you?”
The fox said, “I am a fox, and I could eat you up if I wanted to.”
“How can you prove that you are a fox?” asked the rabbit.
The fox didn’t know what to say because in the past rabbits had always run from him without such inquiries.
Then the rabbit said, “If you can show me written proof that you are a fox, I’ll believe you.”
So the fox trotted off to the lion, who gave him a certificate that he was a fox.
When he got back to where the rabbit was waiting, the fox started to read out the document. It so pleased him that he dwelt over the paragraphs with lingering delight.
Meanwhile, getting the gist of the message from the first few lines, the rabbit ran down a burrow and was never seen again.
The fox went back to the lion’s den, where he saw a deer talking to the lion.
The deer was saying, “I want to see written proof that you are a lion.”
The lion said, “When I am not hungry, I don’t need to bother. When I am hungry, you don’t need anything in writing.”
The fox said to the lion, “Why didn’t you tell me to do that, when I asked for a certificate for the rabbit?”
“My dear friend,” said the lion, “you should have said that it was requested by a rabbit. I thought that it must be for a stupid human being, from whom some of these idiotic animals have learned this pastime.”
Man is continuously preoccupied with inventing a self for himself, but the invented self can never be the real self. There is no possibility that the invented will ever be the real. The real self has to be discovered, not invented. The invented self becomes our ego. The real self is not in any way the ego. The real self is not a self at all; it is utter emptiness, and the silence of emptiness, and the joy of emptiness.
If you want to invent a self you will have to ask others. That’s the only way to invent it, to gather opinions of what people think about you. That’s what you go on doing your whole life. That’s why you are so afraid of people’s disrespect. That becomes your bondage. You want to be respectable – because if you are respectable people’s opinion about you is beautiful. They praise you and you can have a better self.
If you are not respectable people condemn, and then you will not ever have a beautiful self, you will have an ugly self. Your self consists only of the opinions of others, it is a patchwork. A has said something, and B has said something else, and C… And so on, so forth. You collect all these things, these paper cuttings. Then you make an image out of them; you fix them together, you glue them together.
From the very beginning the child starts collecting this rubbish. The mother says something, the father, the brother, the neighbors. If it is gratifying he starts feeling proud, if it is not gratifying he starts feeling depressed. To avoid depression he goes on flattering everybody that he meets. The flattery is nothing but an arrangement: “I will flatter you so that you can give me a good certificate. I will flatter you more if you are willing to give me an even better certificate.” But all these certificates are just from the outside, and nobody knows you, who you are – not even you yourself.
So what others say about you is almost irrelevant to your reality. They only know your appearance, and appearances can be very false. A person who looks very gentle on the outside may be very egoistic inside. That gentleness may be just a camouflage, a protection, an armor. A man who looks very clever on the outside may be just the opposite, he may be utterly stupid. The stupid person has to pretend cleverness; it hurts to know, “I am stupid.”
The man who goes on bragging about his knowledge is bound to be ignorant, but who wants to be known as an ignorant person? He collects some information and goes on broadcasting that information to people. Slowly, slowly he gathers a reputation that he knows, but this knowledge is false, this reputation is false. These certificates are given to you by people who don’t know you, who can’t know you. There is no way for anybody else to know you except yourself. And whatever they are saying, they are saying it only so that you can give them a good certificate.
So it is a mutual conspiracy; people are deceiving each other. Somebody says, “You are beautiful,” and of course you have to return the compliment. Somebody says, “You are so intelligent,” and you have to return the compliment: “You must be a very intelligent person, otherwise you would not have known about my intelligence. You must be a man of great understanding – you are the first man who has understood me.”
This constant preoccupation with inventing one’s own self has to be understood. Why is it there at all? It is there because you are feeling a constant gnawing emptiness within your heart. You don’t know who you are, and it is very difficult to live without knowing who you are. Unless you know who you are, whatever you do is going to be a failure, a frustration.
You can succeed in being fulfilled only if you know who you are. Then you will choose your life in such a way that it becomes a fulfillment to your real needs. Otherwise, not knowing yourself, whatever you do remains accidental. Maybe once in a while your arrow may reach the target, but that is accidental and it will happen only once in a while. You are shooting in darkness, without knowing who you are, without knowing where the target is. It is almost impossible that sometimes it may hit the target; ninety-nine percent is the possibility that you will remain empty and you will die empty. Your life will be a tragedy. That’s why people carry such a tragic sense on their faces, in their eyes.
Watch people, watch yourself, and you will see – people are living a very tragic existence. Their whole past has gone in vain and they know that today is also slipping out of their hands. And deep down the suspicion that whatever they have been doing in the past they are going to do in the future too. So it is all a meaningless journey: “a tale told by an idiot, full of fury and noise, signifying nothing.”
And unless significance is felt, how can you be joyous? Unless your life throbs with significance, how can it become a song? Only a significant life becomes a song. When you start feeling there is meaning, when you start feeling that you are fulfilling something very essential to existence – that you are needed; that you are part of this cosmic drama, this cosmic play; that without you something will be missing; that without you the drama will not be the same at all – great respect arises toward yourself and in that very respect, gratitude, prayer, thankfulness arise toward existence.
But the most fundamental thing is to know oneself: Who am I? And to know oneself means to discover – because you are already there, you are not to be invented. Whatever you invent will be a fiction, will not be the truth. And how can you delude yourself? Maybe for one day, for two days you can delude yourself, but for how long? Delusions wear out. They cannot remain against reality forever. Reality goes on asserting.
There are only two kinds of people in the world: the majority consists of those who invent the self, and a very small minority consists of those who discover the self. And the difference is vast, the difference is tremendous. The two are worlds apart. A Buddha, a Jesus, a Bahauddin, a Rumi, a Mansoor: they discover.
What do I mean by discovery? The first thing to remember is that you already have the self. You are. That needs no proof. That is indubitably there, you cannot even doubt it.
The great European philosopher, Descartes, says, “The only indubitable fact about life is that I am.” Only this cannot be doubted; everything else can be doubted. You can doubt the world; it may not be, it may be just a dream, as Hindus say – that it is maya, an illusion, a dream in God’s mind. Maybe, possibly, it cannot be denied, there is no way to deny it. That’s exactly what Berkeley says: the world is not a real world, it is a fantasy, a thought, not a thing. Nobody has ever been able to refute Shankara or Berkeley. It cannot be refuted. How to refute it?

Berkeley was walking with Doctor Johnson. Doctor Johnson was a realist. He was very offended by the Berkeleian idea that the world is only a thought, not a thing, that it is just a fiction, a mind projection: there are no trees outside, there are no people outside, only I am. Johnson, being a realist, was getting very angry, the more so because he could not find how to refute the man logically. How to prove that the tree outside is really there?
How to prove it? Because in a dream we also see trees, and they look almost the same as these trees. And in the dream also we think that they are there. Only when we wake up in the morning do we find that they were not there. Who knows, when death comes and we finally wake up, we may come to know that all those trees, and the people, and the world, and the earth, and the moon, and the sun, were just a long, long dream. How to prove it?
He took a rock from the road and hit Berkeley’s feet with it. Blood started oozing. Berkeley was in great pain and very angry too. He said, “What kind of behavior is this? What wrong have I done to you? Why have you hit me with the rock? I don’t see the point.”
Johnson laughed and he said, “This is to refute your so-called idealism. Now, if the rock is unreal, why are you crying? Why are there tears in your eyes? How can an unreal rock hit you?”
Berkeley started laughing. He said, “But my pain is unreal too, and my tears are unreal too. Only I am real. Who knows that the tears are flowing, that the blood is oozing, that my feet are hurting like hell? Only the I who knows, the witness, is real. Everything else, Doctor Johnson – you and your rock and the world – is all unreal.”

Now, how to prove it? Johnson was not capable of proving it. His realistic argument had failed, utterly failed. No, it cannot be proved, it is always doubtful.
For example, you are listening to me – maybe you are just dreaming. Maybe many have fallen asleep, maybe you are asleep with closed eyes and you are having a dream. The other cannot be proved.
The only indubitable phenomenon is my own existence. That cannot be doubted. Why can you not doubt it? – because even to doubt it, it will be needed. If I say I am not, even to say this – that I am not – I have to be there. So to doubt oneself is the only impossible thing.
We don’t know who we are. The only indubitable fact has not been discovered, and we have been struggling to discover many dubitable things. And the irony is that we go asking others, whose existence is dubitable, “Who am I?” Whatever they are going to say will remain only their opinion.
They cannot penetrate your being, nobody can penetrate anybody else’s being. In your innermost core you are ultimately celibate, alone. Nobody has ever walked into that solitude, into that shrine of your being, and nobody will ever walk there. Even lovers cannot penetrate each other’s core. The core remains beyond. Only you, and only you, can know it.
But people go on asking, “Who am I?” Watch yourself: directly, indirectly, that’s what you are trying to do. How much you hanker for a compliment! How much you long for somebody to say that you are beautiful; that you are very intelligent; that “You have made my life worth living”; that “It is because of you that I have tasted something of meaning.” Just watch your mind – this is a constant preoccupation.
And how worried you become when somebody says something that goes against your image, how you feel hurt, how you start defending, fighting, arguing. Why is there so much fear? Why is there so much longing to have good opinions from others? – because that is the only way to create a false self.
The false self is cheap. It is very easy: it needs only a little sociability, it needs only a little cleverness, cunningness; it needs only to be formal, mannerly, it needs etiquette. It needs a little alertness about what people want: “Be that. If you cannot, at least pretend to be that.” If they respect a knowledgeable person, gather knowledge. Go to the university, have a few degrees so that you can write a few letters behind your name. If they respect character, cultivate character.
It may be doing great harm to you, that is not the point. It may be going against your grain, it may be creating a division in your being, it may be creating a duality, a schizophrenia, but that is not the point. Respect has to be gained because only through respect can you have a beautifully decorated self, and everybody will be supporting it.
A sannyasin has to be very much aware of this trap. You are not to invent your self. You have to discover it. And discovery means an inward journey. Discovery means not asking the other but asking yourself, “Who am I?” Asking in your aloneness, “Who am I?” letting this question penetrate deeper and deeper, like an arrow, so that it penetrates your very core – and there, one day, is the revelation.
The moment you know who you are, your whole life is transformed. Your whole life becomes divine because you are gods. Your faces are different, your talents are different, your colors are different, your minds, your conditionings are different, but these are only layers around you; they don’t constitute your core. The core is your original face, uncontaminated by the society.
When you come to know your original face – the face that you had before you were born and the face that you will again have when you have died, the face that has been given to you by God – that face is the greatest experience. Knowing it, you know all. Not knowing it, you can become very knowledgeable, but you are just hiding your ignorance.
The people who are very concerned with inventing a self live a very mediocre life. They have to live a mediocre life because they have to satisfy the mediocre crowd around themselves.
In India, if you want to be respected as a mahatma you will have to starve, you will have to fast. Unless you fast, nobody is going to respect you as a mahatma. If you want that identity, you will have to fast. You will have to adjust to the demands of a mediocre society.
And society everywhere consists of mediocre minds – the middle class, the bourgeoisie – those who have known nothing except chasing after money and power, those who have never seen anything in depth, those who are not aware at all of the vertical dimension of life, those who go on running as fast as they can on the horizontal plane. Then, one day they fall in their graves without knowing at all what they have missed, without knowing the glory and the splendor of life and existence.
Society consists of mediocre people, and to adjust yourself to mediocre people is to become mediocre on your own. Beware of it. Watch your steps. The trap is all around, and the trap is very alluring because it gives you the cheap satisfaction of being a certain self. And all kinds of selves are available; you can go window-shopping. If you want to become a mahatma, the mask is sold in the marketplace. You just have to know a few requirements of how to be a mahatma: what to eat, what not to eat; when to sleep, when not to sleep; how to move, with whom to move; what scriptures to read, what books to avoid. Just small things, trivia. Any stupid person can manage it. In fact only stupids can manage it.
If you have intelligence, you would like to live your own life on your own terms. You will not compromise. You will live like a Jesus. Even if it means crucifixion, it’s okay. Jesus died on the cross, but died with a self, died with a discovered self. That’s why he was not angry with the people who were killing him – because now he knew nobody could kill. People can kill only the self that they have given to you. They are powerful about it; they can withdraw their support and you will start collapsing.
People can only kill politicians, not mystics. People can kill the politician because the politician exists only on people’s votes, their opinions. They can withdraw their opinion and he is nobody. The throne of the politician is carried by the mediocre crowd; any moment it can change its mind, any moment somebody else can satisfy it more, can be more compromising with the mediocre people. It can change immediately.
You cannot destroy a religious man; that is impossible. You can kill him, but even in your killing, he remains deathless.
That’s the whole meaning of the resurrection. People crucified Jesus, but they could not kill him: that is the meaning of the parable. I am not saying that it is a historical fact that he walked again on the earth. People killed him, but people can kill only the self that they have given, they cannot kill the self that has been discovered. It is beyond their reach, it is beyond their vision. How can they kill it? They cannot even see it. The people who were crucifying Jesus were absolutely unaware of the person they were confronting. Who was this man that they were killing? They were killing God! They were killing one of the most significant expressions of God on the earth, but they were blissfully unaware.
That’s why Jesus said, “Father, forgive these people because they don’t know what they are doing. They don’t know me, and what they are killing is their own idea of me. They cannot kill me.”
That’s why people like Jesus, Socrates, Buddha, are not at all worried about what you think about them. They know themselves; your thinking makes no difference. Your thinking will make a difference to you, but it makes no difference to them. They go on living on their own; they live an authentic life.
My sannyasins have to remember it: don’t hanker for a self from the outside. It is a waste of time, and people can withdraw it at any moment. Their minds are not very stable, they change constantly. Their minds are not very integrated, they cannot retain any state. They don’t know of any continuity in their being, they are fragments. One day they will support and praise you, another day they will pull you down and condemn you.
That is what has been happening down the ages, the whole history is full of it. One day they call you great, another day they start condemning you. In fact, whomsoever they call great they are bound to condemn. There is a rationale behind it because the mediocre person starts to feel inferior in comparison with whoever he has made great. Nobody likes to feel inferior. Then sooner or later he takes revenge so that he can pull you down and can show you, “You are made of mud as I am made of mud.” First they put you on great pedestals, only to pull you down. They enjoy the game very much.
Beware of it: don’t depend on what others say. It is utterly irrelevant. All that matters in the ultimate sense is what you know about yourself.
I am reminded of an incident…

I had just passed my Master’s degree in the university and I was in search of a service, of a job. I approached the education minister, I talked to him. He said, “It will be possible, there is a vacancy, but you will have to produce two character certificates.”
I said, “From whom?”
He said, “You can ask your vice-chancellor to give you a character certificate. You can ask the chancellor, the proctor, or… There are so many famous professors in your university, you can ask anybody.”
I said, “But that won’t do – because if the vice-chancellor of my university wanted a character certificate from me, I would not give it to him. How can I ask a character certificate from a man to whom I cannot give a character certificate? He is one of the most corrupted politicians of the country. He has become the vice-chancellor not because he has any abilities to be a vice-chancellor, but just because he is a politician. I will not ask a character certificate from him.
“I cannot ask my professor either because I know him intimately. In fact he is afraid of me. I know all the ins and outs of his life. He is a very cowardly man, ready to bow down to any person who has authority and power. I have seen him flattering stupid politicians because he is also hoping to become the vice-chancellor of the university some day and the only way is to go on flattering the politicians, the powerful people. No, I will not ask for a character certificate from him.
“All that I can do is: I am here. Look into my eyes, hold my hand. I will look into your eyes and you look into my eyes – I will know your character, you will know my character – and it is finished.”
He became a little worried. He asked, “What do you mean?”
I said, “This is my hand! Give your hand to me and look into my eyes.”
And he started looking here and there. It is very difficult for cunning people to look into anybody’s eyes directly. They are so full of guilt. I could see perspiration coming on his head.
I said, “Why are you getting in such a panic? Just look into my eyes and see. I am here, feel me. If you want me I can be here as many days as you want, sitting in this room. I will see your character, you will see my character.”
He signed the papers. He said, “Go! You are appointed! And never come again. You are the only person who has frightened me.”

Never depend on others’ opinions. Who are they? How can they give a character certificate?
This whole parable is beautiful. It is a hit on human stupidity. Remember, if you are asking for a self to be invented with the help of others, you will remain mediocre. You will never be the flowering of intelligence.
Intelligence comes only when you discover yourself. Intelligence is the shadow of that discovery – the great exhilaration that happens when you have stumbled upon yourself face-to-face, when you have encountered yourself, when you know who you are. Suddenly you are rooted in existence, suddenly you are beyond time. Even death cannot kill you and fire cannot burn you. You are eternal.
In that eternity all fear disappears. And when there is no fear there is freedom. In that beautiful experience of oneself all hankering for possessions disappears – because you possess the very kingdom of God. Now nothing is of any worth. In that experience all doubts dissolve. You have come to an absolute rock, and only on this rock can the temple of religion be built. This rock is eternal. Otherwise whatever you are doing is just making sandcastles on the seashore – just a strong gust of wind and all those castles will disappear.
All that you are doing is writing your name on the sand. Time is just sand and nothing else. Time cannot give you any taste of the eternal, and without that taste one remains frightened of death. The invented self is always afraid, continuously afraid. It lives in fear, it lives in paranoia, it lives in neurosis. The discovered self knows nothing of the abnormal, perverted, neurotic mind. It becomes simple, it becomes ordinary, but that ordinariness is luminous.
Kierkegaard calls this attitude of constantly remaining preoccupied with inventing a self “philistinism.” This means a mediocre existence, living in the security of the womb, a superficial satisfaction with everything as it is. It means to live life on the surface and to never explore its deeper, psychic dimensions. It is the refusal to be born, the refusal to grow. It means being close-minded to passion, risk, and broader perspectives. It is a state of shut-upness.
People are living as if they are closed off from everywhere. Their existence is a kind of shut-upness. Their existence is windowless: the sun never penetrates their beings, nor the wind, nor the rain. They simply live closed in themselves. They are afraid of coming into the open because if they come into the open, people may change their ideas about them. When they want to cry they laugh – because what will people think? Crying is sissy, people will condemn them.
They keep a very strong face, a face of steel, and behind this is a child who wants to cry, who wants to play around, who wants to run in the garden after the butterflies, who wants to collect wildflowers. But that they never allow, they remain stiff. They go on repressing the child, and that child is far more valuable than what they are pretending to be because the child is real, authentic. The people who live in this kind of shut-upness cannot grow because growth means being in constant communion with existence, being nude with existence, hiding nothing, keeping no secret, remaining available and vulnerable, remaining open to all kinds of risks and dangers. Only then does growth happen.
You see people all over the world growing old, but without growing up. Even in their old age they remain childish deep down because they have never allowed their own real self to grow. They have been piling upon the false self, decorating, bringing more ornaments for the false self, creating new props so it doesn’t collapse – but this false self cannot grow. Remember one thing: no false thing can ever grow, it remains stuck. Can you think of a plastic flower growing? The real rose grows, the plastic rose remains as it is. It is dead, how can it grow?
The self that is given to you by others is a dead entity; it cannot grow, it cannot flow. It is a frozen thing! And with that frozen thing you will be imprisoned.
When I look at people, watch their faces and their beings, I am constantly in deep pain seeing them. Great compassion arises. They could have been beautiful beings but they have remained retarded. They could have been glowing beings but there is no glow, there is no fire. And all that they think they are doing, and all that they think that they are living, is just so futile. It is futile because it does not bring growth.
The most important thing in life is growth. Religion is the science of growth. And the beginning of growth is changing the gestalt from the false self to the real self. The real is already given, it is a God-given gift; the false has to be gathered from people, people who don’t know themselves. How can they give you any sense of reality? Beware!
The beginning of the inner journey has to start with the question “Who am I?” It has to become more and more a quest than a question. A question means a superficial curiosity, a quest means a passionate love affair.
It will be good to understand the word question and the symbol of the question mark. The symbol of the question mark is very significant. You may be surprised to know that it comes from the first incident in human history: the meeting of the serpent with Eve near the Tree of Knowledge. The serpent created the first question in Eve’s mind: to eat the fruit or not? The question mark is the snake standing on its tail. It represents the snake on its tail.
History, the whole of human history, begins with a question mark. The serpent started it. It has remained in the symbol, the question mark, standing on its tail. It must have stood on his tail and must have talked to Eve, must have seduced her into eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
In another sense, properly understood, it is also the sign of how knowledge has come into being. All knowledge starts with questions. To ask is the beginning of any inquiry. But if the question remains only a question, you will remain Adam and you will never become a Christ. Hence another symbol has also to be understood: that symbol is the serpent eating its own tail.
That symbol has been used by many ancient esoteric schools. It was used by Rosicrucians, and many gnostics have used the symbol of a snake eating its own tail. Then the snake becomes a circle. When the snake starts eating its own tail, it is a quest. Why is it a quest? When a question remains just a question, its interest is in an answer – verbal, intellectual – but no verbal, intellectual answer can satisfy it. New questions will arise out of the answer.
This has been the path of philosophy. Philosophy is synonymous with the question mark, the serpent standing on its tail. Then what is the history of religion? Just the opposite: the question eating itself, the snake eating its own tail. In the religious quest, questions disappear; thirst remains. There comes a moment when nothing is in your mind, not even the question. The question has eaten itself up.
That’s what happens in a Zen koan, an absurd question. Why absurd? – for this particular reason: if it is not absurd, the mind will supply an answer. And if the mind supplies an answer, out of that answer ten more questions will arise. Then it will be a regress ad infinitum, there will be no end to it. Hence an absurd question is given to the meditator so that the mind cannot supply any answer. If no answer is supplied how long can one go on asking the question, how long? – one year, two years, three years, four, five, six. One gets tired.
A moment comes when you are so exhausted with the question and the futility of it all and you know there is no answer to it. One day, out of sheer exhaustion, the question slips out of your consciousness. You are left alone, a pure mirror reflecting nothing.
The question has eaten itself: that is the koan. The snake has started eating its own tail; now the circle is complete, a perfect circle. The perfect circle has been the symbol of wisdom. The question is the beginning of knowledge, the circle is the symbol of wisdom.
Adam is a question mark, Jesus is a full circle – so is Buddha, so am I, so can you be. You come to me as a question mark, but please don’t go from here as a question mark. And don’t go from here becoming a little more knowledgeable, gathering a few answers – because those answers will soon become questions. Go from here as a perfect circle – the snake eating its own tail – and then there will be no more questions.
The state of mind which does not question is the state of mind which is the answer. Not that any answer comes to you; it itself is the answer – the silence, the stillness, the utterly contentless consciousness is the answer. It is samadhi. And only in samadhi do you know who you are.
This small parable:
Once upon a time there was a fox who met a young rabbit in the woods.
The rabbit said, “What are you?”
The rabbit must have been a philosopher.
The fox said, “I am a fox, and I could eat you if I wanted to.”
“How can you prove that you are a fox?”
That’s what the philosophic mind always asks: “How can you prove that you are a fox?” People come to me and they ask, “How can you prove you are a bhagwan?” There is no need to prove it; I am. And I am very surprised – because you are also the same, but completely unaware. Maybe my declaring that I am God disturbs your sleep. You become angry. You start thinking, “If this man is God, then why am I not?” You start feeling inferior.
In fact, that is not the purpose of my declaration. My declaration includes you. When I say I am God, I am saying every human being is God – and not only human being, every being is God. To be is to be God, there is no other way. God is the trees in the trees and the birds in the birds and the mountains in the mountains, the man in men, the woman in women. God has all these manifestations. All these beautiful waves arise in his ocean.
When I declare that I am the ocean, the other waves are disturbed. They think that I am claiming some kind of superiority, that I am saying that you are only waves and I am an ocean. I am not saying that. By declaring that I am the ocean, I have declared that you are also the ocean.
But if you don’t want to recognize it, it is your freedom not to see the truth. You can keep your eyes closed, you can remain blindfolded; that is your decision. If you have chosen not to be a God, you can go on pretending not to be a God – but I tell you it is only a pretension. God is your reality, and whatever else you are pretending is only just a belief. Even when you pretend that you are this and that and not God, then too you remain God deep down. There is no way of being anything else.
Even the wave that says, “I don’t believe in the ocean, and I am certainly not the ocean. I can see my limitations: one day I arise, another day I am gone. How can I be the eternal ocean? I am not!” – still, even while she is declaring it, she is the ocean. She is part of the ocean. The ocean is underneath, but she has not looked into her own depths.
Every day newspapers carry a criticism about me: that I am a self-appointed God. That means a committee is needed to appoint. Maybe a government has to issue certificates saying who is God and who is not God, or maybe a university has to issue certificates. The people who criticize me as a self-appointed God have taken it for granted that God should be appointed by others. Who are these others, what right do they have, and who has appointed them? Now it will be a regress, ad nauseam.
Buddha declared himself, Krishna declared himself, Jesus declared himself; they were all self-appointed Gods. But there is no other way. When I have come to know, when I have come to see who I am, what can I do? I simply have to state the fact. It is a bare, naked truth – and it is not only my truth.
If I were declaring that I am God and you are not, it would be just an ego trip. But my declaration includes you, includes the whole existence. It has nothing to do with me as such. In fact I am no longer there, and only God is. I have dropped the self that you are carrying: the self that is created by others, I have dropped. And in dropping that, the real self is discovered.
The rabbit asked, “How can you prove that you are a fox?”
The fox didn’t know what to say because in the past rabbits had always run from him without such inquiries.
Then the rabbit said, “If you can show me written proof that you are a fox, I will believe you.”
That is part of the human mind: anything written and people believe it. The written or the printed word has a hypnotic power over people. I say something and if it goes against your scripture, you come immediately to me to say that it is not written in the Bible, as if just by writing something it becomes true. If it is not written in the Bible, so what? So it is not written in the Bible! Improve upon the Bible: write it. At least you can write it in your own copy.
But people believe the written word very much; it is almost hypnotic. That’s why you can go on believing even stupid newspapers because a printed thing, a written thing? – it must be true. All kinds of falsities and lies go on being circulated.
Just the other day I was reading a German newspaper. It says I have two wives, one Indian, one Western. It looks very relevant, very… Because that’s why I say “the meeting of the East and the West”! And the more amazing thing is the picture that it has chosen to show of my two wives: one of them is Shiva! Shiva has long hair; he is standing, his back is toward the camera, so he is my Indian wife! It is really nice of these people.
The other newspaper I was reading has written that I fly in a helicopter. I liked it. I never leave my room, and I fly in helicopters? True, I fly, but I fly without helicopters! And there is an even greater discovery, that I eat only eggs, meat, lobsters, and nothing else! Now, millions of people in Germany will believe it. After all, a written thing is a written thing.
Another newspaper has a report that the reporter came to the ashram early in the morning, at five-thirty. He knocked on the door. A naked, utterly beautiful woman opened the door, hugged him, welcomed him, “Come in,” plucked a fruit from a tree – looked like an apple – gave the fruit to the reporter and told him, “Eat it. It rejuvenates sexual energy.”
And you will be surprised – letters have started arriving. One man wrote from Austria, “I am sixty and I have a young wife. Please be kind to me. I can come to India. I have heard that in India things like that happen. Can you give me that fruit?” It is believed, and all kinds of rubbish, all kinds of falsities and lies go on being written. And many believe.
Satyananda wrote from Germany – now he has come… He wrote from Germany, “So many lies are being printed in German newspapers. In Germany it is almost an Osho wave.” He wrote a letter to make us aware that many kinds of sexual maniacs and perverts will reach: “So be alert because many are preparing.” If such fruits are there, and such a commune exists where all is permitted, where all the people live in nudity – all you people are sitting nude, remember! – where clothes are not allowed… These reports are being published and many will believe. That’s how people believe.
But I am happy. Let them come, for any reason. Then we will see. I have even written to the old man, “Come! Fruit or no fruit, but come!” Who knows? Doing Dynamic, Kundalini, he may go beyond sex. That is a possibility.
…the rabbit said, “If you can show me written proof that you are a fox, I will believe you.” People believe only when something is written. Why do you believe in the Vedas? Why do you believe in the Bible? Why do you believe in the Gita? It is a written document, ancient, of great prestige. What else is there? – just a great tradition supporting it.
If there had been no written record of Jesus, you would have forgotten all about him. There have been many teachers and masters of the capacity of Jesus, of the same caliber, but you don’t even know their names – at least six of the same caliber, of the same status – but you would not even know their names. One of them was Prakudda Katyayana, a rare gem. But he insisted that his words not be written so that no tradition would arise after him. Certainly his words were not written; no tradition has arisen, and people have even completely forgotten his name.
There was another great teacher, Buddha’s contemporary, Purnakashyapa, but because no scriptures exist – they were written, but destroyed by the organized religion in India – nobody knows anything about him.
People believe in the written word. People believe too much in their eyes. One should believe only in one’s own experience. Nothing else should become a substitute, otherwise one starts going false.
So the fox trotted off to the lion, who gave him a certificate that he was a fox.
When he got back to where the rabbit was waiting, the fox started to read out the document. It so pleased him that he dwelt over the paragraphs with lingering delight.
You have also done it many times. If somebody writes a beautiful letter to you, you read it again and again and again. Why “with great lingering delight”? Somebody has praised you; it gives you a good sense of self. People are ready to die to be praised. People are ready to do anything.
I have heard about a politician…

There was a great ceremony, his birthday was celebrated. Hundreds of rose garlands were presented to him, but his secretary was a little puzzled because he was not looking very happy.
When the ceremony was finished the secretary said, “You look a little sad.”
He said, “Yes. Only a hundred garlands? And I had paid for two hundred.”

You have to pay for your own garlands. People go on paying in subtle ways so that they can be praised. And there exists a mutual arrangement in the world: “You scratch my back, I will scratch yours” – and both enjoy.
When he got back to where the rabbit was waiting, the fox started to read out the document. It so pleased him that he dwelt over the paragraphs with lingering delight.
Meanwhile, getting the gist of the message from the first few lines, the rabbit ran down a burrow and was never seen again.
The fox went back to the lion’s den, where he saw a deer talking to the lion.
The deer was saying, “I want to see written proof that you are a lion.”
The lion said, “When I am not hungry, I don’t need to bother. When I am hungry, you don’t need anything in writing.”
You will know… This is the right approach, the lion’s approach: “Who cares whether you believe in me or not?”
If somebody comes to me: “What is the proof that you are God?” who bothers? I am not here to collect stupid followers. My approach is the lion’s approach. He said: “When I am not hungry, I don’t need to bother. When I am hungry, you don’t need anything in writing.”
And that’s my approach too. If just a curious person comes to me, I need not bother. I tell him, “Get lost.” If a disciple reaches me there is no need for any proof. In his very disciplehood he has the proof.
The fox said to the lion, “Why didn’t you tell me to do that when I asked for the certificate for the rabbit?”
“My dear friend, “said the lion, “you should have said that it was requested by a rabbit. I thought it must be for a stupid human being, from whom some of these idiotic animals have learned this pastime.”
Except man, who is worried about inventing a self? Except man, nobody is neurotic on the earth. Except man, nobody has gone astray, so far away from himself that he needs certificates to prove his validity, that he needs certificates to prove his existence, that he needs certificates to prove his character, intelligence.
Either you have intelligence or you don’t. No certificate is needed, your life will be its own proof. Your joy will be enough of a certificate, your bliss will show, will prove it. Nothing else is needed.
The moment you come to me I welcome you, I invite you to come closer and closer to me so that sooner or later you start drinking of the nectar that has happened to me, that is flowing in me. That will be the proof, nothing else is needed.
Mahavira had no proof, Bahauddin had no proof, Jesus had no proof, Buddha had no proof. They were proofs themselves. Those who have eyes will be able to see, and those who have ears will be able to hear, and those who have hearts will be able to feel.
But the human mind has fallen into great stupidity. Humanity is living by words. Words have become too important. The word fire has become more important than fire itself. The word God has become more important than God itself. And remember, the word God is not God and the word love is not love. Don’t be deceived by the words, beware of the words. You can be lost in the jungle of words and you will be going farther and farther away from truth.
Truth is a wordless experience. Truth happens only when there is no thought in you, when all words have disappeared and all the dust is gone from the mirror, when the mirror is simply mirroring, and mirroring nothing. No reflection is made, no wave arises in the lake of your consciousness. Then all is reflected, then you know what is – not only that you know who you are, you know what this whole existence is. Knowing oneself, one knows the whole.
Enough for today.

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