The Ultimate Alchemy Vol 2 04

Fourth Discourse from the series of 12 discourses - The Ultimate Alchemy Vol 2 by Osho.
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Man's partial consciousness is a stage in the grand evolution of life. What could be the significance of his volitional efforts in its growth?
Please also explain the role that the buddhas, the enlightened ones, play in the expansion of human consciousness.
Evolution is unconscious. No volition is needed, no conscious effort. It is just natural. But once consciousness evolves, then it is a totally different matter. Once the consciousness is there, evolution stops. Evolution is only up to consciousness; the work of evolution is to create consciousness. Once consciousness is there, evolution stops. Then the whole responsibility falls upon consciousness itself. So this has to be understood in many ways.
Man is not evolving now. Since long, man has not been evolving. Evolution has stopped as far as man is concerned. The body has come to its peak; now the human body has not evolved since long. The most ancient bones and the most ancient human bodies that have been found are not basically different from our bodies; there is no basic difference. A human body which is one hundred thousand years old, if it can be revived and trained, it will be just like you. There will be no difference at all.
The human body has stopped evolving. When did it stop? When consciousness comes in, evolution’s work is over. Now it is up to you to evolve. So man is static, not evolving, unless man himself endeavors. Now, beyond man, everything will be conscious. Below man everything is unconscious. With man a new factor has entered – the factor of awareness, the factor of consciousness. With this factor, evolution’s work is over. Evolution is to create a situation in which consciousness evolves. Once consciousness enters in, now the whole responsibility is on consciousness. So man will not evolve now; naturally, there will be no evolution.
Consciousness is the peak of evolution, the last step, but it is not the last step of life. Consciousness is the last step of evolution, of all animal heritage. It is the last step, the climax, the peak. But for further growth, it is to be the first step. And when I say evolution has stopped, I mean that now an inner effort is needed: unless you do something, you will not evolve. Nature has brought you to a point which is the last for unconscious growth. Now you are aware, now you know. When you know, you are responsible.
A child is not responsible for his acts, but an adult is. A madman is not responsible for his acts, but a sane man is. If you are under an alcoholic intoxicant, if you are not behaving consciously, you are not responsible. With consciousness, with the faculty of knowing there, you become responsible for yourself.
Sartre has said somewhere that responsibility is the only human burden. No animal is responsible. Evolution is responsible for all that an animal is. The animal is not responsible for anything. Man is responsible. So whatsoever you do now will be your responsibility. If you create a hell and go down, it is up to you. If you evolve, grow and create a blissful state of being, it is up to you.
Existentialists make a very fine distinction, and a beautiful one, and meaningful also. They say for animals essence is first and existence is a later growth. This is difficult to understand, but try. They say for animals, for trees, essence is first and existence follows. There is a seed: the seed is, in essence, the tree. The essence is there, the existence will just follow. The essential thing is there; it just has to be manifested, expressed. The tree will follow. The tree is not going to be a new thing; in a way it was already there. So, really, the seed has no freedom – the tree exists in it. And the tree is also without freedom – it is destined by the seed. This is what is meant: essence is first, below man, and then existence follows.
With man, the whole thing is just the opposite: existence comes first and then essence follows. You are born with no fixed future, you will have to create it. You are born, so you have an existence, simple existence, with no essence. Now you will create the essence. So man creates himself. A tree is created by nature, man creates himself.
Man is simply born as an existence, with no essence. Then whatsoever you do will make your essence; your acts will create you. And the freedom is multidimensional. A man can become anything, or he may not become anything. He may remain just an existence without any essence; he may just remain simply a body without any soul. The soul is, in a way, to be created.
Gurdjieff used to say that you have no souls, you are without souls. Unless you create it, how can you have it? It looks contradictory to all the teachings of religions – it is not. When religions say that everyone has a soul, it only means that everyone can have a soul. That’s a possibility. You can grow to be a soul. If you already have a soul, then there is no distinction between a seed and you. And if you are growing like a seed into a tree, if you are growing just like a seed into a man, then there is no difference between man and all that exists below man.
Man is a freedom – freedom to be. He can be many things, he can be anything. And it may be that he remains just a possibility without being anything. That creates a dizziness and that creates fear.
Kierkegaard has given a concept of dread. He says that man lives in dread. What is that dread, the fear? This is the fear: you are simply a possibility, nothing else. You have only existence, no essence. You can create it, you may miss it. The responsibility is yours.
This is a very dreadful state. Nothing is certain, man is insecure. Every moment many directions open, and you have to move in some way, somewhere, without knowing where you are moving, without knowing what the result will be, without knowing what you will be tomorrow.
Your tomorrow will not come automatically out from your today. The tomorrow of a seed will come automatically from its today. The death of an animal will be the automatic result of his life – not so with you. That’s the difference. Your death will be your achievement: you will be responsible for it. And that’s why every man dies in a specific way. No man’s death is similar to anyone else’s. It cannot be.
Dog A, Dog B, Dog C, they all die in one way. Their death is just part of their life. They are not responsible for their life, they are not responsible for their death. So when someone says that he will die a dog’s death, it means that he will die without being evolved, without being an essence. He will die just a possibility. Two dogs die similarly – never two men. They cannot die similarly. And if they do die similarly, that means they have missed the opportunity to evolve.
With consciousness entering, you are responsible for everything, no matter what. This is a great burden and a deep anguish and it creates fear. You are just over an abyss. This is what I mean when I say: man now needs a conscious effort. To be man means entering a field of conscious evolution. Millions and millions of years have created you, but now nature will not help. This is the peak for natural growth. Now nature cannot do anything for you. It has done already all it can.
Because of this, there is bound to be a deep inner tension. Every moment man is in a tension. It is natural, and it is good. Don’t try to forget it. Use it. You can try to forget it, then you miss the opportunity. So any effort to forget your tense state of mind is erroneous, dangerous. You are falling back. Use this inner tension to grow, to move further. Now you cannot move further in the body. The body has come to a dead end, a cul-de-sac. There is no further movement.
The body moves in a horizontal way. It is just like this: an airplane is running on the earth, on the ground, on its track, to take off. There is a moment when the horizontal running will stop. It will have to run for a mile or two or three miles, just to gather momentum. Then a moment comes when no horizontal running is of any use. And if an airplane goes on running on the ground, it is not an airplane; it is behaving like a car. When the momentum comes, the airplane leaves the ground and a vertical, upward movement takes place.
This is what has happened with man. Evolution has been running, up to man, on the ground, so to speak, horizontally. Now man is the momentum. Now with man, an upward, vertical movement is the only movement. If you miss this point and if you think that “Because for so many million years we were just running on the ground, so we are to continue running on the ground,” you miss the whole thing. Because this whole running was just for this moment, so that you can take off.
Animals are running toward man, trees are running toward animals, matter is running toward trees – everything on this earth is running toward man. For what can man run? Man is the central focus. Everything is growing toward man. Horizontally, for man there is no movement. And if you continue horizontally, then your life will not be really a human life. Your life will consist of many layers which are not human.
Sometimes you may behave like an animal, if you go on horizontally, and sometimes you may just vegetate, and sometimes you may just be dead matter, but never a man. So look deep down inside your life. It has not taken the vertical thrust. Then what are you doing? Think about every act, and then you can know that this act belongs to the animal world, that act belongs to the vegetable kingdom…. Consider your activity, your life, and then you will know. Something is just like dead matter, something is just like a vegetable growing, something is just like animals. Where is the man?
With the upward thrust, man comes into existence – and that is up to you. Conscious evolution is now going to be the only evolution. That’s why religion will become more and more significant every day. Every day, every moment, religion will become more and more significant, because now scientists feel that there seems to be no movement.
Of course, horizontally there is no movement. You cannot progress any further; everything has stopped. So science goes on just adding to your senses. Your eyes have stopped, so now you can use instruments to see. Your brain has stopped, so now you can use computers. Your legs have stopped, so now you can use cars. Whatsoever science is giving is just additional instruments for a growth that has stopped. Man is not growing, only new instruments are growing.
Every instrument, of course, increases your power, but you don’t grow through it. Rather, on the contrary, cars have added much in speed, but they have destroyed your legs. This is unfortunate, but this is going to happen. If computers replace man’s mind – and they will replace it because man’s mind is not so efficient as a computer can be – if computers replace man’s mind they will do much, but ultimately they will destroy your mind, because whatsoever is not used is destroyed.
So science feels now that whatsoever is being done is just giving a false notion of evolution. If we go back to the past, the highest speed was horse-speed, twenty-five miles per hour. Now we have come to two thousand miles per hour speed. Speed has evolved from twenty-five miles per hour to two thousand miles per hour. Not man, but speed has evolved. Not man – man remains the same. Rather, on the contrary, he has regressed, because a man riding a horse is a stronger man than a man flying in an aircraft. Speed has progressed, evolved, and man has regressed.
A certain group of scientists thinks that man is regressing, not evolving. It may be so, because in life you can never be static. If you are not evolving, you will regress. There is no static moment in life; you cannot remain at one point. You cannot say, “If I am not growing, then I will remain whatsoever I am. I will maintain the status quo.” You cannot maintain it. Either you go further or you fall back down.
A certain group of scientists thinks that man is, day by day, regressing, that there is an infantilization. Man is behaving more like children than like adult men everywhere on the earth. If we look, many things become clear and obvious. One thing: it was always the old man, the evolved man, who was predominant in society, but our society is the only society in the world where children have become predominant. They dominate everything – every trend, every fashion, everything! They are the models. Whatsoever they do becomes religion, whatsoever they do becomes politics, whatsoever they do sets a trend all over the world.
If we go back, a thirty-year-old person was behaving in a mature way. Now that’s not the case. Even a thirty-year-old person is behaving in infantile ways, juvenile – the same tantrums, the same childish attitudes. What is a childish attitude? A child thinks that he is the center of the world and his every wish is to be fulfilled immediately. It is fulfilled! When he is hungry milk is given, when he weeps everyone pays attention. The whole family is centered around him.
Children become dictators. They know how to dictate to the whole family. A very small child dictates to the whole family. The father persuades him, the mother bribes him. Even if guests come in the home, he dictates everything. A child thinks he is the center of the world: he is to be supported, helped, by everyone, without any cost. He is not to give love, he is only to demand. Of course, we cannot expect from a child that he should love. He demands, and demands everything. And if a demand is not fulfilled he gets violent, angry. Then he is against the whole world; he will smash things.
Now this has happened with everyone. This is always so with children, but this is now with everyone. Our so-called revolutions are nothing but childish efforts. Our so-called rebellions are nothing but everyone thinking himself to be at the center and his every desire should be fulfilled immediately. And if you are not going to fulfill them, he is going to destroy the whole world.
Student revolts in the universities all over the world, they just show immature, juvenile minds. What does it mean, students throwing stones at the university windows, setting fire to the buildings, destroying? What does it mean? They have no sense of maturity at all. And if you begin to think about it, then not only students, children, boys and girls: if you look at our modern man, even a father, a mother, they are just behaving childishly. If you look at our politicians, they are just behaving childishly, with no maturity at all.
What has happened? Really, man’s growth has stopped; evolutionary growth has stopped. And now we have taken just a substitute for this growth: scientific accumulation. Man has stopped, things grow. Your house goes on becoming bigger and bigger, and you remain the same. Your wealth grows, and because of this growth you feel that you are growing. Your knowledge grows, your information grows, and because of that you think you are growing.
Of course, obviously, a Buddha knows less than you, but that doesn’t mean that you are more grown-up. A Jesus knows less than you, he knows less than any Catholic priest, because he was never trained, never educated: just a carpenter’s son, uneducated, with no information of the world. But, still, you are not more evolved than him. A Mohammed is just illiterate, a Kabir just a nobody, but they are more evolved. But then that evolution is something else: evolution of consciousness, not of things.
You can substitute having for being. Being is a different dimension of growth, vertical; having is horizontal. Things go on and on, and you have so many things, so much information, so much knowledge, so much wealth, so many degrees, so many honors…everything. But this is accumulation, horizontal. There is no upward thrust. You remain the same. But you cannot really remain the same, because if you are not growing you begin to behave childishly, you regress. This is one of the greatest problems humanity is encountering today.
Science can give you only things. It can give you moons and planets, and it can give you the whole universe. Religion can give you only one thing: an upward movement, a vertical growth, a conscious methodology to grow into being. It is not important what you have; it is totally irrelevant for your growth. The only significant thing is what you are. And this growth for being is a responsibility because it is a freedom. You are not forced by evolutionary forces to grow now – you are at liberty.
Evolution is not goading you. It is goading animals, it is goading trees, it is goading everything except man. Evolution is pushing hard so that you may grow, but with man the thing is finished. Now you have become conscious, so do whatsoever – whatsoever you want to do.
Sartre says man is condemned to be free – condemned to be free! The whole of nature is at ease because there is no freedom. Freedom is a great burden. That’s why we don’t even like freedom. Howsoever we may talk about it, no one likes freedom. Everyone fears freedom. Freedom is a dangerous thing. In nature there is no freedom; that’s why there is so much silence. You can never say to a dog, “You are an imperfect dog.” Every dog is perfect. You can say to a man, “You are not a perfect man.” It is meaningful. But to say to a dog, “You are not a perfect dog,” is absurd. Every dog is perfect – because a dog is not free to be. He is goaded by evolution. He is made, he is not a self-creator.
A rose is a rose. Howsoever beautiful, it is not free, it is just a slave. Look at a rose: beautiful, but just a slave, goaded. There is no freedom to flower or not to flower. There is no problem, there is no choice: a flower is to flower. The flower cannot say, “I don’t like flowering,” or, “I refuse.” It has no say, no freedom. That’s why nature is so silent, a slave. It cannot err, it cannot go wrong. And if you cannot go wrong, if you are always right, and if your “right” is not in your hands, then it is just goaded by eternal forces.
Nature is a deep slavery. With man, for the first time, freedom enters. Man is free to be or not to be. Then there is anguish, fear, whether “I may be capable…” whether “I may be or may not be. What is going to happen?” There is a deep trembling. Every moment is a suspended moment. Nothing is fixed and certain, nothing is predictable with man. Everything is unpredictable.
We talk about freedom, but no one likes freedom. So we go on talking about freedom, and creating slavery. We talk about freedom and then create a new slavery. Our every freedom is just a change of slavery. We go on changing from one slavery to another, from one bondage to another. No one likes freedom because freedom creates fear. Then you have to decide and choose. We ask, we want that someone should tell us what to do – the society, the guru, the scripture, the tradition, the parents. Someone should say what to do, someone should show the path, then we can follow. But we cannot move by ourselves. There is freedom and there is fear.
That’s why there are so many religions. So many religions – they are not because of Jesus and Buddha and Krishna, they are because of a deep-rooted fear of freedom. You cannot be just a man. You have to be a Hindu or a Mohammedan or a Christian. Just by being a Christian you lose your freedom, by being a Hindu you are no longer a man, because now you say, “I will follow a tradition. I will not move in the uncharted, in the unknown. I will move on a well-trodden path. I will move behind someone. I will not move alone.”
“I am a Hindu” means “I will move in a crowd, I will not move as an individual, because if I move as an individual, alone, there is freedom. Every moment I have to decide, every moment I have to give birth to myself, every moment I am creating my soul. And no one else will be responsible. Only I will be responsible, ultimately.”
Nietzsche has said, “Now God is dead and man is totally free.” If God is really dead, then man is totally free. And man is not so afraid of God’s death; he is much more afraid of his freedom. If there is a God, then everything is okay with you. If there is no God, then you are left totally free – condemned to be free. Now do whatsoever you like and suffer the consequences, and no one else will be responsible.
Erich Fromm has written a book, The Fear of Freedom. You fall in love and you begin to think of marriage. Love is a freedom, marriage is slavery. But it is difficult to find a person who falls in love and will not think of marriage, immediately. Because love is a freedom, there is fear. Marriage is a fixed thing; there is no fear. Marriage is an institution, dead. Love is an event, alive. It moves, it may change. Marriage never moves, it never changes.
Because of this, marriage has a certainty, a security. Love has no certainty, no security. Love is insecure. Any moment it may disappear into the blue, as it has appeared from the blue. Any moment it may disappear. It is very unearthly; there are no roots in the earth. It is unpredictable. So, “Better get into marriage. Then roots are there. Now this marriage cannot evaporate into the blue. It is an institution.”
Everywhere – just as in love – everywhere, when we find freedom, we transform it into a slavery. The sooner the better. Then we are at ease. So our every story ends with marriage: “They were married, and after that they were always happy.” No one is happy, but it is good to end the story there because then begins the hell. So every story ends with the most beautiful moment. And what is that moment? Freedom turning into slavery.
And this is not only so with love but with everything. So marriage is an ugly thing; it is bound to be. Every institution is going to be ugly, because it is just a dead corpse of something which was alive. But with anything alive, uncertainty is bound to be there. Alive means it can move, it can change, it can be different. I love you; the next moment I may not love you. But if I am your husband or I am your wife you can be certain: the next moment also I will be your husband, your wife. It is an institution. Dead things are very permanent. Alive things are momentary, changing, in a flux.
Man is afraid of freedom, and freedom is the only thing which makes you man. So we are suicidal, destroying our freedom, and with that destruction destroying our whole possibility of being. And then having is good, because having means accumulating dead things. You can go on accumulating; there is no end to it. And the more you accumulate, the more secured you are.
When I say now man has to move consciously, I mean this: that you have to be aware of your freedom and also aware of your fear of freedom.
How to use this freedom? Religion is nothing but an effort toward conscious evolution, an effort to use this freedom. Your volitional efforts are significant. Whatsoever you are doing nonvolitionally is just part of the past. Your future depends on your volitional acts. A very simple act done with awareness, volitionally, gives you a certain growth, even an ordinary act.
If you go on a fast, not because you have no food – you have food, you can eat it; you have hunger, you can eat – you go on a fast because it is a volitional act, a conscious act. No animal can perform this. An animal will go on a fast, sometimes, when there is no hunger. An animal will have to fast when there is no food. But only man can fast when there is hunger and food both. This is a volitional act. You use your freedom. The hunger cannot goad you. The hunger cannot push you and the food cannot pull you.
If there is no food, it is not a fast. If there is no hunger, it is naturopathy; it is not a fast. Hunger is there, food is there, and you are on a fast. This fasting is a volitional act, a conscious act. This will give you much awareness. You will feel a subtle freedom: freedom from food, freedom from hunger – really, deep down, freedom from the body, and still more deep down, freedom from nature. And as your freedom grows, your consciousness grows. As your consciousness grows, your freedom grows. They are interrelated. Be more free and you will be more conscious; be more conscious and you will be more free. They are interdependent.
But we can deceive ourselves. A son, a daughter, can say, “I will rebel against my father so that I may be more free.” Hippies are doing that. But rebellion is not freedom, because it is just natural at a particular age to rebel against parents. It is not freedom, it is just natural. A child who is just coming out of the womb of his mother cannot say, “I am leaving the womb.” It is natural.
When someone is sexually mature, it is a second birth. Now he must fight his parents, because only if he fights with his parents will he move further away from them. And unless he moves further away from them, he cannot create a new family nucleus. So every child will go against his parents. This is natural. And if a child is not going against his parents, it is a growth, because then he is fighting nature.
For example, you get married. Your mother and your wife are going to be in a conflict, which is natural – which is natural, I say, because for the mother it is a great shock. You have moved to another woman. Up to now you were wholly and solely your mother’s. And it makes no difference, because deep down no one is a mother and no one is a wife. Deep down every female is a woman. Suddenly you have moved to another woman, the woman in your mother will suffer, will become jealous. Fight and conflict is natural. But if a mother can still love you, it is a growth. And if your mother can love you more than she ever loved you now that you have moved to a new woman, it is growth, it is conscious growth. She is going above natural instincts.
When you are a child, you love your parents. That is natural – just a bargain. You are helpless and they are doing everything for you. You love them and you give them respect. When your parents have become old and they cannot do anything for you, if you still respect and love them, that is a growth. Anywhere that natural instinct is transcended, you grow. You have taken a volitional decision. Your being will grow and you will attain essence.
The old Indian culture tried in every way to make life such that everything becomes a growth. It is natural for a small child to respect his father. It is unnatural when your father has become just old, dying. He cannot do anything for you, is just a burden to you, then to respect him is unnatural. No animal can do that; the natural bond has broken. Only man can do that. And if it is done, you grow. It is volitional.
Any volitional act, simple or complex… I will tell you a story:

In the Mahabharata, Bhishma’s father fell in love with a girl. He was very old, but even when you are old to fall in love is natural. Even on the deathbed you can fall in love. The girl was ready, but the girl’s father made a condition. He said, “You have your son, Bhishma” – Bhishma was young, just to be married – “and Bhishma will inherit your kingdom, so make it the condition to me that if any son is born from my daughter to you, he will inherit the kingdom, not Bhishma.”
It was so unnatural for the father to tell Bhishma this, because he was an old man, he can die any day. But he was worried, he became sad, so Bhishma asked him, “What is the matter? Something is on your mind. What can I do, tell me?”
So he fabricated a story. Old men are very efficient. He said, “Because you are the only son, only one to me, and no one can trust nature, if you die or something happens, then who will inherit my kingdom? So I have talked with wise men and they say, ‘It is better you marry again so that you can get another son.”
So Bhishma said, “What is wrong in it? Marry.”
Then the father said, “But there is a difficulty. I want to marry this girl, but this is the condition of her father that ‘Your son Bhishma should not inherit the kingdom – my daughter’s son should.’”
So Bhishma said, “It is okay with me. I give you my promise.”
Bhishma went to the man whose daughter was going to be married to his father. He said, “I promise you, I will not inherit the kingdom.”
But that man was just a fisherman, very ordinary. He said. “I know, but how can you promise me? Your sons may create trouble. And we are just fishermen, very ordinary people. If your sons create trouble, we will not be able to do anything.”
So Bhishma said, “I promise you I will never marry. Okay? Then the whole thing is finished.”
This was very unnatural. A young man, and he never married. He never looked at a woman with any carnal desire. This became a growth. This created a subtle being, an integration, a crystallization. Then there was no need for any other sadhana. Only this fact was enough. He was crystallized. This promise was enough. He became a different man. He began to grow vertically. The natural, horizontal line stopped. With this promise, everything stopped. There was no biological possibility now. Everything natural became meaningless.
And Bhishma is rare: with no spiritual practice, with no spiritual effort, other than this, he attained the highest peak possible.

So any act, simple or complex, which you decide on your part – without any instinctive goading behind, without any natural force forcing you to decide – if it is your decision, through that decision you are created. Every decision is decisive for your birth. You grow in a different dimension.
So use every act, very ordinary acts. You are sitting. Decide that “Now I will not move my body for ten minutes.” You will be surprised that the body was not moving before, but now the body forces you to move. You begin to feel many subtle movements in the body you were not even aware of. Now the body will revolt – millennia of past habit. The body will say, “I will move.” The body will begin to tremble and there will be subtle movements, and you will feel many temptations to move. The legs will go to sleep, they will go dead, and you will feel somewhere to scratch, and many things. And you were sitting without any movement previously, but now you cannot sit. But if you can sit, even for ten minutes without moving, you will not need any other meditation.
In Japan they call “just sitting” the only meditation. Their word for it is zazen. Zazen means just sitting. But then sit. Then don’t do anything else. A seeker will come to a Zen master and he will say, “Just sit. Sit for hours together.” In a Zen monastery you will see many many seekers sitting for hours together, just sitting, not doing anything. No meditation is given, no contemplation, no prayer. Just sitting is the meditation.
A seeker will sit for six hours without any movement, and when every movement falls down, withers away, and there is no movement – not only no movement, but no desire to move inside – you are centered, you are crystallized. You have used a very ordinary act, of sitting, for your volition, for your will, for your awareness.
It is very difficult if I say to you, “Just close your eyes and don’t open them.” Many temptations will be there. And then you will find it is very uneasy not to open them, and you will open them. And you can deceive even yourself that “I am not opening them. Suddenly they opened themselves, eyes opened themselves. I was not aware.” Or you can just deceive: you can have a small glimpse, a little glimpse, and then close your eyes.
But even if you can keep your eyes shut as a volitional act, that will help. Anything can become a medium to grow. So contemplate your habits, and whatsoever you do, do volitionally. Anything, any habit can be used, any mechanical action can be used. Do otherwise. Change it. And then once you decide, do it, otherwise it may prove fatal. It does.
If you decide something and then don’t do it, it is better not to decide, because that will give your will a very deep shock. And we are all doing that. We go on deciding and not doing. Ultimately, we lose every possibility of a will, and we begin to feel a deep will-lessness, a deep impotency, a deep weakness. And you decide about very ordinary things.
Someone decides, “Now I am not going to smoke,” and the next day he is smoking. You may think, “What is wrong in it? It was my decision and I am the master of my decision, so I have changed it.” You are not. You have changed because you are not the master. Smoking proves to be the master, not you. Smoking is more powerful than you. Then it is better not to decide – go on smoking. But if you decide, then let this decision be final. Then never move from it. That will give you growth.
Of course, every habit will fight with you. And your mind will say, “What are you doing? What is wrong with it?” Your mind will rationalize in many, many ways. I don’t say smoking is wrong. I say: deciding not to smoke and then smoking is wrong. Even vice versa: if you decide to smoke, then smoke. Then don’t stop. Then whatsoever happens, cancer happens, let it happen. Then if the whole world goes against it, let the whole world go against it. If you have decided to smoke, then smoke! Even at the cost of life, go on smoking. That will give you growth.
So it is not a question of cigarette or no cigarette, smoking or no smoking. Deep down it is a question of following a decision, a will, a voluntary act. Whatsoever the object is, it is irrelevant, but decide. And with small decisions you can create a great will, with very small decisions.
Just “I will not look out of the window for one hour.” A very, very small decision, with no meaning, meaningless. Who bothers whether you look out of the window or not? And nothing is happening out of the window. But the moment you decide not to look out of the window, your whole being will revolt and would like to see, and the window will become the focus of the whole world, as if you are missing everything – something is going to happen there.

One day Mulla Nasruddin decided not to go to the market. Just in the morning, early morning, at five o’clock. There was no question of the market, but he decided not to go to the market. Then he began to think about the market. And he had decided not to go because in the village there was market day once a week: “And every market day I go to the market uselessly – nothing to sell and nothing to buy.”
He was a poor man: “Nothing to sell and nothing to buy – why do I go to the market unnecessarily? Because everyone goes, it is marketday, a festivity in the village? Why should I go? So today I am not going. It is marketday.” He decided early, at five o’clock.
Then he began to think about it: “If something happens there? In case something happens there…”
So he worked it out, and he fidgeted inside. And then, by six o’clock, he was at the market. It was four or five hours still till the market would open and people would gather. He was at the market sitting under a tree, just in the center of the market.
Someone asked Mulla Nasruddin, “Why are you sitting here so early?”
Nasruddin said, “It is market day, and I thought if something happens and a large crowd is there I may not get to the right point. So I am just sitting here in the center. If something happens, I will be the first. And who knows? In this world everything is possible.”
The marketplace became very significant, the center of the world. And it became tempting just from the decision that “I am not going to the market, because every week I go uselessly. I have nothing to sell and nothing to purchase.”

The moment you decide, you will be tempted, and to transcend temptation is growth. To transcend temptation is growth. It is not suppression, remember. It is not suppression, it is transcendence. The temptation is there. You don’t fight it, you acknowledge it: “Okay, you are there, but I have decided.” Try it for your meditation.
You are sitting, and when you sit for meditation many thoughts will come, uninvited guests. They never come ordinarily. When you meditate, only then do they become interested in you. They will come, they will crowd, they will encircle you. Don’t fight with them. Just say, “I have decided not to be disturbed by you,” and remain still.
A thought comes to you. Just say to the thought, “Go away!” Don’t fight. By fighting you engage, by fighting you will prove weaker. Just say, “Go away” and remain still. And you will be surprised: just by saying to a thought, “Go away,” it goes away.
But say it with a will. Your mind must not be divided. It must not be something like a feminine no. It must not be like that because a feminine no, the more forcefully it is said, the more forcefully it means yes. It must not be a feminine no. If you say, “Go away,” then don’t mean inside, “Come nearer.” Then let it be, “Go away!” Mean it, and the thought will disappear. If you are angry and you have decided not to be angry, don’t suppress it. Just say to the anger, “I am not going to be angry,” and the anger will disappear.
There is a mechanism. Your will is needed because anger needs energy. If you say no with full energy, there is no energy left for the anger. A thought moves because deep down a hidden yes is there. That’s why a thought moves in your mind. If you say no, that yes is cut from the root, the very root. The thought becomes uprooted. It cannot be in you. But then the no or yes must mean what you say. Then no must mean no and yes must mean yes. But we go on saying yes meaning no, saying no meaning yes. Then the whole life becomes confused. And your mind, your body, they don’t know what you mean, what you say.
This conscious effort to decide, to act, to be, is now going to be the evolution for man. A buddha is different from you because of this effort and nothing else. Potentially there is no difference; only this conscious effort makes the difference. Between man and man, the real difference is only of conscious effort. All else is just superficial. Just your clothes are different, so to speak. But when you have something conscious in you, a growth, an inward growth, which is not natural but goes beyond, then you have a distinct individuality.

Buddha passes through a village, and many people have come to insult him. He says, “You have come late. You should have come ten years ago, because now I have become conscious. Now I cannot react. You abuse me, you insult me – it is okay with me. I am not going to react. You cannot force me to react.”
When someone abuses you he is forcing you to be angry, and when you become angry you are just a slave to him. He has made you angry. And we go on saying, without understanding what we are saying we go on saying, “That man made me angry.” What do you mean? “He said something and he made me angry.” So he is your master. He can say something, he can manipulate, he can push a button, and you are angry and you get mad. So your button can be pushed by anyone and you can be made mad.
Buddha says, “You have come late, friends. Now I have become master of my own self. You cannot force me to do something. If I want, I do. If I don’t want, I don’t do. You will have to go back. I am not going to reply to you.”
They are puzzled because this man is behaving very unpredictably. When you abuse someone, he is insulted, he feels angry. He must react in some way or other, but this man simply refuses to react.
And Buddha asks them, “I am in a hurry to reach the other village. If you are finished, then allow me to move. If you have something more to say, when I come back, be ready and tell me.”

This is transcendence. Something natural has been transcended. Reaction is natural, action is growth. We all react. We have no actions, only reactions. Someone appreciates you and you feel good, someone abuses you and you feel bad, someone will do this and this will happen. You are predictable.
A husband returning to his house knows what his wife is going to ask. Not only that: he prepares the answer. He has not reached yet, but he prepares the answer. And he knows that his wife is not going to believe it. The wife knows what she is going to ask and what her husband is going to answer…everything predictable. And every day this will happen, and this will continue for the whole life. The same questions, the same answers, the same suspicions, the same doubts, the same tricks, the same games – and people go on playing. These are just reactions.

Someone asked Mulla Nasruddin for some money. He said, “This is the first time you have asked, so I will give it to you.”
He gave the money. It was a small sum. Then Mulla Nasruddin thought, “This money is not going to come back.” But the man returned it; after seven days the man returned it. Mulla was surprised.
Then later on, after a week, the man again came to ask for some money. Mulla said, “Now you cannot deceive me again. You deceived me last time!”
The man said, “What are you saying? I returned your money.”
Mulla said, “But you deceived me, because I was thinking that you were not going to give it back. It was decidedly so. Then you deceived me by giving it back. Now you cannot deceive me again! I am not going to give you the money.”

If someone behaves unpredictably, it surprises us. We are so predictable. Everyone knows what one is going to do. You do this, and this will follow. It is a mechanical response.
Go beyond mechanical responses. Transcend natural forces. Create a will. That is the path beyond human evolution. Below human there is a natural growth, but that is not for man now.
And the second part of the question is: “Explain the role that the buddhas, the enlightened ones, play in the expansion of human consciousness.”
Buddhas play a role because human consciousness is not only individual, it is also collective. It is in you, but it is also outside of you. In a way, consciousness is in you and you are in a greater consciousness, just like a fish in the sea. The fish is in the sea and the sea is also in the fish.
We exist in a great ocean of consciousness. And whenever a buddha is born, whenever someone attains buddhahood, becomes enlightened through his efforts, through his conscious evolution, a wave in the ocean rises. With that wave everything in the ocean is affected. It is bound to be so because a wave in the ocean is part of a great pattern.
When a buddha rises to a height, the whole ocean is affected in multi, multi ways, because now this height will be echoed all over. You throw a stone into a lake: a small circle is created. Then it goes on expanding, and the whole lake will be affected ultimately. A buddha is a stone in the lake of human consciousness. Now humanity can never be the same again as it was before a buddha.
Christians have made it a very significant point. They divide history into “before Christ” and “after Christ.” This is very significant. Really, history is different: before Christ and after Christ there is a gap. Because a Christ is born, humanity can never go back again to the same primitive state of mind. Everything is affected. We rise with buddhas, we fall with Hitlers, but this rise and fall, for you, is a natural thing. A buddha is born: everyone rises with him. But this is not a conscious effort on your part.
You can use this opportunity. A buddha is there: a possibility has flowered into its essence, one consciousness has become a peak. Now this is a very good moment for your conscious effort. You will take less time, you will need less effort. It is as if the whole history is flowing toward a height. You can swim easily. But if you don’t use the opportunity, you will go to a height and you will come down, because with a buddha you will go high, with a Hitler you will come down. You will go on moving down and up. This coming up and down will be a natural force for you. For a buddha it is a conscious effort, for you it will be a natural force.
You can use it. Man can use it in two ways. When a buddha is there, now to rise is easy. The whole consciousness is open toward the peak. The peak is there. Deep down in you there are echoes of it. The music is heard deep down. You can follow it. If you make a small effort, you can attain buddhahood very easily.
There is a story, very meaningful:

Buddha attains the ultimate, then he remains silent for seven days. He has no feeling to say what he has attained. The silence seems total, unbreakable. Then Brahma becomes afraid he may not speak, and it happens rarely that someone attains buddhahood.
So the story says Brahma came to Buddha, bowed down at his feet and said, “You must speak. Don’t remain silent, you have to speak!”
Buddha said, “It seems useless, because those who can hear me and can understand me will understand even without me. And those who will not hear me, even if they listen, cannot understand me, will not understand me, even if I speak. So there seems to be no need.”
Brahma said, “But there are a few more you are leaving out. There are a few more who are just on the verge. If you speak, they will hear and take the jump. If you don’t speak, they may even fall back. They are just on the border. They will hear you and will take a jump.”

A buddha is there. This is a possibility to take a jump. You are affected whether you take the jump or not. You will be affected. But this being affected, without your conscious will, will be a natural force. And when a Hitler comes up, you will go down. If you go higher with Buddha, you will go down with anyone – because it is not your achievement, this going up. With a rising wave you go up, then with a falling wave you go down. But you can use the opportunity. When you are rising high, if you will it, then with a very small effort, you will attain more. So with a buddha, thousands of souls become buddhas.
I wonder whether you know it or not, that within five hundred years everything great, as far as religion is concerned, happened. Within five hundred years. Buddha – Gautama the Buddha – Mahavira, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Moses, Zarathustra, Jesus, they all happened within five hundred years, in a particular period, when everything was rising high. Every great religion was born within those five hundred years.
Something mysterious was afoot, something very mysterious. Just in Bihar, in a very small place, in a very small province, when Buddha was there, there were eight persons of Buddha’s height. Just in small Bihar, eight persons! Mahavira was there, Buddha was there, Ajit Keshkambal was there, Belattiputta was there…eight such persons. And these are the known persons.

Someone asked Buddha, “You have ten thousand bhikkhus, ten thousand monks, with you. How many of them have attained buddhahood?”
Buddha said, “So many I cannot count.”
The questioner asked, “Then why are they silent? Why don’t we feel them? Why are they not famous?”
So Buddha said, “When I am speaking, there is no need for them to speak. And, moreover, when for the first time I attained buddhahood, I myself tried in every way to be silent. It was Brahma who asked me and persuaded me to speak. They have become silent. No one will know about them; even their names will not be known.”

One day Buddha came to his assembly of monks with a flower in his hand. He was to speak, but he would not speak. He just sat, and he continued for a long time. Everyone became puzzled and disturbed, and then they began to whisper in each others’ ears, “What is the matter? Why is he not speaking today?” He was just sitting there with a flower in his hand, a lotus flower, looking at it, totally absorbed in it.
Then someone said, “Are you not going to speak today?”
Buddha said, “I am speaking. Listen!” And he remained silent.
Then someone else asked, “We cannot understand what you are doing, sir. You are just looking at the flower and we have come to hear something from you.”
So Buddha said, “I have said many things to you which could be said. Now I am saying something which cannot be said. If someone understands, let him laugh.”
Only one person laughed, Mahakashyapa. He was not known before; no one knew about him. This is the only incident that is known. Mahakashyapa was his name.
Ananda is a known, very well-known disciple, Sariputta is a very well-known disciple, Maudgalyan is a very well-known disciple – Mahakashyapa was an absolutely unknown disciple. Neither Sariputta nor Ananda nor Maudgalyan could laugh. A very unknown man, no one knew about him, he laughed.
Buddha called him and said, “Mahakashyapa, come to me.” Buddha gave the flower to Mahakashyapa and said, “Whatsoever I could say I have said to others, and what I cannot say I say to you. Take this flower.”
This is the only incident known about Mahakashyapa, the only mention of his name.
But when Bodhidharma reached China seven hundred years after Buddha, he said, “I am a disciple of Mahakashyapa. Buddha was the first teacher, Mahakashyapa was the second teacher, and in that line I am the twenty-eighth.”
The Zen tradition in Japan says, “Mahakashyapa is our originator – the man who laughed and the man to whom Buddha gave the flower.”
In the night when everyone dispersed, everyone had gone, Ananda asked, “Who is this Mahakashyapa? We never knew about him – a very unknown and strange one.”
Buddha said, “How can you know about him? He has remained silent for years. And only he could laugh because he remained so silent. Only he could understand. It was a transmission without words, a communication without words. Only he could understand.”

When a buddha is there, with a very small effort of your will you can achieve much. When a buddha is not there, you are fighting against a current. When a Hitler or a Genghis Khan is there, much effort will be needed. Even then, success is very difficult.
Buddha is reported to have said, “Choose a right moment to be born” – choose a right moment to be born. “Choose a moment when a buddha is there.”

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