May 3 is the birthday of Machiavelli, a person with great political and analytical mind. He was the Italian philopshoper and best known for his political treatise the prince.
Machiavelli’s ideas had a profound impact on political leader throughout the modern west world. Osho had said in his reference that Inspite of being so intelligent and rebellious in his ideas, he lived a poor life because politicians were afraid of him or his intelligence. They used his ideas but never gave him any position or power.
Osho says ‘Machiavelli has advised pleasure-seekers that the best way of defense is to attack. Never wait for the other to attack you; that may be too late. Before the other attacks you, you attack him! That is the best way of defense. And this is being followed, whether you know Machiavelli or not. This is something very strange: people know about Christ, about Buddha, about Mohammed, about Krishna; nobody follows them. People don’t know much about Chanakya and Machiavelli, but people follow them — as if Machiavelli and Chanakya are very close to your heart! You need not read them, you are already following them. Your whole society is based on Machiavellian principles; that’s what the whole political game is all about. Before somebody snatches anything from you, snatch it from the other. Be always on guard. Naturally, if you are always on guard you will be tense, anxious, worried. And the struggle IS such and it is constant. You are one, and the enemies are millions.’
Life is fulfilling, but you are not in contact with life. Old contact is lost, new has not been made. You are in a transmission, hence you are so dull, hence life looks so mediocre, sad, boring — even futile. Says Jean-Paul Sartre: Man is a useless passion — futile, impotent passion, unnecessarily making much fuss about life, and there is nothing in it… meaningless is life. The more you become enclosed in your self, the more life becomes meaningless. Then you are miserable. Then misery has some other payoffs.
When you are happy you are ordinary, because to be happy is just to be natural. To be miserable is to become extraordinary. Nothing is special in being happy — trees are happy, birds are happy, animals are happy, children are happy. What is special in that? It is just the usual thing in existence.
Existence is made of the stuff called happiness. Just look! — can’t you see these trees?… so happy. Can’t you see the birds singing?… so happily. Happiness has nothing special in it. Happiness is a very ordinary thing. To be blissful is to be absolutely ordinary.
The self, the ego, does not allow that. That’s why people talk too much about their miseries. They become special just by talking about their miseries. People go on talking about their illness, their headache, their stomach, their this and that. All people are in some way or other hypochondriacs.
And if somebody does not believe in your misery, you feel hurt. If somebody sympathizes with you and believes in your misery — even in your exaggerated version of it — you feel very happy. This is something stupid, but has to be understood. Misery makes you special. Misery makes you more egoistic. A miserable man can have a more concentrated ego than a happy man. A happy man really cannot have the ego, because a person becomes happy only when there is no ego. The more egoless, the more happy; the more happy, the more egoless. You dissolve into happiness. You cannot exist together with happiness; you exist only when there is misery. In happiness there is dissolution.
Have you ever seen any happy moment? watched it? In happiness, you are not. When you are in love, you are not. If love has ever made its abode in your heart, even for a few moments, you are not. When you see the beautiful sun rising, or a full moon night, or a silent lake, or a lotus flower, suddenly you are not. When there is beauty, you are not. When there is love, you are not. Hearing someone, if you feel there is truth, you simply disappear in that moment. You are not, truth is. Whenever there is something of the beyond, you are not; you have to make space for it.
You are only when there is misery. You are only when there is a lie. You are only when there is something wrong. You are only when the shoe does not fit. When the shoe fits perfectly, you are not. When the shoe fits perfectly you forget the feet, you forget the shoe. When there is no headache there is no head. If you want to feel your head, you will need a headache, that is the only way.
To be is to be miserable. To be happy is not to be. That’s why Buddha says there is no self. He is creating a path for you to become absolutely blissful. He is saying there is no self so that you can drop it. It is easy to drop something when it is not. It is easy to drop something when you understand that it is not, it is just imagination…
God expelled Adam because he ate from the tree of knowledge — he started learning to read. He threw him out — he became knowledgeable. A man is bound to be more miserable if he is more knowledgeable. The misery is always in exact proportion with your knowledgeability.
Knowledgeability is not knowing. Knowing is innocence; knowledgeability is cunningness. It is very difficult for an educated person not to be cunning. It is almost impossible, because the whole training is cunning.
The training is of logic, not of love. And the training is for doubt, not for trust. And the training is to be suspicious, not to be trusting. And the training is that everybody is trying to deceive you, so be aware. And before somebody else tries to cheat you, cheat — because that is the only way to be protected.
Says Machiavelli: the best way to defend oneself is to be aggressive. You see, all the governments of the world call their military organization, army, ‘defence’. They are all arrangements for attack — they call it ‘defence’. Even Hitler called his military ‘defence’. Nobody down the ages has ever said, ‘I am attacking.’ They say, ‘We are defending.’ They all follow Machiavelli. They all respect Mahavir, Mohammed, Moses, and they all follow Machiavelli. As far as respect is concerned, go to the temple, read the Bible. But as far as actual life is concerned, read THE PRINCE, read Machiavelli, read Chanakya.
In Delhi, the Indian capital where politicians live, they call it CHANAKYA PURI — the city of the Machiavelli. Chanakya is the Indian counterpart of Machiavelli, even more dangerous than Machiavelli. The more a person becomes educated, the more machiavellian, cunning. When Machiavelli’s book THE PRINCE was published, he was thinking that all the kings of Europe would invite him, and he would be posted on a high post as an advisor to some king, but nobody called him. The book was read, the book was followed, but nobody called Machiavelli. He was surprised. He enquired. Then he came to know that reading his book they had become afraid of him. He was so cunning that to give him a big post was dangerous. If he followed his own book, he would destroy, he would throw the king away. Sooner or later he would become the king. He lived a poor man’s life, he could never get into any powerful post.
Education makes you more cunning. Of course, education makes you more miserable. To be religious is to wipe out all this nonsense. To be religious means to learn how to unlearn, how to uneducate yourself again. Whatsoever the world has conditioned you for, you have to uncondition it. Otherwise you are in clutches. Man is miserable because man is caught in his own net. He has to come out of it — and only a distant star will be helpful. Maybe there is no god. I’m not worried about it. But you need a god, a distant star to move towards. Maybe by the time you reach there you will not find god, but you will have become a god by that time. Reaching to that star, you will have grown. Man is miserable because man has learned the tricks to be miserable. Ego is the base of it. Man is miserable because bliss, happiness, is so obviously available — that creates the trouble…
The ego goes on fishing in lakes where fishes are not. That which is obvious, that which is available, is not attractive. That’s why we miss god.
God is available, god is your very surround. He is the very atmosphere we breathe in and out. He is our very life. He is the ocean in which we live, are born, and will dissolve. But he is so close, no distance.
How to feel him? Watch it in your own life. Whatsoever you have loses interest for you. You have a beautiful house. It is beautiful only for your neighbours, not for you. You have a beautiful car. It is beautiful only for others who don’t have cars, it is not beautiful for you. You have a beautiful woman or a beautiful man — it does not make any appeal. You have it, that’s enough. People are attracted only to that which they don’t have. The non-existential attracts.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
The Discipline of Transcendence, Vol 2
Chapter title: A distant star
7 September 1976 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on many politicians and rulers like Abraham Lincoln, Lenin, Mao Tse Tung, Jawaharlal Nehru, Kennedy, Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt, Alexander, Napoleon, and more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- From Bondage to Freedom
- From Ignorance to Innocence
- The Path of the Mystic
- From False to Truth
- From Misery to Enlightenment
- Zen: Zest, Zip, Zap, Zing
- Beyond Psychology
- Live Zen
- The Invitation
- Communism and Zen Fire, Zen Wind
- The Book of Wisdom
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 3
- Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 2