Your Mind is not Yours

Today is the birthday of a British polymath, Bertrand Russell, who was well known for his influential work in the field of philosophy,  mathematicslogicset theory, linguistics, artificial intelligencecognitive sciencecomputer science and various areas of analytic philosophy. Bertrand Russell was also a public intellectualhistoriansocial criticpolitical activist, and Nobel laureate.

Russell described himself in 1947 as an agnostic. Osho has said Bertrand Russell somewhere has joked, “If I calculate all my sins, sins that I have committed and sins that I have not committed, only brooded over — if even they are included — the hardest judge can’t send me to jail for more than four years. And Christianity sends you to hell forever.” Bertrand Russell has written a book, Why I am not a Christian; this is one of his arguments. It is a beautiful argument because the whole thing seems to be ridiculous.

Bertrand Russell’s many philosophical works included The Principles of MathematicsPrincipia Mathematica (with Alfred North Whitehead ), The Philosophy of Logical AtomismThe Analysis of Mind , and The Analysis of Matter, THE ABC OF RELATIVITY, WHY I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN.

Osho praises Russell and says Bertrand Russell, one of the geniuses of our times, tried hard to get rid of the Christian mind, not because it was Christian, but simply because it was given to him by others. He wanted his own fresh outlook about things. He did not want to see things from somebody else’s glasses; he wanted to come in contact with reality immediately, and directly. He wanted his own mind.

Osho also says Bertrand Russell has made a statement that if there were no death, there would be no religion. There is some truth in it. I will not agree totally, because religion is a vast continent. It is not only death, it is also the search for bliss, it is also the search for truth, it is also the search for the meaning of life; it is many more things. But certainly Bertrand Russell is right: if there were no death, very few, very rare people would be interested in religion. Death is the great incentive.

Your mind is not your mind — this is something basic to be remembered. Your mind is an implantation of the society in which you have accidentally been born.

If you were born in a Christian home, but immediately transferred to a Mohammedan family and brought up by the Mohammedans, you would not have the same mind; you would have a totally different mind that you cannot conceive of.

Bertrand Russell, one of the geniuses of our times, tried hard to get rid of the Christian mind, not because it was Christian, but simply because it was given to him by others. He wanted his own fresh outlook about things. He did not want to see things from somebody else’s glasses; he wanted to come in contact with reality immediately, and directly. He wanted his own mind.

So it was not a question of being against the Christian mind; if he had been a Hindu he would have done the same, if he had been a Mohammedan he would have done the same, if he had been a communist he would have done the same.

The question is whether the mind is your own or implanted by others — because the others implant a mind in you which does not serve you, but serves their purposes. Now in the whole Soviet Union, each child is being brought up with a communist mind. One of my friends, Rahul Sankritayana, was visiting the Soviet Union. He went to see a school and he asked a small boy, “Do you believe in God?” The small boy looked at him in shock and he said, “At your age, in this century, you ask such a question! In the past when people were ignorant they used to believe in God. There is no God.” Now this child will believe for his whole life that this is his voice. It is not so. It is the voice of the society, and it serves the purposes of the vested interests of the society. You are prepared by the parents, by the teachers, by the priests, by your educational system to have a certain kind of mind, and your whole life you go on living through that certain kind of mind. That is a borrowed life. And that is why there is so much misery in the world: because nobody is living authentically, nobody is living his own self; he is simply following orders implanted in him.

Bertrand Russell tried hard and wrote a book, WHY I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN. But in a letter to a friend he wrote, “Although I have written the book, although I do not believe that I am a Christian, I have dropped that mind, still, deep down… One day I asked myself, `Who is the greatest man in history?’ Rationally I know it is Gautam Buddha, but I could not put Gautam Buddha above Jesus Christ. “That day I felt that all my efforts have been futile. I am still a Christian. I know rationally that Jesus Christ stands no comparison with Gautam Buddha — but it is only rational. Emotionally, sentimentally I cannot put Gautam Buddha above Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ remains in my unconscious, still affecting my attitudes, my approaches, my behavior. The world thinks I am no longer a Christian, but I know… It seems difficult to get rid of this mind! They have cultivated it with such acumen, with such craftsmanship.”

And it is a long process. You never think about it. A man lives at the most seventy-five years, and for twenty-five years he has to be in the schools, colleges, university; one third of life is devoted to cultivating a certain mind. Bertrand Russell failed because he had no knowledge of how to get rid of it. He was fighting, but groping in the dark. There are absolutely certain methods of meditation which can take you away from the mind, and then it is very easy if you want to drop it. But without first becoming separate from the mind it is impossible to drop it — who is going to drop whom? Bertrand Russell is fighting with one half of his mind against the other half, and both are Christian — it is impossible. And now it has been proved scientifically. One of the most important scientific contributions is from Delgado. He has found seven hundred centers in the brain. Each center is capable of containing an immense quantity of knowledge; it is just like a recording. And his experiments are very shocking: he touches a certain center in the brain with an electrode, and the man starts speaking. He takes away the electrode and the man stops. He puts the electrode back on the same center, and the man starts speaking again — from the very beginning.

Delgado himself has not been able yet to figure out how the tape gets reversed — because the man always starts from the beginning. Wherever you leave him makes no difference. It is not that he starts where you left him. Some automatic process in the mind will be discovered…

Some electrode can be implanted in the mind, permanently, and it can be controlled from far away by remote control. Delgado exhibited it in Spain, in a bullfight. He planted an electrode in the mind of the toughest bull, and he stood in the field showing a red flag. The bull rushed towards him ferociously, and the people almost stopped breathing: “The bull is going to kill one of our best geniuses!” But they did not know that he had a remote control switch in his pocket — just a small box with a switch. Just when the bull was about to attack, from one foot away, he pushed the button and the bull stopped, just frozen. And he did it many times. Again and again the bull came with the same ferocity, and again and again he stopped whenever Delgado pushed the button. Delgado says, “Sooner or later, this discovery can either become a blessing to humanity, or it can become a curse.”

Every child’s mind can be easily implanted with an electrode. You will have very obedient people; you will not have any rebels, you will not have any revolutionaries, but the whole charm of life will be gone. People will be simply vegetables, enslaved scientifically. And they will not know, because the remote control unit may be in the capital, in the hands of the government. It can be useful — criminals can be prevented, murderers can be prevented, thieves can be changed, rapists can be transformed — but it is dangerous also. Anybody who is in power can make the whole country just a crowd of slaves. And you cannot do anything, because you don’t know…Delgado’s mechanism is scientific, but society has been doing the same by planting ideas… It is an old bullock cart method. It takes so long, twenty-five years, and it is not foolproof, because a few revolutionaries escape, a few rebels are still born.

And it is good that there are people who escape from the enslaving structure of the society, because these are the people who have advanced knowledge, who have given all scientific progress, who have changed all superstitions. But the society wants you simply to be a carbon copy, never an original. The strategy to create a mind in you is to go on repeating certain things continuously. And even if a lie is repeated continuously it starts becoming a truth; you forget that it was a lie in the beginning. Adolf Hitler started lying to the German people that all the misery of their country is because of the Jews. Now this is such an absurd thing — like somebody saying that all the misery of the country is because of bicycles, so if we destroy all the bicycles all the misery will disappear.

In fact the Jews were the very backbone of Germany, they had created all the wealth of Germany. And they had no other nation, so any nation — wherever they were — was their nation. They had no other alternative in their minds; they could not betray, and they had been doing all the things that any other German was doing for the welfare of the country. But Adolf Hitler in his autobiography writes, “It doesn’t matter what you say, because there is no such thing as truth. Truth is a lie that has been repeated so often that you have forgotten that it is a lie.” So the only difference, according to him, between truth and a lie is that the lie is fresh and truth is old; otherwise there is no difference. And he seems to have some insight in it. For example, Christianity, Hinduism, Mohammedanism — these three religions repeat to their children, “There is a God.” Jainism, Buddhism, Taoism, three other religions, say “There is no God.” The first group of three religions have a certain mind. Their whole life is filled with the idea of God, hell, heaven, prayer. The second group of three religions has no prayer because there is nobody to pray to, there is no God. And the very question does not arise.

Now, half of the world is communist. They don’t believe even in the soul of man, and every child is continuously told that man is matter, that when man dies he simply dies, nothing remains; that there is no soul — consciousness is a by-product. Now half of the humanity repeats it — as the truth. Adolf Hitler cannot be accused of being absolutely absurd. It seems to be the case that if you repeat anything to people, they will slowly, slowly start believing it. And if it has been repeated for centuries, it has become a heritage. Your mind is not yours. And your mind is not young; it is centuries old — three thousand years old, five thousand years old. That’s why every society is afraid of anybody creating a doubt about the mind. That’s my crime: that I create a doubt in you about your mind.

And I want you to understand that it is not your mind, and your search should be to find your own mind. To be under somebody else’s impact is to remain psychologically a slave. And

life is not for slavery. It is to taste freedom. There is something like truth, but with this mind you can never know it, because this mind is full of lies, repeated for century after century. You can find the truth when you put this mind completely aside and look at existence with fresh eyes, like a newborn child; then whatever you experience is truth. And if you remain constantly alert not to allow others to interfere with your inner growth, there comes a moment when you become so attuned with existence, so one with existence…Only this experience is religious experience.

It is not Jewish, it is not Christian, it is not Hindu. How can any experience be Jewish, Hindu or Mohammedan? You never see its ridiculousness. You eat something and you say it is delicious, but is it Christian, or Hindu, or Buddhist? You taste something and you say it is sweet, but is it communist? — is it materialist or spiritualist? These questions are nonsense. It is simply sweet, it is simply delicious.

When you feel existence immediately, without any mediator, with no mind given by anybody else to you, you taste something which transforms you, which makes you enlightened, awakened, which brings you to the highest peak of consciousness. A greater fulfillment there is not. A higher contentment there is not. A deeper relaxation there is not. You have come home.

Life becomes a joy, a song, a dance, a celebration. And I call this life religious.

I want everybody to be religious, but I don’t want anybody to be Christian, Hindu, Mohammedan, because those are the barriers which will never allow you to become religious. And you can see it clearly: Gautam Buddha is not a Buddhist, he never heard the word Buddhist; Jesus Christ is not a Christian, he never heard the word Christian and certainly he is not a Jew; otherwise Jews would not have crucified him. If Jews decided to crucify Jesus, that simply means he has dropped the mind that they have given him to carry his whole life, that he is saying things that are not part of their given mind. And Jesus continuously reminds them of it…

What I am trying to say to you is that Gautam Buddha was not a Hindu. He was born in a Hindu family, but he has renounced it; he renounced it the very day he started his search for truth. See the simple point: the Hindu need not search for the truth; the Hindu has already got it ready-made. It has been given by the tradition, by the religion, by the scriptures; he need not go in search.

The day Gautam Buddha went in search for truth, he dropped the Hindu mind. And of course he was not a Buddhist; that was a name his followers were given later on by Hindus, to keep a distinction. But he had his own mind. To have one’s own mind in the world is the richest thing possible. But no society allows it; every society keeps you poor.

On your account every society, particularly those who are in power — either through money or through politics or through religion or through knowledge, or for any reason — those who are in power don’t want people to have their own minds. It is dangerous to their interests. They want not men but sheep, not individuals but crowds, who are always in need of being led, who are always in need of being told what to do, what not to do; who don’t have their own minds, their own insights, their own consciousness.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune. 

Discourse Series: Beyond Psychology

Chapter #39

Chapter title: Your mind is not yours

1 May 1986 pm in


Osho has spoken on notable Psychologists and philosophers like Adler, Jung, Sigmund Freud, Assagioli, Wilhelm Reich, Aristotle, Berkeley, Confucius, Descartes, Feuerbach, Hegel, Heidegger, Heraclitus, Huxley, Jaspers, Kant, Kierkegaard, Laing, Marx, Moore, Nietzsche, Plato, Pythagoras, Russell, Sartre, Socrates, Wittgenstein and many others in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Hidden Splendour
  2. The Wild Geese and the Water
  3. This, This, A Thousand Times This: The Very Essence of Zen
  4. Nirvana: The Last Nightmare
  5. Beyond Enlightenment
  6. Beyond Psychology
  7. Dang Dang Doko Dang
  8. The Discipline of Transcendence
  9. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
  10. From Bondage to Freedom
  11. From Darkness to Light
  12. From Ignorance to Innocence
  13. The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1
  14. From Personality to Individuality
  15. I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
  16. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 4
  17. Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1
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