Trees grow without being taught
HAVING HEARD YOU TALK ABOUT COMPETITION AND OUR CHILDHOOD THE OTHER MORNING, IT SET ME THINKING OF MY OWN EDUCATION. I REALIZED THAT FOR TWENTY-ONE YEARS SOLIDLY, EVERY SINGLE EVENT AT SCHOOL -- FROM PLAYING IN THE GARDEN, THROUGH OFFICIAL SPORTS, TO LATIN GRAMMAR -- WAS BASICALLY AN EXERCISE IN HOW TO BEAT THE NEXT PERSON.
IT SEEMS AS IF IT WAS THE SINGLE MOST DAMAGING EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE. I CAN'T THINK OF A MORE PERFECT SYSTEM TO DESTROY CHILDREN AND MAKE US COMPLETELY INHARMONIOUS WITH THE WORLD AROUND US.
HOW CAN WE HELP CHILDREN TO GROW TO THEIR FULL POTENTIAL, WITHOUT ENCOURAGING THIS COMPETITIVE SPIRIT?
The moment you start thinking how to help children to grow without any competitive spirit you are already on the wrong track, because whatever you are going to do is going to give the children a certain program. It may be different from the one that you received, but you are conditioning the children -- with all the best intentions in the world.
The trees go on growing without anybody teaching them how to grow. The animals, the birds, the whole existence, needs no programming. The very idea of programming is basically creating slavery -- and man has been creating slaves for thousands of years in different names. When people become fed up with one name, another name immediately replaces it. A few modified programs, a few changes here and there in the conditioning, but the fundamental thing remains the same -- that the parents, the older generation, want their children to be in a certain way. That's why you are asking "How?".
According to me, the function of the parents is not how to help the children grow -- they will grow without you. Your function is to support, to nourish, to help what is already growing. Don't give directions and don't give ideals. Don't tell them what is right and what is wrong: let them find it by their own experience.
Only one thing you can do, and that is share your own life. Tell them that you have been conditioned by your parents, that you have lived within certain limits, according to certain ideals, and because of these limits and ideals you have missed life completely, and you don't want to destroy your children's life. You want them to be totally free -- free of you, because to them you represent the whole past.
It needs guts and it needs immense love in a father, in a mother, to tell the children, "You need to be free of us. Don't obey us -- depend on your own intelligence. Even if you go astray it is far better than to remain a slave and always remain right. It is better to commit mistakes on your own and learn from them, rather than follow somebody else and not commit mistakes. But then you are never going to learn anything except following -- and that is poison, pure poison."
It is very easy if you love. Don't ask "how", because "how" means you are asking for a method, a methodology, a technique -- and love is not a technique.
Love your children, enjoy their freedom. Let them commit mistakes, help them to see where they have committed a mistake. Tell them, "To commit mistakes is not wrong -- commit as many mistakes as possible, because that is the way you will be learning more.
But don't commit the same mistake again and again, because that makes you stupid."
So it is not going to be a simple answer from me. You will have to figure it out living with your children moment to moment, allowing them every possible freedom in small things.
For example, in my childhood... and it has been the same for centuries, the children are being taught, "Go to bed early, and get up early in the morning. That makes you wise."
I told my father, "It seems to be strange: when I am not feeling sleepy, you force me to sleep early in the evening." And in Jaina houses early in the evening is really early, because supper is at five o'clock, at the most six. And then there is nothing else to do -- the children should go to sleep.
I said to him, "When my energy is not ready to go to sleep, you force me to go to sleep.
And when, in the morning, I am feeling sleepy, you drag me out of the bed. This seems to be a strange way of making me wise! And I don't see the connection -- how am I going to become wise by being forced to sleep when I am not feeling sleepy? And for hours I lie down in the bed, in the darkness... time which would have in some way been used, would have been creative, and you force me to sleep. But sleep is not something in your hands.
You cannot just close your eyes and go to sleep. Sleep comes when it comes; it does not follow your order or my order, so for hours I am wasting my time.
"And then in the morning when I am really feeling sleepy, you force me to wake up -- five o'clock, early in the morning -- and you drag me out for a morning walk towards the forest. I am feeling sleepy and you are dragging me. And I don't see how all this is going to make me wise. You please explain it to me!
"And how many people have become wise through this process? You just show me a few wise people -- I don't see anybody around. And I have been talking to my grandfather, and he said that it is all nonsense. Of the whole household, that old man is the only sincere man. He does not care what others will say, but he has told me that it is all nonsense: `Wisdom does not come by going early to bed. I have been going early to bed my whole life -- seventy years -- and wisdom has not come yet, and I don't think it is going to come! Now it is time for death to come, not for wisdom. So don't be befooled by these proverbs.'" I told my father, "You think it over, and please be authentic and true. Give me this much freedom -- that I can go to sleep when I feel sleep is coming, and I can get up when I feel that it is time, and sleep is no longer there."
He thought for one day, and the next day he said, "Okay, perhaps you are right. You do it according to yourself. Listen to your body rather than listening to me."
This should be the principle: children should be helped to listen to their bodies, to listen to their own needs. The basic thing for parents is to guard the children from falling into a ditch. The function of their discipline is negative.
Remember the word "negative"... no positive programming but only a negative guarding -- because children are children, and they can get into something which will harm them, cripple them. Then too don't order them not to go, but explain to them. Don't make it a point of obedience; still let them choose. You simply explain the whole situation.
Children are very receptive, and if you are respectful towards them they are ready to listen, ready to understand; then leave them with their understanding. And it is a question only of a few years in the beginning; soon they will be getting settled in their intelligence, and your guarding will not be needed at all. Soon they will be able to move on their own.
I can understand the fear of the parents that the children may go in a direction which they don't like -- but that is your problem. Your children are not born for your likings and your dislikings. They have to live their life, and you should rejoice that they are living their life -- whatever it is. They may become a poor musician....
I used to know a very rich man in the town who wanted his son, after matriculation, to become a doctor. But the son was interested only in music. He was already no longer an amateur; he was well known in the area, and wherever there was any function, he was playing the sitar and was becoming more and more famous.
He wanted to go to a university which is basically devoted to music. Perhaps it is the only university in the world which is devoted completely to music, and has all the different departments -- dance, different instruments -- but the whole world of the university is musical.
The father was absolutely against it. He called me -- because I was very close to his son - - and he said, "He will be a beggar all his life," because musicians in India cannot earn much. "At the most he can become a music teacher in a school. What will he be earning?
That much we pay to many servants in our house. And he will be associating with the wrong people," because in India, music has remained very deeply connected with the prostitutes.
The Indian prostitute is different from any prostitute in the rest of the world. The word "prostitute" does not do justice to the Indian counterpart, because the Indian prostitute is really well versed in music, in dance -- and India has so much variety. If you really want to learn the deeper layers of music, of singing, of dancing, you have to be with some famous prostitute.
There are famous families -- they are called gharanas. Gharana means family. It is nothing to do with the ordinary family; it is the family of the master-disciple. So there are famous gharanas which have a certain way of their own. Presenting the same instrument, the same dance, different gharanas will produce it in different ways, with subtle nuances.
So, if someone really wants to get into the world of music, he has to become part of some gharana -- and that is not good company. According to a rich man it is certainly not a good company.
But the son was not interested in the company. Not following his father, he went to the music university. And his father disowned him -- he was so angry. And because his father disowned him, and because he had no other ways -- because the university was in a very remote mountaineous area where you cannot find any job or anything -- he came back and had to become exactly what his father was predicting, just a school teacher.
His father called me and told me, "Look, it is just as I have said. My other sons -- somebody is an engineer, somebody is a professor, but this idiot did not listen to me. I have disowned him; he will not inherit a single cent from me. And now he will remain in just the poorest profession -- a school master."
But my friend himself was immensely happy... not worried that he had been abandoned by his family, that he was going to live a poor man's life, that he would not be receiving any inheritance. These things did not bother him; he was happy, "It is good they have done all this -- now I can become part of some gharana. I was worried about them, that they would feel humiliated. But now they have abandoned me, and I am no longer part of them, I can become part of some gharana."
Teaching in a school, he became part of a gharana, and is now one of the best musicians in India. It is not a question of his being one of the best musicians; what is important is that he became what he felt was his potential. And whenever you follow your potential, you always become the best. Whenever you go astray from the potential, you remain mediocre.
The whole society consists of mediocre people for the simple reason that nobody is what he was destined to be -- he is something else. And whatever he will do, he cannot be the best, and he cannot feel a fulfillment; he cannot rejoice.
So the work of the parents is very delicate, and it is precious, because the whole life of the child depends on it. Don't give any positive program -- help him in every possible way that he wants.
For example, I used to climb trees. Now, there are a few trees which are safe to climb; their branches are strong, their trunk is strong. You can go even to the very top, and still there is no need to be afraid that a branch will break. But there are a few trees which are very soft. Because I used to climb on the trees to get mangoes, jamuns -- another beautiful fruit -- my family was very much worried, and they would always send somebody to prevent me.
I told my father, "Rather than preventing me, please explain to me which trees are dangerous -- so that I can avoid them -- and which trees are not dangerous, so that I can climb them.
"But if you try to prevent me from climbing, there is a danger: I may climb a wrong tree, and the responsibility will be yours. Climbing I am not going to stop, I love it." It is really one of the most beautiful experiences to be on the top of the tree in the sun with the high wind, and the whole tree is dancing -- a very nourishing experience.
I said, "I am not going to stop it. Your work is to tell me exactly which trees I should not climb -- because I can fall from them, can have fractures, can damage my body. But don't give me a blank order: `Stop climbing.' That I am not going to do." And he had to come with me and go around the town to show me which trees are dangerous. Then I asked him the second question, "Do you know any good climber in the city who can teach me even to climb the dangerous trees?"
He said, "You are too much! Now this is going too far. You had told me, I understood it..."
I said, "I will follow it, because I have myself proposed it. But the trees that you are saying are dangerous are irresistible, because JAMUN" -- an Indian fruit -- "grows on them. It is really delicious, and when it is ripe I may not be able to resist the temptation.
You are my father, it is your duty... you must know somebody who can help me."
He said, "If I had known that to be a father was going to be so difficult, I would have never been a father -- at least of you! Yes, I know one man" -- and he introduced me to an old man who was a rare climber, the best.
He was a woodcutter, and he was so old that you could not believe that he could do woodcutting. He did only rare jobs, which nobody else was ready to do... big trees which were spreading on the houses -- he would cut off the branches. He was just an expert, and he did it without damaging their roots or the houses. First he would tie the branches to other branches with ropes. Then he would cut these branches and then with the ropes pull the other branches away from the house and let them fall on the ground.
And he was so old! But whenever there was some situation like that, when no other woodcutter was ready, he was ready. So my father told him, "Teach him something, particularly about trees which are dangerous, which can break." Branches can break... and I had fallen already two, three times -- I still carry the marks on my legs.
That old man looked at me and he said, "Nobody has ever come, particularly a father bringing a boy...! It is a dangerous thing, but if he loves it, I would love to teach him."
And he was teaching me how to manage to climb trees which were dangerous. He showed me all kinds of strategies of how to protect yourself: If you want to go high up the tree and you don't want to fall onto the ground, then first tie yourself with a rope to a point where you feel the tree is strong enough, and then go up. If you fall, you will be hanging from the rope, but you will not fall to the ground. And that really helped me; since then I have not fallen!
The function of a father or a mother is great, because they are bringing a new guest into the world -- who knows nothing, but who brings some potential in him. And unless his potential grows, he will remain unhappy.
No parents like to think of their children remaining unhappy; they want them to be happy.
It is just that their thinking is wrong. They think if they become doctors, if they become professors, engineers, scientists, then they will be happy. They don't know! They can only be happy if they become what they have come to become. They can only become the seed that they are carrying within themselves.
So help in every possible way to give freedom, to give opportunities. Ordinarily, if a child asks a mother anything, without even listening to the child, to what he is asking, the mother simply says no. "No" is an authoritative word; "yes" is not. So neither father nor mother or anybody else who is in authority wants to say yes -- to any ordinary thing.
The child wants to play outside the house: "No!" The child wants to go out while it is raining and wants to dance in the rain: "No! You will get a cold." A cold is not a cancer, but a child who has been prevented from dancing in the rain, and has never been able again to dance, has missed something great, something really beautiful. A cold would have been worthwhile -- and it is not that he will necessarily have a cold. In fact the more you protect him, the more he becomes vulnerable. The more you allow him, the more he becomes immune.
Parents have to learn to say yes. In ninety-nine times when they ordinarily say no, it is for no other reason than simply to show authority. Everybody cannot become the president of the country, cannot have authority over millions of people. But everybody can become a husband, can have authority over his wife; every wife can become a mother, can have authority over the child; every child can have a teddy bear, and have authority over the teddy bear... kick him from this corner to the other corner, give him good slaps, slaps that he really wanted to give to the mother or to father. And the poor teddy bear has nobody below him.
This is an authoritarian society.
What I am saying is in creating children who have freedom, who have heard "yes" and have rarely heard "no", the authoritarian society will disappear. We will have a more human society.
So it is not only a question of the children. Those children are going to become tomorrow's society: the child is the father of man.
INDIA, YOUR HOMELAND, HAS TREATED YOU BADLY AND WITHOUT DUE RESPECT. YET SOMETIMES WHEN I HEAR YOU SPEAK, DO I NOT DETECT A SUBTLE FONDNESS IN YOU FOR INDIA AND HER PEOPLE? OSHO, WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT INDIA?
India, to me, is not only a country, but a concept... not just a land, but a way of life, a tremendously significant philosophy.
So when I talk about India, it does not matter at all that they have treated me badly, that they would like me to be killed. They have made efforts -- unfortunately they failed.
These are small things, and I don't take them into consideration.
My consideration is for the India as a concept.
It is the only part of the world which has gone deep into the interiority of man, which has discovered for the first time the ultimate in consciousness, the universality of individual beings.
Science has discovered much, but no discovery of science can be compared to the discovery that India has made in the past. For ten thousand years continuously it has devoted its whole energy to finding out the meaning of life, the very essence of existence -- and it has found it.
So when I talk about India, I do not talk about the India that you see on the map, I do not talk about the India that exists today. I am talking about a concept that has come out of centuries' work of discovery. Nowhere has religion ever reached such heights. No community has ever given all her geniuses to the discovery of man's inner world. And that is the most precious thing in life.
You can have everything, all, but if you don't have yourself... you can know everything around you, but if you don't know what is within you, all your knowledge, all your wealth, all your power is futile -- and sooner or later you will be drowned in your own wealth, in your own power. It will destroy you because it will go on increasing, becoming bigger and bigger, and you will be shrinking, becoming smaller and smaller.
The scientist is denying that he is, and asserting truths about things and objects. It is a very strange phenomenon. Then who is discovering all these things and objects? Every genuine scientific genius feels embarrassed -- anybody like Albert Einstein -- because he cannot say anything about himself... and he knows about the farthest star in the world, its whole history millions of years before it was created, and he knows how many more million years it will remain, and then it will dissolve. His knowledge is vast, but he knows nothing about the knower.
And what use is this knowledge? Not only is it useless, it is going to be harmful. And we know now that the whole of science is in the service of the war machine: that is, in the service of death. The objective experimentation, the enquiry into the outside world, has reached a stage which can only be called a global suicide; while in India the search was inner, and it culminated in the universal experience of life, of joy, of blissfulness, of nirvana.
I am not concerned with India as a geographical unit, but as a spiritual search. I can condemn the present-day situation. It is ugly; it is against all human values.
The country is becoming poorer every day, and the politicians cannot prevent it, for the simple reason that if they try to prevent it... And the only way to prevent it is to spread birth-control methods. That goes against the orthodox Indian mind, and to annoy the orthodox Indian mind means you lose your power; next election you will be gone. So you know that if you do something to prevent it, you are finished; if you want to keep yourself in power, then you know the country is going to die and starve.
Already India has nine-hundred million people. When I started speaking there were only four hundred million people. If they had listened to me, it would never have got into such a bad situation. But they threw stones at me.
Now countries are trying to prevent me even from landing at their airports; the question of entry into the country does not arise. Even countries about which I have never thought...
Just today Anando informed me that Venezuela -- I have never thought about it! -- has passed a resolution that I am banned, I cannot enter into the country. Even in Ireland, where we were for two weeks, the government is now denying it. They are not even courageous enough to say, "Yes, they were here and they are gone." They are denying, saying, "They have not been here. How could they enter into the country? -- because they are banned." Just as we left they must have passed some resolution in the parliament to ban us.
The European parliament has a resolution now to ban me collectively, rather than separately, so all European countries who are members of the parliament automatically become closed.
The same situation was happening in India. At the stations my train would be delayed for two hours because there were people who did not want me to get down at their city, and were forcing the train to take me back.
I would be speaking in an Indian city, and the electricity would be cut off. And this was happening so often, again and again, that it could not be just accidental. The fifty thousand people would be sitting in darkness for half an hour, one hour, and the electricity wouldn't come on. And finally I would have to inform them, "Now it is pointless -- you please go home. I will stay a little longer in the city so you will not miss any lecture of the series." And as the people were leaving, as I was leaving, the electricity would come on.
Just now the Indian government wanted me to stay in India, but with conditions. One: no foreign disciple should be allowed to come to see me. Two: no news media should be allowed to interview me. Three: I will not go out of the country. If I fulfilled these three conditions then I could stay in the country.
I said, "Why don't you simply shoot me? These conditions are just to kill me!" And I had to leave the country because... there are many sannyasins in high posts in the government who informed me that I should leave immediately because they were going to confiscate my passport so I could not get out of the country.
I had not enough time, they said, to get a visa, to go to another country. Moreover they had informed all the embassies in Delhi that nobody should give me a visa to their country. So the only country that was available was Nepal, because no visa is needed -- that is a treaty between India and Nepal.
But then the American government was pressurizing Nepal, the German government was pressurizing Nepal, the Indian government was pressurizing Nepal that I should not be allowed there. And when it became absolutely certain that they were going to take some steps -- they could have arrested me there, they could have sent me back to India -- as I was informed, I had immediately to leave.
Whenever I am saying something about India, I am not talking about this India -- this India, which is absolutely corrupted, and politically in the worst shape.
Every day hundreds of people are being killed -- and it goes on declaring that it is a democracy. But newspapers are not allowed to publish how many people are killed; it seems to the outside world that everything is peaceful. But the reality is that India has never been one country; it was always many countries.
In Gautam Buddha's time there were two thousand kingdoms in India. Mohammedans tried to make it one whole; they could not succeed fully, but still they managed that half of India become one nation. Britain, with more brutality, managed to force the whole of India into one nation; otherwise "nation" and "nationality" are not Indian concepts. This unity of India was forced.
Winston Churchill, before he retired, said, "The day India becomes free, it will fall apart, into pieces." And he was right. Politically he had the insight, because he knew that they had somehow put all the pieces together, and it needs immense power to keep them together. If that power is removed, those pieces will start falling apart -- and that's what is happening now.
First Pakistan and Bangladesh became separated from India, now Punjab wants to be separate from India. Assam has been fighting for forty years to be separate from India, Bengal wants to be separate from India, Tamil Nadu wants to separate from India.
There are thirty languages in India. For forty years they have been trying to make one language -- Hindi -- the national language, but they have not been able. If you cannot even make a national language, how can you manage to have a nation? And all these entities are not small. India is almost a continent. All these states -- Punjab or Maharashtra or Tamil Nadu -- are as big as France or England or Germany, and each has its own culture, its own language, its own dress, its own way of doing everything.
Now, to prevent separation they have made a law that nobody can speak in favor of dividing any part. Anybody who speaks of dividing any part from India will be immediately arrested, and there will be no legal way, no court trial for it. And this is democracy!
In Punjab they have killed thousands of Sikhs, Sikhs have killed thousands of Hindus; and it continues every day. And it is going to happen all over India. And it can be solved very easily.
India is facing today the question of separation. There is no need to kill people. India should remain one. My solution is simple -- one just needs a little understanding.
Freedom is everybody's birthright.
So I am not in favor of this India, which is absolutely corrupted. But to me, in my vision, there is a totally different, glorious India, which consists of men like Gautam Buddha, Nagarjuna, Vasubundhu, Shankara... a whole line of thousands of enlightened people.
That's my India.
HOW CAN I ASSERT MYSELF IF I DISSOLVE AND ACCEPT WHATSOEVER IS HAPPENING?
The moment you start thinking about these things, problems arise. You just do it and see what happens.
You dissolve yourself into the whole, and if the situation needs assertion, you will not be asserting; the whole will be asserting. You will not be less, you will be more. You will not be alone, you will be supported by the whole.
Experience dissolves problems. But we go on simply thinking, and if you think, then naturally the problem seems to be very relevant: "If I dissolve, then how am I going to assert myself?" Naturally it seems contradictory. Logically it is contradictory, but existentially it is not.
You dissolve, and see what happens.
If the situation needs assertion, there will be assertion... not yours, because now you are part of the whole. Now the whole will assert with you. You never lose anything. With the whole dissolving, you are always a gainer.
But before thinking about it, do it.
Only doing will solve the contradiction.
BEFORE I SEE YOU EACH DAY, I AM SO EXCITED AT THE THOUGHT OF SEEING YOU. BUT WHEN I DO I BECOME BLANK, AS IF I HAVE NO FACE, NO SMILE. I EVEN FIND IT DIFFICULT TO NAMASTE YOU, AS IF I HAVE BECOME INVISIBLE IN FRONT OF YOU. WHATEVER MY HEART DOES LOOKS CHILDISH, AND IT FEELS AS IF ANY ACT I DID WOULD BE JUST DUMPING MY RUBBISH ON YOU.OSHO, I HAVE NEVER EXPRESSED HOW MUCH GRATITUDE I FEEL, ALTHOUGH MY HEART IS FULL OF IT.
I know it. And what is happening is absolutely right, what you are feeling is perfectly in tune with my teaching.
You cannot express your gratitude. You can be full of it, but any act... it will look too small. And it can happen, it is very natural, that you are excited when I am coming, but when I come, you are almost absent. This is good, this is how it should be.
When I am here, you should not be here, because in this room only one can survive:
either you or I.
So it is not a question... But you have expressed very accurately your feeling. You should be happy that it is happening to you.