EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS SO EXTRAORDINARY, SO BEAUTIFUL - SNOW CRYSTALS, A BIRD, THE MOVEMENT OF MY OWN HAND. WHY THEN DO I LOSE MYSELF IN IDIOTIC THINGS?
One of the most difficult things, but one of the most fundamental things in life, is not to divide life into beautiful and idiotic things - not to divide life at all. They are all part of one whole.
It needs just a little sense of humor. And to me the sense of humor is very essential for a person to be whole.
What is wrong in some small idiotic things? Why can't you laugh and enjoy them? All the time you are judging what is right, what is wrong. All the time you are sitting in the seat of a judge, and that makes you serious. Then flowers are beautiful, but what about the thorns?
They are part of the existence of flowers. The flowers will not exist without the thorns. The thorns are protective; they have a function, a purpose, a meaning. But you divide: then flowers are beautiful and thorns become ugly. But in the tree itself it is the same juice that goes into the flower and into the thorn. In the existence of the tree there is no division, no judgment.
The flower is not favored, the thorn is not tolerated. They are both accepted totally.
And this should be our approach in our own life.
There are things, small things, which if you judge, look stupid, idiotic. But it is because of your judgment; otherwise they also fulfill something essential.
For example, many people have asked me, "Why do we go on smoking cigarettes, cigars, when we know perfectly well that they are dangerous to our health, that they will reduce our life span, that we will suffer. The doctors are telling us... but we are so idiotic that we go on smoking."
And I have asked those people, "Have you observed your doctors?"
They said, "That too is true - they all go on smoking!"
Nobody looks into small things very deeply without any judgment. If you observe... that is not judgment; you are simply a witness while smoking - if you observe, you can see a few things: What are the situations when you smoke? What are the situations when the urge comes to you? And you will be surprised that those are the situations when you are tense, worried, nervous... you don't have anything to do. And we have been brought up by the society to believe that the empty mind is the devil's workshop.
Something has to be done - you are not to be empty. You have to fill yourself. A cigarette comes in handy: it gives you something to do, and something really significant - because it relaxes you. It has nicotine in it which helps you to become non-tense. It helps you for the moment to forget your worries.
For the moment, the cigarette gives to a simple, ordinary person a little space you can only call contemplative. He knows it harms, so later on he judges, then condemns it, condemns himself: "I am stupid, doing something that is not good for me."
But he never observes the whole process. If he observes the whole process then he should not condemn it; rather he should learn how to relax, how not to be nervous, how not to be tense. And he will find fewer and fewer opportunities for smoking. And when these superficial opportunities are dissolved, he will come to the rock bottom of the fact: smoking is some kind of substitute. It is the mother's breast.
Every child has been taken away from the mother before he wanted to be taken away. For example, in aboriginal tribes, smoking is not a problem because children go on using the mother's breast for feeding themselves as long as they want. It is only up to them to decide when they want to change and go to solid food.
But in civilized societies... the more civilized a society, the more there will be smoking - for the simple reason that every child is taken away from the breast too early. The reason is clear: if the child goes on feeding from the mother's breast, the breast loses its shape, the woman loses some beauty; she starts looking older before she is old.
The very modern women simply never feed the child from the breast. Now, the breast is not only just giving milk - because milk can be given by a bottle. It is also giving warmth, love, concern for the child.
Humanity has forgotten a few very basic things; for example, touching and its tremendous importance in your life.
If the mother has not taken you close to her body, to her warmth, you will remain cold your whole life; you will not be able to give love and warmth to any woman, because you never received any. You don't know that anything like that even exists. The breast keeps you close to the mother's warmth, makes you feel one with the mother's body.
In nature, the break between the mother and the child does not come drastically-the child is not taken away from the mother when it is born. No, the break comes very slowly and very naturally; it comes only in its own time. When the child is mature enough he will not be interested in smoking.
Smoking is very similar to breast-feeding. The cigarette represents the nipple of the mother, and the warm smoke represents the warm milk flowing through the mother's breast. So you may be even fifty, or sixty, or seventy, but somewhere, in some corner of your being, you have remained retarded.
The day you were taken away from the mother's breast... something in you is still ungrown and wants to be fulfilled.
To many sannyasins I have suggested that whenever you feel like smoking, just try a bottle of milk, warm milk. They laughed at the idea. I said, "You can laugh at the idea, but just try and enjoy it."
They said, "But what will people say? In the office we cannot use a small child's bottle."
I said, "You can start trying it at night, in your bed. But give it a try and see how it changes your smoking pattern."
And they were surprised, they loved it! And their smoking was reduced; slowly, slowly it disappeared.
A certain need - -but you judge it as idiotic. It looks idiotic on the surface, but nothing is idiotic.
Somewhere there must be some existential reason for it.
So don't judge anything; rather, change your approach from judgment to observation. Howsoever stupid a thing it may be, just observe it without any prejudice. Not with the idea that it is stupid - then you cannot observe. Without any judgment and without any prejudice, simply observe it. Go deeper into it, find reasons why it is there. You will find one day the rock bottom, and the whole thing will disappear.
Awareness is magic. It can make things disappear - you just have to be very persistent in not judging but just being aware. Go deeper and deeper into it, whatever it brings, and then things will be clear to you, what has to be done.
The doctor is not telling you how you can drop your smoking, he simply goes on telling you to drop smoking, otherwise you will suffer. You know it, everybody is saying it - in the magazines, in the papers, on the radio, everywhere you are hearing it. Now even governments have passed resolutions around the world that on every cigarette packet there should be a warning that it is dangerous to health.
In the beginning, the manufacturers of cigarettes around the world were naturally against it. This is a strange thing, that you are selling something, and rather than advertising it, you are putting a label on it saying that it is dangerous to your health. But you will be surprised: it has not affected the sales of cigarettes at all. People read it, but it is not new; they have heard it so many times before. It is the same old stuff.
Take any small thing that you go on doing, approach it with awareness to its very roots, and it starts disappearing. The basic thing is learning not to judge, because the moment you judge, your observation is clouded. Then you can never see clearly; you have already concluded. You have not been scientific, you have been already carrying a belief.
In my childhood I asked my father - that was my way - "You have to give me money because now I am going to smoke."
He said, "This is strange. No boy of your age can have the courage to ask his own father for money, and that too for smoking."
I said, "It is up to you; otherwise I will steal, and it will be your money. You will be forcing me to commit two crimes - smoking and stealing. And then I will have to commit a third crime, lying, because whenever you ask, I will say, 'No, I don't smoke.'
"I am making things simple. Just give me the money. I want to smoke just to see why people are smoking and what they find in it, because I see people all around smoking against the warning of teachers, parents, doctors, priests - everybody. There must be something if they don't listen to anybody and still go on.
"And they are paying for it, for their sickness, for their death to come earlier, to have tuberculosis, or cancer of the lungs. I cannot make any judgment before I experiment. Now it is up to you. You want me to do three wrong things or just one?"
He looked at me and said, "You are just impossible! Now I cannot even prevent you from smoking.
You are asking money from me... but you are right, you would have to do three wrong things, so take the money."
And I said, "I am going to smoke in the house, not hiding somewhere behind the house. I am going to smoke in my own house."
He said, "Don't do that! Because my father is still alive; your uncles are there, your aunts are there"
- it was a joint family of fifty people. "They will all condemn me - they won't say anything to you - they will say that you gave him money for smoking and he is smoking just sitting in the middle of the house so everybody can see!'"
I said, "It is better that everybody sees it; otherwise they will hear it from somebody and they will have to ask me. Why waste time unnecessarily?"
I smoked sitting in the middle of the house. Everybody was angry with my father, that this was going too far. But the first cigarette was enough; it was my last cigarette because tears came to my eyes and I started coughing. I said, "It is all nonsense. Even if somebody pays me to smoke, I am not going to smoke." The remaining packet I returned to one of my uncles who was always smoking, hiding.
He tried to say, "I don't want...."
I said, "Why be afraid? You have seen me smoking in the middle of the house - why do you hide here and there? I know, everybody knows that you smoke. Keep these cigarettes; otherwise I will have to throw them out. They are costly because I had told my father that these may be my first and last, so I want the best ones."
When anything that you are doing makes you feel that something is wrong, don't be too hasty to call it wrong; there must be a long chain of causes. You have to watch the whole thing. And until you reach to the basic root, it is going to remain.
And this is what I call the magic of awareness: the moment you reach the basic root of anything it disappears, it simply disappears. You don't have to drop it, you don't have to take a vow, "I will not smoke again." It simply drops of its own accord because you have become aware of the whole process. Now you will rather try to learn something that makes you relaxed, helps you not to be nervous.
I have seen people strangely... I used to know one of the speakers of the state assembly. He must have been seventy, and he must have been speaking for fifty years at least. He was the speaker of the assembly, but each time he stood to speak, he was so nervous that he used to keep his hands in his pockets. Those hands were just trembling.
He was also the vice-chancellor of my university, where I was teaching. One day he was inaugurating a new library building, and as he started speaking with his hands in his pockets, I approached with a piece of paper with some note on it. He had to take his hands out, he had to take the paper, and the paper went like this... and the whole audience was laughing. And there was nothing on it, just unreadable scribble.
He was very angry. He called me after the meeting into his office, and he said, "What was the need to expose me?"
I said, "It was absolutely necessary. You are seventy, you are a public speaker - forty years or more you have been speaking - and your hands tremble. Do you think nobody knows? Your hands are trembling in your pockets also. Anybody who has a keen observation can see that they are inside and trembling. I simply wanted you to be aware that hiding won't help. Why are you so nervous?
"You are not an amateur. A new person facing an audience may feel afraid perhaps, may wonder perhaps whether he proves up to the standard of the people and their expectations or not. But you are a well-know speaker. You have proved yourself; now there is no need to be afraid. But you have been hiding your fear for these fifty years - not from other people but from your own consciousness, from your own awareness. What is the problem?
"Next time you try it: let your hands tremble but let them come out, they should not be in your pocket; otherwise I am going to come with a piece of paper again, and you will have to receive the paper, either with your mouth or with your hands.
"If you receive it with your mouth, you cannot speak; if you receive it with your hands the whole audience will see. It is better, if I am present that your hands are out of your pockets. But I would like you to go deeper into this stupid habit."
He became silent. He had been angry, but now he was not angry because I had not done any wrong to him; I had brought something to his notice which he had been denying to himself and to the whole world. Now he was seventy and soon he would be dying.
I said, "You think about it. I am available to help you - I can come anytime you want - but first you go through it from the very beginning, how it started and why you have not been able to change it your whole life. And it doesn't look right for a well-known speaker, the speaker of the assembly."
I said, "I will be coming tomorrow. You just look into it. Rather than avoiding it, face it! Don't condemn it. It is condemnation which has caused the whole problem."
And the next day when I reached him, he said, "You are right. It was my father: because when, for the first time, in my high school days, I went to speak in a competition between two schools, I was preparing my speech, and my father was a man who wanted everything to be perfect - a real perfectionist."
Perfectionists are always neurotic, because in life nothing can be perfect, and they are always miserable because life is never as they want it. So he told the boy, "You repeat your speech again and again. Go to the bathroom, stand before the mirror, repeat your speech, and see that no nervousness is there."
The vice-chancellor said to me, "Even in my bathroom, although there was nobody, I could feel great nervousness coming to me, and particularly to my hands. I tried again and again, but the more I tried, the more my hands were trembling. I went to my father and told him - he was a very prominent military officer. He said, "If your hands tremble, keep them in your pockets. Nobody should know about them; otherwise you will become a laughingstock."
I said, "If I had been your father I would have told you to use your hands and their energy as gestures, because there are things which cannot be said by words but can be indicated by the hands. In fact, to keep your hands in your pockets cuts off almost half of your communication, because words are not complete; they need much support from your hands, your eyes, your voice, your tone. Even the silences between your words are expressive.
"So rather than using the energy of the hands in gestures, you have been repressing it - and energy cannot be repressed. Your father had no idea that your hands are joined with your mind. Hands are extensions of the mind: your left hand is the extension of the right side of your mind; your right hand is the extension of the left side of your mind.
"If the mind is functioning perfectly, then your hands are certainly going to move with the movement of the mind. Stopping the hands, you are cutting off your own possibility of expressing more clearly, more penetratingly, more emphatically. You will remain a poor speaker. And you may be hurt," I told him, "that although you are the speaker of the assembly and a well-known speaker, I want you to know that you are a poor speaker.
"Your speech has no juice in it, no gusto in it, no emphasis in it. It is flat, as if you are reading - there are no gaps. You are not communicating with people, you are really avoiding the people. You are saying things but there is no joy in saying it, there is no music in it. Release your hands."
It happened in America in the first jail where I was - the sheriff of the jail immediately fell in love with me. He was a really nice and beautiful old man. And when the court denied bail to me he said to me, "This is absolutely unjust - to keep somebody in jail whose crime is not proved; whose crime is not even tried: there has been no trial. And to refuse bail - it is just political, unjust."
I asked him, "Would you help me a little?"
He said, "I will help you all the way. What do you want me to do?"
I said, "I would like a press conference in the jail."
He said, "It has never happened in history - a press conference in jail by a prisoner."
I said, "Then let it happen, let it be a precedent! And if you feel it was unjust, then do something."
He agreed. The press conference was called, but my hands were cuffed, and I told him, "It will be impossible for me to speak with my hands in chains." And not only were they in chains; they put a chain belt around my waist, and they locked the handcuffs to the belt, so you could not move more than this....
So I said, "I will not be able to speak at all. You have done a great favor to call the press conference"
- and almost one hundred press people were there, all the television and radio stations and all the big newspapers. "Now, do me a favor - because I am not going to escape. I have chains on my legs; you can keep the chain on my waist. You can put chains all over my body, but leave my hands free. It is impossible for me to speak a single word without my hands being in harmony with what I am speaking."
He understood. He said, "I have seen you on the television, and I have loved your hands and I have loved it that they certainly express something."
I told that vice-chancellor, "You give freedom to your hands - that will give freedom to your mind.
Your speech will become alive. There is no harm in the fact that you are now seventy years old; it is never too late to begin. And you will be immensely joyous for the first time because all your speeches... and you have to speak almost every day, and it is a torture to you. If you are nervous, speaking is a torture to you, it is not a joy."
He agreed with me. The first day he spoke with his hands out of his pocket, the whole university wondered what had happened because nobody had seen him like this. And there was no trembling, the trembling became gestures.
He called me again - there were tears in his eyes - and he said, "Fifty years of speaking have been hell to me. You released me from that hell. Nobody ever told me that I am the cause of the whole nervousness, that I am repressing an energy that can be transformed."
Most of the things that you think are stupid, idiotic... if looked at deeply, it may turn out that you have just not used the energy rightly. Simple observation, and you will be able to change.
I never tell anybody to change anything by force, because anything changed by force is never changed. And the more you use force to change things, the more you are imprisoned by your own force.
My approach is absolutely nonviolent.
Just watch, and watch to the very root cause. And you will be surprised that what was looking like stupidity has changed into something intelligent, something beautiful. The whole life can be an organic whole of beauty.
You can ask your second question.
DO YOU AGREE WITH THE CHOICE SOCRATES MADE? WOULD IT HAVE BEEN YOUR CHOICE?
It is very difficult to answer for the simple reason that I am not the same type of person as Socrates.
If the choice was given to me, I certainly would not have chosen death by poisoning, because to me it is simply suicidal, against life. And my whole approach is life-affirmative.
I would not have chosen to die, but somewhere deep down there must be a suicidal instinct in Socrates himself. The choice is coming from him. I am not a lover of martyrs - I think they are insane.
I would have chosen just to be outside Athens, just close to the boundary of Athens, where my people could reach. I don't think... what was the problem? The judges were saying, "Just get out of Athens." Socrates is more insistent on his own egoistic stand of "Either I will have all or I will not have anything - all or none."
I don't see life in those terms. You never have all, you cannot have all. There is no need to make such a division between all or none. Have as much as you can, squeeze every moment to its totality - but what is the hurry to die?
Athens was a city state - he could have moved just out of the boundary of the city, and his people would have been perfectly willing to come there. In fact it would have been far easier there, outside the city, to have a beautiful school where he could teach silently only to those who really wanted, than to have a school in the main part of the city with all the hustle and bustle.
And the question is not of Socrates, the question is of the truth. Socrates sacrificed not only himself, he also sacrificed his truth. He also sacrificed the people who loved him, the people who wanted to listen to him, the people who wanted him to live.
That would have been my choice. And in fact that has been my choice in America. They had no crime against me. They knew it - the judge knew it, everybody was aware that they had no crime against me. And all the crimes that they are talking about - there were mainly two. One was that I helped people to get married, and those marriages were just to get residence in America.
It was absolutely false because for three and a half years I had been silent and I had not been meeting with any sannyasin. It was true that people had married just to remain in America, but it was not my arrangement; I was not guilty of it. I had not told anybody, not a single person, to get married to somebody. I was not seeing people at all; I was in isolation and in silence.
And the whole house - twenty people who were taking care of me - they were witnesses that nobody entered in the house and I didn't go anywhere. So it was absolutely absurd.
Their second charge was that before coming to America I had an intention to remain there forever.
I told my attorneys, "This is absolutely absurd, because unless they can read somebody's mind, I don't think the judge or the U.S. attorney or anybody.... I am standing here in the court: can they say what I am going to do next? Then I will hit the U.S. attorney.
"If he cannot see my intention right in front of him, on what grounds can he say that I had that intention? You can talk about actions because actions can have witnesses; but intentions don't have witnesses. Intentions cannot be punished.
"You may intend to kill the whole of humanity. That does not mean that you should be crucified. You did not kill a single ant - you just intended to. You can enjoy intending to kill the whole humanity, to create a third world war, but it cannot be a crime.
"On these two grounds you have arrested me without any arrest warrant - which is illegal. You have not even shown me what the cause of my arrest is, which I am absolutely entitled to know. You did not allow me to call my attorney, which is my birthright. You have been committing all kinds of sins and crimes against me."
They knew that in a trial they were going to lose the case. They had made the case "The United States versus Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh." If they lost the case it would be really very damaging to the prestige of the nation - that a single individual wins against the whole nation. And it is their folly that they have named the case in this way - I have not named it.
At the last moment they understood that they were in trouble, that they were going to lose. They asked for negotiation with my attorneys, and the negotiation was exactly the same as the situation was in the case of Socrates. The negotiation was - they said it clearly - "We don't have any factual grounds to prove anything, so we are ready to negotiate before the trial begins.
"Only one thing is needed: Bhagwan should accept in court that he is guilty. Then we will withdraw the case, and he will not be allowed to enter America for five years. If he insists, that "I am not guilty,'
then we are not going to allow bail for him at any cost - five million dollars, ten million dollars. No, no amount of money. The United States government is not ready to give him bail.
And we will prolong the case as much as we can - five years, seven years, ten years. So in those ten years he will be harassed, in those ten years his work will suffer, in those ten years his commune will suffer, in those ten years millions of his people around the world will suffer. Of course he will win in the end. But these ten years will be a nightmare for millions of people, so the choice is yours."
Certainly Socrates would not have said, "I am guilty." Even my attorneys were afraid to tell me what the government wanted. There were tears in their eyes when they said, "We have come to ask you something which is absolutely absurd, but the question is, if you insist that you are not guilty - which we know you are not, and which we proved that you are not, but it is out of our hands.... The bail, the pressure of the government is too much. They are not ready to give bail to you, and they may prolong the case for five, seven years. That will destroy your whole work; your people will suffer."
In just twelve days hundreds of people around the world were not eating, were fasting, crying, weeping, feeling absolutely helpless, "What to do?"
"So they want you simply to say, 'I am guilty.'"
I said, "Don't be worried and don't cry. I am a totally different man than Socrates. To me compassion and love are far higher qualities than my own ego. I don't have any. I will say to the court that I am guilty, and then my whole life I will prove to the whole world that I was not guilty, and I was forced by the government, under oath, to lie.
"On one hand you put me under oath: 'You will speak only truth and nothing else but truth,' and on the other hand you make a situation in which I have to lie."
And I told my people, "Don't be worried, I will say I am guilty. My saying it does not make me guilty.
And once I am out, there is my whole life to prove that I was not guilty and the American government is guilty. The whole thing is criminal: to put me under oath and then to force me to lie or be ready to suffer in jails for any period of time; and to let my whole movement be destroyed.
I love my people. For them I can speak not one but one thousand lies. I love my work, so this is nothing; you don't be worried.
Certainly my choice would have been different. Just outside Athens would have been my commune!