We disown our past
ARE IDIOTS BORN OR TRAINED?
Nirupa, it is a complicated question. Almost ninety percent of idiots are trained. Ten percent are born. And the ten percent are born because of those ninety percent who have been trained.
Man from his very beginning has lived a very weird life - weird in the sense that it needs idiots. If you don't have idiots you will not have wise men; if you don't have the idiots, you will not have the so-called giants of intellect. It is almost a necessity that the category of idiots should remain.
Nobody has looked into the deeper layers of how the society has functioned up to now. But the way it has functioned can only be described as utterly criminal. The society needs categories, hierarchies.
It has been up to now a competitive society, and the very idea of competition is dangerous to human beings. You call one man an idiot only in comparison - in comparison to someone who seems to be intelligent.
A small boy told me - I was a guest in his house; I was sitting in the garden in the evening and he was the only child of the family. He was not more than six years old. I asked him, "What is your name?"
He said, "As far as my name is concerned, up to now I used to think that my name was 'Don't!' Now I have started going to school, and there I discovered that that is not my name."
He is saying something tremendously important. Whatever a child is doing, the adults are there to say, "Don't do it!" Nobody is allowed to blossom according to his own intrinsic nature. And that is the fundamental cause of creating so many idiots in the world. But they are serving a certain purpose. If people were allowed to blossom according to their nature, without any comparison and without any ideals and without enforced discipline, do you think anybody in the whole world would have accepted Adolf Hitler as a leader? Just look at your leaders....
In America, the average American is sitting glued to his chair in front of the television set. The television has become his whole life. Now television can be used in a dangerous way, and it is being used. Ronald Reagan would not have been able to become the president of America if there were no television. The television has changed the whole structure of the American mind. Now, the leader need not be wise, but he has to be photogenic. Now what has being photogenic to do with being a president? He has to be a good showman, an actor. Ronald Reagan understood the situation. He was a third-rate actor in Hollywood, a cowboy actor. I don't think any society would have chosen him to be the president, but television changed the whole situation. He could act on television and fulfill a new desire in the people that the president should look strong, should look authoritative, should be able to look at least handsome.
And this he learned when Richard Nixon was defeated by Kennedy, because Nixon was not aware that now the contest is not one of intelligence; the whole area of contest has changed. Kennedy looked younger - well dressed, well spoken, although some ghost writer had written his speeches and he had rehearsed them. With both men on the television screen, the comparison was very simple: Nixon looked lousy, his clothes were not up to date. He had never thought about it, that these things matter. He had not rehearsed what he was going to say. That used to be the way, always - a more spontaneous person was thought to be more intelligent. To be photogenic is one thing; to encounter the people directly is a totally different thing.
Nixon was defeated and his advisors suggested to him that he would have to change a few things.
He had to become a little more photogenic, with a better hairstyle, better clothes. And spontaneous speeches won't do; you will have to rehearse them. There is no need for you to create your own speeches, there are far better writers - let them write the speech. And the second time, he came on television as a totally different personality. The same Nixon appeared now to be matured, capable, and he was chosen.
When Nixon was chosen as president, Ronald Reagan tried to be the governor of California. And he was immediately chosen, because the other contestants had no idea that you have to be a showman, that you have to be an actor. These have never been the qualities of leaders. Once he was governor, he knew that the presidentship was not far away. And he became the president.
The people who are continuously watching television... and seven and a half hours average per day is not a small amount of time, it is one third of your life. You are being imposed on by ideas, by personalities, continuously repeated. People have forgotten to read; there is no time. In America people read only trashy novels - that too when they are traveling in the trains or in the airplane.
In America, the beautiful hardbound book has disappeared. Who is going to purchase it? Cheap literature cannot create a Leo Tolstoy, or a Dostoevsky or a Maxim Gorky. In a certain way, television has introduced a new kind of primitiveness, because the primitive man depended only on his eyes - whatever he saw, that was his only knowledge.
If you look into small things you will be surprised.... Before the fountain pen came into existence, people had beautiful handwriting. Tremendous effort was made to write beautifully, because it was signifying your personality, your intelligence, your aesthetic sense. But the moment the fountain pen came in, beautiful handwriting disappeared.
Right now you still have memories; soon you won't have. Everybody will be carrying his own computer, which can be carried in the pocket and which can contain all the knowledge contained in all the libraries of the world - you just have to know how to make it function. Man will fall tremendously as far as intelligence is concerned, memory is concerned. Everything that comes into existence brings changes so silently that you don't see them.
The idiots have been an absolute necessity for a few people to proclaim their egos, for a few people to rise high and become Nobel Prize winners.
Just think for a moment - if everybody were living according to his own nature, not trying to be somebody else, a tremendous intelligence would explode within you. It is something of the fundamental law of life and existence. It is good that flowers don't listen to your teachers and your leaders and your politicians. Otherwise they would say to the roses, "What are you doing? Become a lotus!" Roses are not so foolish. But if, just for the argument's sake, roses start trying to become lotuses, what is going to happen? Two things are certain: there will be no roses, because their whole energy will be involved in becoming lotuses, and the second thing, a rosebush cannot produce a lotus. It is not in the inbuilt program of its seed.
Have you ever come across a tree that you can say is an idiot? Or that it is very intelligent, a great giant, deserves a Nobel Prize? Man has been distracted. Everybody from your parents to your teachers, the school, the college, the university, your religion, your preachers, your neighbors - everybody is trying to make you somebody else whom you cannot become. You can only become yourself, or you can miss becoming - just an idiot.
I call this whole history of mankind a long, unjustified crime against every human individual. It has served the vested interests: the people who are in power, the people who are scholars, which is another kind of power, the people who are rich, which is another kind of power. They would not like everybody to be centered in himself because a man centered in himself cannot be exploited, cannot be enslaved, cannot be humiliated, cannot be forced to grow a cancerous sense of guilt. These are the reasons humanity has not been allowed its growth.
In Japan they have very ancient trees, four hundred years old... and they think that it is an art because the tree's height is only six inches and it shows signs of old age. But a special strategy has been used, the same that has been used against humanity. They are rooted in pots, but the pots don't have any bottom. So their roots are continually cut, and if the roots cannot go deep the tree cannot go high. There is a certain balance. The highest tree needs very deep roots to stand; otherwise it will fall. And if you go on cutting the roots, the tree goes on becoming old but it does not grow higher, to its natural intrinsic capacity. I don't consider this an art, it is a crime against poor trees.
But the same crime has been committed against man. Your roots are being continuously cut. And that creates a retarded humanity.
Turgenev has a beautiful story, THE FOOL. A sage comes to a village, and a man comes to him with tears in his eyes and he says, "I don't know how to get out of this suffering. My whole village thinks I am an idiot. If I say something, they immediately condemn me, criticize me. If I don't say anything they laugh and they say, 'What can he say? He is an idiot.' I am in such a fix. Hearing that you are a sage I have come for some advice."
The sage said, "Don't be worried. A very simple technique will change the whole situation within a month. And after one month I am coming back again on the same route, so I will be able to see whether the change has happened or not." And he gave a very simple technique to the man.
The technique was, "Don't make any statement on your own. Just wait for somebody else to make the statement. Somebody says, 'How beautiful is the sunset!' That is the point - immediately jump and ask him, 'What is beautiful in it? Define it! Explain! Do you know what beauty is? And if you don't know what beauty is, how can you say that the sunset is beautiful? Before anything can be called beautiful, beauty has to be defined.'"
But even the greatest poets, philosophers - particularly those philosophers like Croce who have been dedicated to a single object, aesthetics - have not been able to define what is beauty. Although everybody knows... but to know is not enough.
Everybody knows what is good, but if the question is raised... define it! And one English philosopher, perhaps one of the most intelligent Englishmen of this century, G.E. Moore, has written a book, PRINCIPIA ETHICA. The whole book is devoted to a single question: what is good? And in two hundred and fifty pages of very arduous, very subtle, logical argumentation, the concluding remark is that good is indefinable.
Naturally, when after one month the sage came back, the idiot had already become the wisest man in the village, because he had stopped everybody. You say something and he would criticize it and ask for fundamental definitions. You could say a woman is beautiful and he would ask, "What is beautiful in that woman? Bones? A long nose? Stinking perspiration? What do you consider beauty?" There was no way to answer, and when people saw that they could not answer, they immediately started thinking that the man had been absolutely misunderstood. "He is not an idiot, he is a great thinker, a wise man, more intelligent than anybody else."
The sage was very happy; he said, "Are you happy now?"
The man said, "I am absolutely happy."
The sage said, "Remember always, never make a statement on your own. Just wait; somebody is going to say something - criticize. Somebody talks about God - criticize, ask for the evidence, ask for proofs. And there are no proofs and no evidence. Just remember one thing: never make a statement on your own; otherwise they will immediately jump on you and you will be an idiot again."
From the very childhood, everybody is condemned - whatever he says, whatever he does, it is never right. Naturally he becomes afraid of saying anything, of doing anything on his own. He is appreciated if he is obedient, he is appreciated if he follows the rules and the regulations made by others. Everybody appreciates him. This is the strategy: condemn the man if he is trying to stand on his own feet and appreciate the man if he is just an imitator. Naturally his inner seed, his potentiality, will never have a chance to grow.
I am reminded of my own childhood. The thing has become so ancient that nobody even questions it.... If I was sitting silently, somebody - and in India there are still big families, joint families; in my family there were at least fifty people - somebody was bound to come by and ask, "Why are you sitting silently?" Strange, I cannot sit silently, and if I make noise and jump around the house... "Are you mad? Why are you jumping around the house?" Seeing the situation I decided that it would be better to begin the fight from the very beginning. Because once you get caught with these people it will be very difficult to come out of the crowd.
My father was very much amazed; he said, "You never answer the question. On the contrary, you ask another question."
I said, "I have figured it out: When I am sitting silently and you ask, 'Why are you sitting silently?' I will not answer. I will ask, 'Why should I not sit silently? You have to answer. You are a grown-up man, experienced - I am just a child. You answer me - why should I not sit silently?'" The whole family by and by understood... "You cannot get any statement from this boy. He immediately turns the question around and you are in trouble." They stopped asking me anything.
The situation came to the point that I might be sitting, and my mother would say, "I don't see anybody in the house" - and I was sitting in front of her! "I need vegetables; somebody should go and fetch vegetables."
I would say, "If I come to see somebody, I will inform you." I was taken as almost absent. And I proved it - because unless you prove it, it is very difficult. In the beginning they used to send me:
"Go to the market. It is the season of beautiful mangoes - bring mangoes."
I would go to the shop with the worst mangoes and ask, "Just give me the worst ones and charge me for the best ones."
Even those shopkeepers were amazed - "What kind of customer are you?"
I said, "What kind of customer? You have seen many customers... I am a unique customer."
And the man was perfectly happy to give me the rotten and charge the price for the best. I would come home and give those rotten mangoes and say, "These are the best, and I have paid for them."
And they were stinking. My mother would say, "Just throw them out!"
I said, "Why throw them out? There is a beggar woman, I can go and give them to her." Even the beggar woman would not accept them. She would say, "Never come to me, because whenever you come you bring something rotten. Throw them to the dogs."
And I was very much surprised that even dogs were afraid of me. If I would throw something towards them, they would escape!
Slowly they settled that "It is better to let him be, whatever he is. One thing is certain, that he is going to be nobody special in life."
They were right. I have proved their prophecy.
I am nobody special in life.
But who cares about being special? I am myself and that's enough, more than enough. Each moment of my life I had to struggle to protect myself; otherwise everybody is ready to cut your roots.
In the schools, in the colleges, in the universities, I was expelled so many times. From the very first day I entered my high school... and the first period was history. The man, the teacher - very senior, very experienced - started talking about history. I said to him, "Please wait for one moment. Have you made any history?"
He said, "What kind of question is this? I teach history."
I said, "I have not come to learn about idiots like Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Nadirshah. If you can teach me how to create history, only then I can be your student. But you don't have any idea how to create history. You are simply a parrot repeating all kinds of rubbish - which is not to be repeated to children, because it will get stuck in their minds. You are an enemy."
He said, "This is strange. I cannot tolerate your presence in my class."
I said, "You will not have it - I will stand outside the class, which is not your domain, and from the window I will create as much trouble as possible."
He came out, tried to persuade me, "Join some other subject. Why harass me? I am an old man.
Can't you find somebody else?"
I said, "This is not the first time. When I went to the geography class the same thing happened.
What concern have I to know where Constantinople is? And why should I bother about it? If you cannot teach something sensible, at least sit silently and let everybody else also sit silently."
The geography teacher said, "Then who is going to give the examination?"
I said, "The examination about what?"
He immediately took me to the principal and said, "I cannot accept this student."
The principal was very much in difficulty. He said, "No teacher is ready to accept you. Where should I send you?"
I said, "You are not doing much, just sitting in your principal's office. I can also sit here and if you have something sensible to say, you can say it. Or if I happen to discover something sensible, I will say it. Otherwise, silence is perfectly good."
The principal said, "Have you come here to learn something?"
I said, "No, I have come here to be myself. If you teach me and help me and support me and nourish me to be myself, then I can remain in this school; otherwise I will find some other school."
But that went on.... In colleges I was expelled and the principals said to me, "We feel guilty for expelling you, because you have not done anything wrong. But you are a little strange."
The first college I entered, I wanted to learn logic. And the old professor, with many honorary degrees, with many books published in his name, started talking about the father of Western logic, Aristotle.
I said, "Wait a minute. Do you know that Aristotle writes in his book that women have less teeth than men?"
He said, "My God, what kind of question is this? What has it to do with logic?"
I said, "It has something very fundamental to do with the whole process of logic. Are you aware that Aristotle had two wives?"
He said, "I don't know... from where are you getting these facts?"
But in Greece it was traditionally known for centuries that women were bound to have everything less than men. Naturally, they couldn't have the same number of teeth as men.
I said, "And you call this man Aristotle the father of logic? He could have at least counted - and he had two wives available, but he did not count. His statement is illogical. He has simply taken it from the tradition, and I cannot trust in a man who has two wives and writes that women have less teeth than men. This is a male chauvinistic attitude. A logician has to be beyond prejudices."
Seeing the situation, the professor threatened the principal that either I should be expelled from the college or he was going to resign. And he stopped coming to the college. He said, "I will wait three days."
The principal could not lose an experienced professor. He called me into his office to say, "There has never been any trouble with that man, he is a very nice man. Just on the first day... what have you done?"
I told him the whole story and I said, "Do you think it deserves expulsion from college? I was asking absolutely relevant questions, and if a professor of logic cannot answer, who is going to answer?"
The principal was a good man. He said, "I will not expel you, because I don't see that you have done anything wrong. But I cannot afford to lose the professor either, so I will make arrangements for you in another college."
But the rumor about me had spread in all the colleges. The city I was in had almost twenty colleges and finally it became a very prestigious university just by combining those twenty colleges. He sent me to another principal with a letter of recommendation, but he must have phoned him to say, "Don't believe in the letter of recommendation. I had to write it because I have to get rid of that student. He is not wrong, but he is absolutely individualistic and that is going to create trouble."
I went to see the other principal, and he was waiting. He said, "I can admit you only on one condition:
that you will never attend the college."
I said, "Then what is going to happen when it is time for my examination?"
He said, "I will give you the necessary percentage for being present in the college, but this is a secret pact between me and you."
I said, "It is perfectly good - anyway your professors are out of date. But can I enter the library?"
He said, "The library is perfectly okay, but never attend any class because I don't want to hear from any professor the complaint that you are creating trouble."
And I have never created any trouble! I was simply asking questions which... if they were really gentlemen they would have said, "I will find out. For the time being, I don't know."
But this is the most difficult thing in the world to say, "I don't know."
As I approached the university, strangely enough, my first encounter was with the vice-chancellor.
He was speaking - a series on Gautam Buddha - it was the first day, and he said, "I always feel a sadness in me that I was not born in the times of Gautam Buddha; otherwise I would have gone to him and sat at his feet." And he was an old man. He had been the head of the history department at Oxford. Retired from there, he was chosen to be the vice-chancellor of this university.
I stood up and I said, "You will have to consider again."
He said, "What do you mean?"
I said, "In your own time, there have been J. Krishnamurti, Sri Aurobindo, Raman Maharshi... Can I ask, have you gone and learned anything from these people? And if you have not gone to these people, on what authority are you saying that you feel a certain sadness that you were not born in the times of Buddha? I can say with an absolute guarantee: you would not have gone to Gautam Buddha either."
In the auditorium there was utter silence.
But the vice-chancellor was certainly a gentleman. He said, "I understand your point and I take my words back. I know Sri Aurobindo, but I have never gone to him. I know Raman Maharshi and I have not gone to him. I know J. Krishnamurti, but I have not gone to him. You are right. You see me afterwards..."
I went to see him. He said, "It was perfectly good that you encountered me, but don't do this thing to any other professor because people are not courageous enough to accept their ignorance. They don't have guts to say, 'I don't know.' As far as I am concerned, I am immensely grateful to you because it must have been an unconscious thing in me. I was not lying, I was just feeling that when Gautam Buddha was alive I would have gone to be showered by his blessings, by his presence. But you have put me right. I would not have gone."
It is very difficult to find human beings in society who will allow you the freedom to be yourself. That has created a retardedness all over the world.
Nations need idiots - otherwise, who is going to fight the wars? The world needs idiots - otherwise, how are people going to become richer and richer on the labor, on the blood of others? This civilization needs as many unintelligent people as possible - otherwise, who is going to be a Catholic, who is going to be a Protestant, who is going to be a Hindu, who is going to be a Mohammedan?
The whole structure of the society has been managed in such a way that very few people exploit millions of people. And they have given consolations to those who have been exploited: "It is because of your past life's evil acts." You don't know anything about your past life; now this is a good consolation - "What can I do?" Or they say, "This is a fire test of your faith in God. Be contented as you are and you will be rewarded a thousandfold beyond death." Either religions have taken refuge in the past... Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism; they are all past-oriented. Or the other three religions - Christianity, Mohammedanism, Judaism - have taken refuge beyond death.
There is not much difference. All that is happening is happening in life and they are postponing it.
Either before birth or after death, the strategy is the same. The whole point is that you should allow people to exploit you, you should allow people to drink your blood, with the deep contentment that "this is how things are."
I want to say to you very emphatically that all these religions have played into the hands of the vested interests. All your priests are nothing but in the service of your politicians.
The whole history of mankind has been a disaster. And unless we start revolting as individuals, dropping all nationalities, all religions, all races, and declare that this whole globe belongs to us and all the lines of the map are bogus and false; unless individuals start changing the whole educational system...
The educational system should teach you the art of living, it should teach you the art of loving, it should teach you the art of meditation, it should teach you finally the art of dying gloriously. Your education system is not educational. It only creates clerks, stationmasters, postmen, soldiers, and you call it education. You have been deceived. But the deception has been going on so long that you have completely forgotten. And you are still going on in the same old rut.
I raise my hand against the whole past of mankind. It has not been civilized, it has not been human.
It has not been in any way helpful for people to blossom; it has not been a spring.
It has been a calamity, a crime committed on such a vast scale... But somebody has to stand against it, and somebody has to make the point: We disown our past. And we will start living according to our own inner being and create our own future. We will not allow the past to create our future.
Hymie Goldberg buys himself a fancy pair of Italian shoes in a Beverly Hills boutique, and wears them home to show them off to Becky.
Becky does not appear even to notice the new shoes, so Hymie waits until she is in bed and then walks in, stark naked except for the shoes.
Posing, he exclaims, "It is about time you paid some attention to what my prick is pointing at!"
Looking down at the shoes, Becky replies, "It is too bad you didn't buy a hat!"
In the middle of his sermon the priest stops, sniffs the air, and then holding his nose, calls the head usher to the front.
"Please go through the church," says the priest, "and see if some stray dog stole in, stooled, and then stole out again."
The usher immediately begins his inspection and after some minutes comes back to make his report.
"No, Father," he says, "I did not see where some stray dog stole in, stooled, and stole out again. But I did see some very positive signs where some creeping cat crept into the crypt, crapped, and crept out again."
I would like you to accept only one prayer, and that is laughter, because when you are totally laughing you are in the present. You cannot laugh in the future and you cannot laugh in the past. All those people who have created this retarded humanity have taken away all juice, all laughter, all smiles, and dragged everybody into being inauthentic. And if you are inauthentic, insincere, you can never grow the seed that has been given to you by this great compassionate universe.
An unshaven, dirty, bedraggled panhandler, with bloodshot eyes and teeth half gone, asks Paddy for a dime.
"Do you drink, smoke, or gamble?" asks Paddy.
"Mister," says the bum, "I don't touch a drop, or smoke the filthy weed, or bother with evil gambling."
"Okay," says Paddy, "if you will come home with me I will give you a dollar."
As they enter the house, Maureen takes Paddy aside and hisses, "How dare you bring that terrible looking specimen into our home!?"
"Darling," says Paddy, "I just wanted you to see what a man looks like who doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, and doesn't gamble."
Life should be not a serious thing. It should be a deep playfulness, a fun. And every individual should be allowed absolute freedom to be himself. The only restriction will be that you cannot interfere in another individual's life sphere - it may be your wife, it may be your husband, it may be your child, it does not matter. A tremendous respect for the individual is to me the essential core of being truly religious. Be yourself and let others be themselves and this life, this planet, can become the lotus paradise herenow.
But something has to be done and done very soon, because all those idiots are preparing for a global suicide. Unless you revolt against the past, and the whole heritage of the past, you cannot save humanity, these beautiful trees, these birds singing, this small planet which has just developed to the stage of being conscious. Scientists guess that there may be millions of other planets in the universe, but there is not even a single piece of evidence yet...
The only evidence of life growing to this stage of consciousness - of love, of silence, of experiencing the cosmos - has happened on this small earth. At any cost, this earth and the people of this earth have to be saved from the calamity that is coming from your whole past.
An absolute discontinuity is needed; all history books should be burnt. The whole educational system should be centered on playfulness, on love, on freedom, on consciousness, and a tremendous respect for everything that is alive. This is my vision.
The time is very short. Those idiots have been working for thousands of years and they have come to a point where they are capable of destroying this earth seven times. So much destructive force is accumulating that unless a few individuals gather courage and revolt against all that is past... I am not telling you to choose, to choose that which is good and leave that which is bad. They are altogether; you cannot do that. The past has to be simply erased, as if we are for the first time on the earth and there has been no history. That is the only possibility to create a beautiful world full of love, full of fragrance, with deep respect for everybody. The past has lived centered on hate. The future can live only if it is centered on love. The past has been unconscious. The future can only be conscious.
To many this may seem almost an impossible dream. But remember, whatever you are is not because of the politicians, is not because of the priests. Whatever you are, if some flame is still alive in you it is because of the poets, the dreamers, the mystics.
We can either die with the past or we can be reborn with a new future.
Revolutions have failed; hence I talk about revolt. Revolution means a crowd, a class, fighting against the ruling class. But they have failed because of an intrinsic necessity: if you fight with the ruling class you will have to use the same means to fight, and the moment you are in power you will start doing the same nasty things to humanity as your predecessors.
Revolt has a beauty because it is individual. And there is nothing to fight with - one has simply to throw the whole past from one's consciousness. Clean yourself and become Adam and Eve again.
Disobey God again. Only then is there a possibility for this vision to become a reality.
Don't be concerned about the whole world. If we can create the idea of revolt in a small minority in the world, that will do. A single seed can make the whole earth green, and a single man in revolt can create a totally new world, a totally new humanity.
I am not in favor of any organized revolution because all organizations basically destroy the individual. I am in favor of the individual and his dignity. There is nobody above the individual.
We have to take this tremendous quantum leap, from organized living to individual flowering. It is possible. If it is possible for me - because I don't belong to any religion and I don't belong to any nation and I don't belong to any kind of organization - it is possible for you too. And if this fire of individuality spreads, it can become a wildfire, because deep down every individual is suffering. He wants to revolt against all that has been repressed, all that has been imposed on him.
You will not find a better moment. This century is coming to its end - one thing is certain, the old world cannot continue to live. All the prophets have been declaring the end of the world with the year 2000. None of them has said a single word about what happens beyond this century.
I want it to be clear to you, to my people around the earth, that the old world does not mean the planet. The old world means the old structure of humanity - it is going to die. But if we can save a few individuals, a new beginning is very close. Rather than being concerned with the old, rejoice for the new.
As far as I am concerned, I am absolutely certain that in moments of crisis - and this is the greatest crisis man has ever faced - people gather courage and take a quantum leap into something absolutely unknown. You are here from different lands, from different races, from different organizations; you will be spreading all over the world.
You are going to be my ambassadors.
They can prevent me from entering their countries, but they cannot prevent my ambassadors. So I am going to declare soon, in all the countries, my ambassadors - propagating the birth of a new man and a new world.
Yes, Beloved Master.