Material prosperity and nonpossessiveness

Fri, 11 November 1970 00:00:00 GMT
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Osho - The Perennial Path - The Art of Living
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Material prosperity is the basis of spiritual life, without which no building is constructed Foundations can be there without buildings. Some one may leave the foundation as it is after filling it to the top; then the building will not be there in spite of the foundation. Prosperity is the basis of the condition which is above passions and passionlessness. Without being materially prosperous none can realize the uselessness of prosperity; without getting wealth, none can know that nothing is achieved by wealth. The greatest gift of wealth is the disillusion about its worth. If one does not get wealth, one can never know the worthlessness of wealth. The distressed, the needy and the poor will find great difficulty in being free from the Lure of riches. How can one be free from that which one has not got. To be free from a thing, one should have it. One should have the thing first, then and Then only can one be free from it. That is why I always say an affluent society - community - can become religious and only prosperity takes a person beyond riches.

When I said in my previous discussion on nonpossessiveness that a few things make a person less attached and many things make him more attached, many friends might have felt there is some contradiction in these two statements. This doubt has been raised. To be free from a smaller bondage is very difficult, and it is possible to be free from a greater bondage. If chains are few, a person can endure them; but when they are many, a person would revolt. The poor man has so few chains that he has no idea of breaking them. And a rich person has many chains, so he gets the idea of breaking them. When things are multiplied, a person realizes that he has collected a useless load around him. The load which I thought, would give me freedom, did not free me but on the contrary I am simply burdened. I had thought the load would be such that it would help me rise to a higher level; but that rising up did not materialize but made it difficult for me to walk. A greater bondage takes one nearer freedom.

Just as darkness increases before early morning, slavery increases before the coming possibility of freedom. An affluent person is in deep bondage, so he realises - becomes conscious of what bondage is. We adjust ourselves to smaller kinds of bondage, we swallow them, we endure them.

The greater the bondage, the harder it is to endure them. We endure small chains in the hope that they will be reduced in course of time - in the near future. So the idea of renouncing whatever one has got does not occur to a poor person, because his efforts to obtain what he has not got continue.

Now a rich person who has got all those things for which he was labouring all the time, realizes that he has really achieved nothing. On one side there is nothing left for him to obtain and looking from the other side, what he has achieved is nothing at all. Everything is collected in the world outside, but there is a total void within. These are moments which begin the spiritual life in an affluent person. This is his first ray. But I do not say that all affluent persons achieve this transformation - revolutionary change. The majority of such affluent persons stop at the foundation, and they are not able to construct a building of revolution in their lives. But there are reasons for that also. Along with this, please understand that it is not that a poor person can never be a spiritual person. A poor person also is transformed into a spiritual individual, and there are reasons for it.

The first thing to be remembered is this; that there is no knowledge without experience. Experience alone is knowledge. The experience of wealth alone leads to liberation. Suppose a person, even in his poverty, has become spiritual in this life, then he must have got the experience of wealth during one of his many previous births. Otherwise, it is not possible to have knowledge without experience.

Nobody can be free from the desire of wealth, the experience of wealth. How can we realise that a particular thing is worthless without knowing it first'? How can we come to a decision that a particular unhappiness is worth giving up without having first experiencing it? Whatever is unknown is to be feared; there is no scope for getting acquainted with it. If we wish to know our enemy it is necessary to be acquainted with him first. To know the wrong, one has to pass through it. Those who fall into pits on the roads and miss their way know the pits very well. There is an other way in our life to get knowledge. It is possible that what we call life is very short but the journey of life is very long.

Understand this happening thus: a person has undergone the experience of wealth in his previous births so thoroughly that even in poverty in this life, it is possible for him to jump into the spiritual world; otherwise there cannot be any other reason. On the contrary it is also possible that a man may get all the wealth he can in this life and yet be pitiable and poor. If a person, after having obtained enough of wealth, cannot free himself from it, then I would like to say that he who has obtained wealth in the true sense of the term is one who is able to be free from the desire for wealth.

This is his testimony. He is wealthy who can renounce his wealth. And if he is able to do so, there is somewhere within him a poor pitiable man. If a person after having got plenty of wealth in this life, is not able to rouse thirst for religion, it only means that he has lived in such abject poverty and wretchedness in his past births that even with so much wealth in this life he is not able to remove that impression of wretchedness and poor condition. Poverty is still there within him. His experience of wealth is new for him. That experience is not transformed into knowledge. Knowledge takes place after passing through many experiences. Knowledge is the substance of experiences. Knowledge is the scent of many flowers of experiences. To such a person, this is his first experience of wealth.

No sooner does the experience of wealth become knowledge than an individual begins to be free from the greed for wealth.

NONPOSSESSIVENESS THROUGH YOGA An individual becomes free from longing only after experiencing them, because there is no other way of liberation except by experience. This mortal world is the gate of liberation, hell is the gate of heaven, and a prison is the gate of freedom. The amount of miseries which becomes our experience in this mortal world, becomes also the road leading us beyond this world. I also said that desires are never satisfied, they are circular. You may go on running after them, there is no end. You may run as much as you like, there is always a line left in front of you. You may run still further, the line remains unfinished. Desires never end, and just as an individual runs in a circle, this circle also never ends.

No desire can ever be satisfied. But on the other hand I say an individual can be free from desires only by a deep experience of desires. Both these statements appear contradictory, but they are not.

The individual is not satisfied by a deep experience. If he is satisfied, there is no need for him to be free.

His not being satisfied becomes the reason which leads him to freedom. He has already run thousands of times in that circle and sees where he is and yet there is no satisfaction. Such an experience a!one is the deep experience of desires. He runs much, he seeks much, he gets what he wants and yet remains empty-handed. He goes deep into this experience not once but many times, but his desire is not satisfied, on the contrary it so happens that he stops running and stands.

He stands there because he says, 'I have run much on this road, I am running in a circle, I do not reach anywhere, I have reached nowhere'. Even after such a deep experience, if he thinks that if he runs a little more, perhaps he may reach his goal, then it must be understood that the experience is not so deep as to free him from the desire. But if he says, 'If I run one more round, I might get what is not yet got,' then it is to be understood that his experience is not yet complete. The meaning of a total experience is not the satisfaction of a desire, but its meaning is the satisfaction of the running.

Now there is no more running.

The satisfaction of a desire is not freedom from the desire. The meaning of freedom from desire is to realize complete worthlessness - uselessness - of total desires. In order to see within our own house, we shall have to stop running about. In order to see' within ourselves we shall have to drop the journey outside. In order to see Him we shall have to turn our eyes back. In order to seek that which is in our hands, we shall have to stop trying to open the closed palms of others.

The depth of experience is not the satisfaction of longing. If longings can be satisfied Mahavira was a fool. If longing can be satisfied Buddha was mad. If longings can be satisfied Jesus should be given a test of psychoanalysis. Longings can never be satisfied. Buddha has said longing are difficult to be satisfied, they can never be over. But such an experience would take one out of longings. And that which is not obtained by longing is achieved by desirelessness. The experience is total only when passions and longings have become completely worthless and when the flower of nonpossessiveness blooms.

The flower of nonpossessiveness blooms within him whose passions have fallen down, whose desires have fallen down. Then such a person docs not run he stands. Then the 'house' will not be far, it is near his legs, it is underneath his legs. Then there is nothing to achieve in the world outside. The possessor himself becomes the possessed. The seeker becomes the 'sought'. He who is seeking within, finds that he was seeking himself only. But perhaps he was seeking in mirrors.

He sought in many mirrors, but could not get anything. Now he leaves mirrors off and looks within himself and realizes that I can never be achieved in mirrors, because there is only the reflection in mirrors; I was only reflected in them, there was nobody in the mirrors, it was simply delusions of one 'virtual space'. It was a delusion of a false space. When an individual stands in the state of desirelessness, nothing is left to be achieved. He has achieved everything.

POSSESSOR AND POSSESSIONS Seeds of slavery are hidden in the desire to be a possessor, a master, because we have to become His slave also whose possessor - master - we shall be. We have to become slaves because our mastery - ownership - depends upon Him whose possessor we become. When the ownership - possession, depends upon someone else, then how can we be the owner of our possession. He becomes the owner on whom ownership depends. If I have ten slaves with me, I am the possessor of ten slaves, and my ownership depends only on having these ten slaves. If I lose these ten slaves, I lose my ownership also. The key of that possession is not with me, it is with the ten slaves. In a deep sense those ten slaves have become my masters, I cannot be the master if they are not there; and how is one to be the master of those without whom we cannot be masters? Knowingly or unknowingly we have become slaves of them; we have been chained by them and without them our ownership falls down. And the interesting thing is that a slave will also desire to be free because none desires to remain in bondage. So when the master dies, slaves are happy; but if a slave dies, the master weeps. Now think, who is the slave between the two? One who weeps or one who laughs?

The desire to be a possessor makes one a slave. He alone is the master in this world who does not wish to be the master of anyone. He alone can be the master who has not made anyone a slave, because it is not possible to end his ownership. His ownership is absolute - is unhampered.

And how can there be ownership if it is not absolute. Even things, inanimate objects, become our masters. They begin to rule us. The possessor becomes the possessed. He who looks after, takes care of things; forgets by and by that things were meant to serve him, and it does not strike him now when he started to serve them. He will not have that idea, because things had not come to this man, but he had gone to them. Only slaves go to their masters, masters never go to them. It will get ownership if you go to it. Things never come to you but you go to them. Man is in search of things; things do not go in search of men.

You also might have heard the following story: A sanyasi came to a palace one night. His teacher had sent him there to learn knowledge from the King's court. Before he left for the king's court, the sanyasi asked his teacher how he could get knowledge from the palace of a king when he could not learn it from an Ashram - from the world of penance. The guru, told him not to argue but to obey, and to ask the king there. When he reached the palace, he saw the courtiers drinking wine and the courtesans dancing. He said to himself, 'Where have I been caught in this trouble? I have been made a fool. The guru has played a big practical joke upon me. Perhaps he thinks of being free from me. But it is not proper now to return.' The king received the sanyasi with great feeling and pressed him to stay in the palace that night. The sanyasi replied that it was then meaningless to stop. The king said, 'You can return tomorrow after your bath and food.' The sanyasi stopped there, but he did not get sleep throughout the night. He thought, 'This is madness indeed. How can one get knowledge from a palace where wine is freely used, where courtesans are dancing. where wealth is displayed everywhere, where there is enjoyment and merriment? And I am a seeker of the highest knowledge, I have wasted this night.'

When he got up in the morning, the king invited him to take a dip in the river behind the palace.

Both went to bathe. When they were bathing, they heard loud noises. The palace was on fire. The flames were going high up in the sky. The king asked the sanyasi, 'Do you see this'? The sanyasi came out immediately and shouted, 'What do you talk? What is there to see? My clothes are there on the bank, they may catch fire. Let me run.' But when he was running towards the bank, it struck him that the palace of the king is on fire and yet he was still standing in the water, and I am running to save my loin cloth kept on the bank. The fire has not yet reached the palace.'

He returned and fell on the feet of the king who was standing and laughing there. He asked, 'How is it that you are standing here even though your palace was on fire? I have not understood this. The king said, 'I could not have stood here if I had ever considered the palace as my palace. The palace is a palace, I am I. How can the palace be mine? When I was not born, the palace was there, it will be there even after I am no more. How can it be mine? You considered the loin cloth yours, and the palace mine so you ran after it.'

The question is not of things - whom they belong to. The question is of man's aptitude, his behaviour, his attitude, his way of thinking and his way of life. Everything depends on how he lives. If he is attached to things, it doesn't make any difference whether the thing is a palace or a loin cloth. And if he is not attached to things, then also it makes no difference if he has a loin cloth with him or a palace. Man becomes a slave because of his own attitude and he can also be free by breaking it or changing it.

SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY AND MATERIAL PROSPERITY Mahavira renounced everything and left. He renounced it not because it was prosperity, but because it was not prosperity there was nothing there worth holding. But it appears to us that he left the palace, he left diamonds and jewels, he left wealth but in fact, he renounced nothing but stones and such worthless things. These things appear to us as diamonds and jewels. Mahavira saw stones in diamonds and jewels. There is nothing but stones in such diamonds and jewels.

Those who have written the life of Mahavira have mentioned that he renounced so many diamonds, so many jewels, so many red precious stones and so many pearls. I told you the story of a king who lived in a palace but the palace was not in him. Mahavira could have lived there in the palace, but this matter changes from person to person. It depends upon the type of individual. Mahavira could not live there. Krishna could live, Janaka could live, Buddha could not. This is a personal matter and each individual has absolute freedom in this matter. The rules of one cannot be applied to another. It happened that was possible for Mahavira. The flower which could bloom in Mahavira bloomed. There is a peculiar joy in the blooming of that flower. To live in a palace and yet not be attached to it has its own joy. To live under a tree outside the palace, has its own joy. And there cannot be a comparison between the two. It will depend upon individuals. What joy was there for Mahavira when he, leaving everything, went away from the palace and began to live under a tree and wander about with a begging bowl from one town to another town? It is necessary to understand this because nonpossessiveness i5 a very valuable and deep matter. Mahavira thought this way, just as breathing in and out is normal and natural so also does the cycle of birth and death go on.

'This is the characteristic of the highest trust in God.' Remember, it is of the highest trust.

Mahavira observed this rule that before starting in the morning for begging, at meditation he would accept the alms only on a particular condition being fulfilled, or else he would not accept it. Beggars never put conditions. Can there be any conditions for beggars? They beg without any pre-condition but Mahavira begged with his own condition, because he was not a beggar and the condition also related to the other person. It was not revealed to the other person so that he could make a suitable arrangement. He alone knew that condition.

For example, he started after making a condition in his mind in the morning that if a fair skinned one-eyed lady in black garments gave alms he should accept it else he should not accept anything.

He did not know that town and he had reached there in the night. Now according to the condition, he would accept the alms given by a one-eyed fair-skinned woman in black garments; otherwise after wandering in the town he would return. He would say, God did not wish it, let it go, because he had not got any longing or wish of his own in his life. There is neither the wish to die nor to live. From his own side Mahavira had no lust for life. This is surrender to the highest power. Thus in sannyas, no action and no result, no labour and no reward.

Same things have separate meanings for different individuals, though they remain the same. And that is the thing of complete surrender to God. If we understand this, we should stop comparing.

If we understand this, we should try to understand each individual in his totality as he is, without any comparison. The day we shall realize that there is only one beauty though flowers may be in thousands; there is one light only though there may be thousands of lamps; there may be thousands of types of seas but their water is uniformly saltish; the day on which this truth begins to be seen clearly, the individuals vanish; that leads to the realization of the original (basic) truth of the universe.

FROM DESIRELESSNESS AND NONPOSSESSIVENESS TO SALVATION Nonpossessiveness can be a defence of poverty. It can be in opposition to progress. It can be an obstruction of life in the pursuit of prosperity. All matters would produce opposite contrary results if they are taken up in a wrong or mistaken way. All matters taken in a wrong manner, do not bring any advantage to life, but they harm the life; and there is always the possibility of understanding man in a wrong way and not as he is. I shall try to explain this by telling you a short story.

There was a town in which lived a very wealthy man. He was a miser. A temple was being built in that town. People went to him for contribution many times, but to no effect. New beggars who went to that town were informed by the old ones that they should not go to that rich man's house because none had got anything from that house. Even the poorest man had given his mite to the fund for the temple. So the town people thought that a list should be prepared showing the contribution of each man. Some had donated one thousand, some had donated ten thousands some had donated five rupees, and some had given one rupee. But there was not a single person who had not contributed something. With that list, the leaders, about fifty went to the house of the rich man. They thought they would return after getting something from him because he would certainly be impressed by seeing the list. If not impressed, a person would at least feel ashamed. They began reading aloud the names from the list, saying such and such a person, who is not so wealthy, donated rupees ten thousand, some other who is poor, gave rupees one thousand, some other person who is a daily wage earner gave rupees five. They were reading aloud and at the same time looking at that rich man to see what effect was being produced on him. That rich man was getting more and more eager to know the names and appeared much impressed.

Those people thought they would succeed in the mission. After hearing all the names, the rich man stood up at once. He said he was much impressed. The people thought they would not go empty-handed that day. They said, 'when you are so much impressed, give us your contribution.'

That wealthy man spoke, 'you have wrongly understood the meaning of my being impressed. 1 am impressed, so I think of planning to go round the town to beg for alms from tomorrow. It is a great mistake not to beg for alms in a town where all persons are willing to give alms. I have been much impressed.'

It is said the Jains could never achieve the height of Mahavira, the Christians could not reach The height of Christ, the Buddhists could not reach the height of Buddha. There is a reason why the followers of Mahavira could not reach the height of Mahavira. A follower can never get to the height, because he who follows another is in fact losing his self. In going after, in following someone else, one kills oneself. To follow another, we have to cut ourselves. To put on another's clothes, we have either to shorten or lengthen ourselves. To adopt another's self-individuality we have to suppress ourselves. A follower can never reach the height, because one who has decided to be a follower has decided to commit suicide. I do not advise you to become the follower of Mahavira. It is enough to understand Mahavira, let other things go. If possible, be yourself. There is no way for you to become Mahavira or Jesus. This does not mean that you cannot reach, that height to which Jesus reached. You also can reach, but can reach only if you become yourself. The person who tries to be the carbon copy cannot get the clarity of the original. It is all right if it is a second copy. 2500 years have passed since Mahavira's death. In these 2500 years, thousands of copies have been taken out, and you stand after them. Lakhs of copies have been taken out on this carbon. Now nothing is understood from these copies, but you go on as if you have understood, you go on following. A follower can never be a spiritual person.

The renunciation of Mahavira, his nakedness were natural. Another person can be naked only by making an effort and when he does so, his nakedness will be that of the circus. It cannot be of sannyas. It will only be a borrowed thing; it will be a matter thrust upon by someone else. At the most he can act as Mahavira, he cannot be Mahavira.

Those who follow Jesus, Buddha, Krishna or Rama are simply acting. They have refused to have an authentic real self. There is one thing worth remembering. God has given the right to each person to be his own self, and he who lets go this right gives up the greatest girt Or God. Such a person is an atheist, such a person says to God, you have thrown a very great responsibility on me, I was not for it, let me follow somebody. I cannot be an engine, I am fit lo be only a carriage which remains attached to the engine and whose shunting is being done here and there. Such a person will anyhow pass his life. Each person created is born to be himself; he is incomparable, he is unique. No person was created like him in this world in the past, and will not be created in future.

God is not a mediocre creator. He is not an ordinary creator who would create the same person a second time. He creates new persons everyday.

I have heard a story, that someone bought a picture of Piccaso for a million rupees. That man asked Piccaso's wife if the picture was authentic. Piccaso's wife replied, 'Don't worry, you may purchase it, because this picture was done by Piccaso in front of me.' The picture was purchased. That man went to inform Piccaso about the purchase. He said that he had purchased the picture for a million rupees. He had taken the picture with him. Piccaso saw it and said that it was not the original. It was not authentic. That man was puzzled, he became nervous. He had paid one million rupees and Piccaso declared it was not the original. The man said 'What do you say? Your wife assured me that the picture was made in front of her.' His wife was present there. She said, 'What do you say, have you forgotten it? You have done this picture, I was present there.' Piccaso replied that he himself had done it, there was no doubt about it, but it was not authentic. Now the matter was more confounded. If it was done by Piccaso, why was it not authentic? Then the purchaser said, 'Are you joking?' Piccaso replied that he was not joking. The picture was certainly done by him. But that picture was done by him previously also, so this was simply its copy. It is not the original. This idea of mine I have already exhibited once.

But God does not repeat an idea or a picture which He has created once. Buddha was created once, the matter ended there. Mahavira was created once, the matter ended there. You will not be able to find out even one single piece of stone similar to any other in the whole world, then what to talk of man. If you tear off one leaf from a tree and try to find another like the first one, you will not be able to get it, the question of man is much bigger compared to this. Man is the evolution of a very complex consciousness. In this world, each individual is the highest, the top, and no man has a right to follow another. This doesn't mean that he should not try and understand Mahavira. In fact even the follower never understands. It is not even necessary for the follower to understand. In fact, one who wants to ;follow, does so to save the trouble of understanding. One who doesn't follow anybody will have to work to understand. But others who have experienced music, produced it in the lives of others also: others have touched the wire of life, others also have ignited lamps of knowledge, of wisdom; the sweet smell of the self has arisen in the lives of others also, and the dance of God has taken place in the lives of others also. He is trying to understand them, not to follow them, but with a view that seeing those evolved, developed, flowers the thirst of his own bud may also blossom and may be eager to become a flower. And he does this with a view that listening to the 'Veenas' of others, the wires of his own 'Veena' may also be stirred and his 'Veena' may be eager to sing songs.

Life does not mean to follow another, but it is the unfolding of one's self. It is not a process of becoming like another, but to be one's own self. He who accepts this challenge of becoming like himself, will not be the follower but will reach that height where Mahavira had reached, will reach that place of liberation, that nirvana where Buddha had gone after his samadhi. Everybody can enter the kingdom of God. I again repeat the final truth. One has to offer flowers of one's own self at the alter of God. There is no other way but that.

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The following information is documented in 4 volumes by
Elizabeth Donnan, with Documents illustrative of the slave
trade in America. They can be found in the National Library
Washington, D.C. and in the Carnegie Institute of Technology
Library, Pittsburgh, PA.

Name of Ship Owners


Abigail........ Aaron Lopez, Moses Levy and Jacob Franks..... Jewish

Crown.......... Isaac Levy and Natham Simpson................ "

Nassau......... Moses Levy................................... "

Four Sisters... Moses Levy................................... "

Anne and Eliza. Justus Bosch and John Adams.................. "

Prudent Betty.. Henry Cruger and Jacob Phoenix............... "

Hester......... Mordecai and Davdi Gomez..................... "

Elizabeth...... Mordecai and Davdi Gomez..................... "

Antigua........ Natham Marston and Abram Lyell............... "

Betsy.......... Wm. De Woolf................................. "

Polly.......... James De Woolf............................... "

White Horse.... Jan de Sweevts............................... "

Expedition..... John and Jacob Roosevelt..................... "

Charlotte...... Moses and Sam Levy; Jacob Franks............. "

Caracoa........ Moses and Sam Levy........................... "