The rebel: the very essence of religion

Fri, 1 June 1987 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
The Rebel
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am in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
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Question 1



Maneesha, there is not only a quantitative difference between a rebel and a revolutionary, there is also a qualitative difference. The revolutionary is part of the political world. His approach is through politics. His understanding is that changing the social structure is enough to change the man.

The rebel is a spiritual phenomenon. His approach is absolutely individual. His vision is that if we want to change the society, we have to change the individual. Society in itself does not exist; it is only a word, like 'crowd', but if you go to find it, you will not find it anywhere. Wherever you will encounter someone, you will encounter an individual. Society is only a collective name, just a name, not a reality - with no substance. The individual has a soul, has a possibility of evolution, of change, of transformation. Hence the difference is tremendous.

The rebel is the very essence of religion. He brings into the world a change of consciousness - and if the consciousness changes, then the structure of the society is bound to follow it. But vice versa is not right - and it has been proved by all the revolutions, because they have all failed.

No revolution has yet succeeded in changing man; but it seems man is not aware of the fact. He still goes on thinking in terms of revolution, of changing society, of changing the government, of changing the bureaucracy, of changing laws, political systems. Feudalism, capitalism, communism, socialism, fascism - they are all in their own way revolutionary. They all have failed, and failed utterly, because man has remained the same.

A Gautam Buddha, a Zarathustra, a Jesus - these people are rebels. Their trust is in the individual. They have not succeeded either, but their failure is totally different than the failure of the revolutionary. Revolutionaries have tried their methodology in many countries, in many ways, and have failed. But a Gautam Buddha has not succeeded because he has not been tried. A Jesus has not succeeded because Jews crucified him and Christians buried him. He has not been tried - he has not been given a chance. The rebel is still an unexperimented dimension.

My sannyasins have to be rebels not revolutionaries. The revolutionary belongs to a very mundane sphere. The rebel and his rebelliousness are sacred. The revolutionary cannot stand alone, he needs a crowd, a political party, a government. He needs power, and power corrupts - and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

All the revolutionaries who have succeeded in capturing power have been corrupted by the power.

They could not change the power and its institutions; the power changed them and their minds and corrupted them. Only names became different, but the society continued to remain the same.

Man's consciousness has not grown for centuries. Only once in a while a man blossoms, but in millions of people the blossoming of one man is not a rule, it is the exception. And because he is alone, the crowd cannot tolerate him. He becomes a kind of humiliation; his very presence becomes insulting, because he opens your eyes, makes you aware of your potential and your future. And it hurts your ego that you have done nothing to grow, to be more conscious, to be more loving, to be more ecstatic, to be more creative, to be more silent - to make a beautiful world around you.

You have not contributed to the world, your existence has not been a blessing here but a curse.

You introduce your anger, your violence, your jealousy, your competitiveness, your lust for power.

You make the world a war field; you are bloodthirsty and you make others bloodthirsty. You deprive humanity of its humanness. You help man to fall below humanity, even sometimes below animals.

Hence a Gautam Buddha or a Kabir or a Chuang Tzu hurts you because he has blossomed, and you are just standing there. Springs come and go, nothing blossoms in you; no birds come and make their nest on you, and sing their songs around you. It is better to crucify a Jesus and poison a Socrates - just to remove them - so that you need not feel in any way spiritually inferior.

The world has known only very few rebels.

But now is the time: if humanity proves incapable of producing a large number of rebels - a rebellious spirit - then our days on the earth are numbered. Then this century may become our graveyard. We are coming very close to that point.

We have to change our consciousness, create more meditative energy in the world, create more lovingness. We have to destroy the old man and his ugliness, his rotten ideologies, his stupid discriminations, idiotic superstitions, and create a new man, with fresh eyes, with new values; a discontinuity with the past - that's the meaning of rebelliousness.

These three words will help you to understand...

Reform means a modification. The old remains, you give it a new form, a new shape - a kind of renovation of an old building. Its original structure remains; you whitewash it, you clean it, you make a few windows, a few new doors.

Revolution goes deeper than reform. The old remains, but more changes are introduced - even in its basic structure - not only changing its color and opening a few windows and doors, but perhaps making new stories, taking it higher into the sky. But the old is not destroyed, it remains hidden behind the new; in fact, it remains the very foundation of the new. Revolution is a continuity with the old.

Rebellion is a discontinuity. It is not reform, it is not revolution; it is simply disconnecting yourself from all that is old. The old religions, the old political ideologies, the old man - all that is old, you disconnect yourself from it. You start life afresh, from scratch. And unless we prepare humanity to begin life again - a resurrection, a death of the old and a birth of the new...

It is very significant to remember that the day Gautam Buddha was born, his mother died; as he was coming out of the womb, his mother was going out of existence. Perhaps this was historical, because he was brought up by his mother's sister - he never saw his mother alive. And now it has become a traditional idea in Buddhism that whenever a buddha is born, his mother dies immediately, his mother cannot survive. I take it as a symbolic and very significant indication. It means the birth of a rebel is the death of the old.

The revolutionary tries to change the old; the rebel simply comes out of the old, just as the snake slips out of the old skin, and never looks back. Unless we create such rebellious people around the earth, man has no future. The old man has brought man to his ultimate death. It is the old mind, the old ideologies, the old religions - they have all combined together to bring about this situation of global suicide. Only a new man can save humanity and this planet, and the beautiful life of this planet.

I teach rebellion, not revolution. To me, rebelliousness is the essential quality of a religious man. It is spirituality in its absolute purity.

The days of revolution are over. The French revolution failed, the Russian revolution failed, the Chinese revolution failed. In this country we have seen the Gandhian revolution fail, and it failed in front of Gandhi's own eyes. Gandhi was teaching nonviolence his whole life, and in front of his own eyes the country was divided; millions of people were killed, burned alive; millions of women were raped. And Gandhi himself was shot dead. That is a strange end of a nonviolent saint.

And he himself forgot all his teachings. Before his revolution was secured, Gandhi was asked by an American thinker, Louis Fischer, "What are you going to do with the arms, armies, and all the different weapons, when India becomes an independent country?"

Gandhi said, "I'm going to throw all the arms into the ocean, and send all the armies to work in the fields and in the gardens."

And Louis Fischer asked, "But have you forgotten? Somebody can invade your country."

Gandhi said, "We will welcome him. If somebody invades us, we will accept him as a guest and tell him, 'You can also live here, just the way we are living. There is no need to fight.'"

But he completely forgot all his philosophy - that's how revolutions fail. It is very beautiful to talk about these things, but when power comes into your hands... First, Mahatma Gandhi did not accept any post in the government. It was out of fear, because how was he going to answer the whole world? What about throwing the arms into the ocean? What about sending the armies to work in the fields? He escaped from the responsibility for which he had been fighting his whole life, seeing that it was going to create tremendous trouble for him; he would have to contradict his own philosophy.

But the government was made up of his own disciples, chosen by him. He did not ask them to dissolve the armies, on the contrary. When Pakistan attacked India, he did not say to the Indian government, "Now go to the borders and welcome the invaders as guests." Instead, he blessed the first three airplanes that were going to bomb Pakistan. The three airplanes flew over the villa where he was staying in New Delhi, and he came out into the garden to bless them. And with his blessings they went ahead to destroy our own people, who just a few days before were our brothers and our sisters. Unashamedly, without ever seeing the contradiction...

The Russian revolution failed in front of the very eyes of Lenin. He was preaching according to Karl Marx, that "When the revolution comes, we will dissolve marriage, because marriage is part of private property; as private property goes out, marriage will also go out. People can be lovers, can live together; children will be taken care of by the society."

But as the revolution succeeded, he saw the enormousness of the problem: to take care of so many children... who is going to take care of those children? And to dissolve marriage... for the first time he saw that your society depends on the family. The family is a basic unit - without the family, your society will be dissolved. And it will be dangerous - dangerous to creating a dictatorship of the proletariat, because people will become more independent if they don't have the responsibilities of the family.

You can see the logic. If people have the responsibilities of a wife, of an old father, an old mother, of children, they are so burdened they cannot be rebellious. They cannot go against the government, they have too many responsibilities. But if people have no responsibilities, if the old people are taken care of by the government - as they had been promising before the revolution - if children are taken care of by the government, and people can live together for as long as they love each other, they don't need permission for marriage, and they don't need any divorce; it is their private personal affair and the government has no business to interfere....

But when it came about that the power was in the hands of the Communist Party, and Lenin was the leader, everything changed. Once power comes into their hands, people start thinking differently.

Now the thinking was that to make people so independent of responsibilities is dangerous - they will become too individualistic. So let them be burdened with a family. They will remain enslaved just because of an old mother, an old father, a sick wife, or children and their education. Then they don't have the time or the courage to go against the government in any matter.

The family is one of the greatest traps that society has used for millennia to keep man a slave. Lenin forgot all about dissolving families.

It is very strange how revolutions have failed. They have failed at the hands of the revolutionaries themselves, because once the power comes into their hands, they start thinking in different ways.

Then they become too attached to the power. Then their whole effort is how to keep the power forever in their hands, and how to keep the people enslaved.

The future needs no other revolutions. The future needs a new experiment which has not been tried yet. Although for thousands of years there have been rebels, they remained alone - individuals.

Perhaps the time was not ripe for them. But now the time is not only ripe... if you don't hurry, the time has come to an end.

By the end of this century, either man will disappear, or a new man with a new vision will appear on the earth. He will be a rebel.

Question 2



Thanasis, what you have been feeling is not a mixture of feelings, it is the whole range of the rainbow.

The rainbow is not just a mixture of all the colors, it is a beautiful arrangement, harmonious, in deep accord.

You say, "When I sit in discourse, and your eyes are directly across from mine, after a short while the feeling of crying and laughing, of sadness and great joy arise in unison within me. Can you speak on this mixture of feelings...?"

The first thing: it is not a mixture of feelings. For example, the feelings of crying and laughing are not contradictory. You can cry out of joy, not only out of misery; you can cry out of great blissfulness.

Tears are nothing but an overflow; they can be an overflow of sadness, they can be an overflow of joy, they can be an overflow of love.

And because your crying and laughter are together, it is absolutely certain that your crying and your laughter are not contradictory. Your laughter is so overwhelming that tears come to your eyes; you cannot contain it, it is not finished and exhausted in laughter itself. The joy is so much that it needs your laughter and your tears both to express itself. So I will not call it a mixture of feelings, but simply a two-dimensional expression of a single feeling.

You say, "Sadness and great joy arise in unison within me." Again, the same thing is the case.

Sadness is not necessarily misery, suffering, pain; it is associated with those things because we live in misery, in suffering, in pain. That's why we don't know other nuances of sadness. A silent man also feels deep sadness, but it is not out of suffering, it is just an expression of silence.

And you are feeling great joy at the same time. The joy can be so great that it becomes inexpressible.

Expression has limitations - how to express joy? You can dance, you can sing. But here, sitting in the discourse, those dimensions are closed - you cannot sing, you cannot dance. Your wife is present here. Your own intelligence will say, "What are you doing? Have you gone mad?" And your wife, Amrito, is going to Greece. She will spread the message there that Thanasis is dancing and singing in discourse; he has gone out of his mind.

Because you cannot express your joy, that unexpressed joy comes out as something closer to sadness. But it is not the sadness that people know ordinarily, it is just that joy unexpressed turns into silence and sadness. There is no contradiction, you need not be worried about it. In fact, after the discourse you should try singing and dancing, and see how sadness immediately disappears because joy has found its ways of expression.

And don't stop your tears, don't be shy about crying; it is one of the most beautiful experiences. But it has been condemned for centuries by the old humanity. People have been told that it is not manly to cry and weep.

Now, psychological researchers say something totally different. They say women have never been conditioned against crying and weeping for the simple reason that man wanted them to look weak, not to look strong. He himself wanted to look strong, made of steel. Crying and weeping is for the weak, feminine mind. So he has never stopped them. But the ultimate result is that women live five years longer than men. One hundred and fifteen boys are born for every one hundred girls, but by the time they get married, fifteen boys have died off while a hundred girls are still alive; they are stronger, they have more resistance.

Women talk about suicide more than men - almost every day, over any small thing - but they never commit it. Even if sometimes they commit suicide they commit it with sleeping pills, just so the husband has to call the doctor and becomes ashamed. And the neighborhood gathers, and humiliates him: "You should not behave so... you are a barbarian!" And the woman does not die.

The number of suicides of men is double that of women; the number of murders is twenty times more than those of women. The amount of madness is four times more than women's. It is very strange, because the women look more crazy - they go crazy about small things. They start throwing cups and saucers... but they always throw cheap things. I have been watching, because this is strange:

they never throw costly things. They throw pillows, they don't really want to hurt - they throw in such a way that it does not hurt the husband. But they create a tantrum, and the whole neighborhood knows.

And that's what the husband is afraid of! So they make a fool of him, and he's ready to accept whatever they want. Whichever movie they want to go to, whichever car they want to purchase, the husband will purchase it even if he has to sell himself. "Nothing to worry... but don't make a drama!"

But strangely enough, women don't go mad as much as men, and the psychological insight is that it is because they are free to cry and to weep. They are free to throw tantrums, break old, rotten pottery, cups and saucers which anyway had to be thrown. But in this way, they release their madness in installments - the American way! Man goes on accumulating, and there comes a point that it becomes too much and he has to do something: kill himself, or kill somebody else.

I used to be a neighbor of a Bengali professor, Professor Battacharya. The first day I entered my bungalow at night, there was a great fight between Battacharya and his wife. And the walls were so thin that even if you whispered, still you could hear... and they were shouting! Although I had no idea of Bengali... but one thing was certain: something was going to happen, they were really furious!

Finally, the professor opened the door and went out. I had to ask the wife, "I don't know you people, I have come for the first day to this house, but I cannot resist the temptation to inquire what is happening. Where has your husband gone? And because I don't understand your language, it has become even more difficult; otherwise, I would have done something. You just tell me - where has he gone in the middle of the night?"

She said, "You need not be worried. He has gone to commit suicide."

I said, "Are you mad? If he has gone to commit suicide... you are telling me not to be worried?"

She said, "He goes almost every day. You don't know Bengalis. They are not like Punjabis that if they go to commit suicide, they will commit it. He will come back within five, seven minutes - just wait."

I said, "Okay, but my feeling is that I should go and find him."

She said, "Don't be worried, he will be just five or seven minutes at the most." And within seven minutes, he was back!

I asked him, "You had gone to commit suicide?"

He said, "Yes, I had gone to commit suicide, but the train comes only one time a day. It comes in the morning at eight o'clock, and to pass the whole night in the cold, lying down on the rails... it is too much. I will rest in the house, and I will see in the morning."

His wife said, "Look, do you think this man will ever be capable of committing suicide?"

And then it was every day, but by and by I became accustomed. One day he came back because it started raining. A man who has gone to commit suicide does not come back because it is raining!

What does it matter when you are going to die? But any excuse... and his wife was absolutely certain that there was no need to be alarmed: "In Bengal, no Bengali commits suicide. They talk about it."

One day things came to such a great crisis that he told his wife, "You prepare my tiffin." I was listening - they were fighting. Suddenly he said, "You prepare my tiffin. I'm going to commit suicide."

And I saw him going out with his umbrella and tiffin. I asked Battacharya, "Have you decided firmly this time?"

He said, "Absolutely! Just because the trains arrive late, I'm taking the tiffin with me. I'm not going to come back. Enough is enough."

But the train was very late. And the first thing he did - because I followed him.... The station was not far away from the university, just half a mile. I followed behind him to see what he did. The first thing he did, sitting under a beautiful tree - he ate his breakfast, and inquired when the train would come. It was six hours late, so he went back.

I met him on the way. I said, "What happened?"

He said, "It is too late. And in six hours, I will again feel hungry. So it is better to go home, and if I decide to commit suicide, I will have to bring the tiffin again."

But this may be a special characteristic of the Bengalis!

Generally, around the world, men commit suicide four times more than women, but more in countries which are countries of warriors. For example, in Japan, the ratio is ten times more. A Japanese can commit suicide for the slightest reason - such a trivial thing that you would not think that it was worth committing suicide over. In Germany, seven times more men than women do it. The warrior races....

Man is trained to prove himself as if made of steel, and a man made of steel does not cry.

The psychological investigations show that it is crying and weeping that makes women stronger in many ways - they live longer, they have more resistance against weaknesses, sicknesses. Men become sick more. Women have more resistance against pain, misery, poverty, than men, and the whole credit goes to their tears - because they can cry wholeheartedly.

Thanasis, enjoy crying and laughing together; that is what is expected of every madman. Only madmen laugh and cry together, sane people do only one thing at a time. They always remain rational. They think crying and laughing are contradictory, so if they want to cry and laugh, they separate them: sometimes they can cry, sometimes they can laugh, but they miss the joy of the harmony of both. Neither is laughter by itself so juicy as it is with crying and tears, nor are tears so dancing as they are with laughter. Each misses something.

Always remember that you have the full orchestra within you. The new man I am continuously interested in will express himself just like a rainbow - all the colors - without any fear. Let the world think you are mad. If you are enjoying it, it is right! If you can dance and sing and cry altogether, simultaneously playing on your guitar, you will become aware for the first time of a tremendous harmony in all these different dimensions which you have never thought can be together. They are together. In the deepest silences of your heart, they are together. Express them as they come naturally, and don't be ashamed of anything.

Never be ashamed of your nature; be respectful of your nature. Never have any condemnatory tone.

That's what all the traditions have given to you as a heritage: condemnation of yourself. And in this tricky manner they have taken away your dignity, your self-respect.

I want to give you back your self-respect, your dignity, your dance, your crying, your love, your joy, your sadness, your silences. I want you to be as rich as possible - all these feelings and emotions and moods are your treasures.

Nothing has to be denied, everything has to be absorbed; nothing has to be thrown away, everything has to be made part of an orchestra.

Mr. Green receives a cable from his son in India.

"Dear Father, have decided to go to Poona and become a sannyasin."

Mr. Green bangs the table. Distraught and not knowing what to do, he decides to go to his old friend, Mr. Levy, and seek advice.

When he tells Mr. Levy the sad news, his friend turns white and says, "It is a funny thing you should say that to me. This morning I had a telephone call from my son. He also has gone to India to become a sannyasin."

Mr. Levy bangs the table. They look at one another in consternation.

Mr. Green says, "What shall we do?"

"We will go and see Alderman Goldberg, and see what he says."

They call on the alderman, and tell him their story. He looks back at them in dismay and says, "It is a funny thing you should say that to me. My son too! By telex he tells me he's in India to become a sannyasin." The alderman bangs on the table.

"We have to do something about it," says Mr. Green.

"What do you suggest? What can we do?" asks the alderman.

"We will go to speak to the rabbi. Who else?"

So they go to the school, and find the rabbi praying. They tell him the bad news, and he nearly faints. He bangs the seat, and stammers out, "It is a funny thing that you should say that to me. My son also... I'm so ashamed."

"We must do something," insists the alderman.

The rabbi finds some strength, "Yes, we will. We will pray to God for guidance in the manner of our people in mourning." They tear their clothes, put ashes on their heads, and for two days without food and water they pray, "Almighty one, help us in our time of need."

And on the second day, the heavens open and the voice of God is heard. "What can I do for my people?"

The rabbi, head bowed, says, "Ah, great one, help us. Our sons have gone to India to become sannyasins."

There is an almighty bang, and again the voice of God is heard, "It is a funny thing you should say that to me. What can I do for you? My own son has gone there too."

Thanasis, don't be worried. All the sons are here, and those who are not here are on the way. And soon, we are going to fill the world with crying and laughing, dancing and singing people. And let these old guys bang, and bang, and bang; don't be bothered about that. Their banging is not going to help.

And once they see you dancing, and singing, and enjoying, I don't think they will continue banging on the tables. Soon, one by one they will start crying and weeping; and somebody daring enough will start singing and dancing, because even in the oldest people youth never dies. The young man always lives somewhere deep inside - you just have to call him forth. You have to give him enough challenge.

Thanasis, you will be going back to Greece. I would have loved to come with you, but your archbishop wants to burn me alive. Your government consists of such impotent people that they became afraid of your archbishop. He was threatening the government that if I was not thrown out of Greece immediately, he would lead a procession against me, dynamite the house in which Thanasis and his wife, Amrito, had arranged my residence, and burn alive all the people who were there in the house - without any reason. I was going to be there only for four weeks, with a tourist visa, and I had lived there for two weeks already. I had not gone out of the house, I had not committed any crime.

But the archbishop was creating so much fuss, and the government was so impotent that it could not say to the archbishop that unless I had committed some crime, they could not cancel my visa. And it was only a question of two more weeks. The archbishop was saying to the government, "This man is dangerous. He will destroy our religion, he will destroy our morality, he will destroy our tradition."

And it is interesting, immensely interesting that no intellectuals in Greece... and this is the country of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, and Plotinus, and Pythagoras, and Heraclitus, and Epicurus. No intellectuals of the country told the government, "This is absolutely against the law, against the constitution. If a man can destroy your morality, your religion, your tradition of two thousand years within two weeks, then it is not worth..."

It is such a simple fact! If you have made a religion and morality in two thousand years which can be destroyed in two weeks by a single individual - who is not even going out of his house - then your religion and your tradition and your morality are just useless. They should be destroyed.

But the government, like all governments, consists of the most impotent people of their country. Why should it be so? Perhaps the impotent people have a tremendous desire to have power over others.

They don't have any power within themselves; they want to have power over others as a substitute.

All politicians are suffering from an inferiority complex; they are sick people. And it does not matter which country.

This archbishop had nobody with him - just six old women were his whole congregation. I inquired, "Every day I hear about the procession, but it never comes. I would love to see the procession against me, the archbishop... The Greek Orthodox church is the oldest Christian church in the world, so I would love to see..." And every day the threat - but the procession never came. Finally, I was told that it would never come - "Who will go in his procession? Only six old women who are almost dead - that is his whole congregation. He would look foolish to lead a procession of those six old women."

The procession never came, but the government became afraid because the politician is always afraid of the voters. Only four percent of Greeks are regular churchgoers, but ninety percent of Greeks are Christians. They may not go to the church, but as far as voting is concerned, that archbishop has some power. The politicians have to listen to him, even against their own law and their own constitution.

They deported me. It was a beautiful scene on two points at the airport. I had come to pick up my own jet. The deputy police inspector stamped my passport that I was being deported. I told him, "You also write down the reason why I am deported. If you people had guts, the archbishop of your church should have been deported because he was creating a nuisance. He was threatening criminal acts, and you are deporting me."

I took away his pen, and crossed out his whole seal. My passport is an historical document. He said, "What are you doing?" I said, "I am not deported. I am LEAVING Greece. You have to write down that you have crossed it out, and sign it." He became so afraid that I might create some trouble, he immediately wrote that he had crossed out the seal, and he put on another seal saying that I was leaving Greece.

They wouldn't allow me to have a press conference at the airport even though the world press had gathered there. And to receive me, there were forty police officers and even the chief of the police was there. As I was talking to the press, he wanted to interrupt me. And I told him, "Shut up! Go back and stand in your place." And strangely enough, he simply went back and stood in his own place. He must have been afraid that the TV cameras were there, and if I were to shout and say something else, that would be seen throughout the world - "It is better..." But this much was enough on the TV screen: that I shouted and put him back in his place.

I said, "What is the need of forty police officers? Of what are you afraid? I'm not carrying any nuclear weapons, and in the middle of the night, I'm not going to destroy anybody's morality. I am tired and I simply want to go to my plane, and go to sleep. What is the need of forty police officers? All the highest ranking police officers...?"

Such cowards constitute our governments, our police, our army, our politicians, our priests.

The rabbi, acquainting himself with his new pupils, asks little Hymie if his family is religious.

"Ah, yes," Hymie reassures him, "especially my mother. Every night when she goes to bed with my father, I hear her shouting, 'Oh, God, I'm coming.'"

Okay, Maneesha?

Yes, Beloved Master.

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Conservative observers state, that Israel was built
on the bones of at least two million Palestinians.

In Lydda alone Zionist killers murdered 50,000 Palestinians,
both Muslim and Christian.

Only about 5 percent of so called Jews are Semites,
whereas 95 percent are Khazars.

"...I know the blasphemy of them WHICH SAY THEY ARE JEWS,

(Revelation 2:9, 3:9)