Reality is far richer than imagination
IN RESPONSE TO ANANDO'S QUESTION THE OTHER EVENING ABOUT YOUR PLACE IN HISTORY, YOU TOLD US TO FORGET HISTORY AND HISTORIANS, TO SIMPLY LET THEM DO THEIR THING. BUT SO MUCH OF VALUE IS CONTAINED IN YOUR BOOKS WHICH IS BEING MADE AVAILABLE TO CONTEMPORARY PEOPLE, AND WHICH COULD BE PART OF A RECORD OF A WHOLE DIFFERENT DIMENSION FROM THAT WHICH IS CONVENTIONALLY REGARDED AS HISTORY.
A NEW RECORD COULD BE COMPILED OF THE REAL HISTORY: THE EVOLUTION OF MAN'S CONSCIOUSNESS BEGINNING WITH PRIMEVAL MAN AND THE FIRST HINTS OF MAN'S AWARENESS OF HIMSELF, TAKING IN ALL THOSE WHO HAVE BECOME AWAKENED, ALL MYSTICAL SCRIPTURES AND DOCUMENTS, AND CULMINATING IN YOU AND YOUR WORK.
OF ALL THE MASTERS, YOU HAVE THE MOST ECLECTIC AND COMPREHENSIVE RECORD OF YOUR OWN EVOLUTION IN CONSCIOUSNESS - FROM THOSE DAYS IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING YOUR ENLIGHTENMENT, YOUR DAYS OF TRAVELLING AROUND INDIA, TO BOMBAY, POONA, OREGON, AND NOW, THE WORLD TOUR.
IN ADDITION, THE QUESTIONS YOU PROVOKE IN US, YOUR DISCIPLES, OUTLINE THE PROCESS OF OUR GROWING CONSCIOUSNESS, AND ARE, IN THEMSELVES, ANOTHER UNIQUE ASPECT OF YOUR WORK.
OSHO, WE HAVE ALREADY FORGIVEN YOU FOR NOT ALLOWING US TO FORGET YOU. WE, YOUR EDITORS, JUST WANT TO ENSURE THAT YOUR WORDS AND THE FRAGRANCE THAT YOU ARE HAUNT PEOPLE FOR GENERATIONS TO COME AND DRIVE THEM TOTALLY SANE!
That is your problem.
THERE IS A STORY OF A DISCIPLE WHO COMES TO SEE HIS MASTER AND ASKS HIM WHETHER MAN IS FREE.
THE MASTER TELLS HIS DISCIPLE TO STAND UP AND TO LIFT ONE OF HIS FEET OFF THE GROUND. THE DISCIPLE, STANDING ON ONE LEG - AND THE OTHER ONE IN THE AIR - UNDERSTANDS LESS THAN BEFORE.
NOW THE MASTER ASKS HIM TO ALSO LIFT THE OTHER FOOT OFF THE GROUND.
OSHO, CAN YOU SPEAK ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FREEDOM FOR AND FREEDOM FROM?
Freedom from is ordinary, mundane. Man has always tried to be free from things. It is not creative.
It is the negative aspect of freedom.
Freedom for is creativity. You have a certain vision that you would like to materialize and you want freedom for it.
Freedom from is always from the past, and freedom for is always for the future.
Freedom for is a spiritual dimension because you are moving into the unknown and perhaps, one day, into the unknowable. It will give you wings.
Freedom from, at the most, can take away your handcuffs. It is not necessarily beneficial - and the whole of history is a proof of it. People have never thought of the second freedom that I am insisting on; they have only thought of the first - because they don't have the insight to see the second. The first is visible: chains on their feet, handcuffs on their hands. They want to be free from them, but then what? What are you going to do with your hands? You may even repent that you asked for freedom from.
It happened in the castle of the Bastille - I have told you - in the French Revolution it was the most famous French prison, it was reserved only for those who were sentenced to live in jail for their whole lives. So one entered the Bastille alive but never came out alive - only the dead bodies came out.
And when they put on the handcuffs, the chains, they locked them and threw the keys in a well which was inside the Bastille - because they were not needed. Those locks would not be opened again so what would be their use?
There were more than five thousand people. What is the use of keeping five thousand peoples' keys and maintaining them unnecessarily?
Once they have entered their dark cells, they have entered them forever.
The French revolutionaries necessarily thought that the first thing that had to be done was to free the people from the Bastille.
It is inhuman to put somebody for any act whatsoever into prison in a dark cell just to wait for his death which might come fifty years afterwards, sixty years afterwards. Sixty years of waiting is an immense torture to the soul. It is not punishment, it is vengeance, revenge, because these people disobeyed the law. There is no balance between their acts and the punishment.
The revolutionaries opened the doors, they dragged people out from their dark cells. And they were surprised. Those people were not ready to get out of their cells.
You can understand. A person who has lived for sixty years in darkness - the sun is too much for him. He does not want to come out into the light. His eyes have become too delicate. And what is the point? He is now eighty. When he entered he was twenty. His whole life has been in this darkness. This darkness has become his home.
And they wanted to make them free. They broke their chains, their handcuffs - because there were no keys. But the prisoners were very resistant. They did not want to go out of the prison. They said, "You don't understand our condition. A man who has been sixty years in this position, what will he do outside? Who will provide him food? Here food is given, and he can rest in his peaceful, dark cell. He knows he is almost dead. Outside he will not be able to find his wife - what has happened to her, his parents will have died, his friends will have died or may have completely forgotten him.
"And nobody is going to give him a job. A man who has been for sixty years out of work, who is going to give him a job? - and a man from the Bastille, where the most dangerous criminals were kept?
Just the name of Bastille will be enough to have him refused from any job. Why are you forcing us?
Where will we sleep? We don't have any houses. We have almost forgotten where we used to live - somebody else must be living there. Our houses, our families, our friends, our whole world has changed so much in sixty years; we will not be able to make it. Don't torture us more. We have been tortured enough."
And in what they were saying there was reasonableness.
But revolutionaries are stubborn people; they won't listen. They forced them out of the Bastille, but by that night almost everybody had come back. They said, "Give us food because we are hungry."
A few came in the middle of the night and they said, "Give us our chains back because we cannot sleep without them. We have slept for fifty, sixty years with handcuffs, with chains on our legs, in darkness. They have become almost part of our bodies, we cannot sleep without them. You return our chains - and we want our cells. We were perfectly happy. Don't force your revolution on us. We are poor people. You can do your revolution somewhere else."
The revolutionaries were shocked.
But the incident shows that freedom from is not necessarily a blessing.
You can see all over the world; countries have become free from the British Empire, from the Spanish Empire, from the Portuguese Empire - but their situation is far worse than it was when they were slaves. At least in their slavery they had become accustomed to it, they had dropped ambitions, they had accepted their situation as their destiny.
Freedom from slavery simply creates chaos.
My whole family was involved in India's freedom struggle. They had all been to jail. Their education was disturbed. Nobody could pass the university because before they could pass the examination they were caught - somebody was three years in jail, somebody was four years in jail. And then it was too late to start again, and they had become bona fide revolutionaries. In jail they contacted all the leaders of revolution; then their whole lives were devoted to revolution.
I was small but I used to argue with my father, with my uncles: "I can understand that slavery is ugly, it dehumanizes you, humiliates you, it degrades you from the prestige of being a human being; it should be fought against. But my point is, what will you do when you are free? Freedom from is clear, and I am not against it. What I want to know and understand clearly is what you are going to do with your freedom.
"You know how to live in slavery. Do you know how to live in freedom? You know a certain order has to be maintained in slavery; otherwise you will be crushed, killed, shot. Do you know that in freedom it will be your responsibility to maintain the order? Nobody will be killing you and nobody else will be responsible for it - you have to be responsible for it. Have you asked your leaders what this freedom is for?"
And I never received any answer. They said, "Right now we are so involved in getting rid of slavery; we will take care of freedom later on."
I said, "This is not a scientific attitude. If you are demolishing the old house, if you are intelligent you should at least prepare a map for the new house. The best would be that you prepare the new house before you demolish the old. Otherwise you will be without a house and then you will suffer - because it is better to be in the old house than to be without a house."
In my family, great leaders of the Indian revolution used to stay with us - and this was my constant argument with them. And I have never found a single leader of the Indian revolution who had the answer to what they were going to do with freedom.
Freedom came. Hindus and Mohammedans killed each other in millions. They had been kept from killing each other by the British forces; the forces were removed - and there were riots all over India.
Everybody's life was in danger. Whole towns were burning; whole trains were burning, and people were not allowed to get out of the trains.
I said, "This is strange. It was not happening in slavery, and it is happening in freedom - and the reason simply is that you were not prepared for what freedom is."
The country was divided into two parts - they had never thought about it. In the whole country there was chaos. And the people who came to power had a certain expertise and that expertise was in burning the bridges, in burning the jails, in killing the people who were enslaving the country.
This expertise has nothing to do with building up a new country. But these were the leaders in the revolution; naturally they came to power. They had fought, they had won, and the power came into their hands. And it was in the wrong hands.
No revolutionary should be given the power - because he knows how to sabotage, but he does not know how to create; he only knows how to destroy. He should be honored, respected, given gold medals and everything, but don't give him power.
You will have to find people who can be creative - but these will be the people who have not participated in revolution.
It is a very delicate matter.
Because the creative people were concerned with their creativity, they were not interested in who rules. Somebody must rule, but whether it is the Britishers, or whether it is the Indians doesn't matter to them. They were concerned with pouring their energy into their creative work, so they were not in the revolutionary ranks.
Now, the revolutionaries will not allow them to have the power. In fact, they are the renegades.
These are the people who never participated in revolution, and you are giving power to them?
So every revolution has failed in the world up to now, and for the simple reason that the people who make the revolution have one kind of expertise and the people who can make a country, create a country, create responsibility in people, are a different lot. They don't participate in destruction, murder. But they cannot get to the power. Power goes into the hands of those who have been fighting.
So, naturally, every revolution is intrinsically bound to fail.
Unless what I am saying is understood clearly.... There are two parts in revolution, from and for; and there should be two kinds of revolutionaries: those who are working for the first - that is freedom from - and those who will work when the work of the first is finished, for freedom for.
But it is difficult to manage. Who will manage it? Everybody is full of lust for power.
When the revolutionaries are victorious, the power is theirs; they cannot give it to anybody else. And the country will be in chaos. In every dimension it will fall lower and lower every day.
That's why I don't teach you revolution; I teach you rebellion.
Revolution is of the crowd; rebellion is of the individual.
The individual changes himself. He does not care about the power structure; he simply manages to change his being, gives birth to a new man in himself.
And if the whole country is rebellious.... The most wonderful thing about it is this: in rebellion both kinds of revolutionaries can participate, because in rebellion much has to be destroyed and much has to be created. Things have to be destroyed in order to create, so it has an appeal for both - those who are interested in destruction and those who are interested in creativity.
It is not a crowd phenomenon. It is your own individuality.
And if millions of people go through rebellion, then the power of countries, nations is going to be in the hands of these people - rebels.
Only in rebellion can revolution succeed; otherwise, revolution has a split personality.
Rebellion is one, single.
And remember this: in rebellion, destructiveness and creativity go hand in hand together, supporting each other. They are not separate processes. Once you make them separate - as they are in revolution - you will repeat the story.
The story in the question is not complete.
It is a beautiful mystic story. A man comes to a master to ask how much man is independent, free.
Is he totally free, or is there a limitation? Is there something like fate, kismet, destiny, a God who makes a limitation beyond which you cannot be free?
The mystic answered in his own way - not logically but existentially. He said, "Stand up."
The man must have felt this was a stupid kind of answer, "I am asking a simple question and he is asking me to stand up." But he said, "Let us see what happens."
And the mystic said, "Now, raise one of your legs up."
The man, by this time, must have been thinking he had come to a mad man; what has this to do with freedom, independence? But now that he has come... and there must have been a crowd of the disciples... and the mystic was so respected; not to follow him would be disrespectful, and there was no harm.
So he took away one of his legs from the earth, so one foot was in the air and he was standing on one foot.
And then the master said, "That's perfectly good. Just one thing more. Now take the other foot up also."
That is impossible.
The man said, "You are asking something impossible. I have taken my right foot up. Now I cannot take my left foot up."
The master said, "But you were free. In the beginning you could have taken the left foot up. There was no binding. You were completely free to choose whether to take the left foot up or the right foot up. I had not said anything. You decided. You took the right foot up. In your very decision you made it impossible for the left foot to be lifted up. Don't bother about fate, kismet, God. Just think of simple things."
Any act that you do prevents you from doing some other act that goes against it. So every act is a limitation.
In the story it is so clear. In life it is not so clear because you can't see one foot on the earth and one foot in the air. But each act, each decision is a limitation.
You are totally free before deciding, but once you have decided, your very decision, your very choice brings in a limitation. Nobody else is imposing the decision; it is the nature of things - you cannot do contradictory things together simultaneously. And it is good you cannot; otherwise... you are already in chaos... you would be in greater chaos if you were allowed to do contradictory things together.
You would go mad.
This is simply an existential safety measure.
Basically you are totally free to choose, but once you choose, your very choice brings a limitation.
If you want to remain totally free, then don't choose. That's where the teaching of choiceless awareness comes in. Why the insistence of the great masters just to be aware and not to choose?
Because the moment you choose, you have lost your total freedom, you are left with only a part. But if you remain choiceless, your freedom remains total.
So there is only one thing which is totally free and that is choiceless awareness. Everything else is limited.
You love a woman - she is beautiful but very poor. You love riches - there is another woman who is very rich but ugly, disgusting. Now you have to choose. And whatever you choose, you will suffer.
If you choose the beautiful girl, she is poor; and you will always repent that you missed all those riches unnecessarily - because the beauty after a few days' acquaintance is taken for granted, you don't see it. And what will you do with beauty? You cannot purchase a car, you cannot purchase a house, you cannot purchase anything. Now beat your head with your beauty - what you will do?
So the mind starts thinking that the choice was wrong.
But if you choose the disgusting, ugly woman, you would have all that money can purchase: a palace, servants, all gadgets, but you will have to tolerate that woman - not only tolerate but to say "I love you." And you cannot even hate her, she is so disgusting; even to hate, one needs somebody who is not disgusting - because hate is a relationship. And you cannot enjoy those cars and the palace and the garden, because the disgusting face of that woman will be constantly following you.
And she knows that you have not married her, you have married her riches. So she is going to treat you like a servant, not like a lover. And this is the truth: you have not loved her. Then you will start thinking it would have been better to have a poor house, ordinary food - at least the woman was beautiful, you would have enjoyed her. You have been an idiot to choose this.
Whatever you choose you will repent because the other will remain and haunt you.
If one needs absolute freedom then choiceless awareness is the only thing.
And when I say instead of revolution go for rebellion, I am bringing you closer to a complete whole.
In revolution you are bound to be divided, either from something or for something. You cannot have both together because they need different expertise.
But in rebellion both qualities are combined together.
When a sculptor makes a statue he is doing both; he is cutting the stone - destroying the stone as it was - and he is, by destroying the stone, creating a beautiful statue that was not there before.
Destruction and creation go together, they are not divided.
Rebellion is whole.
Revolution is half-half - and that is the danger of revolution. The word is beautiful, but down the centuries it has got connected with a split mind.
And I am against all kinds of splits because they will drive you schizophrenic.
Now all the countries which have become free from slavery are going into an agony which is inconceivable. They had never been in such agony when they were slaves, and they had been slaves for three hundred, four hundred years. In three hundred, four hundred years, they never encountered such agony; and just in thirty, forty years they have gone into such hell that they wonder, "Why were we fighting for freedom? If this is freedom then slavery was far better."
Slavery is never better. It is just that these people don't know that they have chosen half of the freedom; and the other half can be completed, but not by the same people who have done the revolution. The other half will need a totally different kind of intelligence, wisdom. And those are not the people who will murder and throw bombs and burn trains and police stations and post offices - those are not the people.
In my family, only my grandfather was against sending my uncles to universities. It was my father who somehow managed to send them to the university. My grandfather was saying, "You don't know.
I understand these boys. You will be sending them to the university and they will end up in jail - such is the atmosphere."
Most of the revolution was done by students, young people. Knowing nothing of life - they had not experienced anything - but they had energy, they had vitality; they were young, and they had this romantic idea of being free. They did everything - making bombs and throwing bombs and killing governor-generals and governors. They did everything.
And when they came out of jail, they suddenly found they had all the power and they had no skill to use it. They had no intelligence either - what to do with it? They pretended they enjoyed a euphoria, and the country also enjoyed euphoria for a moment - now our own people are in power! - but soon they started fighting with each other.
For forty years in India they have been simply fighting with each other. Nobody bothers about the country and nobody bothers to risk his own neck because to tackle any problem of the country he will have to go against the traditions of the country.
I have talked to two prime ministers - Lalbahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi - and the answer was the same: "Whatever you say is right, but who is going to get into trouble? We cannot say these things to the public. Birth control we cannot say because once you say birth control, the whole country goes against you, saying that you are destroying the morality of the country; then all religious people start thinking that this man should not be in power, he is dangerous."
And Indira even tried, and because she tried she was thrown out of power. For three years she was harassed in every possible way.
What can you do? If the problems are connected with the traditions and the old conditionings of the mind.... The politician is enjoying his power and he is fighting for his own power - so that he remains powerful, so that he starts moving upwards.
I am reminded of a very funny situation.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the first prime minister after the freedom came, and he was visiting a Commonwealth conference in London. In his cabinet the second man was Maulana Azad. Thinking that since the prime minister is out of the country, and he is second... he must start acting as prime minister. Now there is no such thing in the world as an acting prime minister. If the president goes out, then the vice-president functions as the acting president. But the president is in the country, the head of the country is there. Prime ministers, wherever they go, are prime ministers and there is no need for anybody else to be acting prime minister.
And Maulana Azad, an old man, very much respected... that's why he is called Maulana. 'Maulana' means a great wise man. He was a Mohammedan - but so childish that he immediately put the flag on the car of the prime minister and started sitting in the prime minister's office, acting as prime minister.
And when Jawaharlal Nehru heard in London that Maulana Azad was doing that, he informed him, "You do not know that there is never any acting prime minister. Only the head of the state, if he is out of the country, is replaced for the time being by the vice-head. But the prime minister is not the head of the country. He is the most powerful man, but he's not the nominal head, so don't do this foolish thing."
Jawaharlal phoned him and said, "Stop this nonsense. If somebody comes to know it, they will laugh that these people want to create a country so big - a sub-continent - and they are only children."
Revolution has the trouble - and I think it will always have - that one kind of people will do it and power will come into their hands... and it is just human, lust for power, will for power. They will not want it to be given to anybody else. But that is exactly what is needed to be done. Now people have to be found who are wise enough - creative, intelligent - who can help the country in all possible ways by bringing new technology, new methods of agriculture; who can introduce new industries in the country; who can open the doors of the country for the whole world to put their money in, as the country has cheap labor.
India can produce anything. It needs money, and the money is there around the world - and the people who have money, they don't know what to do with it. It needs new industries. It can create any kind of thing, it just needs money, experts. And the labor is so cheap that it competes in the whole world.
That's how Japan has come first. The per capita income is even higher now than in America. But Japan is handicapped with a trouble - it has not land enough. A small land... now it cannot grow more industries, the land is not there, the people are not there. India has enough land and millions of people. Only the right man is needed to be in power and then freedom from can be transformed into freedom for. The country can enjoy a tremendous growth in all directions.
But just the opposite is happening. The country is falling every day, deteriorating. And it will go on deteriorating and nobody will point out the simple fact that the wrong people are in power.
Just give them honor, give them prizes, give them awards, great certificates written in golden letters that they can put in their houses - but don't give them power.
Seeing the disastrous situation of all revolutions, I started thinking of rebellion - which is individual; and the individual can be capable of synthesizing the destructive and the creative forces together in his choiceless awareness.
And if many people go through this rebellion - which is not against anybody, it is just against your own conditioning - and bring forth a new man within you, the problem is not difficult.
Revolution should become out of date.
Rebellion is the word for the future.
DOES IT REALLY MATTER THAT I CAN'T DISTINGUISH IMAGINATION FROM REALITY?
IF I CAN BE AWARE THAT "I AM", IS THIS NOT ENOUGH?
It is certainly enough. It does not matter. There is no need to make any effort to discriminate between imagination and reality. You simply remain aware of yourself.
And whatever is imagination will slowly disappear, and whatever is real will remain.
It is again from Chetana.
But remember, your friendship with ghosts.... Those ghosts will disappear. Because you cannot discriminate between who is a ghost and who is a real person, there may be fear that perhaps you are thinking that this is a real person - and he disappears. But that much risk has to be taken.
In the commune Milarepa used to disappear. That was because of your awareness of yourself. Then you can't find where he is.
So if you are not afraid, then there is no problem. You simply remain aware of yourself. And I have never been teaching discrimination.
Imagination is that which disappears.
Reality is that which remains.
So you have to see. If Milarepa disappears, then he was a ghost. If he remains, then he is a reality.
In life many things which you enjoy are imaginary; that's why people don't want to let them disappear.
In life there is not much reality, so you don't know what joys reality will bring. But one has to go into it. It is a gamble.
Only one thing I can say - that you will not be a loser. Reality is far richer than imagination.
I have told you the story of Mulla Nasruddin. One night, in the middle of the night, he nudged his wife and whispered, "Just bring my glasses."
He said, "Don't ask. Just bring them. I will explain everything later on. This time don't disturb me."
She said, "Okay," and brought the glasses.
He put the glasses on, closed his eyes, started saying, "Okay, okay. I am ready for ninety-nine."
The wife said, "What is he doing?"
Then he said, "Okay, I am ready for ninety-eight. But where are you? Ninety-seven?"
The wife said, "Are you mad or what? What are you doing?"
He said, "I was having such a beautiful dream. An angel was giving rupees. I have never seen such a miserly angel. He started with one rupee. I said, 'What do you think I am? A beggar? One rupee, no.' With great trouble and struggle I brought him up to ninety-nine. And I said, 'Listen, it doesn't look right - ninety-nine. Why not make it one hundred?'
"He said, 'Okay, I will make it one hundred.'
"I was so joyous that I woke up, and I thought that I would get my glasses to see whether those notes were real or imaginary - because he was giving... a miser who starts with one rupee and is ready for one hundred....
"But when I put on the glasses, he was not there. I tried hard; 'Come on, I am ready for ninety-nine, ninety-eight.' I even went down to one rupee... because even a rupee from an angel is a blessing.
But that goddamned fellow did not appear at all!"
Small children sometimes wake up and start crying and weeping and asking for something they just had that now somebody has taken away. They were simply dreaming of something, and now that they are awake, the thing has disappeared. They cannot make any distinction between dreaming and reality.
As you grow mature, you become more aware of the difference between imagination and reality.
But if you really become fully aware of yourself, imagination simply disappears, because it is a spiritual awakening. Now no dreaming is possible and only the reality remains, and that reality is tremendously fulfilling. One never feels any loss when imagination is gone.
MANEESHA HAS HER EDITING, BUT I'M TRYING HARD; I CAN'T SEEM TO FIND A GOOD REASON MYSELF FOR NOT BECOMING ENLIGHTENED.
CAN YOU HELP ME?
I will do my best so that you don't become enlightened - although that is not my work, but just a favor.