Questions and Answers
OSHO, MAN'S PARTIAL CONSCIOUSNESS IS A STAGE IN THE GRAND EVOLUTION OF LIFE.
WHAT COULD BE THE SIGNIFICANCE OF HIS VOLITIONAL EFFORTS IN ITS GROWTH?
PLEASE ALSO EXPLAIN THE ROLE THAT THE BUDDHAS, THE ENLIGHTENED ONES, PLAY IN THE EXPANSION OF HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS.
Evolution is unconscious. No volition is needed, no conscious effort: it is just natural. But once consciousness evolves, then it is a totally different matter. Once consciousness is there, evolution stops. Evolution is only up to consciousness; the work of evolution is to create consciousness. Once consciousness is there, evolution stops. Then the whole responsibility falls upon consciousness itself. So this has to be understood in many ways.
Man is not evolving now. Since long, man has not been evolving. Evolution has stopped as far as man is concerned. The body has come to its peak, the human body has not evolved since long.
The most ancient bones and the most ancient human bodies that have been found are not basically different from our bodies; there is no basic difference. If a human body which is one hundred thousand years old can be revived and trained, it will be just like yours; there will be no difference at all.
The human body has stopped evolving. When did it stop? When consciousness comes in, evolution's work is over. Now it is up to you to evolve. So man remains static, not evolving, unless he himself endeavours. Now, beyond man, everything will be conscious. Below man everything is unconscious. With man a new factor has entered - the factor of awareness, the factor of consciousness. With this factor, evolution's work is over. Evolution is to create a situation in which consciousness evolves. Once consciousness enters in, then the whole responsibility is on consciousness. So now man will not evolve naturally. There will be no evolution.
Consciousness is the peak of evolution - the last step. But it is not the last step of life.
Consciousness is the last step of evolution - of all animal heritage. It is the last step - the climax, the peak - but for further growth, it has to be the first step. And when I say that evolution has stopped, I mean that now an inner effort is needed. Now, unless you do something, you will not evolve. Nature has brought you to a point which is the last for unconscious growth. Now you are aware; now you know. When you know, you are responsible.
A child is not responsible for his acts, but an adult is. A madman is not responsible for his acts, but a sane man is. If you are under an alcoholic intoxicant and you are not behaving consciously, you are not responsible. With consciousness, with the faculty of knowing, you become responsible for yourself.
Sartre has said somewhere that responsibility is the only human burden. No animal is responsible.
Evolution is responsible for all that the animal is. The animal is not responsible for anything: man is responsible. So whatsoever you do will now be your responsibility. If you want to create a hell and go down, it is up to you. If you want to evolve, if you want to grow and create a blissful state, it is up to you.
Existentialists have made a very fine distinction - a beautiful one - which is meaningful also. They say that for animals essence is first and existence is a later growth. This is difficult to understand, but try: they say for animals, for trees, essence is first and existence follows. There is a seed: the seed, in essence, is the tree. The essence is there and the existence will follow. The essential thing is there; it surely has to be manifested, expressed. The tree will follow! The tree is not going to be a new thing. In a way, it was already there. So, really, the seed has no freedom: the tree exists in it.
And the tree is also without freedom: it is predestined by the seed. This is what is meant by essence being first, below man, and then existence follows.
With man, the whole thing is just the opposite: existence comes first and then essence follows. You are not born with any fixed future: you will have to create it. You are born, so you have an existence - a simple existence with no essence. Now you will create the essence. So man creates himself. A tree is created by nature, but man creates himself.
Man is simply born as an existence with no essence. Then whatsoever you do will make your essence. Your acts will create you, and the freedom is multi-dimensional. A man can become anything or he may not become anything. He may remain just an existence without any essence; he may just remain a body without any soul. The soul is, in a way, to be created.
Gurdjieff used to say that you have no soul; you are without a soul. Unless you create it, how can you have it? It looks contradictory to all the teachings of religion, but it is not. When religion says that everyone has a soul, it only means that everyone can have a soul. That is a possibility. You can grow to be a soul. If you already have a soul, then there is no distinction between a seed and you.
And if you are growing like a seed into a tree, if you are growing just like a seed into a man, then there is no difference between man and all that exists below man.
Man is a freedom - a freedom to be. He can be many things; he can be anything. But it may be that he will remain just a possibility without being anything. That creates a dizziness and that creates fear.
Kierkegaard has given the concept of "dread". He says that man Lives in dread. What is this dread, this fear? This is the fear: that you are simply a possibility and nothing else. You have only existence, no essence. You can create it, but you may miss it. The responsibility is yours. This is a very dreadful state. Nothing is certain; man is insecure. Every moment many directions open, and you have to move in some way, somewhere, without knowing where you are moving, without knowing what the result will be, without knowing what you will be tomorrow.
Your tomorrow will not come out automatically from your today, but the tomorrow of a seed will come out automatically from its today. The death of an animal will be the automatic result of his life, but not so with you: that is the difference. Your death will be your achievement; you will be responsible for it. And that is why every man dies in a specific way. No man's death is similar to anyone else's; it cannot be.
Dog A, Dog B, Dog C, they all die in one way. This death is just part of their life. They are not responsible for their life, they are not responsible for their death. When someone says that he will die a dog's death, it means that he will die without being evolved, without being an essence. He will be just a possibility. Two dogs die similarly; never two men. They cannot die similarly - and if they die similarly, that means they have missed the opportunity to evolve.
With consciousness entering, you are responsible for everything, no matter what. This is a great burden and a deep anguish. It creates fear. You are just over an abyss. This is what I mean when I say that man now needs a conscious effort. To be a man means entering a field of conscious evolution. Millions and millions of years have created you, but now nature will not help. This is the peak for natural growth. Now nature cannot do anything for you. It has done att it can already.
Because of this, there is bound to be a deep inner tension every moment.
Man is in a tension. It is natural and it is good. Do not try to forget it: use it! You can try to forget it; then you miss the opportunity. So any effort to forget your tense state of mind is erroneous, dangerous. You are falling back. Use this inner tension to grow, to move further. Now you cannot move further in the body. The body has come to a dead end, a cul-de-sac. There is no further movement.
The body moves in a horizontal way. It is just like this: an aeroplane running on the earth, on the ground, along a strip, in order to take off. There is a moment when the horizontal running will stop.
It will have to run for a mile or two or three just to gather momentum. Then a moment comes when no horizontal running is of any use. And if an aeroplane goes on running on the ground, it is not an aeroplane; it is behaving like a car. When the momentum comes, the aeroplane leaves the ground and a vertical upward movement takes place.
This is what has happened with man. Up to man, evolution has been running on the ground, so to speak. Now man is the momentum. Now with man, an upward vertical movement is the only movement. If you look at this point and think: "We must continue running on the ground because we were doing so for so many millions of years," you miss the whole thing - because this whole running was just for this moment when you could take off.
Animals are running toward man, trees are running toward animals, matter is running toward trees - everything on this earth is running toward man. So for what can man run? Man is the central focus.
Everything is growing toward man. Horizontally, for man there is no movement. And if you continue horizontally, then your life will not really be a human life. Your life will consist of many layers which are not human.
Sometimes you will behave like an animal. If you go on horizontally, sometimes you may be just like a vegetable and sometimes you may be just dead matter, but never a man. So look deep down inside your life. It has not taken the vertical turn. Then what are you doing? If you think about each and every act. then you can know that one act belongs to the animal world, another act belongs to the vegetable kingdom, etc. Consider your activity, your life, and then you will know that something is just like dead matter, something is just like a vegetable growing and something is just like an animal.
Where is the man?
With the upward thrust, man comes into existence - and that is up to you. Conscious evolution is now going to be the only evolution. That is why religion will become more and more significant every day.
Every day, every moment, religion will become more and more significant, because now scientists feel that there seems to be no movement. Of course, horizontally there is no movement. You cannot progress further; everything has stopped. So science goes on just adding to your senses.
Your eyes have stopped, so now you can use instruments to see. Your brain has stopped, so now you can use computers. Your legs have stopped, so now you can use cars. Whatsoever science is giving is just additional instruments for a growth that has stopped.
Man is not growing; only new instruments are growing. And, of course, every instrument increases your power, but you do not grow through it. Rather, the contrary is the case. Cars have added much in speed, but they have destroyed your legs. This is unfortunate, but this is going to happen:
if computers replace man's mind - and they will replace it because man's mind is not so efficient as a computer can be - they will do much, but ultimately they will destroy man's mind because whatsoever is not used is destroyed.
So science now feels that whatsoever is being done is just giving a false notion of evolution. If we go back to the past, then the highest speed was horse-speed - 25 miles per hour. Now we have come to 25,000 miles per hour in speed. Speed has evolved from 25 miles per hour to 25,000 miles per hour. Not man, but speed has evolved - not man! Man remains the same. Rather, on the contrary, man has regressed because a man riding a horse is a stronger man than a man flying in an aeroplane. Speed has progressed, evolved, but man has regressed.
A certain group of scientists thinks that man is a regression, not an evolvement. It may be so because in life you can never be static. If you are not evolving, you will regress. There is no static moment in life; you cannot remain at one point. You cannot say, "I am not growing, so I will remain whatsoever I am; I will maintain the status quo." You cannot maintain it! Either you go further or you fall down - back. A certain group of scientists thinks that man is regressing day by day, that there is an "infantilization". Man is behaving more like a child than like an adult - man everywhere on the earth.
If we look, many things become clear and obvious. One thing: in the past, it was always the old man, the evolved man, who was most predominant in society, but our society is the only society in the world's history where children have become predominant. They dominate everything - every trend, every fashion, everything. They are the models. Whatsoever they do becomes religion, whatsoever they do becomes politics, whatsoever they do sets a trend all over the world.
If we go back, a thirty-year-old person was behaving in a mature way. Now that is not the case.
Even a thirty-year-old person is behaving in infantile ways, juvenile ways - with the same tantrums.
the same childish attitudes. What are these childish attitudes? A child thinks that he is the center of the world and that his every wish is to be fulfilled immediately. It is fulfilled. When he is hungry milk is given, when he weeps everyone pays attention. The whole family is centered around him.
Children become dictators. They know how to dictate the whole family. A very small child dictates the whole family. The father persuades him, the mother bribes him. Even when guests come into the home, he will dictate everything! A child thinks that he is the center of the world. He is to be supported, helped by everyone, without any cost. He is not to give love: he is only to demand. Of course, we cannot expect from a child that he should love. He demands and demands everything, and if the demand is not fulfilled he gets violent, angry. Then he is against the whole world; he will smash things.
Now this has happened with everyone. This was always so with children, but now this is with everyone. Our so-called revolutions are nothing else but childish efforts. Our so-called rebellions are nothing else but everyone thinking himself to be at the center. His every desire should be fulfilled immediately; and if it is not fulfilled, then he is going to destroy the whole world.
Students revolt in universities all over the world. They just show immature, juvenile minds. What does it mean, students throwing stones at university windows, setting fire to buildings, destroying?
What does it mean? They have no sense of maturity at all. And if you begin to think about it, it is not only students and children, boys and girls: if you look at our modern man - even at a father or a mother - you will see that they are behaving childishly. If you look at our politicians, they are just behaving childishly with no maturity at all.
What has happened? Really, man's growth has stopped: evolutionary growth has stopped. And now we have just a substitute for this growth - scientific accumulation. Man has stopped; things grow.
Your house goes on becoming bigger and bigger, and you remain the same. Your wealth grows, and because of this growth you feel that you are growing. Your knowledge grows, your information grows, and because of this you think that you are growing.
Of course, obviously, a Buddha knows less than you, but that doesn't mean that you are more grown-up. A Jesus knows less than you. He knows less than any Catholic priest because he was never trained, never educated. He was just a carpenter's son - uneducated, with no information of the world; but still, you are not more evolved than him. A Mohammed is just illiterate, a Kabir is just a nobody - but they are more evolved. But then that evolution is something else: an evolution of consciousness, not just of things.
You can substitute having for being. Being is a different dimension of growth - a vertical one; having is horizontal. Things go on and on, and you have so many things - so much information, so much knowledge, so much wealth, so many degrees, so many honours. But this is accumulation: it is horizontal. There is no upward thrust. You remain the same. And you cannot really remain the same, because if you are not growing you begin to behave childishly: you regress. This is one of the greatest problems humanity is encountering today.
Science can only give you things. It can give you moons and planets, and it can give you the whole universe. Religion can give you only one thing: upward movement, a vertical growth, a conscious methodology to grow into being. It is not important what you have. It is totally irrelevant for your growth. The only significant thing is what you are, and this growth toward being is a responsibility because it is a freedom. Now you are not forced by evolutionary forces to grow: you are in freedom.
Evolution is not goading you. It is goading animals, it is goading trees, it is goading everything except man. Evolution is pushing hard so that everything may grow. But with man the thing is finished. Now you have become conscious, so you can do whatsoever you want to do.
Sartre says man is condemned to be free - "condemned" to be free! The whole nature is at ease because there is no freedom. Freedom is a great burden; that is why we do not like freedom.
Howsoever we may talk about it, nobody likes freedom; everyone fears freedom. Freedom is a dangerous thing. In nature there is no freedom; that is why there is so much silence. You can never say to a dog, "You are an imperfect dog." Every dog is perfect. You can say to a man, "You are not a perfect man": it is meaningful. But to say to a dog, "You are not a perfect dog," is absurd. Every dog is perfect because a dog is not free to be. He is goaded by evolution. He is made; he is not self-created.
A rose is a rose. However beautiful, it is not free; it is just a slave. Look at a rose: it is beautiful, but just a slave - goaded. There is no freedom to flower or not to flower. There is no problem, there is no choice: a flower is to flower. The flower cannot say, "I do not like flowering," or "I refuse." It has no say, no freedom. That is why nature is so silent: it is a slave. It cannot err, it cannot go wrong. And if you cannot go wrong, if you are always right,, and if your "right" is not in your hands, then you are just goaded by external forces.
Nature is a deep slavery. With man, for the first time, freedom enters. Man has a freedom to be or not to be. Then there is anguish, fear whether he will be capable, whether he may or may not be, fear over what is going to happen. There is a deep trembling. Every moment is a suspended moment. Nothing is fixed or certain, nothing is predictable with man: everything is unpredictable.
We talk about freedom, but no one likes freedom. So we go on talking about freedom, but creating slavery. We talk about freedom and then create a new slavery. Our every freedom is just a change of slaveries. We go on changing from one slavery to another, from one bondage to another. No one likes freedom because freedom creates fear. Then you have to decide and choose. We ask someone or something else to tell us what to do - the society, the guru, the scriptures, the tradition, the parents. Someone else should tell us what to do; someone should show the path, then we can follow - but we cannot move by ourselves. There is freedom and there is fear.
That is why there are so many religions. They are not because of Jesus and Buddha and Krishna.
They are because of a deep-rooted fear of freedom. You cannot be just a man. You have to be a Hindu or a Mohammedan or a Christian. Just by being a Christian, you lose your freedom; by being a Hindu you are no more a man - because now you say, "I will follow a tradition. I will not move in the uncharted, in the unknown. I will move on a well-trodden path. I will move behind someone; I will not move alone. I am a Hindu, so I will move in a crowd: I will not move as an individual. If I move as an individual, alone, there is freedom. Then every moment I have to decide, every moment I have to give birth to myself, every moment I am creating my soul. And no one else will be responsible: only I will be responsible ultimately."
Nietzsche has said: "Now God is dead and man is totally free." If God is really dead then man is totally free. And man is not so afraid of God's death: he is much more afraid of his freedom. If there is a God, then everything is okay with you. If there is no God, then you are left totally free - condemned to be free. Now do whatsoever you like and suffer the consequences, and no one else will be responsible.
Erich Fromm has written a book called "The Fear of Freedom". You fall in love and you begin to think of marriage. Love is a freedom; marriage is a slavery. But it is difficult to find a person who falls in love and who will not think of marriage - immediately. Because love is a freedom, there is fear.
Marriage is a fixed thing; there is no fear. Marriage is an institution - dead; love is an event - alive.
It moves; it may change. Marriage never moves, it never changes. Because of this marriage has a certainty, a security.
Love has no certainty, no security. Love is insecure. Any moment it may disappear into the blue as it has appeared from the blue. Any moment it may disappear! It is very unearthly; it has no roots in the earth. It is unpredictable. So: "Better get into marriage. Then roots are there. Now this marriage cannot evaporate into the blue. It is an institution!" Everywhere - just as in love - everywhere, when we find freedom, we transform it into a slavery. The sooner the better! Then we are at ease. So every love story ends with marriage: "They were married, and after that they lived happily ever after."
No one is happy, but it is good to end the story there because then begins the hell. So every story ends with the most beautiful moment. And what is that moment? Freedom turning into slavery! And that is not only with love: it is with everything. So marriage is an ugly thing; it is bound to be. Every institution is going to be ugly because it is just a dead corpse of something which was alive. But with anything alive, uncertainty is bound to be there.
"Alive" means it can move, it can change, it can be different. I love you; the next moment I may not love. But if I am your husband or I am your wife, you can be certain that the next moment also I will be your husband or your wife. It is an institution. Dead things are very permanent; alive things are momentary, changing, in a flux.
Man is afraid of freedom, and freedom is the only thing which makes you a man. So we are suicidal - destroying our freedom. And with that destruction we are destroying our whole possibility of being.
Then having is good because having means accumulating dead things. You can go on accumulating; there is no end to it. And the more you accumulate, the more secure you are. When I say, "Now man has to move consciously," I mean this, that you have to be aware of your freedom and also aware of your fear of freedom.
How to use this freedom? Religion is nothing but an effort toward conscious evolution, an effort how to use this freedom. Your volitional efforts are now significant. Whatsoever you are doing non- voluntarily is just part of the past. Your future depends on your volitional acts. A very simple act done with awareness, with volition, gives you a certain growth - even an ordinary act.
You go on a fast, but not because you have no food. You have food; you can eat it. You have hunger; you can eat. You go on a fast: it is a volitional act - a conscious act. No animal can perform this. An animal will go on a fast sometimes when there is no hunger. An animal will have to fast when there is no food. But only man can fast when there is hunger and food both. This is a volitional act. You use your freedom. The hunger cannot goad you. The hunger cannot push you and the food cannot pull you.
If there is no food, it is not a fast. If there is no hunger, it is naturopathy; it is not a fast. Hunger is there, food is there, and you are on a fast. This fasting is a volitional act, a conscious act. This will give you much awareness. You will feel a subtle freedom: freedom from food, freedom from hunger - really, deep down, freedom from the body, and still more deep down, freedom from nature. And your freedom grows and your consciousness grows. As your consciousness grows, your freedom grows. They are interrelated. Be more free and you will be more conscious; be more conscious and you will be more free: they are interdependent.
But we can deceive ourselves. A son, a daughter, can say, "I will rebel against my father so that I may be more free." Hippies are doing that. But rebellion is not freedom because it is just natural. At a particular age, to rebel against parents is not freedom: it is just natural! A child who is just coming out of the womb of his mother cannot say, "I am leaving the womb." It is natural.
When someone is sexually mature, it is a second birth. Now he must fight his parents, because only if he fights with his parents will he move further away from them. And unless he moves further away from them he cannot create a new family nucleus. So every child will go against his parents: this is natural. And if a child is not going against, it is a growth - because then he is fighting nature.
For example, you get married. Your mother and your wife are coming into conflict, which is natural - natural, I say, because for the mother it is a great shock. You have moved to another woman. Up to now you were wholly and solely your mother's. And it makes no difference that she is your mother:
deep down no one is a mother and no one is a wife. Deep down every female is a woman. Suddenly you have moved to another woman, and the woman in your mother will suffer, will become jealous.
Fight and conflict are natural. But if your mother can still love you it is a growth. If your mother can love you more than she ever loved you now that you have moved to a new woman, it is a growth, it is a conscious growth. She is going above natural instincts.
When you are a child you love your parents. That is natural - just a bargain. You are helpless, and they are doing everything for you. You love them and you give them respect. When your parents have become old and they cannot do anything for you, if you still respect and love them, it is a growth. Any time natural instinct is transcended, you grow. You have made a volitional decision, so your being will grow and you will acquire an essence.
The old Indian culture tried in every way to make life such that everything becomes a growth. It is natural for a small child to respect his father, but it is unnatural to respect him when the father has become old, dying, unable to do anything for the child and is just a burden to him. Then it is unnatural! No animal can do that; the natural bond has broken. Only man can do that, and if it is done you grow. It is volitional. You grow with any volitional act, simple or complex.
I will tell you a story. In the "Mahabharat", Bhishma's father fell in love with a girl. He was very old. But even when you are old, to fall in love is natural. Even on the deathbed you can fall in love.
The girl was ready, but the girl's father made a condition. He said, "You have your son Bhishma."
Bhishma was young, just to be married. The girl's father said, "Bhishma will inherit your kingdom, so make it a condition to me that if any son is born from my daughter to you, he will inherit the kingdom, not Bhishma."
It was so unnatural for the father to tell Bhishma this. He was an old man; he could have died any day. But he was worried and he became sad, so Bhishma asked him, "What is the matter?
Something is on your mind. What can I do, tell me?"
So he fabricated a story. Old men are very efficient. He said, "Because you are the only son, only one to me, and because no one can trust in nature, if you die or something happens, then who will inherit my kingdom? So I have talked with wise men and they say that it is better that I marry again so that I can get another son."
So Bhishma said, "What is wrong in it? You marry."
Then the father said, "There is a difficulty. I want to marry this girl, but it is the condition of her father that 'Your son Bhishma should not inherit the kingdom. Only my daughter's son should.' "
So Bhishma said, "It is okay with me. I give you my promise."
Bhishma went to the man whose daughter was going to marry his father. He said, "I promise you, I will not inherit the kingdom."
But that man was just a fisherman, very ordinary. He said. "I know. But how can you promise me?
Your sons may create trouble. And we are just fishermen, very ordinary people. If your sons create trouble, we will not be able to do anything." So Bhishma said, "I promise you: I will never marry.
Okay?" Then the whole thing was finished.
This was very unnatural. He was a young man, and he never married, he never looked at a woman with any carnal desire. This became a growth. This created a subtle being, an integration, a crystallization. Then there was no need for any other SADHANA (spiritual practice). Only this fact was enough. He was crystallized. This promise was enough! He became a different man; he began to grow vertically. The natural horizontal line stopped. With this promise, everything stopped.
There was no biological possibility now. Everything natural became meaningless.
But Bhishma is rare. With no spiritual practice, with no spiritual effort other than this, he attained the highest peak possible. So with any act, simple or complex, which is a conscious decision on your part without any instructive goading behind it, without any natural force forcing you to decide - if it is your decision, through that decision you are created. Every decision is decisive for your birth: you grow in a different dimension. So use any act, even very ordinary acts.
You are sitting: decide that "Now I will not move my body for ten minutes." You will be surprised that though the body was not moving before, now the body forces you to move. You begin to feel many subtle movements in the body of which you were not even aware. Now the body will revolt. The whole past is behind it, and the body will say, "I will move." The body will begin to tremble, there will be subtle movements, and you will feel many temptations to move. Your legs will fall asleep. They will go dead, and you will feel to scratch somewhere. Many things will be there. You were sitting without any movements previously, but now you cannot sit. But if you can sit even for ten minutes without moving, you will not need any other meditation.
In Japan they call "just sitting" the only meditation. Their word for it is "Za-zen". "Za-zen" means just sitting. But then sit and do not do anything else. When a seeker comes to a Zen Master, the Master will say, "Just sit: sit for hours together." In a zen monastery you will see many, many seekers sitting for hours together - just sitting, not doing anything. No meditation is given, no contemplation, no prayer. Just sitting is the meditation.
A seeker will sit for six hours without any movement, and when every movement falls down, withers away, when there is no movement - not only no movement, but no inner desire to move - you are centered, you are crystallized! You have used the very ordinary act of sitting for your volition, for your will, for your awareness.
It is very difficult. If I say to you, "Just close your eyes and do not open them," many temptations will be there. And then you will feel very uneasy at not opening them, and you will open them. And you can deceive yourself that "I am not opening them. Suddenly they opened themselves; the eyes opened themselves. I was not aware." Or, you can just deceive another way: you can have a small glimpse, a little glimpse, and then close your eyes.
If you can keep your eyes shut just as a volitional act, that will help. Anything can become a medium to grow, so contemplate on your habits. And whatsoever you do, do it volitionally. Anything, any habit can be used, any mechanical action can be used. Begin to do otherwise: change it, and then once you decide on something, do it - otherwise it may prove fatal.
It does prove so! If you decide something and do not do it, it is better not to decide, because that will give your will a very deep shock. And we are doing that. We go on deciding and not doing. Ultimately, we lose every possibility for will, and we begin to feel a deep will-lessness, a deep impotency, a deep weakness. And you decide about very ordinary things. Someone decides, "Now I am not going to smoke," and the next day he is smoking. You may think, "What is wrong with it? It was my decision - and I am the master of my decisions, so I have changed it."
You are not! You have changed because you are not the master. Smoking proves the master, not you. Smoking is more powerful than you. Then it is better not to decide - to go on smoking. But if you decide, then let this decision be final. Then never move from it. That will give you a growth.
Of course, every habit will fight with you, and your mind will say, "What are you doing? That is wrong!" Your mind will rationalize in many, many ways. I do not say smoking is wrong. I say deciding not to smoke and then to smoke is wrong. Even do the vice versa: if you decide to smoke, then smoke. Then do not stop. Then whatsoever happens - cancer or whatsoever - let it happen. If the whole world goes against it, let it: if you have decided to smoke, then smoke. Even at the cost of life, go on smoking. That will give you a growth.
So it is not a question of a cigarette or no cigarette, smoking or not smoking. Deep down it is a question of following a decision, of will, of a voluntary act. Whatsoever the object is, it is irrelevant, but decide and with small decisions you can create a great will - with very small decisions.
Just say, "I will not look out of the window for one hour." It is a very, very small decision with no meaning - meaningless. Who will bother to see whether you look out of the window or not? And nothing is happening out of the window. But the moment you decide not to look out of the window, your whole being will revolt and would like to see, and the window will become the focus of the whole world. It is as if you are missing everything - something is going to happen there!
One day Mulla Nasrudin decided not to go to the market. It was just in the early morning at five o'clock. There was no question of the market. He just decided not to go! Then he began to think about the market. And he decided just because he remembered that every week, once a week, was market-day in the village. He thought, "Every week I go to the market uselessly with nothing to sell and nothing to buy."
He was a poor man: "nothing to sell and nothing to buy"! He thought. "Why do I go to the market unnecessarily? Because everyone goes, and it is a market-day, a festivity in the village? Why should I go? Today I am not going although it is a market day."
He decided early at five o'clock. Then he began to think about it: "What if something happens there?
I should go in case something happens there." So he worked it out, and he was fidgeting inside. And then, by six o'clock, he was in the market. There were still four or five hours for the market to open, for people to gather, but he was in the market sitting under a tree, just in the center of the market.
Someone asked Mulla Nasrudin, "Why are you sitting here so early?"
Nasrudin said, "It is a market-day, and I thought that if something happens and a large crowd is there, I may not get to the right point. So I am just sitting here in the center. If something happens, then I will be the first. And who knows? In this world, everything is possible."
The market-place became very significant, the center of the world, and it became tempting just by the decision that "I am not going to the market, because every week I go uselessly with nothing to sell and nothing to purchase."
The moment you decide, you will be tempted, and to transcend temptation is a growth. Remember, it is not suppression. It is not suppression! It is transcendence. The temptation is there: you do not fight it - you acknowledge it. You say, "Okay, you are there, but I have decided." Try it for your meditation.
You are sitting, and when you sit for meditation many thoughts will come - uninvited guests. They never come ordinarily. When you meditate, only then do they become interested in you. They will come, they will crowd, they will encircle you. Do not fight with them. Just say, "I have decided not to be disturbed by you," and remain still. A thought comes to you; just say to the thought, "Go away."
Do not fight! By fighting you acknowledge; by fighting you accept; by fighting you will prove weaker.
Just say, "Go away!" and remain still. You will be surprised. Just by saying to a thought, "Go away!" it goes away.
But say it with a will. Your mind must not be divided. It must not be something like a feminine no.
It must not be like that, because with a feminine no, the more forcefully it is said the more forcefully it means yes. It must not be a feminine no. If you say, "Go away," then do not mean inside, "Come nearer." Then let it be "Go away!" Mean it, and the thought will disappear. If you are angry and you have decided not to be angry, do not suppress it. Just say to the anger, "I am not going to be angry," and the anger will disappear.
There is a mechanism. Your will is needed because anger needs energy. If you say no with full energy, there is no energy left for the anger. A thought moves because deep down a hidden yes is there. That is why a thought moves in your mind. If you say no, that yes is cut from the very root.
The thought becomes uprooted. It cannot be in you. But then with the no or yes you must mean what you say. Then the no must mean no and the yes must mean yes. But we go on saying yes, meaning no; telling no, meaning yes. Then the whole life becomes confused. And your mind, your body, they do not know what you mean, what you are saying.
This conscious effort to decide, to act, to be, is now going to be the evolution for man. A Buddha is different from you because of this effort and nothing else. Potentially there is no difference. Only this conscious effort makes the difference. Between man and man, the real difference is only of conscious effort. All else is just superficial. Only your clothes are different, so to speak. But when you have something conscious in you, a growth, an inward growth which is not natural, but which goes beyond, then you have a distinct individuality.
Buddha was passing a village where many people had come to insult him. He said, "You have come late. You should have come ten years before because now I have become conscious. Now I cannot react. If you abuse me, if you insult me, it is okay with me. I am not going to react. You cannot force me to react."
When someone abuses you he is forcing you to be angry, and when you become angry you are just a slave to anger. "He" has made you angry, and you go on saying, without understanding what you are saying, "That man made me angry." What do you mean? He said something and he made you angry, so he is your master. He can say something, he can manipulate, he can push a button, and you are angry. You become mad. Your button can be pushed by anyone, and you can be made mad.
Buddha said, "You have come late, friends. Now I have become the master of my own self. You cannot force me to do anything. If I want, I do. If I do not want, I do not do. You will have to go back. I am not going to reply to you." They were puzzled because this man was behaving very unpredictably. When you abuse someone, he is insulted, he feels angry, he "must" react in some way or the other. But this man simply refused to react. Buddha told them. "I am in a hurry to reach the other village. If you are finished, then allow me to move. If you have something more to say, when I will be coming back be ready to tell me."
This is transcendence. Something natural has been transcended. Reaction is natural, action is growth. We all react. We have no actions - only reactions. Someone appreciates you and you feel good, and someone abuses you and you feel bad, and someone will do this and this or that will happen. You are predictable.
A husband returning to his house knows what his wife is going to ask. He prepares the answer.
Though he has not yet reached home, he prepares the answer. He knows that his wife is not going to believe it, and the wife knows what she is going to ask and what her husband is going to answer.
Everything is predictable, and every day this will happen. And this will continue for the whole life.
The same questions, the same answers, the same suspicions, the same doubts, the same tricks, the same games - and people go on playing. These are just reactions.
Someone asked for some money, and Mulla Nasrudin said, "This is the first time you have asked, so I will give it to you." He gave the money. It was a small sum. Then Mulla thought, "This much money is not going to be given back." But the man returned it. After seven days the man returned it. Mulla was surprised.
A week later, the man again came to ask for some money. The Mulla said, "Now you cannot deceive me again. You deceived me last time."
The man said, "What are you saying! I returned your money."
But Mulla said, "But you deceived me because I was all set for you not to give it back. It was decidedly so. Then you deceived me by giving it back. Now you cannot deceive me again. I am not going to give you the money."
If someone behaves unpredictably, it surprises us. You are so predictable, everyone knows what you are going to do. You do this, and this will follow. It is a mechanical response. Go beyond mechanical responses; transcend natural forces; create a will. That is the path beyond human evolution. Below the human there is a natural growth, but that is no longer for man now.
And the second part of the question is, "Explain the role that the Buddhas, the Enlightened Ones, play in the expansion of human consciousness."
The Buddhas play a role because human consciousness is not only individual, it is also collective.
It is in you, but it is also outside of you. In a way, consciousness is in you and you are in a greater consciousness, just like a fish in the sea. The fish is in the sea and the sea is also in the fish.
We exist in a great ocean of consciousness. And whenever a Buddha is born, whenever someone attains Buddhahood, becomes Enlightened through his efforts, through his conscious evolution, a wave in the ocean rises. With that wave everything in the ocean is affected. It is bound to be so because a wave in the ocean is part of a great pattern.
When Buddha rises to a height, the whole ocean is affected in multi-multi ways. Now this height will be echoed all over. You throw a stone into a lake: a small circle is created. Then it goes on expanding, and the whole lake will be affected ultimately. A Buddha is a stone in the lake of human consciousness. Now humanity can never be the same again as it was before a Buddha.
Christians have made it a very significant point. They divide history into "before Christ" and "after Christ". This is really very significant. Really, history is different and is not divided, but the division is made because after Christ there is a change. Because a Christ is born, humanity can never go back again to the same premature state of mind. Everything is affected. We rise with Buddhas, we fall with Hitlers, but this rise and fall is a natural thing for you. A Buddha is born: everyone rises with him. But this is not a conscious effort on your part.
You can use this opportunity. A Buddha is there: a possibility has flowered into its essence, one consciousness has become a peak. Now this is a very good moment for your conscious effort. You will take less time, you will need less effort. It is as if the whole history is flowing toward its height.
Now you can swim easily. But if you do not use the opportunity you will go to a height and you will come down. With a Buddha you will go high, with a Hitler you will come down. You will go on moving up and down. This moving up and down will be a natural force for you. For a Buddha it is a conscious effort; for you it will be a natural force.
You can use it! Man can use it in two ways. When a Buddha is there, to rise is easy. The whole consciousness is open toward the peak. The peak is there. Deep down in you there are echoes of it. The music is heard deep down; you can follow it. If you make a small effort, you can attain Buddhahood very easily.
There is a very meaningful story. Buddha attained the Ultimate; then he remained silent for seven days. He had no feeling to say what he had attained. The silence seemed total - unbreakable.
Then Brahma became afraid: "He may not speak, and it happens rarely that someone attains Buddhahood." So the story says that Brahma came to Buddha, bowed down at his feet and said, "You must speak! Do not remain silent. You have to speak!"
Buddha said, "It seems useless because those who can hear me and understand me will understand even without me. But those who will not hear me, even if they hear they will not be able to understand me. So there seems no need."
Brahma said, "There are a few more you are leaving out: there are a few more who are just on the verge. If you speak, they will hear and take the jump. If you do not speak, they may even fall back.
They are just on the border. They will hear you and will take a jump."
A Buddha is there. This is a possibility to take a jump. But you are affected whether you take the jump or not. You will be affected! But this affect, without your conscious will, will be a natural force.
And when a Hitler comes up you will go down. Just as you go higher with Buddha, you can go down with anyone else - because the going up is not your achievement. With a rising wave you go up, then with a falling wave you go down. But you can use the opportunity. When you are rising high, then with a very small effort on the part of your will, you can attain more. So with a Buddha, thousands can become Buddhas.
I do not know whether you know it or not, but within five hundred years everything great as far as religion is concerned happened. Within five hundred years! Buddha - Gautam the Buddha - Mahavir, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Zarathustra, Jesus, they all happened within five hundred years, in a particular period when everything was rising high. Every great religion was born within those five hundred years.
Something mysterious was at the root - something very mysterious. Just in Bihar, in a very small place, in a very small province, at the time when Buddha was there, there were eight persons of Buddha's height. Just in the small area of Bihar there were eight great Enlightened persons.
Mahavir was there, Buddha was there. Ajit Keshkambal was there, Belathiputta was there - eight such persons! And these are the known persons.
Someone asked Buddha, "You have 10,000 bhikkhus with you. How many of them have attained Buddhahood?"
Buddha said, "So many, I cannot count."
The questioner asked, "Why are they silent? Why do we not feel them? Why are they not famous?"
Buddha said, "When I am speaking, there is no need for them to speak. And moreover, when for the first time I attained Buddhahood, I myself tried in every way to be silent. It was Brahma who asked me and persuaded me to speak. So they have become silent. No one will know about them; even their names will not be known."
One day Buddha came to his assembly of monks with a flower in his hand. He was to speak, but he would not speak. He just sat, and this continued for a long time. Everyone became puzzled and disturbed and began to whisper into one another's ears, "What is the matter? Why is he not speaking today?" He was just sitting there with a flower in his hand - a lotus flower - looking at it, totally absorbed in it. Then someone asked, "Are you not going to speak?"
Buddha said, "I am speaking. Listen!" And he remained silent.
Then someone else asked, "We cannot understand what you are doing, Sir. You are just looking at the flower and we have come to listen to something from you."
Buddha said, "I have said many things to you which could be said. Now I am saying something which cannot be said, and if someone understands let him laugh."
Only one person laughed - Mahakashyap. He was not known before; no one knew about him. This is the only incident that is known. Mahakashyap was his name.
Ananda was a very known disciple, Sariputta was a very known disciple, Modgalayan was a very known disciple, but Mahakashyap was an absolutely unknown disciple. Neither Sariputta nor Ananda nor Modgalayan could laugh - just a very unknown man, no one knew about him, but he laughed. Buddha called him: "Mahakashyap, come to me!" And Buddha gave the flower to Mahakashyap and said, "Whatsoever I could say I have said to others, and what I cannot say I say to you. Take this flower." This is the only incident known about Mahakashyap, the only mention of his name.
But when Bodhidharma reached China seven hundred years after Buddha, he said, "I am a disciple of Mahakashyap. Buddha was the first teacher, Mahakashyap was the second teacher, and in that line I am the twenty-eighth." So the Zen tradition in Japan says that Mahakashyap is their originator - the man who laughed and the man to whom Buddha gave the flower.
In the night when everyone dispersed, when everyone had gone, Ananda asked, "Who is this Mahakashyap? We never knew about him. He is just a very unknown and strange man."
Buddha said, "How can you know about him? He has remained silent for years. And only he could laugh because he remained so silent. Only he could understand. It was a transmission without words, a communication without words. Only he was capable."
When a Buddha is there, with a very small effort of your will you can achieve much. When a Buddha is not there, you are fighting against a current. When a Hitler or a Genghis Khan is there, much effort is needed. Even then, success is very difficult.
Buddha is reported to have said, "Choose the right moment to be born. Choose a moment when a Buddha is there."