Understanding is Enough
The first question
WHEN I WAS A CHILD ATTENDING SUNDAY SCHOOL THERE WAS A HEBREW PROVERB HANGING ON THE WALL. IT READ: "THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM IS THE FEAR OF THE LORD." FOR MANY YEARS I WAS CONVINCED OF THE MEANING THAT GOD WAS FRIGHTENED OF MAN GAINING ANY WISDOM. AFTER ALL, DIDN'T HE FORBID EATING OF THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE?
AND THEN ONE DAY IT WAS EXPLAINED: "FEARING GOD IS THE FIRST STEP IN MAN'S PATH TOWARDS UNDERSTANDING." AGAIN IT MADE PERFECT SENSE. AFTER ALL, WASN'T JEHOVAH A FEARSOME, PUNITIVE, OMNIPOTENT GOD! AND NOW I AM FINDING IT HARD TO RECOVER FROM THAT IDEA, AND IT INTERFERES WITH MY LOVE FOR YOU. IN SPITE OF "KNOWING BETTER" I HAVE TO SEE YOU AS ALL-POWERFUL; I HAVE TO BE DEPENDENT ON YOU FOR MY LIBERATION; AND SOMETIMES IT FOLLOWS THAT THEN I HAVE TO BE AFRAID OF YOU AND YOUR "PUNISHMENT." IF UNDERSTANDING DOESN'T EFFECT THE CURE, WHAT TO DOES?
THE PRIEST is the most cunning person in the world. They say prostitution is the oldest institution; it is not. Priesthood is the oldest institution in the world, because without the priests who will create the prostitutes? The priest is at the root of almost every problem that man is facing today.
And one of the greatest problems is because we have been conditioned by the priest for thousands of years, he has become almost part of our blood; he is not there somewhere outside. The outside priests - the imam, the ayatollah, the pope - they only represent something now which has become part of our inner world. In fact, whatsoever is known as conscience is nothing but the priest and his voice echoing in you. But now you think it is your voice; you have become identified with it.
That's why we cannot understand our problems and we cannot find any solutions for them.
Otherwise, every problem, rightly understood, is immediately solved. To see what it is is also to see the way out of it. It is not that after understanding something more is needed - understanding is enough unto itself. It melts and dissolves the problems. It is like the sun rising in the morning...
and the dew drops start evaporating.
Nirgrantha, you say that in your schooldays you read this proverb - and you must have read it again and again because it was hanging on the wall in the school - "The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord."
That is the beginning of ignorance, not the beginning of wisdom. That is the beginning of slavery.
That is the beginning of insanity. But the priest wants humanity to be in an insane state; only then can he and his profession prosper.
There are professions in the world which are self contradictory. For example, the profession of the physician, the doctor; it is a self-contradictory profession. If the doctor succeeds finally in eliminating all the illnesses from the world he will have committed suicide. On the one hand he tries to cure - he tries to find more and more and better methods, techniques, medicines to cure illnesses; on the other hand, deep down, he hopes that he will not succeed. That hope may be unconscious, but it is there, because his success will be suicidal. What will the function of a physician be if all illnesses disappear from the world?
Confucius was very wise in that way when he said that the physician should be paid not because he cures an illness, he should be paid because he does not allow the illness to happen. This is a totally different approach. You should pay your physician because the whole year you have not been ill; he has taken care of you. If you have been ill you should not pay him; in fact, he should pay you.
Unless this happens the profession of the physician will remain self-contradictory. He lives and thrives on your illness. He prays that more and more people should be ill. When there is an epidemic the doctors call it "the season." And, of course, it is a season for them.
The same is true about the priest in an even wider sense, in a deeper sense. The priest can exist only if you are afraid, frightened, scared. Otherwise what need will there be of him? If you are free of fear, if you live in freedom, the priest becomes absolutely useless. Who will go to him? For what?
You go to him because you want somebody to console you. You want somebody to give you hope, encouragement, to make you in a certain way secure in a very insecure life.
Life is insecurity and nothing is wrong in it. In fact, life cannot be otherwise. Death is secure, life is insecure. Marriage is secure, love is insecure. Marriage is dead, love is alive. The more alive you are the more your life remains in insecurity, because the livelier person will be exploring the unknown, he will be adventurous. It is life's nature, its law, its very intrinsic soul.
But the priest has exploited it. He has given you consolations, securities, insurances, not only for this life but for future lives too. He says, "Don't be worried. If you follow a certain code of conduct, if you cultivate a certain character, if you follow the commandments given in the scriptures, then you need not be afraid. Then God is going to reward you. You will be punished only if you go against the convention, against the tradition."
What he is saying is: if you go against b m, because be represents the convention, the tradition, the past. But he never says it directly, that "If you go against me you will be punished" He says, "If you go against the Koran, if you go against the Bible, if you go against the Vedas, you will be punished because these are divine scriptures. God himself has written them. They have to be followed literally, word for word. If you go astray, you are taking a great risk and then I cannot help you."
The priest goes on telling you to remain within the confinement, the imprisonment that he and his predecessors have created for you. It is a prison cell. He makes you very much afraid of the open air and the sun and the stars and the sky.
If there were priests in the world of birds, no bird would ever fly; they would all remain imprisoned in their nests. No bird would ever gather the courage, except a few crazy birds - a Buddha, a Jesus, a Zarathustra, a Lao Tzu. But they would not be the rule; they would only be the exceptions. And the priest will always be against them, remember.
The priest was against Jesus, the priest was against the Buddha, the priest was against Zarathustra, the priest was against Lao Tzu. What was their fault? Why was the priest against them? The priest was against them because they were cutting the very roots of his profession. They were telling people to be free of fear, they were helping people to be free of fear. They were telling people to live dangerously, to live like rebels, to die to the past and to live in the present.
Buddha says, "Be a light unto yourself." Now he leaves no place for the priest. The priest says, "I am the light; you need not have any other light. I represent the whole sacred tradition - I have carried the flame down the centuries. This is enough. You don't need a private light of your own. "
But the last words of Buddha were, the last words that he uttered on earth: "Be a light unto yourself."
He said it to Ananda, one of his most beloved disciples, because the moment Buddha said to his disciples, "Now the last day has come and I hAVE to leave today. My ship has arrived.
Do you have any questions to ask me?" there was a great silence. They were shocked. Ananda started crying. He was just sitting by his side.
Buddha said, "Ananda, that does not befit you. Why should you cry?"
He said, "I could not become enlightened while you were alive. Now what hope is there for me when you are gone? I will have to live in darkness forever and forever! And I don't think that I will be so fortunate as to meet another Buddha again, because you will dissolve into the universe and I cannot imagine meeting another Buddha in some other life. And even if I meet one I may repeat the same mistake because I will have completely forgotten all about you and what happened, what transpired between me and you.
"Forty-two years I have been with you and I have wasted the whole opportunity; hence I am crying.
I am ashamed. I am crying for myself, I am feeling pity for myself that I have been a fool."
Buddha laughed and said, "Ananda, you need not depend on me. You can become enlightened without me. And, in fact, it may be that it was because of me and my presence that you could not become enlightened, because you were dependent, you were always thinking I would do something for you, although I was continuously telling you 'Be independent.' "
But nobody wants to be independent for the simple reason that independence brings fear, responsibility. Everybody seeks some kind of dependence so that one can throw all the responsibility onto the shoulders of the other.
Buddha said, "Maybe my death will help - there will be nobody to depend upon. And one thing is certain: after being with me for forty-two years, now you cannot depend on anybody else. You will not find another Buddha, that is certain."
And actually it happened like that: Ananda became enlightened after Buddha's death within the small period of twenty-four hours.
To Ananda Buddha said, the departing message: "Be a light unto yourself - appo dipo bhava."
How can the priest forgive the Buddha? He is destroying his whole profession. The priest is a mediator between you and some unknown God that he talks about. He knows nothing about God - no priest has ever known anything about God; that is not his interest.
In fact, I have observed all kinds of priests: they are the most atheistic people in the world. The priest does not believe in God, he cannot believe in God. He knows that it is his creation, how can he believe in God? This is experienced in many spheres of life.
I had one friend, a very nice Bengali gentleman, who used to help hundreds of people with homeopathic medicines. But whenever he fell ill he would go to an allopathic doctor. I asked him, "What is the matter? You help so many people and so many are cured..." Almost miraculous cures were known to happen through him. "When you are ill, why do you go to an allopath?"
He said, "The truth is I cannot trust those sugar pills. I know everything about them - they work if you believe, but how can I believe? I manufacture all those medicines! Sometimes they are just sugar pills and nothing else. In fact, I am puzzled when I come to see that they have been of great help."
The reason is: ninety percent of people's diseases are false, that's why there are so many "pathies."
Otherwise, except allopathy, they are all unscientific. But ninety percent of diseases are false and with a false disease allopathy is dangerous, because allopathy will give you a real medicine and the illness is false, and the real medicine is bound to do something to you. You need a false medicine for a false illness; it cannot harm you. That's why homeopathy never harms anybody. You will not find "Poison" written in big red capital letters on bottles of homeopathic remedies.
Homeopathy never harms anybody, but it helps many for the simple reason that if your disease is false then all that is needed is belief, trust. If you trust the man who is giving you the medicine that trust helps you.
The priest cannot believe in his gods - impossible, because he has seen the dog piss on his god, he has seen the rats running over his god. He knows everything about the god - he has created it.
In fact, the god needs his care; without him the god is nothing. It is a psychological atmosphere that he creates around the god with worship, with prayer, with fragrance, with lights, with flowers, with chanting ancient scriptures. He creates a certain noo-sphere, a certain psychology around a false phenomenon, to exploit you - and you need somebody to depend upon.
Now God is very vague; you cannot depend on such a vague idea. You need somebody solid, substantial to represent him. That's the work of the priest. He stands at the door of the temple and says, "You cannot see God, but I can see him. You can depend on me, you can follow me."
Kahlil Gibran has a beautiful story:
A man used to travel around the country talking to people, preaching beautiful sermons to people, telling them that "If you come and follow me I will lead you to the ultimate home of God."
People would worship him and they would say, "Yes, when the time arrives, when the opportunity is right, when the situation is favorable we will certainly follow you. We are convinced you are right, we know that you know the path."
Nobody ever followed him, hence nobody ever came to know that he knew nothing about the path, about God, about the ultimate. But once it happened, a crazy young man stood up and he said, "Okay, I am coming with you. I will follow you. Unless I reach the ultimate home of God I am not going to leave you."
The man was a little afraid, but he thought, "I will give him such stupid things to do that he will become tired and escape."
But the young man was really crazy: whatsoever the old preacher said he did. In fact he did more than the preacher was saying. If he said, "Stand on your head for one hour," he would stand on his head for two hours. If he said, "Fast one day," he would fast for three days. If he said, "You have to recite this mantra one hundred times," he would recite it one thousand times.
And the story says in this way seven years passed. Instead of the young man getting fed up with the old fool, the old fool started getting fed up with the young man - because of him his reputation was being destroyed. Now people started asking, "What is the matter? For seven years this young man has been following you and nothing has happened!" And the young man would say, "I have been doing everything, but nothing is happening." He was destroying his whole profession.
It is like a man sitting in the waiting room of a doctor saying to new patients, "Beware! This man has been treating me for seven years and nothing has happened!" Now how long can the practice go on?
People started thinking that this old man knew nothing. The audience became thinner and thinner.
Finally only the young man was left. And one day the old fellow fell at the feet of his disciple and said, "Please leave me. Leave me alone!"
But the young man said, "I have not yet reached the ultimate home. I have to experience God!"
And the old man said, "In fact I knew the way before I met you. Since you have been with me, because of you even I have lost the way! I don't know now where the way is and where the ultimate home is. Please excuse me, forgive me, and leave me alone. You have destroyed my whole profession!"
The whole profession was dependent on those people who listened to him but never followed.
The priest knows perfectly well that he knows nothing. hence he quotes authorities from the scriptures. He becomes a mediator between an invented God... Maybe it was not invented by him but by a procession of priests in which he is a link.
People need somebody to depend upon because from their very childhood they have been brought up by parents - they have been dependent from their very childhood, dependent on their father, dependent on their mother.
It is not an accident that there are only two kinds of God: either God the Father or God the Mother.
Have you ever heard of any other God - God the Uncle, God the Brother-in-law? Just two: either God the Father or God the Mother, because the child has depended on these two people. He grows only physiologically; psychologically everybody is retarded.
The psychological age of average human beings is only twelve years. It is shocking to know: a twelve-year-old child in a body of eighty years, seventy years. Only the body is old, but inside the mind is very childish. It still wants a hand to hold him, to guide him, to support him, somebody to be a guide, somebody to indicate the way, somebody to take the responsibility. And the priest fulfills that role: he becomes your father, he becomes your mother or he becomes both together in a certain way. He fathers you, mothers you. Now he cannot allow you to grow psychologically; he does not want you to become adult psychologically. That will be suicidal to his profession.
Hence the persistence of the idea that "The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord." He cannot say to you, "Be afraid of me." That will not be easy because you will see all his human flaws, human limitations. You will see that he is as weak as you are, you will see that he is as greedy as you are, you will see he is as angry as you are, as jealous as you are. It will not be possible for him to pretend that he is higher than you. The only way he can do it is to say that he has been chosen by God as a vehicle. He is a prophet, a messenger, a paigambar. He is nothing in himself, he is nobody, but God speaks through him; God uses him as an instrument, as a vehicle.
He goes on imposing the fear of God on you, the fear of hell, the fear of great punishment if you do not listen to him, and also goes on giving you the idea that those who listen to him and follow him will be rewarded. On the one hand he creates fear, on the other hand he creates your greed: greed for heaven, paradise, beautiful women there. Here he is against the woman - the woman is the door of hell - but in heaven every religion provides beautiful women, always young, stuck at the age of sixteen. Their bodies don't perspire - they don't need any deodorants! Their bodies are made of gold. Every religion provides all kinds of pleasures that it condemns here on the earth. This is a strange logic!
Wine is prohibited here on the earth, and the saints who have never touched wine in their life will go to FIRDAUS, to paradise, where wine is not sold in wineshops but is simply flowing in streams.
In India the priest has been telling people, "Drop all desires, because all desires are sin," and in the Hindu paradise, SVARGA, there are KALPAVRIKSHAS, wish-fulfilling trees. You sit under the tree, you just wish, and immediately it is fulfilled. But what kind of logic is this? - the same thing is condemned here. Then why is the same thing provided as a reward, and more abundantly?
If you understand, the thing is clear. The priest knows your desires - everybody knows your desires; he has to provide for them.
In the Mohammedan paradise, not only are beautiful women available but beautiful boys too, because in Mohammedan countries homosexuality has been a long long tradition; it still exists.
So, homosexuals, please note it: if after death somebody asks you, "To which heaven do you want to go?" choose the Mohammedan heaven because it is gay.
If you look, in all the religions you will find this strange logic: the same thing is provided. The priest knows perfectly well these are the two driving forces in man: fear and greed. And if you can use both you can enslave humanity. And, up to now, Nirgrantha, they have kept humanity in total slavery.
You say: FOR MANY YEARS I WAS CONVINCED OF THE MEANING THAT GOD WAS FRIGHTENED OF MAN GAINING ANY WISDOM.
God is not frightened because there is no God as a person, but the priest is frightened and whatsoever the priest is he projects it on his God. The priest is very much afraid of you gaining wisdom.
Hence the biblical story. It says nothing about God, it says something about the people who wrote the story. The biblical story says God prohibited man from eating from two trees: one was the Tree of Knowledge and the other was the Tree of Life, eternal life.
The priest is afraid of these two things, remember. Forget God because it is not God who created that story, it is the priest. The priest is afraid of two things, and he has made it clear that he is afraid that if people are completely free of fear then they will not be Jews, Hindus, Mohammedans, Christians, Jainas, Buddhists - no, not at all. They will become Buddhas. They will be Christs, not Christians; even the cross will not frighten them. They will not be Mohammedans but Mansurs; even murder will not frighten them.
Mansur laughed when he was killed. Jesus was full of love even on the cross - no fear. Remember, love is the exact opposite of fear. Instead of getting afraid he was full of love. He prayed to God, "Forgive these people because they know not what they are doing." This is tremendous love, unconditional love.
It is the priest who creates the story and he makes it dear. If you analyze the story it will give you great insights. First he is afraid of you becoming wise. Hence all the priests have tried to keep the society as ignorant as possible.
In India the woman is not allowed to read the holy scriptures; for her, stupid stories have been invented. She can read the Ramayana, she can read the puranas - just stupid stories, illogical stories, unbelievable, fanciful, nothing of any importance. She is not allowed to read the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Brahmasutra; they are prohibited. To prohibit the woman means that fifty percent of people are prohibited.
Then the sudras, the untouchables, are prohibited. They cannot read the Vedas. The word veda is beautiful; it exactly means wisdom. The very word "wisdom" comes from vid; vid is the root of veda and also of "wisdom." Vid means to know. The person who knows becomes free. Keep him in ignorance. So the untouchables, the poorest part of the people, are prohibited. That means one fourth again is prohibited.
Then the vaishyas, the business people- they need not read the Vedas. Although they are not prohibited, they need not. And they don't have any time. And the priest says, "We will do whatsoever is needed. If you want a temple to be made we will make it, if you want worship to be done we will do it. We will read, we will chant - we will do everything for you. You have only to pay." And the businessman found it easier to hire a priest rather than to bother himself about the Vedas and their subtleties. He is dropped.
The warrior, the kshatriya: his work is not to become wise but to be a great warrior. Krishna says to Arjuna in the Gita, "This is your religion: to fight."
Arjuna was trying to become a brahmin. He was saying that "I am fed up with all this nonsense! I can see unnecessary violence. Millions of people will be killed for no reaSon at all. And I am not so interested in being the king by killing so many people. I want to renounce the world and go to the forest and meditate."
That means he was trying to become a brahmin. A man trying to become a brahmin means a man trying to become the ultimate truth or to know the ultimate truth, which are both the same. To know is to be: to be is to know.
Krishna says, "This is not for you. Swadharme nedhanam shreyah. It is good to die in your own religion. Per dharmo bavaha baha. Somebody else's religion is very dangerous. Beware of it! Your religion is to be a warrior, your religion is not to be a sannyasin. You are not supposed to be a meditator, you are supposed to be a fighter. Do your duty!"
Even a man like Rama is known to have almost killed a poor untouchable person because he had heard some sutras of the Vedas. It was reported to Rama - he was the king - that "This sudra has been trying to know about the Vedas. When the Vedas were being recited by the brahmin in a certain temple, he was hiding outside and listening. "
And even a man like Rama did such an ugly act. He poured melted iron into the ears of that poor man. He must have gone deaf forever; even his brain may have been damaged. Melted iron! His ears were closed forever, and a lesson was taught to the whole country: that no person who has been prohibited should even dare to hear. If he reads, his eyes will be destroyed; if he hears, his ears will be destroyed.
And Rama is still worshipped as an incarnation of God. In fact, in India Rama is worshipped more than anybody else for the simple reason that he supports the priests more than anybody else. He is the priests' favorite god.
The priest has been afraid of people becoming wise, because if they are wise then they will be competitors. If they are wise they will see the stupidities of the priests. If they are wise they will see all the superstitions. If they are wise then they will see through all the strategies that the priests have imposed on people - their whole exploitation their whole machinery. They will revolt. So in the biblical story the priests, in the name of God, prohibit Adam and Eve from eating from the Tree of Knowledge.
And the second fear is that if somebody becomes eternal... Just think: if death disappears from the world, religion, so-called religion, will disappear. Only something that I call religion can still exist; otherwise, Hindus, Mohammedans, Christians,Jainas, will all disappear. They all depend on death.
Death gives them the opportunity. They make you afraid: "Death is coming closer. Do something before death destroys you. Before death comes you have to practice certain austerities, create a certain character, a certain morality, fulfill certain commandments. Death is coming! And death may come any moment, so be quick. Don't waste time, don't wait for tomorrow. There may be no tomorrow at all, so if you want to do anything, do it now."
And what do they prescribe? Their prescription is: donate to the temples; that will give you great punya, great virtue. Donate to the brahmin because that will earn you a great bank balance in the other world. The Buddhists say, "Don't give to the brahmin, give to the bhikkhus. " The Jainas say, "Don't give to the bhikkhu or the brahmin, give to the munis, the Jaina monks." But donate - they all agree on donation. It is another thing whom to donate to. Of course, there will be differences.
The Jainas would like every donation to come to the Jaina muni, and the Buddhists would like every donation to come to the Buddhist bhikkhu, and the Hindus would like every donation to come to the Hindu brahmin. But donation is the greatest religion. Charity - but charity for whom?
The same people who are teaching you charity, they have to be given to. They are telling you, "Money is dirt!" and then they are asking you, "Give us money so that you can earn virtue in the other world." Strange! If money is dirt, then give as much dirt as you can give to your priests. Don't give money, give dirt! Collect all the dirt ever; day early in the morning and go and donate it to the bhikkhu and to the munis and to the brahmin because money is dirt, so dirt is money! It is a simple logic. Money is dirt; but by donating it, it becomes valuable.
"Do good deeds." And what are good deeds? Obedience to the society, to the established order of things. Never be disobedient. That's why Adam and Eve were punished, thrown out of paradise, because they disobeyed. Disobedience is the greatest irreligious act. Of course the priest is afraid of disobedience. And he is afraid that if people become eternal...
Just think: one day, if science manages to postpone death forever, all religions will disappear. They all exploit death. Because death is there, you start thinking about what will be after death; some arrangements have to be made for that great journey. And because nothing is known about that great journey you have to depend on those people who pretend to know about that great journey. It is all pretension, because nobody has ever returned from death and nobody has ever said what exactly happens after death. Nobody knows, but there are pretenders, and priests are the pretenders.
The story is tremendously significant: that two trees were prohibited. But ordinarily you hear only about one tree, because once Adam ate from the Tree of Knowledge, the gods - that means the priests hidden behind the masks of gods - became so afraid that they expelled him from Paradise, because now the next step was absolutely certain to happen: that he would eat from the Tree of Life.
And once he ate from the Tree of Life, even the Bible says, he would become a god. Wise, eternal...
what else is needed? And if he is a god, of course God is jealous. He will not like anybody else to be a god. This is just priesthood in the name of God!
Now for three hundred years the priests have been fighting against science. It is not accidental that the priests were the first, and because science was born in the West it was the Catholic Church that started fighting the scientists. Kepler, Copernicus, Galileo were all tortured in every possible way because the popes became aware of the danger.
If science can have its own way the ultimate result will be that Adam and Eve will eat from the second tree too. That will be the ultimate result of science. In fact, that's what science is searching for: the secret of life. And it is coming closer every day, because once the basic cells that constitute your life can be analyzed like the atom, if they can be dissected - they carry the whole program - if they can be dissected and their program can be changed, then your whole life can be changed.
For example, when a boy or a girl is born, the child brings in his cells the whole program for his life:
that he will live seventy years, that he will have black hair, that he will have a certain kind of nose, that he will have a certain kind of skin, that he will have certain kinds of diseases. He brings almost the whole program and even the details of the program: at what time he will die...
Now, if this program can be changed, if it can be reprogrammed, if the cells can be arranged in a different way, if they can be told, "Live for a hundred years, not for seventy," then death can be postponed. And once we know how to postpone it, it can be postponed ad infinitum. Then it will only be up to you to decide when you want to die.
Just as people right now write their wills, their last testaments, saying what will happen to their property, to their money after their death, in the future when life can be prolonged, people will write their wills saying that "At this time, in this season, on a particular day, in a particular place, I would like to die."
Now there is a movement all around the world, particularly in the West - obviously, because in the East the problem is not death, the problem is birth... Here the question is how to stop birth, so we think of birth control. In the West the problem has moved to the other extreme. Now medicine has become capable of prolonging people's lives, the question is: if the person wants to die, what to do?
- because in the ancient law there is no provision for it, for euthanasia.
If a man of one hundred years feels that he has lived enough, that he has known whatsoever life can give, that he has tasted all the bitterness and all the sweetness, that he has seen all that is worth seeing, experienced all that is worth experiencing, now he does not want to hang around unnecessarily, it becomes a drag on him. All his friends have died, all his acquaintances have disappeared. Now his children's children's children have no relationship with him at all; they live in a totally different world. He was born one hundred years before, and so much water has gone down the Ganges in these hundred years that the children speak a totally different language which he cannot understand, and what he says they cannot understand. There is no communication. And for what to live now?
So the question is: has he the right to tell the doctors, "Kill me"? Has he the right to mercy killing, to euthanasia? Can he take a big dose of sleeping pill and die legally? That has become a problem.
There are now societies in the West which are propagating this: that every man has the right to die.
Nobody has heard it before, that every man has the right to die; we have heard that every man has the right to live. And up to now all the religions have condemned suicide; suicide is the greatest sin.
Now suicide seems to be one of the greatest freedoms.
The priest has always been afraid: if life can be prolonged, then he will be ignored. If life can be prolonged indefinitely then he cannot tell people to make arrangements for the afterlife. And if man can be immortal one day - which in a way does not seem to be impossible, although I don't think anybody of any intelligence would like to be immortal... But the possibility is there. If the body can live for seventy years, why not seven hundred years? If the body is capable of renewing itself for seventy years it can be taught to renew itself for seven hundred years.
Now there are trees in California which are four thousand years old. If a tree can live for four thousand years, why not man? In the Himalayas there are trees which are seven hundred years old.
If these trees can live for seven hundred years, why not man? The secret has to be known.
The biblical story is really very strange, as if from the very beginning the priest was aware of two things: wisdom and eternity - these two things have to be kept secret, then man can be exploited.
Nirgrantha, God is not frightened of man gaining any wisdom - it is the priest. But he always speaks in the name of God.
And, then, you say, one day it was explained: "FEARING GOD IS HE FIRST STEP IN MAN'S PATH TOWARDS UNDERSTANDING. "
Of course the priest would like you to fear God. Religious people are called all over the world "God- fearing." I find the word very self-contradictory. A religious person is God-loving, not God-fearing, and the person who is God-fearing can never be religious. He can be Hindu, he can be Mohammedan, he can be Christian, but not religious, because fear is poison; it destroys all possibility of your religiousness.
Fearlessness, Buddha has said is the foundation of all true religion - fearlessness. It is no surprise why the Hindu brahmins uprooted the whole of Buddhism from India, why the Buddhists were killed, why the Buddhists were chased out of the country. In a way it was a blessing in the form of a curse, because Buddhism spread all over Asia. The Buddhist monks had to escape from India to save themselves. They went to China, to Tibet, to Korea, to Japan, to Sri Lankar, to Burma. They spread all over Asia - they had to. Otherwise, Indians are not very interested in going that far! No Indian would have ever tried to go to Tibet and to go to China, crossing the Himalayan ranges; no Indian would have bothered about that. But they had to because the brahmins were simply burning them alive, roasting them, killing them mercilessly. The whole of Buddhism was uprooted from India, totally uprooted.
You will be surprised to know that at the place where Buddha became enlightened, Bodh Gaya, the temple that is the memorial to his enlightenment is under the control of brahmin, because not even a single Buddhist was left to be a priest in the temple where Buddha became enlightened. The reason was that Buddha was saying fearlessness is the base of all true religion, and he is absolutely right.
But then there will be no possibility for priesthood at all.
You say: AFTERALL, WASN'T JEHOVAH A FEARSOME, PUNITIVE, OMNIPOTENT GOD?
These are all inventions of different kinds of priests; Jewish, Christian, Mohammedan, Hindu - but the priesthood has the same investment, the same strategy. Their dogmas, their theologies differ, but their weapons are the same. They use different poisons, labeled differently, in different languages, but they kill man's freedom, man's love, man's integrity, sincerity, authenticity. They reduce man to a commodity.
And you say: NOW I AM FINDING IT HARD TO RECOVER FROM THAT IDEA...
Naturally. The habits, particularly the old habits, die hard.
Nirgrantha, I have given you this name - let me remind you what it means. It means a man without any knots, a man without any complexes. It is the name of Mahavira, one of the greatest awakened souls on the earth. He was called Nirgrantha: one who has dropped all kinds of complexes from his mind, from his being; one who is free of all complexes, all knots; who has become simple; whose life is no more entangled in problems.
But these old habits create complexes. These old habits are there rooted in your unconscious; they go on functioning from there. Hence even though you are here, my sannyasin, you are finding it difficult to get rid of the idea. And I am hitting the idea every day, twenty-four hours a day, year in, year out. What am I doing here? - destroying your complexes, destroying all kinds of seeds that have been sown in you by the priests.
But old habits die hard...
"Hey, Sol, how did your sister Rena make out on her driver's license test?"
"She flunked. When the car stalled, from force of habit she jumped into the back seat!"
People live almost mechanically. And the idea of a jealous God is just an unconscious shadow: it can keep you afraid your whole life, it can destroy all your juice, it can suck you, but it is your own projection.
It is midnight and the London streets are empty, clouded in a thick fog. A woman in a mink coat is walking alone, glancing around fearfully. On the dark street only the sound of her footsteps are heard: click click click. Suddenly other footsteps are heard: boom boom boom. Afraid, the woman starts running: click click click. But the heavy footsteps follow behind: boom boom boom. Blind with horror, she runs faster: click click click. But from right behind comes: boom boom boom.
The woman, running faster and faster. realizes that she has come to a deadend alley and the footsteps - boom boom boom - are right behind her. She turns around and screams, "Ah! Eek! The monster of London!"
A black shadow bending slowly over her looks at her and says, "So, who told you that you are so pretty, hm?" and turns around offended.
Now this ugly woman really desired somebody to follow her; that must have been a long, long- cherished desire. Today, suddenly finding the right opportunity, it blossomed. Nobody is there. It is her own idea, her own desire a deep deep wish but fulfilled today in this darkness, in this lonely street. She has auto-hypnotized herself.
That's what we go on doing: our old habits we go on repeating again and again. The more we repeat them the more deep they become in us, the more they become ingrained.
And you say: IT INTERFERES WITH MY LOVE FOR YOU.
It will interfere with all possibilities of love in you. It will interfere not only with your love for me, it will interfere with all kinds of love: love for your woman, love for your child, love for your mother, love for your father. It will interfere with love as such, because fear is a poison that kills love. And fear creates anger. When you cannot love, when your energies cannot flow in love, they become anger.
The same energies go sour, bitter; poisoned they become.
This is always a problem. All the Masters have known it; many have pointed towards it. The Master has always to be aware of his disciple's anger, violence, for the simple reason that the disciple finds it difficult to love. He wants to love but finds it difficult to love because of his whole upbringing. His whole unconscious, even the collective unconscious, is against love. And when he cannot love, the same energy turns into anger. And when it is anger he starts becoming negative.
This happens every day here. So many sannyasins, thousands of sannyasins, are here. Every day I receive so many negative letters; There are ninety percent positive letters, ten percent negative letters. The positive letters are poetic, beautiful, loving. But the strangest thing is: the people who write very positive letters, I note down their name and I wait for their negative letter, sooner or later.
And it comes, it comes inevitably! Just after a few days they take revenge, because they start feeling that they have done something wrong. Such a loving letter? So much trust and surrender? It goes against their ego and the ego starts feeling hurt, wounded. Then they are searching for some excuse - and you can always find whatsoever you are searching for, you can always find it; if it is not there you will invent it. And then immediately they are against you.
One woman used to send me books, money, magazines, presents from America - a very loving woman. Laxmi always used to think that: a very loving woman. She was not even a sannyasin.
Then one day a letter came saying that she wanted to become a sannyasin, and I felt, "Now, things are becoming more and more dangerous." She became a sannyasin and after just six months she wrote a very angry letter saying, "My real Master is Jesus, not you!" But who has been telling her to make me her Master? And she was really angry because she started feeling guilty, divided, as if she had betrayed Jesus. So I told Laxmi to write to her saying, "Drop sannyas and be with Jesus and be at ease."
She received the letter. Yesterday the mala and the name came back with a letter. Now she has started feeling guilty again that she is betraying me, that she has betrayed sannyas - is it right or wrong? So she wrote a letter with a note on top of it: "Nobody should read it except the Master."
And in the letter the problem is that now she thinks that the first letter must have been written to her asking her to drop sannyas without my knowledge, because how can a man like me, with such compassion and love, ever ask anybody to drop sannyas? "I cannot believe it. It must have been the doing of the office people! You please write directly to me." Now she is inventing her own game.
I am not in it at all.
This problem is an everyday problem. One friend has asked, "Somendra was a devotee, Osho. He loved you and you him. Were you maybe a little hard on him?"
It is not a question of being hard. He loved me, that is the problem. And you have been brought up in such a way that love is almost impossible. To love means going against your whole past. He certainly loved me... and I was waiting. I had told him even when he was here that he was going to betray me, that he could be a Judas. And he laughed at that moment.
When he went to the West he went on writing to other sannyasins here, particularly to those sannyasins who can send a message to me that they have received a letter from Somendra. And he was saying, "Osho is with me and I love him and he loves me." Continuously those letters were coming. Then suddenly they stopped. I knew it was going to happen. He loved me - that is the problem.
When you love you love against your ego, and the ego waits for the right opportunity to take revenge.
Judas must have loved Jesus, that's why he betrayed him, because you are not meant to love.
Unless you are very alert, very conscious, and drop your ego totally, deliberately, and don't allow it from the back door again, your love is going to become a danger for the Master. You will love and you will hate, and for small excuses.
He still loves me and he will love me his whole life; that is the trouble. Because he still loves me, he will go on saying things against me. Because he still loves me, he will have to go to the other extreme to repress that love. He will have to do it just to satisfy his ego.
You cannot do both: you cannot satisfy both your love and your ego. And the priest creates the ego.
Fear helps the ego. Fear is a food for the ego and love is food for egolessness.
Nirgrantha, you have to understand it. Your love for me is there, but your whole past will interfere with it.
I still love Somendra and I will always love him. He is a beautiful man of great potential, just as Nirgrantha is, but my love for him also became difficult for him. You don't know your limits. You cannot accept even love because you have been told again and again from your very childhood that you are worthless, that you are not worth loving.
Your mother has said it, your father has said it, your teachers have been telling you, your priests have been telling you - from everywhere you have received the message that you are worthless unless you prove otherwise. You are not accepted as you are.
And I accept you as you are, I love you as you are. I don't expect anything. I don't want to improve you, I don't want to better you, I don't want to make you something great, extraordinary, spiritual.
I love you as you are in your ordinariness, and that is difficult for you to accept. You will reject my love. That is what the hard part in it is - not my love but your rejection. You would really like me to punish you!
If I had punished Somendra he would have been here. If I had punished him enough that would have been acceptable, because you have been punished from your very beginning. In fact, you have learned it: that unless somebody punishes you he does not love you. Your mother punished you, your father punished you; your teachers punished you - everybody punished you because they loved you so much that they wanted you to become somebody special. That's why they were punishing you: you were punished for your own sake.
And I don't punish anybody at all. That is the trouble, that is the hard part. You cannot accept my nonpunishment. I don't create any guilt in you. If you are negative about me I accept that. I don't say, "Don't be negative - it is sin." I simply say, "Watch it, accept it. That is part of your upbringing.
And it will dissolve easily; there is no hurry either. And I love you with all your limitations, with all your flaws."
That's one of the reasons why in India I am being condemned and opposed, because their idea of a spiritual man is one who tries to improve people. I don't try to improve anybody. Who am I to improve you? I can shower my love on you, and if that love is accepted you will start growing; that love will nourish you but you reject it.
The most difficult thing in life is to accept love. When somebody says, "I love you," listen. Whether you say it or not, somewhere inside you there is a no - because you cannot accept the idea that you are worth loving, that anybody can love you. He must be cheating you, he must be deceiving you; he must have some ends in his mind. He wants to exploit you.
No woman believes it when you tell her, "I love you." She thinks, "This man is trying to exploit my body. He wants to use me as an object." She is reluctant, she creates every kind of barrier; she rejects, she withdraws. These are her ways to test whether you really love her. She will create every kind of objection to your love and will wait and will see whether your love is still alive. Unless she is convinced totally that you love her, she will not accept your love. And even then that acceptance is only superficial; soon she will start nagging you, soon she will start taking revenge, soon she will be fighting with you.
And the same is true about men - even more so. That's why no woman ever says to any man, "I love you." She never initiates the process, because to tell any man, "I love you," means danger. He will escape, he will escape immediately! The woman only withdraws, but she does not withdraw totally; she withdraws only so far. She remains in a way available. Even if she says no she says it in such a beautiful way that you feel there is a possibility of yes.
One day I saw Nasruddin very happy and I asked, "What is the matter?"
He said, "The woman I love has said to me that 'This is the last time I am saying no!'"
The man thinks that a woman's no means yes. Somewhere, the way she says it... the word is no, but it carries the meaning of yes. She withdraws only so far that she remains within your reach. But man really becomes afraid, very much afraid.
Man is a weaker sex. This is my categorical statement: man is a weaker sex. The woman is a far stronger sex. Nature has made her more strong. She has to be more strong to give birth to children, to carry the child for nine months in the womb. She has a more resistant body, she lives longer than man, she is more healthy than man. More men commit suicide, almost double the number of women. Although women talk about suicide - sometimes they even take pills, but always in such a way that they can be saved. Out of ten attempted suicides only one succeeds, and that I also think by some mistake! But twice as many men commit suicide in comparison to women, and also double the number of men go mad in comparison to women.
Man is a very much weaker sex. He has no resistance: he falls ill more, he lives less - five years less than women... So the moment a woman says, "I love you," he becomes very much afraid.
One sannyasin has asked, "Why is it that whenever a woman approaches me I become frightened and scared?" k is not an individual, personal problem. Every man becomes afraid when a woman approaches him. That's why women all over the world have decided not to approach men, never to initiate anything - wait. The woman functions like a mousetrap: she simply waits for the mouse to come in. And the mouse comes! He will go round and round, make a few circles, look here and there, watch, come a little closer and see whether there is any danger or not... and then, slowly slowly, he will be caught.
And then the woman can always say, "I was never after you!" And she has always been after you.
That mousetrap was watching, looking where the mouse is going, what he is doing, how far he is.
But the woman remains very detached, aloof; that is part of her feminine beauty and attraction. If she jumps upon you, you will escape! Just think of a mousetrap running after a mouse - do you think it will ever catch any mouse? Impossible! The mouse will run into its hole and will never come out!
You say, Nirgrantha: IN SPITE OF "KNOWING BETTER" I HAVE TO SEE VOU AS ALL- POWERFUL...
That is why the priests have been telling you that you are helpless, without God you are powerless:
God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. They make God all-powerful so that you can depend on God. And, of course, depending on God means depending on the priest.
I am not a priest. And I agree with Dionysius totally that God is not powerful, God is not power at all. There is great insight in that statement. In fact, God is not a person at all, God is only a quality - a beauty that surrounds existence, a fragrance, a dance, a celebration that goes on and on in the trees, in the birds, in the animals, in the rocks, in men, in women. God is this organic unity, this organic accord that exists between the smallest grass leaf and the biggest star. There is a communion, there is a love affair. God is a love affair! And it is always going on, it is always a honeymoon - except for man, because man has fallen out of this immense harmony.
And the priest does not want you to go back to the harmony. If you go back, his whole profession is gone. It is a great investment; millions of people are involved in it.
There are thousands of religions on the earth - three hundred big religions, and then there are subsects and sects and sects within sects. It is almost like a Chinese magical box - box within box within box. You go on and go on unwrapping it and you will never come to the end. There are Christians, and then there are Protestants and then there are Catholics. And then among Catholics there will be different churches, and among Protestants different sects, and then small sects...
The whole earth is exploited by the priests. If they are counted they will be in millions. It is one of the greatest vested interests.
I am not in any way powerful. In fact, I am not. That's the only way you can commune with me - a nobody, a nothingness. And I live in agnosia, in a state of not-knowing, in a state of silence. You can have a communion with me only if you also come to the same state: the state of not-knowing. That's why I go on destroying knowledge. I have to destroy all the knowledge that you have gathered. All has to be burnt, completely burnt. Unless you become a no-mind you will not be able to see me, understand me. Becoming a no-mind you will suddenly have a transformation; your vision will be clear.
You say: I HAVE TO BE DEPENDENT ON YOU FOR MY LIBERATION...
No dependence can ever lead to any liberation; dependence will lead to more dependence.
Liberation means liberation from the very beginning. I am not here to make you dependent on me. I am here to help you to be independent. That is the function of the Master: to help the disciple to be totally independent.
You say:... SOMETIMES IT FOLLOWS THAT THEN I HAVE TO BE AFRAID OF YOU AND YOUR "PUNISHMENT."
That you are unnecessarily waiting for. I never punish anybody; nobody need be afraid of me. You can all go against me, you can all betray me, you can all be enemies to me, but I cannot punish you.
The very idea is not possible. I can only pray for you, I can only love you.
You say: UNDERSTANDING DOESN'T EFFECT THE CURE, WHAT TO DO?
No. Understanding will bring the cure. You have not yet understood, Nirgrantha. Understand the whole process of the priesthood and its investment; see the priest inside you and become aware of the priest speaking to you. Don't get identified with your inner conscience, be liberated from it. The moment you are aware of the whole process you will be freed. The problem will disappear as if it existed never.