Man is a dilemma, he is both yes and no. It is not abnormal in you, it is the normal state of humankind. Man is half earth, half sky;
YES AND NO!
Prem Madhu, man is a dilemma, he is both yes and no. It is not abnormal in you, it is the normal state of humankind. Man is half earth, half sky; part matter, part consciousness; part dust, part divine. Man is a tension. Friedrich Nietzsche says “a rope stretched between two infinities.”
The past is that of an animal and the future is that of God. And between the two is man — half animal, half angel. The no comes from the past, the yes is a possibility for the future.
Doubt comes from darkness, trust is the by-product of light. The higher self in you is always trusting, the lower is cunning and always doubting. And you are both, as you are now.
Man is naturally schizophrenic. Schizophrenia is not a disease; it is not pathology, it is the state of normal human beings. It starts looking like a pathology only when it goes to the extreme, when yes and no are so divided that there is not even an “and” to bridge them. When they become unbridgeable, then it becomes pathological. Otherwise every human being is always in a kind of duality, in a state of either/or. No other animal is in that state. Dogs are simply dogs, and lions are lions, and trees are trees, and rocks are rocks. They don’t have any duality, there is no division.
Man is dual, double, divided. It is his misery, but it is also the possibility for his bliss. It is his agony, but out of this agony ecstasy can be born. No animal can be ecstatic except man. Have you seen any animal ecstatic — ecstasy like a buddha, a Ramakrishna? There is no possibility of coming across an animal which is so ecstatic. Even the rosebush with so many beautiful flowers is not ecstatic in the sense Jesus is. The rosebush is simply a rosebush; there is no exuberance, there is no overflowing, there is no rejoicing. It is a matter of fact — not that something incredible is happening, not that something from the beyond has descended, not that God has been realized, not that light has come and penetrated to the deepest core of your being and you are full of it and you are enlightened.
The bird on the wing is free, but knows nothing about freedom. Only man, even though he may be imprisoned, knows about freedom. Hence the misery; the bondage on one hand, and the vision of freedom on the other. The reality, the ugly reality, and the tremendously luminous possibility.
Man can be miserable as no other animal can ever be miserable. Have you seen any animal crying its heart out, weeping, committing suicide? Have you seen any animal laughing, a belly laughter that shakes the very foundations? No, all these things are possible only for man. Hence the grandeur of man, hence his dignity, and hence his anxiety too.
The anxiety is over whether you are going to make it or not, whether this time it is going to happen or not. The anxiety is a natural consequence of two diametrically opposite possibilities: one can fall into hell, and one can rise into heaven.
Man is just a ladder, and you move on this ladder like a yo-yo. One moment you are in heaven, another moment you are in hell. One moment suddenly the sunlit peak, another moment the darkest valley that you have ever come across. One moment love, sharing; another moment anger, miserliness. One moment such an expanded heart that you can contain the whole world, and another moment you are so mean that you cannot imagine you had this possibility to be so mean. Man goes on moving between these two infinities continuously like a pendulum.
Prem Madhu, your question is significant, because it is everybody’s question. It is not a question, it is far more existential. It is a problem; no answer can help, some solution has to be searched for.
Now, there are two possibilities for the solution. One is to fall back and be satisfied with your animalness. Be satisfied — that’s what millions are trying to do; drink, eat, sleep, and forget all about the greater challenges of life. Eat, drink and be merry, because tomorrow we shall be no more. That’s what the materialist says.
The materialist has accepted the lower self; he denies the higher self just in sheer self- defense. He does not deny it because he knows that it is not; no — he knows nothing about it. He denies it because if he does not deny it then that either/or opens up again.
Again one is in a problem, again something has to be done, again the at-easeness is lost.
Again the journey, the wandering, and the discomfort and the inconvenience and the insecurity of the journey.
It is better to say that the higher does not exist, that there is no God, that there has never been any God, that there is no soul, that there is nothing inner, that man has no interiority, that man is just what he is from the outside, that man is his behavior and there is no soul in him.
From Pavlov to B.F. Skinner, this is what is being taught to the world by the so-called scientific psychologists, the behaviorists, that man is only behavior. There is no one inside, just as there is no one inside a machine. The machine is just a functional unity; it has no organic unity in it, it has no soul. You can dismantle it, you can rearrange it again.
That’s what scientists hope, that sooner or later they will be able to dismantle man and reassemble him. At least theoretically, it seems possible for them. It is not possible. You cannot dismantle and reassemble man, because there is something which is nonmechanical in man. And that nonmechanical part is his glory. But it is better to deny it; it makes life easier, it makes life less anxious, it makes life less of a problem. You can go on living the shallow day-to-day life of so-called pleasures — eat, drink and be merry.
Those who decide for that are renouncing the opportunity Atisha is talking about. They are renouncing the opportunity to become gods. They are settling for something very low, they are settling for something very cheap, they are missing something very essential.
Yes, you can be at ease with the lower self, you can settle with the doubting self. But then there is no growth. And there will be no ecstasy, because there will never be any buddha born in you. You will never come to know anything of christ-consciousness. You will remain in darkness — of course at ease, but what is the point of being at ease?
Far more valuable is creative discontent, far more valuable is the insecurity of the unknown, far more valuable is a homeless wandering in search of the real home.
Religion is for those who don’t accept the lower as the be all and end all. I am not saying deny the lower, remember, because there are foolish people who go to the other extreme.
One stupid type of people denies the higher, says it does not exist, and settles with the lower. The other stupid kind denies the lower, says there is no lower, there is only the higher. One says God is illusion, the world is truth. The other says the world is illusion, God is truth.
In my approach, both are being stupid, because both are doing the same thing. Both want to be at ease; both are denying the polar opposite, both are denying the possibility of any inner tension. And remember, it is the inner tension that gives you aliveness. And the bigger the tension, the more alive you are.
You know, you have experienced it. Everybody has experienced it, more or less — the attraction of the opposite. A man is attracted to a woman, and vice versa — why? The negative pole of electricity is attracted towards the positive pole, and vice versa — why?
Why the attraction for the opposite? Because in that very attraction, life arises. In that tension, how can you remain dead? In that very tension you start pulsating.
Those who settle and choose one against the other become stale, become dead. The materialist becomes superficial, and your so-called spiritualist also becomes phony. Your so-called materialist lives with shallow pleasures, and your so-called spiritualist lives in imagination, in fantasy. Both are missing life and its life-giving tensions. Man has to live with both, and in such a way that neither is denied and yet both become complementary to each other. Yes need not be against no; there is no necessity that the no should be against the yes. They can define each other, they can nourish each other.
That’s my whole effort here. I bring you a new dispensation, that the earth and the sky have to be accepted together. Body and soul, the world and God, have to be accepted together. Nothing is wrong in the lower, the lower has to become the base for the higher.
The lower has to function as the foundation; if you deny it you won’t have any foundation.
That’s why religious countries, for example India, became poorer and poorer and poorer.
They lost their foundations and became very phony. How can you be true if you deny something which is all around you and so real? If you say the world is illusion, maya, how can you be true? You know it is not.
Even the person who says that the world is maya does not try to pass through the wall, he goes through the door. If both are maya, illusion, what is the difference? Can you find any difference between two illusions? Is one a little less an illusion and the other a little more? Even the person who says the world is illusion does not start eating stones. What is the difference between bread and stones then? Both are illusions, both are dreams.
But by denying the world you lose contact with the reality. That’s what happened in the East, particularly in India. India became disoriented from reality, it lost its roots in the earth. It became unearthly, a little ghostly. That’s my experience of India — India is a ghost, it has lost its body. And nobody else is responsible for it. It could not gather courage to accept the polar opposites. It became poor, it became ugly, it became ill.
India chose this so that it could be at ease with the higher. But the higher can exist only with the lower; this is one thing more of great importance to be remembered. The lower can exist without the higher — it will remain unfulfilled, but it can exist. The higher cannot even exist without the lower.
You cannot have a building — a temple, a church — without the foundations. But you can have the foundations without making the temple. That is possible because the lower comes first and the higher comes later. The lower can come, and the higher may not come.
The East tried the higher without the lower, the temple without the foundations. Now, such a temple can only be in your imagination, it cannot exist in reality. And it creates hypocrisy. The greatest hypocrisy possible in the world has happened in India. The hypocrisy is: we have to live in the lower because the lower is the real, and we have to deny it and talk about the higher. And because the lower is denied, the higher cannot have any substance; it is dream stuff. So people are very much obsessed with money, but they talk of God; obsessed with politics and power, and they talk of God. That remains just talk.
In the West, just the opposite has happened. The lower was accepted, for the same reason — because if there is only one, you can relax. You can drop the creative discontent if there is only one. Hence the attraction for the one; it is an attraction towards suicide.
Think of a world where only men exist and no women. There will be no tension, certainly. There will be great brotherhood, everybody will be gay — literally gay! But life will lose something, something of immense importance — there will be no tension. It will be like having loose strings on a sitar; you cannot create music. You have to make them tight and tense, only then can you strike music out of them, only then can the hidden become manifest. With loose strings on a sitar how can you create music? They have to be tight, in a certain tension. Only great masters know how much tension is the right tension. And in the right tension the greatest melody is possible.
I teach you the right tension between the lower and the higher, between the body and the soul, between the earth and heaven; a right tension with no antagonism. The lower has not to be denied for the higher, neither has the higher to be denied for the lower. They are together, they are two aspects of the same reality, they interpenetrate.
So I don’t say drop your doubt, I don’t say drop your no. I say let your no become the tension for your yes, let your no become the background for your yes. Let your no create the context in which the yes will be more meaningful. Only in contrast does meaning arise. You write with white chalk on a blackboard — why? Because only in contrast will the white show; it will be loud and clear. Let no become the blackboard, and yes the white writing on it.
Your trust should not be a blind trust, your trust should be a trust which has eyes. Your trust should not be an impotent trust, a trust which is trust because you are impotent to say no. Your trust should be alive, strong and vital. Your trust will be capable of saying no. Say yes and yet retain the capacity to say no, then you will be surprised — your yes has such sharpness, such brilliance, such intelligence! Then it is not blind, it has eyes to see.
Use no as a foundation for yes, use doubt as manure for the rosebush. Use everything that God has given to you. Nothing, nothing at all, has to be denied; all has to be absorbed, because nothing is unessential or unimportant. Even though sometimes it looks unessential and unimportant, even though sometimes it looks positively harmful and poisonous, it has not to be denied. It has not to be thrown out, because later on, on the way, as you become wiser you will repent if you threw something away, because you will need it in some situation. There are moments when poison is needed as medicine. There are moments of wisdom when just the touch of the wise man and the poison becomes nectar.
I want you to become alchemists. This is an alchemical school, a university for inner alchemy. We are trying to change the baser metal into gold. So remember, I accept your no too, I love your no too. I accept all that you are. I accept all that you are not, even that too. You are accepted whatsoever you are, and you are accepted whatsoever you are not.
You are accepted in totality.
From my side there is no question of denying anything, but of transforming it.
Osho, The Book of Wisdom, Ch15