Osho speaks on the responsibility his disciple feels about our planet
Many of us who have been with you for some time are experiencing a deepening of silence, stillness and joy within. With a tremendous gratitude to you also comes a sense of responsibility to existence to preserve this gift of life and consciousness. To realize your vision of global transformation and the new man, it seems that meditation, love, commitment and action are all necessary. Sometimes it feels difficult to move into activity while still remaining silent and meditative. Would you speak to us about Wu-Wei, action from inaction?
Anand Zeno, you have brought up in your question many significant points. First you say, “Many of us who have been with you for some time are experiencing a deepening of silence, stillness and joy within. With a tremendous gratitude to you also comes a sense of responsibility to existence to preserve this gift of life and consciousness.”
The word ‘responsibility’ has been continuously used in a wrong way. It gives a feeling of burden: you have to do it, it is a duty; if you don’t do it you will feel guilty. I want to remind you that the word ‘responsibility’ has none of those connotations. Break the word in two – response-ability – and you enter a totally different meaning of the word, in a different direction. Response-ability is not a burden. It is not a duty; it is not something you have to do in spite of yourself.
Response-ability simply means spontaneous response. Whatever situation arises, joyously you respond to it, with your totality, with your intensity. And this response will not only change the situation, it will also change you.
There are two words to be remembered: one is ‘reaction’ and one is ‘response-ability’. Most people react, they don’t respond. Reaction comes from your memory, from your past experiences, from your knowledge; it is always inadequate in a fresh, new situation. And existence is continuously fresh. So if you act according to your past, that is reaction. But that reaction is not going to change the situation, it is not going to change you, and you will be in utter failure.
Response is moment-to-moment. It has nothing to do with memory, it has something to do with your awareness. You see the situation with clarity; you are clean, silent, serene. Out of this serenity, spontaneously you act. It is not reaction, it is action. You have never done it before, but the beauty of it is that it will suit the situation, and it will be a joy to you to know that you are capable of being spontaneous.
There are very few joys in life greater than spontaneity. Spontaneity means to be in the moment; it means acting out of your awareness, not acting according to your old conditionings. Those days are gone – those conditions, conceptions are absolutely invalid.
In my university days, when I was a postgraduate student, I had to share for one year with a very stupid student. His problem was: “Everybody is saying that they have fallen in love with some girl and they are enjoying it. But no girl looks at me – neither do I know how to fall in love.”
I said, “The first thing you do is, you start saying that many girls are after you. They have all fallen in love with you, but you have not yet found the right girl with whom you would like to commune – to be with her, to love her.”
He said, “But this is all incorrect, because it is not happening.”
I said, “Those people who are talking, it is not happening to them either. They are just talking and making others feel they are missing the most precious experience.”
He said, “I will try.”
He started talking – soon he became the hero. No girl was chasing him, he had no idea what love was, but people started asking him for recipes, how to fall in love.
And he would come to me saying, “You have put me in a very difficult situation. I don’t know what love is, how can I give them recipes? They say, ‘So many girls are chasing you and you are not interested in them. You can introduce at least one girl to me.’ But nobody is chasing me.”
I said to him, “Don’t be worried, from tomorrow morning a girl will start chasing you – the most beautiful girl in the university.”
He said, “Is it a prediction?”
I said, “Yes, it is a prediction. Tomorrow appear in your best dress, perfumed, smiling – don’t look sad.”
There was one beautiful girl in my class. I said to her, “This man is desperate. You have not to do anything, just hold his hand and tell him, ‘I love you.’”
She said, “But it may create some trouble.”
I said, “Don’t be worried, I will take care. The man is so stupid, he cannot create any trouble.”
The girl said, “Let us see.”
After the philosophy period was over she took him aside. Trembling, perspiring, she took his hand in her hand and said, “I have wanted to say it for almost one year: you are the most charming fellow in the university! I am in deep love with you.”
He came running to me; he said, “It has happened!”
I said, “What has happened?”
He said, “The girl took my hand, and she was so nervous to say it, but she told it beautifully: ‘You are a charming man,’ and that for one year she has been waiting to find an occasion to tell me that she is in love with me.”
I said, “Now you know the whole strategy. Hold the hand, tell the person, ‘You are charming and I have been in love with you…’”
He said, “All three steps I have learned perfectly well. I have been repeating them since then.”
The second day he tried it on another girl and the girl slapped him. He could not believe it – how could the recipe fail? He came running to me saying, “I have been insulted before so many people. The girl slapped me – and I had done nothing, just took her hand… The only difference was that in the first case the girl was perspiring and nervous, and in this case I was perspiring and nervous. And she slapped hard. What kind of love is this?”
I said, “Remember one thing: one girl is one, another girl is another. Why should you try it on another girl? The first one would have behaved more humanly, because I had told her, ‘This poor guy is dying, continuously thinks of love, but does not know what it means and how to start.’”
He said, “Perhaps you are right, I should not have gone to another girl. Then what do you suggest to me?”
I said, “You write letters to the first girl.”
He said, “But I don’t know how to write love letters.”
I said, “Don’t be worried, I will write them – you sign.”
He said, “This is very great. I am immensely grateful to you.”
Almost twice or thrice a week I would write a letter, and he would take the letter and hand it over to the girl. She smiled, because this was becoming a strange drama. And she knew my handwriting.
I told her, “It is very unkind not to answer his letters.”
But she said, “You are getting me into more and more of a mess.”
I said, “Don’t be worried, I will get you out any moment. The day you want to get out, just slap him and that will do.”
So it continued for a few months. She started writing beautiful letters to him, and he would come running and show to everybody what a great love was flowering. Finally the moment came – the girl slapped him.
But he said, “This is very irrational. I will go to my master, who has been teaching me how to love, and ask him what has happened.”
He came back and I told him, “I was just giving you a chance – perhaps you can learn something – but you seem to be incapable of learning anything. It is finished.”
He said, “My God, and what about the letters that I have written?”
I said, “What will you do with those letters?”
He said, “I can’t write those letters, so I’m going to take them and try them on another girl.” And he was rejected from everywhere, because everybody by and by came to know that the handwriting was mine, the letter was mine, and this fool was not even aware what love is!
Response is not out of the past. You don’t have to learn it, you don’t have to be taught it; it comes out of your silence, your serenity, on its own accord. Hence I say that many of your acts are not acts, because they are coming from the memory – they are reactions. The authentic act comes from your consciousness.
So the first thing is, change the wrong connotation of responsibility. The mother says, “You have a responsibility to take care of me”; the father says, “You have a responsibility to take care of me”; the whole family says, “You have a responsibility, a duty…”
I had a very deep, intimate contact with my father. He was a rare man – because whatever I said would have irritated any father, but he always pondered over it, contemplated it. I said, “Listen, I don’t have any responsibility for you. You never asked if you could give birth to me. That was the point when we could have made a contract: ‘This is going to be my responsibility…’ You have brought me into existence without even asking me. It is your responsibility, not mine. If something goes wrong you will be responsible for it.”
He said, “I never looked at it from that angle; perhaps you are right – what kind of contact and intimacy do you have with me?”
I said, “I am response-able, not responsible. I will act out of my love for you, not because you are my father. And I will act in the moment, without referring to my memory system, because the memory is always of the past and existence is always new – they never meet.”
So the first thing I want you to understand is, don’t make the whole word ‘responsibility’; break it into two: response – hyphen – ability. And it changes the whole color.
“With a tremendous gratitude to you also comes a sense of responsibility to existence, to preserve this gift of life and consciousness.” You will become burdened with these ideas! You will become almost a torture to yourself.
And I can see it as I go on. “To realize your vision of global transformation and the New Man it seems that meditation, love, commitment and action are all necessary.”
Commitment is not necessary, because commitment is bound to become old; it will not correspond to the fresh moment. Commitment is a slavery to the past. And action you don’t have to do. If your heart is full of love, full of compassion, full of meditation, action will happen. When action happens on its own accord it is such a beautiful flower. Instead, you force yourself with unnecessary burdens – responsibility, commitment, action – and you don’t understand that the global crisis is so big and you are so small, what action can you take?
I don’t have any responsibility, I don’t have any commitment, and I don’t have any action to do to save this beautiful planet – these are unnecessary burdens. Enjoy the moment, grow into your consciousness, be more spontaneous, more compassionate, more loving – no commitment, no great megalomania of saving the whole planet. Rejoice in it, and out of this rejoicing, action comes – again, as spontaneous – you don’t have to act.
“Sometimes it feels difficult to move into activity.” Not just sometimes, you will always feel difficulty in moving into activity. But a pure action, uncontemplated, suddenly grips you…and you are not doing any charitable work, you are simply enjoying it.
If we can make more people lovable, celebrating, more spontaneous, the global crisis can be avoided. But don’t take it seriously, be playful about it. If existence wants this planet not to exist, who are we to prevent it?
Every day stars disappear into black holes and every day new stars are born from white holes. One thing has to be remembered, that anything that is born is going to die. This planet has been here for nearabout four thousand million years. Perhaps it has become old, perhaps nothing can be done to save it. It needs rest, and death is a rest.
But I’m not saying that you should work to destroy, I am saying that, while things are alive, enjoy, dance, sing, love. Perhaps even the old existence may feel to let the planet live a little more. Make it as beautiful as possible, so existence itself feels that it has to be protected. You cannot protect it, but you can create the condition in which existence will feel sad to destroy the beautiful flowers, the beautiful people, the beautiful trees, great heights of consciousness.
So my way is totally different. I am not a pacifist like Bertrand Russell who thought that by protesting, creating pacifists we can save the universe. No protest can save it, no pacifist can save it. Only one thing is possible: your making this universe more and more beautiful, so beautiful that existence becomes absolutely incapable of thinking to destroy it.
It is not a burden, it is not a commitment. And as long as existence lets this planet continue, enjoy it, make it more juicy…each act of your life. According to me that is the only way to avoid a global suicide.
“Sometimes it feels,” you are asking, “difficult to move into activity while still remaining silent and meditative.”
You don’t need any activity. Silence and being meditative are enough; they are far greater forces than your small activity. And out of your silence perhaps some action may arise which will be helpful in making the planet more glorious, more splendorous. What I am trying to say is, prove to existence that this planet is so precious that to allow it to be destroyed will be sheer nonsense. Existence will have to wait again for fifty million years to bring such people, such consciousnesses as Buddha, Lao Tzu…
Do you see my point? Make it so valuable that even existence withdraws, and destroys all that is being prepared for global suicide. You don’t have to act! You have simply to meditate, be silent, be loving, fill the whole world with laughter.
I say unto you, laughter is far more powerful than any nuclear weapon. Fill the whole universe with love. And I say unto you, a world filled with love is not going to decide for war.
No action is needed.
I have been condemned by people who don’t understand the intrinsic mysteries of life. They think that I am making people inactive, telling them to meditate, to be silent. They don’t know that I am making people spontaneously active – out of love, out of beauty, out of blissfulness. That will create the greatest barrier to the destruction of the planet.
You are asking, “Would you speak to us about Wu-Wei, action from inaction?” That’s what I am speaking about. You don’t do anything; you become so utterly silent that out of that silence things start happening around you – that is action from inaction. A man of silence is not inactive; his energies have moved into a totally new dimension of spontaneity, of response-ability, of love, of joy, of creativity, and his whole being is so precious that he creates around him a contagious preciousness.
If we have a few million people in the world who are playful, who are not burdened, it doesn’t matter. If existence wants this planet to disappear, perhaps there is some significance in it. We will try to enjoy while we are here, while this planet exists. If our joyfulness, our playfulness, our flutes, our guitars, our sensitivity changes the intelligence of the universe and cancels the decision – this is not the planet to be destroyed, this is the planet to be nourished more – if it happens, good; if it does not happen then that too is perfectly good.
Do you remember when you were not – were you angry, sad? Before your birth, do you remember any problem, any trouble? After your death you will be in the same position as you were before your birth.
Existence is beautiful, but if it disappears, if the whole cosmos decides for it to disappear, you will not miss it; you will not be there at all. So don’t make it a fear, a duty, a responsibility to be done. Don’t feel guilty that you are so small – what can you do? However small you are, you can love, you can dance, you can celebrate whatever moments are available. And this will be action from inaction.
The doctor compliments the young girl lying on his examination table.
“Go home,” he says, “and tell your husband to prepare for a baby.”
“But I don’t have a husband,” the girl replies.
“Then go home,” says the doctor, “and tell your lover.”
“But I don’t have a lover,” says the girl. “I have never had a lover.”
“In that case,” says the doctor, “go home and tell your mother to prepare for the second coming of Jesus Christ!”
My attitude is simple: this day is enough unto itself. Who bothers if you don’t wake up tomorrow? – you will not know. And an eternal sleep is such a peaceful, blissful, silence; you are not losing anything. But don’t waste your today in thinking about your tomorrow. Be a little more intelligent, alert and aware.
A Polack goes into the doctor’s surgery with both his ears burnt.
“I have never seen such a case,” exclaims the doctor. “What on earth happened?”
“I was ironing my clothes,” explains the Polack, “when the phone rang.”
“But what about the other ear?” asks the doctor.
“Well,” replies the Polack, “I had to phone for the ambulance.”
Pope the Polack puts on civilian clothes so that he can walk around the streets without being recognized.
While he is out walking, a woman comes up to him and says, “Want a blow job?”
The pope says, “A blow job? What’s that?”
The woman replies, “Ten dollars.”
The pope is mystified, but he continues his walk through the streets. Everywhere he goes, he is met by women saying, “Blow job, blow job!” all day long.
Finally, when he returns to the Vatican and the papal palace, he sees one of the nuns.
“Tell me, sister,” asks Pope the Polack, “what’s a blow job?”
The nun replies, “Ten dollars.”
Osho, Hari Om Tat Sat, Ch 12, Q 2