Yes, There Are Problems


Osho explains how we can (and cannot) help the world

Q: Does attainment to the seventh chakra, samadhi, total dissolution of the ego, mean that one no longer is interested in the problems that face mankind? – hunger, poverty, miserable living conditions, little room to develop one’s own abilities, talents.

Osho reading  a newspaper


In fact, before you have dropped your own problems, you cannot have the right perspective to understand the world problems. Your own home is in such a mess, your own inner being is in such a mess – how can you have a perspective to understand vast problems? You have not even understood yourself; start from there, because every other start will be a wrong start.

And people who are in a tremendously confused state of mind start helping others, and start proposing solutions. These people have created more troubles in the world than they have solved. These are the real mischief-mongers: the politicians, the economists, the so-called public servants, missionaries. These are the real mischief-mongers – they have not solved their own inner consciousness yet, and they are ready to bump into everybody else and to solve everybody else’s problem. In fact, in this way they are avoiding their own reality: they don’t want to face it. They want to remain engaged somewhere else with somebody else – this gives them good occupation, good distraction.

Remember: you are the world problem, you are the problem, and unless you are solved, whatsoever you do is going to make things more complicated. First bring your home in an order – create a cosmos there; it is a chaos.

There is one ancient Indian fable, a very old story but of great importance …

A great but foolish king complained that the rough ground hurt his feet, so he ordered the whole kingdom to be carpeted with cowhide to protect his feet. But the court fool laughed at this – he was a wise man. Said he, “The king’s idea is simply ridiculous.”

The king was very angry and said to the fool, “You show me a better alternative, otherwise you will be put to death.”

The fool said, “Sire, cut out small pads of cowhide to cover your feet.” And this is how shoes were born.

There is no need to cover the whole earth with cowhide; just covering your feet covers the whole earth. And this is the beginning of wisdom. Yes, there are problems, I agree. There are great problems. Life is so much of a hell. Misery is there, violence is there, all kinds of madnesses are afloat, that’s true – but still I insist the problem arises in the individual soul. The problem is there because individuals are in a chaos. The total chaos is nothing but a combined phenomenon: we have all poured our chaos into it.

The world is nothing but a relationship; we are related with each other. I am neurotic, you are neurotic: then the relationship goes very very neurotic – multiplied, not only doubled. And everybody is neurotic, hence the world is neurotic. Adolf Hitler is not born out of the blue – we create him. Vietnam is not born out of the blue – we create it. It is our pus that comes out; it is our chaos that takes the toll. The beginning has to be with you: you are the world problem. So don’t avoid the reality of your inner world – that is the first thing.

You ask: Does attainment to the seventh chakra, samadhi, total dissolution of the ego, mean that one no longer is interested in the problems that face mankind? No, in fact only then is one really interested. But his interest will be of a totally different kind: he will look to the root cause of it. When you are interested you are interested in the symptoms. When a Buddha or a Christ is interested he is interested in the root. You may not agree because you cannot see the root, you see only the symptom. He is interested – but now he knows where the root is, and he tries hard to change that root.

Poverty is not the root, greed is the root. Poverty is the outcome. You go on fighting with poverty – nothing will happen. Greed is the root; the greed has to be uprooted. War is not the problem, individual aggressiveness is the problem – war is just the total. You go on doing protest marches, and war is not going to be stopped. That doesn’t matter – your protest marches, everything – you can enjoy the fun. There are a few people who enjoy the fun; you can find them in any protest march. You can ask Astha – her mother and her father have both been protesters. Anywhere you will find them protesting; all over the world her mother goes on trotting, protesting against everything. It is fun – you may have also enjoyed it.

In my childhood, I used to enjoy it very much. I was in every procession, and even the elders of my town started worrying. They said, “You are everywhere – whether it is a communist procession or a socialist or a congress … anti-communist … you are there.” I said, “I enjoy the fun. I’m not worried about the political philosophy – just shouting is so much fun; I enjoy the exercise.”

You can enjoy; it does not make much difference – war goes on. And if you look at these protesters you will see these are very aggressive people – you will not see peace on their faces. They are ready to fight. Peace-protest marches any moment turn into riots. These are aggressive people – in the name of peace they are showing their aggression. They are ready to fight: if the have power, if they have the atom bomb, they will drop the atom bomb to create peace. That’s what all politicians say – they say they are fighting so that peace can prevail.

The problem is not war, and Bertrand Russels are not going to help. The problem is inner aggression in individuals. People are not at ease with themselves, hence war has to exist – otherwise these people will go mad.

Each decade a great war is needed to unburden humanity of neurosis. You may be surprised to know that in the First World War, psychologists became aware of a very rare, strange phenomenon. When the war continued, suddenly the proportion of people who used to go mad fell almost to nil. Suicides were not committed, murders were not done, and people even stopped going mad. That was strange – what has that to do with war? Maybe murders are not done because murderers have gone to the army, but what happened to people who commit suicide? Maybe they have also joined the army, but then what happened to people wo go mad? – they have even stopped going mad? And then again in the Second World War the same thing happened, in a greater proportion; and then the link was known, the association.

Humanity goes on accumulating a certain quantity of neurosis, madness: each decade, it has to throw it out. So when there is war – war means when humanity has gone mad as a whole – then there is no need to go mad privately; what is the point? All are mad – then there is no point in trying to become mad privately. When one nation is murdering another, and there is so much suicide and murder, what is the point of doing these things on your own? You can simply look at the TV and enjoy, you can read it in the papers and have the thrill.

The problem is not war, the problem is individual neurosis.

A man who has become enlightened looks into the deep causes of things. Buddha, Christ, Krishna, they have been looking into the root, and they have been trying to tell you: Change the root – a radical transformation is needed; ordinary reformations won’t do. But then you may not understand – because I am here, I go on talking about meditation … no, you can’t see the relationship, how meditation is related with war. I see the relationship, you don’t see the relationship.

My understanding is this: that if even one percent of humanity becomes meditative, wars will disappear – and there is no other way. That much quantity of meditative energy has to be released. If one percent of humanity – that means one in one hundred people – becomes meditative, things will have a totally different arrangement. Greed will be less; naturally, poverty will be less. Poverty is not there because things are scarce; poverty is there because people are hoarding, because people are greedy. If we live right now, there is enough, the earth has enough to give us. But we plan ahead, we hoard – then trouble arises.

Just think of birds hoarding … then a few birds will become rich and a few will become poor; then American birds will become the richest, and the whole world will suffer. But they don’t hoard, so there is no poverty. Have you ever seen a bird poor? Animals in the forest – nobody is poor, nobody is rich. In fact you don’t even see fat birds and lean and thin birds. All the crows are almost alike; you cannot even recognise which is which. Why? They enjoy, they don’t hoard.

Even to become fat means you are hoarding inside the body – that is a miserly mind. Misers become constipated; they cannot even throw out. They hoard: they control even defecation, they go on hoarding even rubbish. Hoarding is a habit.

To live in the moment, to live in the present, to live lovingly, to live in friendship, to care … and then the world will be totally different. The individual has to change, because the world is nothing but a projected phenomenon of the individual soul.

No, he will be interested – only he will be interested – but his interest will be of different dimensions. You may not even be able to understand it. People come to me and they say, “What are you doing? There is poverty and there is ugliness, and you go on teaching about meditation. Stop this. Do something for poverty.” But nothing can be done for poverty directly. Only meditative energy has to be released so people can enjoy the moment. Then there will be no poverty. Communism is not going to destroy poverty; it has not destroyed it anywhere. It has created new sorts of poverty – and greater, and more dangerous: now the Russian is far more poor because he has lost his soul too. Now he is really not an individual at all – not even the freedom to pray and to meditate.

This is not going to help, this is destroying. These are the do-gooders – avoid them.

And you say: Will there not be a little room to develop one’s own abilities, talents? In fact there will be no need to develop them, they will start developing. When a man meditates he starts flowering. If he is a painter, he will become a great painter. If he is a poet, then suddenly tremendous poetry will arise out of his soul. If he is a singer, for the first time he will sing a song that is close to his heart’s desire.

No, there is no need to make any effort. When you are silent, rooted in your being, centered, your talents automatically start functioning. You start functioning the way God always wanted you to function. You start functioning the way you were born to function, you start functioning the way your destiny wants you to function. You become spontaneous. You start doing your thing – and now you don’t bother whether it pays or not, whether it makes you more respectable or not. It makes you happy, and that’s enough. It makes you tremendously joyful, and that is more than enough.

Meditation releases your energies – then there is no other need. And a man who has come to samadhi, the seventh chakra – what more is possible? He functions as a God. He is a full blown-up existence. He has come to the ultimate flowering – now nothing is needed. His every moment is creative, his every gesture is creative, his very life is grace.

But there are people who would like to go very roundabout: they would like to change the world first, and then they will come to themselves. But let me tell you, you will never be able to come to yourself if you go that far.

I have heard…

An old man was sitting near Delhi and a young man was driving past. He came to a halt and asked the old man, “How far is Delhi?” The old man said, “If you go on the way you are going, and in the direction you are going, it is very very far. You will have to travel the whole earth – because you have left Delhi behind, just two miles back.”

If you turn, then it is not very far – just a question of two minutes. If you go to change the whole world and then you think you will change yourself, you will never be able to; you will never be able to come back home. Start where you are. You are part of this ugly world: by changing yourself you are changing the world. What are you? – a part of this ugly world. Why try to change the neighbour? – he may not like it, he may not want it, he may not be interested. If you have become aware that the world needs a great change, then you are the closest world to yourself: start from there.

But there are a few people who are very philosophical. They brood, and they go in roundabout ways.

I have been reading Leo Rosten’s beautiful book The Joys of Yiddish. He tells of a great Jewish philosopher, Mr. Sokoloff, who had been dining regularly at a certain restaurant on Second Avenue, beginning each meal with a dish of chicken soup.

One night, Mr. Sokoloff called out to his waiter, “Come back here and taste this soup.”

“After twenty years,” demurred the waiter, “you question the perfection of our wonderful chicken soup?”

“Come back and taste it,” repeated Mr. Sokoloff.

“All right, all right,” conceded the waiter, “I’ll taste it – but where’s the spoon?”

“Aha!” cried Mr. Sokoloff.

He simply wants to say, “I don’t have a spoon.” Now he goes in such a roundabout way – “Taste this soup….”

Don’t go so roundabout, don’t be so philosophical. If you don’t have the spoon, simply say you need a spoon. The spoon will do.

All that one needs is a spoonful of meditation.

Osho, The Divine Melody, Ch 8 – found by Bodhena

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