Osho Interviewed by Willem Sheer from Pers Unie, The Hague, Netherlands
Q: I have been reading your books for some years and I have been seeing some videos of you. And I was here last winter at the winter festival. And one week ago at the office I got a telephone call from Bhagawati who asked me if I would like to have an interview with you. So here I am. I have approximately 100,000 questions. And I chose about twenty… I selected about twenty out of them.
Good, let’s start.
Q: My first question would be: Bhagwan, I have been trained in a climate of critical journalism. I am taught as a journalist never to believe anyone on his word. Are you capable to communicate your message to suspicious journalists? Or is trust needed to understand what you really mean?
No. No faith, no belief, no trust is needed. And what you have been taught as a journalist, to be critical, sceptical, is exactly my message. Be critical, be sceptical. Go on saying no until you can find the yes which you cannot deny.
My people are not people who have gathered here because of a certain faith or belief. They are inquirers, seekers with open minds, and they are being taught only one thing: never accept anything unless you can experience it. Critical journalism is just third rate, because it is only the mind, the reason. But the mind and reason can be very easily defeated. Just a little sharper intelligence is needed and your criticism will be gone.
But the criticism I am teaching to my people is something far deeper and far wider. I am teaching them not to argue about truth, because there is no way through argument to reach the truth. Whenever two arguments fight, all that is proved is who was more capable of arguing. Truth is never proved that way, truth has to be experienced. So deny every belief and deny it absolutely. Not even a lingering shadow of belief should be within you.
Q: So your sannyasins also should be sceptical about what you say?
Q: And when you say, “Do this and that and this will be the result,” then they enter it with a sceptical, critical mind?
Certainly. Whatever I say to them is hypothetical, just the way science works. A scientist enters into an experiment with a hypothesis. Hypothesis means not belief, but just that one has to begin somewhere, so for the moment he accepts a certain concept and enters into it with absolute alertness so that he is not deceived by his own hypothesis. He has to be aware that it is only a hypothesis and not a truth.
Q: But you also said, “Trust me, follow me.”
That is said to those people who have arrived. I have been speaking to millions of people. And when I speak to a person, I cannot take account of the whole world. My statement is direct and immediate and personal. When I have said to somebody, “Trust and follow me,” that means the person has arrived. Now there is no need of any scepticism, no negativity. Now there is no need for him to unnecessarily harass himself, he has done enough. But not before that.
Q: So trust is a later state?
Q: May I ask another question? I belong to the diminishing minority of Dutch people who regard the holy Roman Catholic Church as a wonderful institute in which a lot of wisdom can be found. At the same time I enjoy your books and videos. Is this a paradox, and if so, what can be done about it?
It is a paradox and you know exactly what has to be done about it. If you could have left me, you would have left. You cannot leave me. So the paradox is dissolved: Catholicism is finished.
Q: I meet in the Catholic Church persons whom I sincerely experience as sincere. And I have often read that for example Mother Teresa… You mock her a lot. I once met her myself and I found her a beautiful woman. When I asked her, “should Christians convert people of other religions to Christianity?” she answered, “No, let everybody go his own way. You go your way to god, I go my way.” And i found her a sincere woman, as far as I can experience.
First, there are sincere people in every religion, but groping in the dark. So if you meet in the Catholic Church sincere seekers, it is your duty to bring them out of the Catholic Church, because there they are not going to find what they are seeking. A seeker cannot seek if he is surrounded by dogma, by a certain attitude about reality – and that too, two thousand years old, out of date, out of existence. Those Catholic Churches are just graveyards. Those people may be seekers and sincere. Tell them, “You are searching in a graveyard. Come where life is. Come where dance is. Come where the fresh wind is blowing. In this stale, closed Catholic Church, you are going to get suffocated and die, you are not going to find it.”
Because they are sincere, that’s why you have to be sincere with them too. They need respect – but not only respect; they also need a shock so that they can wake up and come out of the boundaries of Catholicism, or Protestantism or Hinduism or Mohammedanism – that doesn’t matter. My work here is to bring everybody out of his prison; what the name of the prison is does not matter.
The person who wants to know the truth has to be completely deprogrammed. He should not have any belief, he should not have any religion, he should not have any nation, he should not have any race, he should be just a simple human being. From there, with that innocence, like a child, he has to start.
Q: It seems, Bhagwan, when you are an outsider – when you are a complete outsider – it seems that Rajneeshism also is a prison. I went into it a little bit and I see that this is not the case. But how can you make clear to other people that this is in fact an anti-church?
Just wait, let me first finish your question completely. I cannot leave Mother Teresa alone. So whenever Mother Teresa comes in, please don’t change the subject.
You say she is a beautiful woman. I have no disagreement about it. But what she said to you is not beautiful – that you follow your path, I follow my path. This is not compassion. If I see you following on a wrong path I will try every effort to obstruct you from going there, and I will try to convince you that what you are doing is wrong. That is compassion.
And all the paths are not right. There are three hundred religions in the world. All three hundred religions are not right. This is nice to say that you follow your path, I follow my path and everybody follows his path, but that means Mother Teresa does not know at all what is right. This can be said only by an ignorant person. If I know what is right, I also know what is wrong, and I will make every effort to prevent you if you move on the wrong path. To me that will be compassion. You got influenced by the old woman….
Q: I think so, a bit….
… But things are not as they appear. She goes on converting orphans into the Catholic Church. The orphan may be a Mohammedan, may be a Hindu, may be a Jaina, may be a Buddhist. She does not think those orphans should follow their path. Just because she has been feeding them, she has purchased them for the Catholic Church. She wants more and more orphans, she wants more and more poverty, because without poverty and without orphans, the number of Catholics cannot increase.
It is power politics, the politics of numbers. And when you look deep down into the whole thing, you will not say that she is a beautiful woman. She is a politician and her answer was diplomatic. It consoled you, that you go on your path, I go on my path. It gave you certain strength, but that strength is going to be given to your ego. I cannot say, “You go on your path.” You don’t know what your path is, where you are going. I know there is only one path, there are not many paths.
So the man of compassion will try in every way to persuade you, to convince you; rationally he will make the effort. And if there is a possibility of an open heart, he will make a heart to heart contact too. When somebody is drowning and you are standing on the bank of the river, you don’t say, “You go on your path and I am going on my path.” Do you think that is beautiful? You have to jump and save that man who is drowning.
And now Catholics need to be saved. Jesus started saving people, although he could not save himself; and for two thousand years these people are trying to save people. They have not been able to save anybody. On the contrary, they have been fighting crusades, burning people alive. These are the saviours of man. And if Mother Teresa has any intelligence left – I suspect not, but if she has any intelligence left, the first thing would be to get out of the Catholic Church.
Q: And become a sannyasin….
Certainly. Because I can say on my own authority that I can save her. She cannot say on her own authority anything. She can quote the dead Bible, she can quote Jesus Christ. I am not quoting anybody. I am saying it myself.
Q: And your path is objective?
Q: And anybody who follows your path finds this truth?
Q: May I pass to another question?
Is Mother Teresa finished…? Pass on.
Q: Reading your discourses, Bhagwan, one meets with contradictions constantly. I did not study all your books of course, but basing myself on the ones i did read, I think there are not many statements of yours which are not countered by other statements. Am I right that you constantly undermine your own teachings? What is the unchanging nucleus in your vision?
You are right. I am a man of contradictions; and my understanding is that only idiots are consistent. The higher your intelligence, the more contradictions will be in your life, because you are constantly growing, expanding. Every day new facts arise in your consciousness, and then the question arises to go with the reality that has been revealed today or just to remain consistent with your past, dead statements.
I am not such a coward as your philosophers and theologians are. I don’t bother about anything that I have said, ever. My whole concern is this moment. If it contradicts my whole life, it is perfectly okay, there is no harm, it is good. And I am not saying that I will remain tomorrow with the same statement. Tomorrow will bring its own light, tomorrow will bring its own experience, and only tomorrow will decide what statement I am going to make.
Q: But is there an unchangeable nucleus, then, in your vision?
Yes, my consciousness, my awareness. But that you cannot find in the books. That you can find only in yourself.
I am absolutely alert. Whatsoever I am saying, I am not saying according to some dogma, according to my own philosophy up to this moment. No, I am simply responding to this moment, to you. And I don’t care about anything else for the moment. I am a man who lives moment to moment. And whatsoever happens in the moment, I am available to it.
Q: Am I wrong when I say, when I try to describe your nucleus, the nucleus in your vision, as celebrating life?
No, that is just a by-product. The nucleus is consciousness, absolute consciousness. Out of it many things will be there: celebration of life, love, laughter. Out of it so many branches and so many flowers… but the nucleus remains consciousness. And that I have never contradicted in my whole life. I cannot, because whatsoever I have said, I have said with full consciousness. But that was in that moment.
For example, I may fall in love with a woman, and in that moment I may say to the woman that I will love her forever. And I am not cheating, I am not deceiving; that’s my response in that moment, and I am absolutely clear about it. But that does not mean that tomorrow I will not change. I am not saying that I will never change; I am simply stating my response to the moment. The next moment nobody knows what will happen, and the next moment I will not find myself chained by my own past.
So my approach is to go on dying to the past moment continuously so that you can be alive in the new moment that is coming. Death to the past, life to the present. And the future is going to come to you as present, never as past.
Q: That means, I think, try to live without tradition.
Q: And now my question is: this idea that you tried to describe of living out of the fullness of your consciousness and in this moment, here and now – is this idea not also a product of tradition?
No, because nobody has said it before. No tradition exists around this idea. Buddha was very consistent. Forty-two years’ teaching… you cannot find a single contradiction. In Buddha, Mohammed, you cannot find any contradiction. In Jesus you cannot find any contradiction either. These people lived according to a certain dogma. They were prisoners.
I am a free bird with no cage around me. And I want to break all the cages of everybody, so the whole sky is yours. Sometimes it is sunrise, sometimes it is sunset. Sometimes it is day and sometimes it is night. Things go on changing in existence, and a man of consciousness remains in harmony with existence, with the continuous flux of existence. My statements in the past are as dead as I am to the past.
Q: But we are all still reading the books you spoke in the past. Is that senseless then?
It is significant. But don’t trust those books against my present. Perhaps reading them you may be able to understand what I am saying now. All those contradictions and all those books will help you to understand my present state and my present statement about existence. That is their only use. If you can understand it without them, burn them. There is no need of all those books.
I have never read any of my books, and I am not ever going to look at them – because past is past, gone is gone, and I don’t live in a graveyard. Only dead people can be consistent, because they cannot contradict anymore. I am alive, and I am going to be alive to the very last breath of my life. My last breath will also be a statement, perhaps contradicting all that I have done and said before, so wait.
Q: So, it would be possible that at the end you would say, the very notion of enlightenment – forget it!
I can. I can say anything, I am so free. Don’t you see the beauty of freedom? You can say anything, you can live anything. There is no bondage on me. At the last moment I can say, “All this business of enlightenment is simply bullshit. Forget all about it,” – and perhaps a few people may get enlightened only when I say that.
Nobody can make a dogma out of me; nobody can be a pope after me, because he will be in so much trouble. Nobody can be a successor to me because he will not be able to manage all the contradictions, thousands of contradictions.
Q: So the only nucleus in your vision is Bhagwan himself.
Certainly. I am the centre of my circus and when I am gone, who bothers what happens to the circus?
Q: You said just a moment ago, “I want to shock people awake.” And I have the feeling that very often you shock with such a heaviness that you provoke a lot of aggression against yourself, against your sannyasins. Is this price worthwhile?
It is absolutely necessary – no question of its worthwhileness. I want their hostility, I want their aggressiveness, because their hostility and their aggressiveness is going to work in two ways. If my sannyasins are simply ignored, nobody takes any offense, that simply means I have nothing to offer to the world, no contribution, nothing new. It can be ignored. The only thing that I hate is to be ignored. Be aggressive – that I accept, because at least a certain relationship has started happening between me and the person who is aggressive.
Hostility is emotional and the beauty of the whole game is that the hostile person is burning himself. I am not hostile; I have simply triggered something in him and he is burning himself.
And nobody can remain hostile for long. It is a sickness. He has to find some way out of it. Either he has to forget all about me – which is impossible because I have hurt him so deeply…. Neither can he forgive me nor forget me – the only possible way is to come close to me and try to understand what I am doing. “Is it really right for me to be hostile to these people? Is it right for me to be so full of hate with these people?” And anybody who comes closer is going to change. This has been happening every day.
In Ahmedabad a man came and fell at my feet. I said, “What is the matter?” He was crying. He pulled out a big knife and he said, “I had come to kill you because what I have heard about you, that you are destroying the whole tradition of Hinduism, made me so angry, but when I heard you something suddenly changed in me. I could see that you are not interested in destroying any tradition. You are simply interested in helping people to find the truth, and if something has to be demolished on the way, removed from the way so the person can reach to the truth, you are doing that.” And he wanted to be initiated into sannyas.
Hate can very easily turn into love, just as love can turn into hate. They are two sides of the same coin.
So it is with full awareness that I am continuously creating enemies around the world. I don’t want anybody to go on sleeping without being disturbed. Perhaps a few of them may wake up. Most of them will take a turn, pull over their blanket and go to sleep again, but that is not my responsibility. If out of a hundred even one person wakes up and sees what has happened, that my hit over his head was not against him but was against his sleep, he will be grateful to me. Those who are hostile to me can be grateful to me if they wake up. If they don’t wake up, they are already asleep, let them sleep.
And what harm can anybody do to me? At the most they can kill me – that is nothing, because I have known everything that can be known and I have experienced everything that can be experienced. Now I am almost living a posthumous life. As far as I am concerned, I have come to the point beyond which there is nothing. And I am so blissful that if somebody wants to assassinate me I don’t see any harm in it.
People are afraid of death because they have not lived yet and death is coming closer. I have lived, I have tasted the nectar of life. Now there is no problem for me, so I can create as much hostility as possible in the hope that perhaps a few, out of thousands, may wake up. And they are waking up.
Q: Would you describe what is ordinarily understood as “mental health” in society… Would you describe this as sleep?
The society that exists today is retarded. Its mental age is below thirteen. It is worse than asleep. What do you expect of a seventy-year-old man, carrying a small intelligence of a thirteen-year-old boy? The distance between his intelligence and his life is so big.
This is sleep. The awakened person moves together almost as an organic unity. With his physical age, his mental age goes on growing. With his mental age, his spiritual awareness goes on growing. If a person really goes on growing simultaneously on all levels of life, then only you have a perfect Master someday. Otherwise, the so-called masters are masters just for those retarded people; the so-called saints, saints only for the retarded. And nobody wants – your politicians, your priests – nobody wants man to be intelligent because it is against their vested interests.
An intelligent man cannot be Catholic, an intelligent man cannot believe in the boundaries of nations, an intelligent man cannot conceive that white and black colours make any difference. An intelligent man will have a totally different vision of life.
These vested interests cannot allow this earth to become awake. Before it wakes up, they are ready with all their nuclear weapons to destroy it. It is such a calamity. To me, the destruction of life is not the real problem. The real problem is that man is now at a point where thousands of people can become enlightened, and the politicians are preparing to destroy this whole living beautiful earth.
Q: You mean within the community of sannyasins, these thousands of people who can be enlightened?
There are many who are not even sannyasins… they can be awakened. Man has gained a certain maturity…. Sannyasins certainly, but there are many who are potential sannyasins, like you; I can see you in the orange robe any day. It all depends on your courage. But I can see a man of intelligence in front of me, who can understand, and he would like to have his consciousness blossom to its fullest.
Q: Yes, Bhagwan, but it would be, for me, a blind gamble.
Every search is a blind gamble. Those who are afraid of blind gambles remain stuck and starve, they never grow. One has to take the risk. One has to stake everything. And as far as I have known, anybody who has taken the risk has never been a loser.
I don’t play the game of being a loser in any way. And if I tell my people to stake everything, I can say it with certainty, categorically, because I know that if they can stake and risk, they will be reborn.
There is an old story. A man was travelling and got lost in the night, in the mountains. He was really very much afraid, alone. The place was unknown, the road was lost, there was no light. As far as he could see, there was no village, no lamp. But still he tried to find his way, and then he slipped from a rock. Holding the roots of a tree, he was hanging.
The night was becoming colder and colder and he knew that soon he would not be able to keep a grip on the roots; the hands were becoming frozen. His death was near. He looked, and by the side, there was abysmal darkness. He knew there was a big valley by the side of the mountain and there was no chance of surviving.
Finally, his hands started slipping. There was no way to prevent it. But he was in for a great surprise. When the hands slipped and he thought, “This is my last moment,” and he prayed to his god in whom he believed, the roots slipped out of his hand and he was standing on the ground. There was nothing, and the whole night he had suffered. And it was getting to be sunrise and he could see that this was strange, he was standing on the road!
Risk is there, but I know the path. I know that if you are ready to lose your grip, you will be immediately on the clear ground, on the way; you are not going to lose anything. This is the whole function of the Master. The function of the Master is not to give you beliefs, is not to give you philosophy. His function is to give you confidence in yourself, to make you a gambler from a businessman.
Q: Bhagwan, when I get around your sannyasins – I get along very well with them, it’s pleasant to be with them – but I very often feel that they follow you blindly, and I don’t know if I am wrong or right but I very often get this feeling. For example, you said the other day it’s a good idea to produce test-tube babies. Now I’m sure, in some days, all your sannyasins know this idea of yours and they agree with you. Now, in two weeks you say something opposite – all your sannyasins agree with you.
That means they are also growing with me. That does not make any problem.
Q: But where is then the doubt and the responsibility for yourself? I cannot, even if I would love you deeply, I could not follow your opinions every day. Every day you change your opinions, don’t you?
That means you are not growing with me, you are lagging far behind. My sannyasins are my fellow travellers. Sometimes I walk fast, they have to walk fast. Sometimes I dance, they have to dance. Sometimes I just relax and they have to relax. They are just my fellow travellers. There is no philosophy, no belief, no faith. They are love, pure love towards me, just the way I am pure love towards them. It is a love affair.
Q: But you cannot decide to have a love affair.
Nobody decides. I am simply love. I never fall in love. I am in it, I am it. Others go on falling in love with me. But they don’t lose anything; the moment they fall in love with me, they have discovered their life’s juiciest moment. They could not have even dreamed about it. Your question is very relevant.
In the beginning, a sannyasin is baffled, confused that I said one thing yesterday and I am saying another thing today. Now what am I supposed to do? In the beginning, it happens to every sannyasin. Soon he starts understanding that what I say is not the point. Somewhere between my statements there is a gap. Between my words there is a gap. Between my lines there is a gap. That is my real statement.
Soon they start learning it, then they don’t care what I said yesterday and what I said today. They don’t compare. The gap is the same, the words have changed. The lines are different but between the lines…. The moment they start seeing me between the lines, between the statements, all their trouble disappears. And it is not belief.
Q: There is objectivity between those lines?
Q: May I ask quite another question? All over the world, and in the Netherlands also, we are very concerned with your Rolls Royces, of course, and I decided I have to ask a question about this.
You ask anything you want.
Q: So I would like to explain that I, myself, am the happy owner of a car of the Japanese make, Toyota Corolla. Now, I would rather have two of them, so I would have one in reserve but I couldn’t imagine what to do with three Toyotas. You have, if I am right, seventy-five Rolls Royces at your disposal. They’re not….
You’re not right. One has just arrived – and I have no problem. There are ninety Rolls Royces, and I have no problem; and you are having problems, even with three? Poor guy! And that, too, Toyotas, a third-rate car… just a toy. And just with three you are….
And I am soon going to have 365, and still there will be no problem. I don’t see any problem. I never go to the garage. I don’t even know what car they are going to give me today. My people are there and they are intelligent enough, they can take care of anything. If they can take care of ninety Rolls Royces, they will be able to take care of 365. This is their problem, not mine. And I don’t think they are troubled either… they look so happy. A new car arrives and they are rejoicing.
There is no problem in having two or three cars. The problem is somewhere else which, out of respect, you are not asking me.
Q: Where is the problem?
Yes. It is not the number. Your question is not Rolls Royces but Ethiopia, India, poor countries, poor people around the world. I am making it clear to you, because I can see it is there within you. A Rolls Royce is just to bring the question out, but you love me so you cannot ask directly. You are going around about… there is no need.
Q: May I phrase this question?
That’s what I was doing. You can phrase…. I was phrasing your question.
Q: My question, which I had written down for this, is why, in your vision, it is impossible to work on your own personal growth and at the same time help your neighbour? Why is it impossible to be a sannyasin and at the same time help Ethiopia?
Nobody is preventing anybody. I am not saying to my sannyasins, “Don’t help the neighbour.” I am telling them, “Help them!” And the only way to help them is to hit them. They are asleep, they have to be awakened first. Any other help will be coming later on. Set their houses on fire so they have to wake up and escape out, then we will catch hold of them.
I’m not preventing my people from helping, but again the same problem. Because you love me, you cannot say it directly – I have to phrase it for you.
Q: Please do.
You want that the poor should be given bread, butter, clothes, shelter, that there are sick people who need hospitals, that there are beggars in the world… something has to be done for them, and this should be my sannyasins’ responsibility.
I don’t consider it my sannyasins’ responsibility. If there are poor people in the world, the priests and the politicians, and the scientists and the educationalists all are guilty of it. They have created a world which has to be poor and they exploit the poverty in many ways. For example, this beautiful woman, Mother Teresa. I don’t think her face looks beautiful, but tastes differ. Your taste is a little strange. Would you like to get married to her? – then you will know how beautiful she is.
These people who have been serving the poor, catering to the poor, are helping the poor to remain poor. Otherwise, the poor either would have died out of poverty or would have gone through a great revolution and changed the whole society. Only two things are possible if no help is given to them. I want no help to be given to these people; they should take their own responsibility. If they are poor and they don’t want to go through a revolution, change the whole structure of the society, destroy the whole status quo, throw these governments away… and if you cannot do that, then at least you can die. Don’t unnecessarily be a nuisance around.
For example, in Ethiopia where thousands of people are dying every day, the priests and the bishops and the popes and politicians are all just sympathy for Ethiopia. And they are trying to send food, medicine, but their whole effort is very hypocritical. On the one hand they want to save the poor in Ethiopia, on the other hand they are piling up nuclear weapons. For whom? They are not life loving people, they are showing sympathy to Ethiopia just as part of diplomacy. It has nothing to do with service to humanity, because their small support that they are sending is not going to help, it has not helped. It is almost like dropping a teaspoon full of sugar in the ocean to make it sweet. Great responsibility you are fulfilling: you destroyed one cup of tea!
I am not in favour of sending any help to Ethiopia. Only one thing is possible: if these big dodos around the world, presidents and prime ministers and kings and queens, if they are really concerned with Ethiopia, then there are two alternatives for them. Stop piling up weapons and divert the whole money and energy towards Ethiopia, and Ethiopia will be saved today.
Or, if you cannot do that, then at least do one thing: send your medical people to inject these people with something that takes them into eternal sleep. It is better to die than to starve for ninety days and then die. It is compassionate. And there is no harm if there is no Ethiopia… what harm?
Q: So, if I understand you well, Bhagwan, you say that the misery in Ethiopia is very real.
Q:… And this reminds me of one of your discourses in which you said, “Your misery is bogus.” and this at the time made rather an impression on me, and I began to suspect that my personal misery is bogus indeed.
A: Mm hmm.
Q: But then I wondered, is the misery of this Ethiopian mother, seeing her child dying of starvation, bogus also?
It is a totally different context. When I said your misery is your responsibility, I meant your anxieties, your anguishes, your expectations, your frustrations, your aspirations, your ambitions which are not going to be fulfilled. I meant your mental anguish. That statement was in a totally different context.
But in Ethiopia, it is not that the mother is imagining that her child is dying. He is really dying. The child is not imagining that the mother is dying; the mother is really dying and soon she will be dead.
And fortunately in Ethiopia there are not Christian Scientists. There has been a movement in America of Christian Science. Christian Science has as one of its fundamentals that whatsoever you think becomes sooner or later a reality. Thoughts are the beginning of a certain reality.
I have heard the story that a young boy met an old Christian Scientist lady. The lady asked the boy, “I have not seen your father for many days. Is he not coming to the meetings of our group?” The boy said, “He’s sick. He’s in his bed.” The old woman said, “Nonsense. This is just mind. You just tell your father that he is only thinking he is sick: ‘Just think you are healthy. Think positively that you are healthy. Get out of your bed, be positive.’ Don’t fall into negativity – this is our whole philosophy: positive thinking.”
After three or four days, the boy meets the old woman again in the market and the old woman says, “What happened? Did you manage to convey the message to your father?” He said, “Now my father thinks he’s dead. And not only my father – everybody thinks he is no more in the house, he is in his grave!”
The misery in Ethiopia is real, objectively real, and these sympathies are not going to help. They are simply keeping people starving, dying. And it is better to die instantly rather than to wait and suffer all kinds of torture that this hungry man is bound to suffer.
And this is a thing to be understood, that a normally healthy man can live without food for ninety days, then he will die. Now, making these people suffer for ninety days does not seem to be compassionate. To me it is more compassionate that they are given injections so they go into eternal sleep. And anyway the soul does not die, so what is the problem? All these religions believe that the soul does not die, so what is the problem?
Communists believe that when you die, everything dies. Then, too, there is no problem. I don’t see a problem from any side. And if Ethiopia is not there, who bothers? What has Ethiopia contributed to the world?
Q: Do I understand you correctly, that you say nobody should do anything about Ethiopia?
I am saying either do – that means stop piling nuclear weapons, that is my first alternative. If you are really sympathetic towards dying people, then why are you creating weapons for death? That is simple hypocrisy. Stop! If you are really concerned with dying people, then whatsoever is happening in Ethiopia is nothing to what has happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Those few moments, the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have suffered as much as one can suffer in the Christian hell. And you have now seven hundred times more nuclear weapons than there were available at the time of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And they go on piling up.
On the one hand, seventy-five percent of the income of every country goes to war; and on the other hand, these politicians really have beautiful masks. And they must be having many because they have to change again and again. When Ethiopia is there and people are dying, you are so sympathetic and you want to save Ethiopia…. These two things don’t go together, they are inconsistent.
So my first alternative is that the nations should stop creating more war, and the poverty not only from Ethiopia but from the whole world will disappear today. The poverty is there because our whole energy is involved with war, with the preparation for war.
And if you cannot do it, then at least don’t be a hypocrite. Be direct and say, “Let Ethiopia die. We don’t care. We are going to make more nuclear weapons and we are going to have a third world war, and what does it matter?” The whole world is going to end in the Third World War. Ethiopia will be saved from nuclear weapons, they will die before that. That’s perfectly good. Let them die, but don’t be a hypocrite.
Q: Bhagwan, if President Reagan would decide to ask you to be his advisor, what would you advise him in regard to these nuclear arms?
Just tell your scientists to find some creative use for all these weapons, because you cannot throw them into the Pacific; sooner or later they will explode just by accident. You cannot throw them into the Atlantic, you cannot throw them and bury them under the earth. Anytime, anything can trigger them and they can explode your own country or somebody else’s. But energy is neutral, energy is never decisive whether it can destroy or it can create. It depends on the direction that the human mind gives it.
If the human mind can create nuclear weapons to destroy, it can change nuclear power into construction. It can create more electricity, it can give better rains, it can give better earth. It can do miracles.
So much energy is piled up in these two nations, and smaller piles in smaller nations, that if they all simply think once, “What are we doing? Our scientists should be together….”
My advice is that the scientists should not be under any national regime. There should be a world academy of scientists who can decide how to convert nuclear weapons and energy into positive things. It is possible.
Q: But practically, should the United States disarm?
I am not saying disarm. Changing nuclear weapons into creativity does not mean disarm; because you have many more arms than just the nuclear weapons. You could fight the First World War without weapons, you could fight the Second World War – you had already won before you threw the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Germany had already surrendered and Japan was on the verge of surrendering.
Atomic and nuclear weapons should be completely converted to serve humanity. And go back before the First World War: those bombs and those airplanes are good. Whenever you feel an itch to fight, fight!
Up to the First World War I allow; then fight. It is perfectly good once in a while, good exercise. But I am not ready to accept the Third World War. Every effort should be made to prevent it – and this is a beautiful chance.
Ethiopia, India and other countries of the third world are on the verge; any moment there will be more Ethiopias. It is good we start transforming that energy into something positive and creative that can help these people who are dying.
If you cannot do it – remember my condition – if you cannot do it, then don’t unnecessarily try to pretend that you are Christians and Catholics and Protestants, and you are sending money and you are sending blankets, and you are sending clothes and food. It is not going to help, it has never helped before. This has been happening again and again through history. Just be very clear and send medical teams so all Ethiopians in one night go into eternal sleep. At least they will not be hungry tomorrow morning.
And you will be at ease, Ethiopia will not be a troublesome problem for you. So I am giving two alternatives. And remember my first priority is to stop nuclear weapons piling up more and more, and divert the whole money that you are wasting on nuclear weapons.
My second alternative is: if that is not possible, then just simply accept the fact that we cannot save Ethiopia, but we can at least help them to die peacefully. We cannot help them to live peacefully, at least we can help them to die peacefully. And that will be really great compassion on the part of politicians. Rather than leaving them starving, dying, getting tortured by hunger…. For four years there have been no rains. Water has become almost impossible to get. Not only food is not available, water is not available.
And it is only in one country right now, but soon India will be joining it, because half of the Indian continent is starving. And you will be surprised to know that the Indian prime minister is selling wheat to other countries. Fifty percent of his own nation is starving and the wheat is being sold because he wants a nuclear plant in India. Can you see the stupidity of this whole thing?
Q: May I change to a subject with a bit more fun?
You can change.
Q: In the press conference, you described your commune as a circus and yourself as a great showman, the greatest in the world. Were you mocking yourself and your commune? Why did you say it?
Again, you are bringing the past here. Forget all about that nonsense. I am a showman? And my people a circus? I contradict it completely.
Q: How would you describe it now?
Yes… there is no circus here. This is the only place where a circus is not happening.
Q: And you are a serious teacher?
I am a very non-serious teacher! And I have already forgotten about what news conference you are talking! I just respond to you. Why drag the dead unnecessarily out of their graves? Let them sleep silently. You are alive, I am alive, we can have an existential encounter.
And I see the potentiality in you, that’s why I am saying that. I would not have said it to another person. I have been interviewed every night, every evening – and now this is going to be continuous – but I would not have said that to another journalist. I don’t see you just as a journalist, I see you more as a seeker. I see you more as a human being. And I see your heart throbbing with me, in tune with me, that’s why I am saying it. Otherwise, I can go on answering about the past, anything that comes to my mind, there is no problem about it.
I love jokes. And to joke on other people’s account is not very good, not nice. So, once in a while, I joke upon myself, upon my people. And it was simply a joke, and those idiotic newspaper journalists thought it is something serious. Do you think a showman will sit here in the desert? Is this the place for a showman? Then I would have chosen Hollywood. On the contrary, I have pulled all my Hollywood people here.
In this desert, 126 square miles, I am sitting the whole day in my room. I only come out twice: in the morning to talk with the sannyasins, in the evening to talk with any interviewer. What kind of a showman do you think I am? This is not the way of being a showman.
The showman has to be always running – like Mother Teresa. She is in New York, she is in Chicago, she is in Washington, she is receiving a Nobel Prize in Norway, she is in India, Calcutta. I wonder when she gets the time to serve the poor people. All the time she is moving around the world, becoming a bigger and bigger celebrity. The more she is becoming senile, the bigger a celebrity she is becoming. And when does she serve the poor people? She is inaugurating colleges, schools, hospitals….
I don’t have any time for showmanship. I will tell you my routine and you will see: from where can I get the time? Six o’clock in the morning, I wake up. That too, my caretaker, Vivek, has to wake me up, otherwise I will not wake up. Who cares to wake up again? I have been waking for half a century again and again. It is enough.
But she wakes me up, gives me a cup of tea. Just to be respectful to her, I drink the tea. My tea is not much, it is just water and tea leaves. No sugar, no milk. If that kind of tea is served in heaven, all the saints will start moving towards hell. Then – I have always loved water, from my very childhood – one and a half hours in the morning I am in my bathroom, enjoying the bathtub, the shower; and the same in the evening, one and a half hours again.
After my bath, immediately I have to get into the car and move to the Mandir where my people are waiting. Back to my place, it is lunchtime. I take my lunch at eleven, and go to sleep again, which I have done most of my life. I had to miss my classes when I was a student, and my teachers allowed it because if they did not allow, then I used to sleep in the class. I said, “There is no way… I have to sleep these two hours.”
When I was a professor, I was sleeping two hours and I had told the vice-chancellor that during these two hours no classes should be given to me; otherwise I would be sleeping there.
At two o’clock I wake up, and for one hour I go for a ride. That is the only time I come in contact with the Rolls Royces. I love driving, and I have certainly one of the most beautiful roads, because it is made by my sannyasins only for me. There is no traffic, so I need not bother whether I am driving on the right or on the left. The whole road belongs to me. One hour there and back home.
One and a half hours I simply sit silently in my chair doing nothing and let the grass grow by itself. Then my bath.
After the bath, I take my supper; and after the supper, I am here. I will be back there nearabout nine, nine-thirty. Then comes my personal secretary – with letters from all over the world; news cuttings about me from all over the world, anything that the personal secretary feels I need to know – because I don’t read. Since five years I have stopped reading anything: books, newspapers, magazines, anything.
The clippings that my personal secretary brings she has to read; I simply listen. Nearabout eleven, I go to bed again. Now, where will I find the time to be a showman? Yes, you can look at my dress and think it looks like the dress of a showman. It is not, it is the love of my people. I am dressing for them. They make beautiful dresses, they enjoy making them for me. I cannot refuse them. And to whom am I going to show? I never go out of this place.
You see my watch? I have hundreds. My people are really intelligent people – no Master in the whole history can claim such an intelligent group. Now, this is made by my sannyasins. It has already defeated Piaget – and it is made of real stones, not diamonds.
Q: Real stones?
Real stones, not diamonds. So don’t carry the idea that it is a fake watch. Real stones are as real as real diamonds; there is no question of its being fake.
I just heard on television one stupid journalist saying that I have been using fake watches. I cannot understand: so authentic stones and you call it a fake watch? It’s time is absolutely perfect; in a year only one second will be the difference, and that is the best any watch can do. It is as beautiful as any diamond. The same watch from Piaget is a half million dollars, just because of an idiotic idea that diamonds have some value. This watch costs nothing, but I will not sell it even for ten million dollars because it is invaluable. It is made with such great love that it is not a saleable thing. Love cannot be sold. But to whom am I going to show the watch? My people know my dresses, my people know my watches, my people know me. I don’t mix with anybody else, I don’t go anywhere else. As far as I am concerned, the Third World War has happened, and only Rajneeshpuram is saved. There is nowhere else to go.
I was simply joking. And my people are working hard, twelve hours, fourteen hours a day, transforming a desert into an oasis – and do you think these people constitute a circus?
You will not find anywhere in the world such hardworking people, and they are not being paid, because we don’t believe in any way inside the commune that money should be used. There is no need. We fulfil our needs, our food, our clothes, everything, so nobody needs any money. Whatsoever he needs, he can get.
These people are working so hard, and for what? To entertain somebody? These people are creative people. They love me and now they want to materialize my vision into reality. And they are ready to do anything for it. In festival times, they are working fourteen, sixteen hours a day with no complaint. Nobody is telling them or forcing them.
Q: You’re not suggesting them?
No. Not at all. I never talk to them about these things. I never talk about the commune, about any mundane things. They are intelligent enough that they can manage themselves. And they are doing so well that it cannot be improved.
Q: It was their idea, it was not your idea, this commune?
It is my vision, and their love for my vision, but the idea to materialize it is theirs. I am a dreamer: I can give you beautiful dreams, and I give for free – I don’t charge for them. But then if you get caught up in the dream and you start trying to materialize it, that is your responsibility. I simply watch from the outside.
It is not a circus. The Vatican may be a circus, and with Pope the Polack it is bound to be a circus. Nothing more can be expected of this thick head. I was just joking, laughing. And our people were there in the press conference and they enjoyed. You should listen to the video of the press conference, then you will see how much our people enjoyed and how silly the journalists looked. They could not manage to ask any significant question.
But you need not bother about those people. You have a certain acquaintance with me, so I know these answers will be enough for you. If you want to add something, you can add – I give you the authority. I love you and I trust you. I know you cannot do anything that will be against me.
Q: Thank you.
Osho, The Last Testament Vol 1, Ch 17
Interview with Willem Sheer from Pers Unie, The Hague, Netherlands
[NOTE: This discourse is published in the book: The Last Testament, Volume 1, as Chapter 28.]