Are we ready for the next disaster?
This headline was recently published in the Jakarta Post, Indonesia. This country is a huge archipelago of more than 17,000 islands of which about 6,000 are inhabited; it straddles the equator and is part of the ‘Ring of Fire’ with the largest number of active volcanoes in the world. It is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, floods, landslides, droughts, epidemics and more. Minor and medium-sized earthquakes occur on a daily basis.
After the huge 9.3 earthquake in the Indian Ocean and following tsunami that hit the region in December 2004, several safety measures and early warning systems were implemented all along the critical coastlines. Safety regulations have been made public and the general populace got over the trauma and went on with life. Yet a few weeks ago, an 8.5 magnitude earthquake hit the same region and all systems in place either didn’t work or not as fast as one would have been hoped for. A tsunami did not happen – this time.
So no, we are not ready for the next disaster because on the purely physical level nobody can possibly be. And these catastrophes happen not only in so-called third world countries, but anywhere, here, now. Every disaster has a unique signature and only one thing in common: it happens out of the blue, as do also nuclear ones as we have witnessed in Chernobyl and in Fukushima. So preparations for a destructive event won’t work. What can?
Osho answers to the question, “With the threat of nuclear destruction, how can we be ‘joyful and serene’?”
What else can you do? Time is short – dance, sing, be joyous! If there were no nuclear destruction possible, no threat, you could have postponed. You could have said, “Tomorrow we will dance.” But now there may be no tomorrow; you cannot postpone.
This is for the first time that tomorrow is absolutely doubtful. It has always been doubtful, but this time it is absolutely doubtful. Individually it is always doubtful: tomorrow may never come, even the next breath may not come in. Individually death is always imminent, but this time it is something global, universal. The whole earth may disappear, may explode; not only all human beings, birds, animals, trees, the whole life on earth may be gone.
Now it is up to you. You can cry and weep and you can beat your head against the wall; that will not stop nuclear destruction and its threat. In fact it may bring it closer and faster because sad people, miserable people, are dangerous people. Misery creates destructiveness.
But if the whole humanity can start dancing, rejoicing, feasting – seeing that the threat is very close by…. The third world war can start any moment. The foolish politicians have enough atomic energy piled up to destroy this earth not only once but seven hundred times. That many atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs, have accumulated that we can kill each person seven hundred times – although a person dies only once. But politicians don’t want to take any chance, so seven hundred times you can be killed. It will not be needed, one time will do – because we have heard only one story of resurrection; that is Jesus Christ. And even if Jesus Christ is resurrected and everybody is gone, what is he going to do? He will have to commit suicide.
Rejoice! – because then there is a possibility. If the whole earth can become full of joy it will be less possible to destroy – because who is going to destroy it? We are the people; it is up to us to decide that we want to live or that we want to commit suicide. If we start a new climate in the world – of rejoicing, of dancing, of singing, of meditation, of prayer – and if people become full of bliss, cheerfulness, laughter…. If the world is full of laughter, there is every possibility we can avoid nuclear destruction, because joyous people don’t want to destroy, they want to create.
And anyway, you are going to die. Whether the whole earth remains or not does not matter. You are going to die, that much is certain. How does it matter to you whether the world continues after you or not? If it continues, good; if it does not continue, good. How does it matter to you? You will not be here anymore. As far as you are concerned, death is absolutely certain. Still you love, still you sing, you listen to music, so what difference does it make?
If destruction has become global, we have to make laughter and dancing also global, in the same proportion, to counteract it. Why be sad? And what are you going to gain by sadness? Is it going to help in any way? It may be just a trick of the mind to keep you sad, it may be just a defense. You must be sad; now you are trying to find more and more rationalizations for remaining sad. And this is a beautiful rationalization, that, “What are you talking about? Telling people to dance and sing and rejoice, and the world is on the verge of destruction? Tell people to be sad; tell people to cry and weep and forget all laughter and forget all love!” Is that going to help in any way? It will bring the universal suicide closer.
But somewhere deep down in you there is a sadness that does not want to leave you, and that sadness is trying to find rationalizations.
David came from an orthodox family. One day he announced, “Mama, I am going to marry an Irish girl named Maggie Coyle.”
The woman froze in shock. “That’s nice, David,” she said, “but don’t tell your papa. You know he has got a weak heart. And I would not tell your sister, Ida – remember how strongly she feels about religious questions. And don’t mention it to your brother, Louis – he might give you a bust in the mouth. Me, it is alright you told. I’m gonna commit suicide anyway.”
Somewhere deep down you must have a suicidal instinct. You are just finding rationalizations.
Yes, I know the world is facing a danger, but each individual has always faced the danger of death. Still Jesus says: Rejoice and rejoice! And again I say unto you, rejoice! And in fact, Jesus was saying to people, “This world is to be destroyed soon. The Day of Judgment is very close by.” It was never so close as it is now. Jesus was wrong! Twenty centuries have passed, and he was saying to people, “In your very life you will see the Day of Judgment!” His prophecy was not fulfilled.
In fact he was not a prophet, he was a mystic. He was saying these things for a totally different purpose. He was saying, “The Day of Judgment is very close by – transform yourself! Don’t waste time, don’t postpone!”
Now the day of universal death is really close by, so don’t postpone. Rejoice, rejoice, I say unto you again and again, rejoice – because if you can die rejoicing, you will transcend death, you will go beyond death.
One who can die blissfully never dies, because in death he comes to know immortality.
And if the time is short, then you have to spread this orange laughter all over the world. Then it is time that we should make people more and more joyous. Tell them that death can take over this earth any moment – the days are numbered – because the politicians are fools, and the fools have so much power now that it is a sheer miracle that the third world war has not happened yet. It should have happened. Why it has not happened yet is a mystery. Having all these stupid politicians all over the world having all the power…. Just pushing a button and the process can be triggered, and within ten minutes the whole earth will be on fire – a fire that can melt steel and rock, a fire that will melt everything. The whole earth can explode.
This is good news! You don’t have time to waste. Come on – join the dance!”
Osho, The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 4