Q: You have defined yourself as the rich man’s guru. Don’t the other people interest you? Are the rich particularly in need of a guru? Or are you their guru because they have money?
The first thing to be understood: I have not defined myself as the rich man’s guru. It is the yellow journalism, which dominates the mind of the masses around the world, which came up with the definition. I simply accepted it with my own meanings. They were saying it to be derogatory, but my meaning is totally different.
A Vincent van Gogh is far more rich than Henry Ford. Richness does not mean only wealth or money; richness is a multidimensional phenomenon. A poet may be poor, but he has a sensitivity that no money can purchase. He is richer than any rich man. A musician may not be rich, but as far as his music is concerned, no wealth is richer than his music.
To me the rich man is one who has sensitivity, creativity, receptivity. The man of wealth is only one of the dimensions. According to me the man of wealth is also a creative artist: he creates wealth. Not everybody can be a Henry Ford. His talents should be respected, although what he creates is mundane. It cannot be compared to Mozart’s music or Nijinsky’s dance, or Jean-Paul Sartre’s philosophy. But still, he creates something which is valuable, utilitarian, and the world would be better if there were many more Henry Fords.
So when I accepted the definition, my meaning was richness in any dimension. Only a rich being can have some connection with me. A certain sensitivity is absolutely needed, a certain vision is needed.
A poor man is one whose mind is retarded – he may have immense wealth; that does not matter – who cannot understand classical music, who cannot understand poetry, who cannot understand philosophy, who cannot understand the high flights of human spirit. Yes, one of the dimensions of poverty is a man who cannot even produce money. He is the poorest of the poor, because money is such a mundane thing. If you cannot create it, you simply show that you don’t have intelligence enough.
The poor people of the world are responsible for their poverty. Who is telling them to go on producing children – and each child makes them more poor. Who is telling them to go on living superstitiously? – and each superstition hinders their growth towards wealth. Who is telling them that they should believe that they are poor because in their past lives they had been doing evil acts? And why should they accept all this nonsense?
Why should they not listen to intelligence? – that a poor man should not produce children, he should produce wealth. But he produces children, he does not produce wealth. It is a strange phenomenon that the wealthier countries are losing population, and the poorer countries are increasing so fast that there is a danger for the whole world. Right now there are five billion people. It was thought just five years ago that by the end of this century there will be five billion people. The estimate of the economists and the mathematicians is far behind people’s productivity. We are already five billion. By the end of the century we will be six billion.
And if you say to these people to use birth control, to use the pill, that you don’t need children, they don’t listen to you. You are against their religion; you are against their tradition!
Now, how can I have contact with these people? Even on mundane affairs there is no possibility of communication. So when I said that I accept the definition, my meaning was clear. Only somebody who has a richness of mind, of being, is capable of understanding something about meditation, something about the flight of the ultimate, of the universal.
People who are hungry, starving… Do you think if you go to Ethiopia and start teaching meditation, people are going to listen to you? They will kill you. They will eat you rather than listen to your meditation techniques!
There are certain basic necessities which should be fulfilled; there is a hierarchy. First your bodily needs should be fulfilled; then your psychological needs should be fulfilled. Only then for the first time you become hungry for spiritual experiences. Now what can I do about it? – that is the nature of things. If water evaporates at one hundred degrees heat, what can I do? I cannot persuade it to evaporate at ninety-nine degrees. It is the nature of things.
And this is the hierarchy: bodily needs first, then psychological needs second, and only then spiritual needs. What I can give to you concerns your hunger for spiritual growth. If it is not there, I cannot create it. If it is there, I can show you the path.
You can see it. I have not been seeking out and going to the rich people. Those who have come to me have come on their own. Their thirst has brought them to me. I have not been going after people, persuading them – like Christian missionaries, “Become a Christian,” – promising them all kinds of goods in the future life.
When I was a professor, one day a woman stopped my car and gave me a pamphlet with a beautiful house on the front page, a river passing by, beautiful trees, mountains. And the pamphlet said, “Are you interested in this house?”
I said, “I have never seen such a house in this city, but perhaps somebody has made it and perhaps he is wanting to sell it.” So I opened the pamphlet and looked into it, and I found that if you follow Jesus Christ, then in the coming life after death you will have such a house in paradise.
I have not been giving any promises to anybody. I have not been going after anybody. Millions of people – those who have come to me – have come on their own.
And now you can see for yourself. Those who have come have a certain richness of some kind or other; it is not only the money. I have around me people of all talents, people of different kinds of genius. Somehow my very approach prevents those people who will not be benefited from coming close to me. Even if they come accidentally, they disappear; they don’t stay. They don’t become part of my world. They don’t share the vision with me.
Nobody is sorting out who are the rich and who are the poor, and that the poor should be sent back and the rich should be retained. No scrutiny is going on. But by some existential arrangement I can attract only those people who are very talented, immensely intelligent, very rich in some quality of life. Only from that angle of richness will they have a connection with me.
And the yellow journalists go on saying sensational things to people, meaningless, false, ugly – because I am not a guru. If I have to define it I will say, “I am only a friend, a friend of all those who have talents, intelligence and some urge for spiritual growth.” To me they are the rich people.
Osho, Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries, Ch 3, Q 23 (excerpt)