Osho speaks on the Hindu mythology about the history of consciousness…
The first age of humanity, the very beginning, is called satyuga, the age of truth. Every man is naturally a buddha, just like a child – no fear, no greed, a perfect balance. To describe the balance, they say that the first age is like a table which has four legs, perfectly balanced.
The second age – one leg falls away. Still there is some balance, but that old certainty is no longer there. Because of the three legs, the second age is called treta; treta means three.
And the third – another leg falls away, man is becoming poorer and poorer. The third age is called dwapar; dwapar means two legs.
And we are in the fourth stage. It is a beautiful symbology: we have lost all balance, we are only standing on one leg. How long can you stand on one leg? And life has become inwardly poorer….
This metaphor of describing ages is not just a metaphor. It certainly has significance and meaning. It shows that man has become less and less alive, less and less connected with the totality, less and less joyful. Sadness has gathered all around, and the night seems to be unending.
And because everybody is miserable, any new child, a newcomer into the world, thinks such is life, accepts it. Everybody is miserable, everybody is in turmoil, everybody is in anxiety, so perhaps this is the way life is… unless you come across a buddha, and that has become more and more rare, more and more difficult.
When you see a buddha, the first unconscious reaction is to reject him because he offends you. His very presence is a challenge – “Why is he so happy and peaceful, and why am I in such an anguish? He should live according to everybody else, according to the crowd. Why is he living as an individual in his own right? He should be a sheep, he should not be a shepherd.” They cannot tolerate it. Their own best and the highest peaks of consciousness which can make them aware of their potentialities, they destroy.
Osho, The Zen Manifesto, Ch 9, Q 1 (excerpt)