Silence is easy if you are ready to renounce bliss.
That’s what has been done for centuries by the so-called religious saints: they have decided to be silent and for that they have dropped the idea of being cheerful, blissful, joyous. But then their silence is dead, then their silence is no longer breathing, then their silence has no music, then their silence is like a graveyard. You can whitewash the graves, you can keep them clean, you can even grow roses, but a graveyard is a graveyard. You can try to hide the facts, but they are there. And how long can you deceive? Maybe you can deceive others, but you cannot deceive yourself. You know that something in you has died; the moment you dropped cheerfulness, something in you stopped singing.
It is because of these escapist, so-called religious people that religion has become a graveyard. You can see the vibe of this death in the churches, in the synagogues, in the temples, in the mosques. Wherever your so-called religious people gather together they are always deadly serious. They cannot laugh – they have become incapable of laughter. They are absolutely cold, they cannot be warm, because they are afraid of warmth. Warmth means love, warmth means joy, warmth means bliss, warmth means laughter. Just to be silent they went on cutting everything that could have disturbed their silence. Their silence is very arbitrary; a silence that can be disturbed is not much of a silence. Only a silence which cannot be disturbed is true silence – but there is no need to escape from the world.
What is the fear of the world? Why have these people been running away from the world? The fear is within them, it is not in the world. They are afraid that if they are in the world they may fall in love, they may start enjoying something, they may start living. Where so many people are alive they may start forgetting their commitment to silence. They may start singing! Afraid of the possibility, of their inner potential, they escape from the opportunity where it can be realized. They imprison themselves in caves, in monasteries. Of course they become silent, but their silence is worthless; it has no value at all. It is not sacred – it is not even alive, how can it be sacred? Nothing grows out of it; it is a desert. It is absolutely impotent. It is uncreative, insensitive.
That’s why I am against the old, routine religious attitude, its escapist tendencies. I am against renunciation, I am all for rejoicing. I would like the temples to be full of laughter, the churches to be full of joy, the mosques full of music and dancing.
Do you know that the mosque avoids music so much that you cannot even play on any instrument before a mosque – it may create a riot. In India it happens almost every day in some part or other. Even if you start playing on a flute in front of a mosque you are against the Mohammedans – you are doing something wrong. Playing on the flute! You may be playing the tunes of the Koran, but music cannot be allowed in the mosque, not even in the close proximity of it. Such fear of music? Such fear of joy? Such fear of life?
… these negative minds
have dominated the past.
It is good that these so-called religious people were not able to convince the majority of humanity – they could not convince because their whole approach was life-negative; they could not convince because not so many people are as suicidal as they were. They could not convince the major part of humanity for the simple reason that people are not so sado-masochistic. But they could get hold of a few sado-masochistic people, psychologically ill people, suicidal people. They could get hold of a few negative minds, and these negative minds have dominated the past.
I want to introduce affirmation, and that’s the beauty of the Upanishads: they are affirmative. The Upanishadic vision is the only affirmative vision that has happened in the past, but it is strange that even Hindus who go on reading the Upanishads can’t see its life-affirmative approach. They remain life-negative, they remain escapists. They go on interpreting the Upanishads in such a way that they lose all meaning – in fact, they go on imposing just the opposite meaning on the Upanishads. They turn and twist the words in such a way that affirmation becomes negation, that yes becomes no. They are very skilful.
Scholars are skilful people. They know how to play with words, they are hair-splitters. They create much dust, so much dust that you can’t see what is happening. They create so much smoke of logic that you start forgetting what the real question was.
But the Upanishads are life-affirmative, totally life-affirmative.
It is easy to have silence if you are ready to renounce bliss, but renouncing bliss means renouncing life, renouncing life means renouncing God. Then that silence is of no worth at all – you have committed suicide. Of course, the man who has committed suicide is silent…
Osho, Philosophia Ultima, Ch 9 (excerpt)