The death of this Earth is not far away


Beloved Osho,

Why have human beings gone through this struggle since the very beginning? Were there not already highly developed civilizations living on this earth? And yet their consciousness got lost and man had to start all over again.

Right now it seems to be a particularly dark period. Is there such a cosmic law that says, “only out of the mud the lotus can grow”? And will this earth ever become a garden of flowers? In deep gratitude and love.

Osho 173

Prem Jaldhara, the question that you have asked has tremendous implications in it. First, there have been many civilizations before our civilization which have reached to even higher peaks, but they all destroyed themselves because all those civilizations, including ours, have been growing in a deep imbalance. They developed great technologies, but they forgot that even the greatest technological progress is not going to make man more blissful, more peaceful, more loving, more compassionate.

Man’s consciousness has not grown with the same pace as his scientific progress, and that has been the cause of all the old civilizations destroying themselves. There was no outer cause, no outer enemy – the enemy was within man. He created monsters as far as machines are concerned, but he himself remained very retarded, unconscious, almost asleep. And it is very dangerous to give so much power to unconscious people.

All the power
in the hands of

The same is happening today. Politicians are the lowest kind as far as consciousness is concerned. They are clever, they are cunning, they are mean, too; and they make every effort for a single goal – how to be more powerful. Their only desire is for more power – not for more peace, not for more being, not for more truth, not for more love.

And what do you need more power for? – to dominate others, to destroy others. All the power accumulates in the hands of unconscious people. So on the one hand, politicians in all the civilizations that have developed and died – it would be better to say have committed suicide – had all the power in their hands. And on the other hand the genius of human intelligence was searching for more and more technological, scientific ways, and all that they discovered finally had to go into the hands of the politicians.

It was Albert Einstein who wrote a letter to President Roosevelt. He had escaped from Germany. In Germany he was researching atomic theory for Adolf Hitler, but reluctantly, because he was a Jew, and Adolf Hitler was killing Jews in such vast numbers that it seemed unbelievable. A single man killed six million Jews inside Germany. During the second world war Adolf Hitler was responsible for killing maybe fifty million people.

Seeing the situation – of course Albert Einstein was not going to be killed, he was too valuable – he escaped from Germany. He did not want to make the atom bomb for Adolf Hitler. It was a simple human reaction – so many of his people, his friends, had been killed. He wrote a letter to President Roosevelt of America: “I can come to America and I can create the atom bomb. I have the whole secret with me. And whosoever has the atom bomb is going to be the victor in the second world war.” Immediately Roosevelt invited him and created all the facilities to make the atom bomb.

…it was a destruction
that was not needed.

By the time the atom bomb was ready, Roosevelt was no longer president; Truman had come in his place. Germany was defeated, and it was only a question of seven days at the most – that’s what all military experts of the world agree before Japan was going to surrender. There was no way… because all the power had been coming from Germany. Japan was only an associate. And even American generals advised Truman, “Now there is no need to use atom bombs. With ordinary bombs, within seven days, Japan will have to surrender.” But Truman would not listen.

Again Albert Einstein wrote a letter, saying that now there was no need. But now who cares about Albert Einstein? The bombs are in the hands of the president. And Truman, for no reason at all, bombed two cities of Japan, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Big cities… each city had more than one hundred thousand people, and within five minutes all those people had evaporated. Such destruction had never been heard of. And it was a destruction which was not needed.

Truman was in a hurry. He was afraid that if Japan surrendered, then there would be no opportunity to use atomic bombs, which had been created with so much money. And he would not be able to show the whole world that America was the greatest power, that he was the man who holds the key to the greatest power. Those bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not meant just to defeat Japan. Their basic purpose was totally different – an ego fulfillment for President Truman: “I am the greatest, the most powerful man in the whole world, and my nation has come to the top.” This has been happening again and again.

The destruction
is not coming
from some other planet,
we are preparing
our own graves.

Before the second world war, nobody was ready to believe that such destructive weapons had ever existed. In the old scriptures of India, the story of the Mahabharata, the great Indian war of five thousand years ago, is just mythological. It was inconceivable that such powerful weapons were available five thousand years ago. But since the second world war it is now absolutely clear from the description in the Mahabharata, that they had discovered something close to atomic energy. They destroyed a great civilization, but the destruction came from within their own civilization.

Again we are moving towards the same situation. The destruction is not coming from some other planet, we are preparing our own graves. We may be aware, we may not be aware – we are all grave diggers, and we are all digging our own graves. Right now there are only five nations who are in possession of nuclear weapons. And nuclear weapons are millions of times more powerful than the second world war atom bombs. Now scientists say that compared to modern nuclear weapons, the second world war atom bombs seem to be like firecrackers.

When this civilization
is destroyed,
people may think
it was a natural calamity.
It is not.
We have created it.

By the year 2010, twenty-five other nations will also be nuclear powers. It is going to be beyond control – thirty nations having so much destructiveness that a single nation could destroy the whole earth. A single crazy man, a single politician, to show his power, can destroy the whole of civilization; and you have to begin from ABC. And the destruction is not only of humanity. With humanity die all the companions of humanity – the animals, the trees, the birds, the flowers – everything disappears, everything that is alive.

The reason is an imbalance in our evolution. We go on developing scientific technology without bothering at all that our consciousness should also evolve in the same proportion. In fact, our consciousness should be a little ahead of our technological progress.

If our consciousness were in the state of enlightenment…. In the hands of a Gautam Buddha, nuclear weapons are no longer dangerous. In the hands of a Gautam Buddha, nuclear weapons will be turned into some creative force – because force is always neutral; either you can destroy with it or you can find ways to create something. But right now our powers are great, and our humanity is very small. It is as if we have given bombs into the hands of children, to play with.

You are asking, “Why have human beings gone through this struggle since the very beginning?” It is the imbalance between the inner and the outer. The outer is easier; and the outer is objective. For example, one man, Thomas Alva Edison, creates electricity, and the whole of humanity uses it; there is no need for everyone to discover it again and again.

Inner growth is a totally different phenomenon. A Gautam Buddha may become enlightened, but that does not mean that everybody else becomes enlightened. Each individual has to find the truth by himself. So whatsoever happens on the outside goes on accumulating, piling up; all scientific progress goes on piling up. Each scientist is standing on the shoulders of other scientists. But the evolution of consciousness does not follow the same law. Each individual has to discover it by himself; he cannot stand upon the shoulders of somebody else.

Anything objective can be shared, can be taught in the schools, in the colleges, in the universities. But the same is not true about subjectivity. I may know everything about the inner world, still I cannot hand that over to you. It is one of the fundamental laws of existence that the inner truth has to be discovered by each individual by his own efforts. It cannot be purchased in the marketplace, nor can it be stolen. Nobody can give it to you as a gift. It is not a commodity, it is not material; it is an immaterial experience.

One can give evidence by his individuality, by his presence, by his compassion, by his love, by his silence. But these are only evidences that something has happened inside him. He can encourage you. He can tell you that you are not going inside in vain – you will find treasures, as I have found. Each master is nothing but an argument, an evidence, an eyewitness. But the experience remains individual. Science becomes social, technology becomes social; meditation remains individual. That is the basic problem: how to create balance.

All the civilizations in the past…. A civilization existed on Atlantis, a vast continent that was drowned in the Atlantic Ocean. It was thought that that too is mythology, but recent researchers have proved that still there are remnants five miles deep under the water, of great cities. And the same happened with another continent, smaller than Atlantis – Lemuria. That too was drowned in the ocean.

…they had no

It seems to the superficial observer that it must have been a natural calamity – perhaps a great earthquake, a movement of the earth, an entering of the ocean into those great cities, volcanoes – but something natural must have happened as a calamity. But as far as I can see, those natural calamities are also caused by us.

Just the other day I received news about one of the most beautiful forests in Germany, the famous Black Forest. Rumors have been coming for years that a part of it is dying; trees are simply dying for no visible reason. And the government of Germany has been hiding the facts. But just now the thing has become too big; you cannot cover it up. Fifty per cent of the forest has died. And the reason is not natural. The reason is the use of certain gases in the factories. Those gases are mixing with vapors, and when it rains the water becomes acidic. So if it falls on a tree, that tree dies immediately – it is poisoned. Maybe half the Black Forest is completely dead. The remaining half cannot survive either, because those gases are still being used.

Now death rays
are entering into
the atmosphere.

The scientists have calculated that around the earth there is a two hundred mile thick layer surrounding the globe, of air. And in the air is a layer of ozone, which is very protective; it protects life on the earth. All of the sunrays are not good for life. The ozone layer returns a few rays – those are death rays; if they enter the atmosphere they will destroy life. And only those rays are allowed through by the ozone which are not against life, but life enhancing.

But stupidly, we have made holes in this layer by sending rockets to the moon – which is a simple exercise in stupidity. When the rockets went, they made great holes in the ozone layer, and when they came back they again made holes. Russia and America both have been competing in creating those holes, and only just now they have become aware that those holes have taken away some of the protective layer. Now death rays are entering into the atmosphere.

When this civilization is destroyed, people may think it was a natural calamity. It is not. We have created it.

Because of the accumulation of carbon dioxide and other gases, the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere has begun to rise, and that is creating a new problem. The ice at both the poles, south and north, is melting for the first time because the temperature has never been so high. Before, the ice remained eternally settled.

Scientists calculate that by the end of this century, all the oceans of the world will have risen by four and a half feet. There have never been any floods of the oceans – and this will be a permanent rise. Cities like Bombay and New York, which are on the seashore, will be filled with four and half feet of water.

This is only one calculation of one group of researchers who are working at the north pole and south pole. A third group is working on the Himalayan ice, which has been eternally there. If the temperature rises just one degree more, then the ice from the Himalayas and the Alps will start melting. And that will be a real calamity, because it will raise every ocean by forty feet. It will drown almost everything that we know as civilization; all our great ports, great cities, all will be under water. Anybody researching later on would find it to be a natural calamity – it is not. It is our own stupidity.

We can learn much, seeing what is happening, and then we can think introspectively about other civilizations which have disappeared, either through war or through calamities which apparently look natural. But I don’t feel that they were natural. Those civilizations must have done something stupid that caused the calamities.

“Were there not already highly developed civilizations living on this earth?” There were, but they all got into the same mess in which we are entering; they all got into the same darkness in which we are entering.

“And yet their consciousness got lost and man had to start all over again.” Their consciousness was not lost – they had no consciousness. They had just the same superficial consciousness as we have.

What are you doing to prevent the calamity that is coming closer every day? The death of this earth is not far away – at the most, twenty years, twenty-five years. And that is a very optimistic attitude; for the pessimist it can happen even tomorrow. But even if we give twenty-five years to you, what are you going to do to help human consciousness rise in such a way that we can prevent the global suicide that is going to happen?

It is coming from many directions. Nuclear weapons are one direction which is almost completely ready. Any moment… and it is going to be a push-button war. It is not a problem of sending armies and airplanes.

Just the other day the prime minister of the Soviet Union declared that there are thousands of submarines underneath the ocean, moving around the world. Each submarine is carrying so much nuclear power that it is equal to one thousand second world wars. One submarine… and there are thousands of submarines, Russian and American, underneath the water. The explosion can happen just by accident. There is no need for any war, just by accident….

…a tremendous struggle
for a great revolution
in human consciousness
is needed.

That is only one direction from which we are about to destroy ourselves. The second is creating the holes – because those experiments continue. Now the moon is not the target, nor has Mars become the target. And there is nobody to protest against all these experiments – because they are not going to help human happiness or human life in any way. Why waste energy? And why create unnecessarily destructive situations? All those gases that are rising in the air and creating acid rain….

From another dimension, the disease AIDS is spreading so fast that there is every possibility it will destroy almost two-thirds of humanity without any war. And if the oceans are filled with all the ice that the Himalayas hold, and that of the south and north poles and the Alps and other mountains, we will be drowned, just as Atlantis was drowned and Lemuria was drowned.

The only possible way to avoid it is to create more meditativeness in the world. But it is such an insane world that sometimes it seems almost unbelievable.

The police commissioner of Poona has asked that police officers should be allowed to tape every one of my discourses; they will scrutinize and edit them, and they will tell us what parts should be kept in and what parts should be left out. One has never heard that police officers can even understand what meditation is.

The commissioner has been saying that respected citizens of Poona should make a committee, and they should come as a commission and go through all our meditations, our therapy groups, our discourses, and they should produce a report on whether what is happening is right or not. Who are the respected citizens of Poona, and how much do they know about meditation? How much do they know about psychotherapies? How much do they know about themselves?

But this is the world we are in. Seeing such absurd expectations, one loses all hope for the future. Rather, tell the people of Poona to come and meditate here, send the police officers to participate in therapy groups, to participate in meditations – because there is no other way.

If somebody is doing Vipassana, what can you observe? Whatever is happening, is happening so deep inside the person… with closed eyes he is sitting silently. These people can only report to the newspapers that I am teaching people to be lazy, sitting and doing nothing. Naturally they cannot see what is happening inside. They do not know anything of what has happened in one hundred years in the world of psychology, and they do not know anything of what has happened in ten thousand years in the world of meditation – how many methods have been created, how deep man has reached.

Who are these respected people? Their respectability may be because somebody has made a hospital, or somebody has opened a college, or somebody has donated to the orphans, to the poor. All these things are perfectly good – we have no objection. But because of these things they don’t become experts in meditation, and they don’t become experts in therapy.

They cannot even repeat twelve names of the enlightened people of the world, and they want to edit what I am saying. What will be their criterion? They know nothing of the interior world. They know nothing about the highest peaks of consciousness. They may have never heard the names like tathata, anatta. But such is the insanity of man that he even wants to judge Gautam Buddha and Mahavira and Basho and Sarmad, not knowing even the ABC’s of them.

This is the only effort that we are trying to make: to raise the consciousness of a few individuals, and send them to faraway corners of the world to help, wherever they are, in raising the consciousness of humanity.

If, in the coming twenty years, man goes through a revolution, attains a new consciousness, perhaps, what has been happening up to now can be avoided for this civilization. We should make every effort to avoid it.

Lastly, Jaldhara, you are asking, “Right now it seems to be a particularly dark period.” It is, and it will become darker and darker unless everybody becomes a light unto himself and radiates light around himself; unless everyone starts sharing his light and his fire with those who are thirsty and hungry for it. The dawn is not going to come automatically. You have to be fully alert to make every possible effort in helping consciousness.

Before the oceans rise forty feet, at least we have to make consciousness rise forty feet. The world needs at least two hundred enlightened people. Those will be the two hundred lighthouses where millions can be satisfied in their thirst for truth. It is a great struggle against darkness, but also a great opportunity and a challenge and an excitement. You have not to become serious about it. You have to do it lovingly, dancingly, with all your songs and with all your joy, because that way only, it is possible to bring the dawn and dispel the darkness.

Yes, Jaldhara, this is true. There is a cosmic law that says “Only out of the mud the lotus can grow.” The politicians, and the priests of all the religions, the governments and the bureaucracies, all are creating enough mud. Now we have to grow lotuses. You have not to be drowned in their mud; you have to sow seeds for lotuses. The lotus seed is a miracle, it transforms the mud into the most beautiful flower.

In the East the lotus has been almost worshiped for two reasons. One, that it arises out of the mud – every man is just mud. The English word human simply means mud. The Arabic word admi simply means mud because God made human beings out of mud. But there is a possibility of growing a lotus flower. It is the biggest flower. It opens its petals only when the sun rises and the birds start singing and the whole sky becomes colorful. And as the darkness comes and the sun sets, it again closes its petals. It is a lover of light.

Secondly, it has a very beautiful quality – its petals, even its leaves, are so velvety that in the night dewdrops gather on the petals, on the leaves. In the early morning sun, those dewdrops shine almost like pearls – far more beautiful, creating rainbows around themselves. But the most beautiful thing is that although they are resting on the petals and on the leaves, they don’t touch the leaf. Just a small breeze comes and they slip back into the ocean, leaving no trace, no wetness on the leaves or on the lotus petals.

The lotus flower has been very symbolic to the East, because the East says you should live in the world but remain untouched by it. You should remain in the world, but the world should not remain in you. You should pass through the world without carrying any impression, any impact, any scratch. If by the time of death you can say that your consciousness is as pure, as innocent, as you have brought it with you at birth, you have lived a religious life, a spiritual life.

Hence, the lotus flower has become a symbol of a spiritual style of living. Untouched by the water… it grows from the mud in the water, and yet remains untouched. And it is a symbol of transformation. Mud is transformed into the most beautiful and the most fragrant flower this planet knows about. Gautam Buddha was so much in love with the lotus that he called his paradise “the lotus paradise.”

Jaldhara, with our deep meditation and gratitude for existence, it is possible that this earth can remain growing with more consciousness, with more flowers; it can become a lotus paradise.

But a tremendous struggle for a great revolution in human consciousness is needed, and everybody is called for that revolution. Contribute all that you can. Your whole life has to be given to the revolution. You will not have another chance, another challenge – for your own growth, and for the growth of this whole beautiful planet.

… fight for the truth

This is the only planet in the whole of existence which is alive; its death would be a great tragedy. But it can be avoided. You have to become the soldiers for this revolution to avoid the criminal forces, the evil forces, which are getting ready to destroy us.

I would like to end my answer with a beautiful reference. The people in America destroyed our beautiful commune, which was an oasis in the desert, which we had created with immense effort – five thousand people continuously working for five years. But America could not tolerate such happy, joyous, dancing people – so serene, so calm, so peaceful. They did everything illegal and everything criminal, but they had the power, and they destroyed the commune.

Now they have made a memorial, a marble memorial as a symbol of their victory. But unconsciously they have written a sentence on the memorial which I loved, which I would have suggested to them to write. The sentence is, “Evil forces win only when good people remain silent.” That sentence is in our favor. That memorial they have made really says something about what happened: evil forces have won because the good people remained silent.

America is full of good people. If they had raised their voices, the commune could have been saved. But it is the weakness of good people everywhere; in private they will say, “It is perfectly good,” but in public they will join the crowd.

Good people don’t have guts. Bad people have guts. This is the trouble. So just a few bad people have been ruling the whole of humanity, and millions of good people, seeing destructiveness, seeing violence, seeing criminality, just remain silent. They don’t want to get involved in any trouble. The bad people are in search of trouble; the good people avoid trouble.

We have to learn one thing, and that is, to fight for the truth, fighting for that which is beautiful, fighting for that which is good, fighting for God. I want my sannyasins to be soldiers of God; otherwise there is no hope for humanity.

Osho, The Razor’s Edge, Ch 11, Q 1

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