The cause changes, the war continues

Discourses Osho on War

Osho speaks on ‘peace of mind’ and asserts that to be against anything is to be at war. “Peace is very alive. Peace is more alive than war – because war is in the service of death, peace is in the service of life.”

Osho 2

Q: Peace of mind can be gained by withdrawal from the world, by stilling the vortices of the mind. But how much inner peace is appropriate in a world that contains Attica, Vietnam, Johannesburg, Biafra, Pakistan and Sub-Saharan Africa?

The world contains Vietnam, Attica, and things like that, because the peace of mind is missing. The root cause is that man is not silent. Hence violence, all kinds of violence. Because of Vietnam and because of Attica, much peace of mind is needed. They are symptoms of something like cancer inside human consciousness. They are not diseases themselves, they are simply symptoms. And they cannot be cured directly – until and unless the root cause is cut absolutely, destroyed absolutely.

Man has lived in war, down the ages, always. Out of three thousand years, only seven hundred years were not of war – and not in one stretch. Sometimes for one day there was no war on the earth, sometimes for a few days; otherwise the war has continued.

War is the greatest thing that man has remained involved with. Destruction seems to be very very attractive; killing and murder seems to be the goal of the human mind. In three thousand years, man has fought five thousand wars. Vietnam is nothing new, it is as ancient as man. It is not something that is happening today, it has been always there – because man is ill.

And you ask me, How much inner peace is appropriate…? As much as you can manage – the more you have, the better. Because only pools of peace will destroy the compulsive attraction towards violence. Only pools of peace all over the world, many many Buddhas, will be able to create a new vibe, a new wave, a new consciousness, in which war becomes impossible – in which all energy moves in a creative way, all energy moves towards love.

So don’t say… I understand the logic of it. The logic is, if man becomes very peaceful then he will not bother about Vietnam. I understand what you mean by your question. You mean, if people become very silent and very peaceful they won’t care what is happening in the world around them, they will become indifferent. So how much peace is appropriate? – that’s why you ask the question.

But try to understand. The war is not the disease itself. Peace is missing in the heart – hence the war exists. The war is a consequence: more peace, less war. If peace becomes predominant, war will disappear.

War cannot disappear by the efforts of people who call themselves pacifists. War cannot disappear because of Bertrand Russell. War cannot disappear because there are people who are against war – no. The people who are against war will create another war. You can see, if you have observed a pacifist protest, you can see how war-like they are – shouting, screaming, protesting…. You can see in their faces; they are dangerous people. They may call themselves pacifists, but they don’t know what peace means. They are very argumentative, arrogant, ready to fight.

It almost always happens that a peace-protest becomes a battle-field between the police and the pacifists. The pacifist is not really the man of peace. He is against war. He is so much against war that he will be ready to go to war if that is needed. The cause changes, the war continues.

A man of peace is not a pacifist, a man of peace is simply a pool of silence. He pulsates a new kind of energy into the world, he sings a new song. He lives in a totally new way – his very way of life is that of grace, that of prayer, that of compassion. Whomsoever he touches, he creates more love energy.

The man of peace is creative. He is not against war, because to be against anything is to be at war. He is not against war, he simply understands why war exists. And out of that understanding he becomes peaceful.

Only when there are many people who are pools of peace, silence, understanding, will the war disappear. But withdrawal is not the way to attain peace. You say, Peace of mind can be gained by withdrawal… Never. Never has it been gained that way.

Withdrawal is escapist. Withdrawal can give you a kind of death, but not peace. Peace is very alive. Peace is more alive than war – because war is in the service of death, peace is in the service of life. Peace is very alive, vibrant, young, dancing…. Withdrawal? – that is the oldest way escapists have chosen. It is cheap. It gives a kind of peace – remember, I say ‘a kind of peace’ – the same kind as you see in a graveyard.

You can go to a Catholic monastery – there is a kind of peace, the same that exists in the graveyard. You can go to the Jaina monks and you will see a kind of peace – the same that exists in a graveyard. These people are dead! They have renounced life. The day you renounce life you renounce responsibility, you renounce all kinds of commitments. You renounce all possibilities to live, to relate, to love. They may not be fighting, but they are no more loving either.

So withdrawal will bring a peace which is warless, loveless. But what is the point? You have thrown the baby with the bathwater.

Love has to grow. The whole energy that goes into violence, fighting, struggle, war, has to be transformed into love. Peace in itself cannot be the goal. Peace can only be a means to more life, to more abundant life. Peace cannot be the end – just to be peaceful is meaningless, it leads nowhere. It will not satisfy you just to be peaceful – then what is the difference between being dead and peaceful?

Withdrawal brings a peace that is suicide. Yes, you go to the Himalayas, you live in a cave, you are peaceful – because there is no possibility to fight with anybody. You have not changed at all, you have only changed the circumstances. You are the same person. If circumstances arise, you will go to war, you will fight. You will become angry if somebody comes and insults you.

You may have lived for thirty years in a cave in the Himalayas and somebody comes and insults you, and you will be surprised that anger comes back. Thirty years won’t help; the anger was waiting there for the right season. Now somebody has insulted – the spring has come, and the anger blooms. And in a single moment all those thirty years of withdrawal have disappeared.

The real test is in life. If you are really peaceful, then be in the marketplace – there is the real test of your peace. Be peaceful there.

I am not for withdrawal, I am for transformation. I am not for renunciation, I am all for life-affirmation. Live life as totally as possible. Find out ways how to live it more peacefully, how to live it more meditatively, how to live it in a more divine way. But don’t escape.

The escapist is a coward; he has no courage. He is closing his eyes because he has become too much afraid of the world. His logic is that of the ostrich. That is not very human; that is very very below human. That is a little bit stupid. Just by closing your eyes nothing changes; the world remains the same. You can believe that everything has changed, because you cannot see anything anymore. Your house is on fire, and you can sit with closed eyes and you can believe that the house is not on fire and everything is okay. You can create a kind of auto-hypnosis – and of course you will not be disturbed. But open your eyes, and the house is on fire.

A real man of peace lives with the world, in the world, and yet is not of it. He will do everything that he can do – if the house is on fire then he will do everything that he can do to put the fire off – and yet he will remain undisturbed, undistracted. He will remain unwavering.

That integration is what I call real peace.

Osho, Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 2, Ch 2

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