Osho speaks about the Great Indian War – Mahabharata – and explains the significance of the four ages: sat yuga, treta yuga, dwapar and kali yuga.
In the Mahabharata, the great Indian war – that is the meaning of Mahabharata…. It must have happened somewhere around five to seven thousand years ago, or perhaps ten thousand years. It certainly happened – there is evidence – and it destroyed the whole backbone of the country forever. It was certainly a great world war: almost all the known nations participated in it. It was a family war in a way: cousin-brothers were quarreling over the kingdom. They were brothers, and all their relatives had to divide up: some relatives with one party, some relatives with another party – and they were all related. And they were so important that all other, smaller nations participated in the war, either from this side or from that side.
And it killed millions of people. It seems, by the description in the Mahabharata, that perhaps they had come to know something similar to nuclear weapons, because the destruction was so vast, so immense. By the time the war was over and one party, the Pandavas, had won it, they saw it was worthless to win it, because now, over whom to rule? There were only corpses and more corpses all over the country.
They became so frustrated that they renounced the world and went to the Himalayas. It was not worth this victory. What kind of victory was this? And they had lost all their people, either from the other side – they were their friends, their relatives – or on their side also there were their friends, their relatives, and the other party’s friends and relatives too. And they had destroyed them all. Yes, they were victorious, but over whom? Over these corpses. That’s what will happen if a third world war happens. The one who wins will weep and cry. The one who dies and is finished, has lost the war, may be in a better position. At least he has not to see the ugliness of victory. You are victorious, but there was nobody even to applaud your victory.
And then the Pandavas realized, “It was absolutely worthless. We should not have fought, we should have given the kingdom to the other party; at least people would have lived. And now we are going to the Himalayas. We could have gone before; now we are going in utter frustration, in deep despair and anguish. Then we would have gone rejoicing.”
But it is not true that there was not violence, that there was not war, that there was not stealing. It is not true. But Hindus look at sat yuga as the golden age. And then began the fall. Treta yuga has only three legs. The sat yuga had four, like a table with four legs. Now it is a tripod with three legs, not so balanced. It can topple over very easily, it is crippled. One essential part of humanity is lost.
If you want to understand it psychologically, the Hindu psychology explains it. In the sat yuga there was the collective unconscious mind, the subconscious mind, the conscious mind and the superconscious mind, and the superconscious mind was in power. All the three lower minds followed it. These are the four legs.
In treta yuga – treta means three, the third; the English word third comes from the same root as treta, three, that has become three – the superconscious disappeared, the best part in man. Now there was conscious, subconscious, unconscious. Still, things were good… not that good. Before that time they were just divine; now they were human, but good, tolerably good. But a few things started happening which were not good. It is in the treta that Hindus think Jainism, Buddhism – this type of religion – arose, because to them these religions are very destructive. They destroyed the belief in God; they destroyed their very foundation, they destroyed the belief in the Vedas as created by God. They started joking and laughing about the Vedas, criticizing, and started asking for proof. They started creating doubt. Doubt enters into humanity, faith disappears. And doubt, to the faithful, is one of the greatest diseases; it destroys his belief. So Jainas and Buddhists are called atheists by Hindus. They are not accepted as theists or religious people, no; they are the cause of destroying the religion. But still, although they denied God and they denied the Vedas, they valued immensely the qualities of truth, nonviolence, nonstealing, nonpossessiveness. So things went down, but still there was something valuable.
Then that age also disappeared. Man fell still more. Then comes dwapar. Dwapar means the second. dwa is exactly twa, two. The word has the same root. English has almost thirty percent of its roots in Sanskrit. It is a Sanskrit-oriented language; so is German, so is Swedish, so is French, so is Italian, so is Russian. All European languages have from thirty to seventy percent Sanskrit roots.
In dwapar, only two legs remained. Man became really sick. Now the table has lost two legs and on only two legs, how can you make it balanced? It became almost impossible to have balance. In dwapar man lives subconsciously. The conscious mind has disappeared; now he lives instinctively. He does not know why he is doing it, why this desire is in him, why a certain thing makes him happy or unhappy, but he goes on groping in the dark. But the dark is still not too thick; there is a little light, hence subconscious… a candlelight perhaps in the dark night.
But most of it is covered with darkness. There is just a little light that you call your intelligence, rationality – but just a little light which can be gone within a second; just a blow of the wind and it is gone. Somebody hits you and your intelligence has gone, and you are behaving completely like an animal. Somebody steps on your feet – and that’s enough, your intelligence has gone, and you are holding the man by the neck to kill him. Your intelligence is just a flickering light, at the mercy of any accident; it can go.
Then comes the last, kali yuga — the age of darkness, in which we are living now. According to Hindus this is the most fallen stage. Man is absolutely unconscious, drunk, insane. There is no future; there will be more and more darkness. All the best has passed.
So old religions look towards the yesterdays. Those yesterdays were not there really, they never happened. They are projected on the screen of yesterdays by the human mind because the human mind cannot live unless one feels something beautiful, ecstatic, blissful. How can he live? And he is so empty that he finds it easy to fill that emptiness with a long, beautiful past.
That is true about the old countries and old religions. Jainas have the same status: the past. The future holds no hope – in this world. The future holds hope for them in the other world, after life, in heaven and paradise, but not here. Here everything is finished. That’s the reason why countries like India and China – the oldest civilizations in the world, the greatest civilizations in the world, the ancientmost cultured civilizations in the world – have remained in suffering… because they accepted that nothing better can be possible here, only after death. So the past… cling to the past – that is a treasure. Keep your eyes focused on the past and prepare for a future in the other life, not in this life; this life holds no hope.
For the new religions, there is no past in which to spread their wings of imagination and dreaming. They have only the future, and that future is in the other world. Or, a communism-type religion has it here, but not today – somewhere tomorrow, which is always hanging there like the horizon. But the more you come closer to it, the farther away it goes on moving.
In 1917 Lenin was absolutely certain that within ten years we will achieve utopia. More than sixty years have passed; utopia is farther away than it was in 1917. Now, nobody talks about utopia. No communist leader in Russia talks about it because they know that it is not going to happen. It was just a hope that you drug people with. Hence I call it the ancientmost drug, far more dangerous than any LSD, marijuana, or anything that science is going to discover: hope for the future. And that is beyond life, so there is no way to find out whether it happens or not.
People go on dying; nobody gives any sign from the other shore, any indication, that what you were hoping for is really here. At least one person in millions and millions of people… and such beautiful people have died: a Buddha, a Jesus, a Mohammed, a Krishna…. Can’t they make any effort, in some way, to give a little indication? And now many scientists have died – Einstein… people of immense intelligence – they can find some way to signal, to give us an indication: “Keep up your courage – we have arrived safely.” At least this much of a telegram would do. But in millions of years, not a single indication from the other shore.
So it is very beautiful for the priest that there is no indication from the other shore, otherwise there would be immediate trouble. He can go on exploiting you because nothing can be said about what happens after death. So whatsoever he says, on the authority of the other priests, other old scriptures, that is the only thing there is; you have to believe in it. And you have to believe because otherwise you feel ungrounded, uprooted.
Then there is only death. Life you have never known, and death is coming every moment closer. Nobody knows whether he will be here tomorrow or not. Death is going to happen some day or other, and it is going to be some tomorrow, for you, for me, for somebody else. Millions of people are dying every day: before death they have not thought about it, that they are going to die. Project… otherwise your life is so dull, so boring, so unfulfilled. Not a single flower has blossomed in you – no fruitfulness. You cannot feel anything worthwhile in you. That is the reason why all the religions go on giving hope, and all the so-called religious people live on hope.
Hope is the opium… but very psychological.
Osho, From Unconsciousness to Consciousness, Ch 12, Q 1 (excerpt)