“If you believe in God, you can believe in a witch, it is the same package. If you can believe in one kind of nonsense, you can believe in all kinds of nonsense,” states Osho. From our series 1001 Tales, compiled by Shanti.
Zen is non-conceptual, non-intellectual. It is the only religion in the world which preaches immediacy; moment to moment immediacy; to be present in the moment, no past, no future. But people have lived with theologies. And those theologies keep them childish, they don’t allow them to grow. You cannot grow by being confined in a theology, by being a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan or even a Buddhist. You cannot grow; you don’t have space enough to grow. You are confined very much, in a very narrow space; you are imprisoned.
A young priest took a hundred thousand dollars from the church safe and lost it on the stock market. Then his beautiful wife left him. In despair he went down to the river and was just about to jump off the bridge when he was stopped by a woman in a black cloak with a wrinkled face and stringy gray hair.
‘Don’t jump,’ she rasped. ‘I’m a witch, and I’ll grant you three wishes if you do something for me!’
‘I’m beyond help,’ he replied.
‘Don’t be silly,’ she said. ‘Alakazam! The money is back in the church vault. Alakazam! Your wife is home waiting for you with love in her heart. Alakazam! You now have two hundred thousand dollars in the bank!’
‘That’s w-w-wonderful,’ stuttered the priest. ‘What do I have to do for you?’
‘Spend the night making love to me.’
The thought of sleeping with the toothless old hag was repellent, but certainly worth it, so they retired to a nearby motel. In the morning, the distasteful ordeal over, the priest was dressing to go home when the bat in the bed said, ‘Say sonny, how old are you?’
‘I’m forty-two!’ he replied. ‘Why?’
‘Ain’t you a little old to believe in witches?’
That’s what happens. If you believe in God, you can believe in a witch, it is the same package. If you can believe in one kind of nonsense, you can believe in all kinds of nonsense. But you never grow. You remain juvenile.
Osho, Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1, Ch 1 (excerpt)