“Remember that you are alone, there is no God, there are no messengers, and there is no dictator. You have to be decisive about your own life,” states Osho in 1987 after he returns to Pune.
All these years with you in the commune I did what I was told. Now, it seems, it is all up to me… But… Who am I to know what to do? By the way, I’m German.
Siegfried Deven, even without your saying I would have known you are a German!
All the dictators in the world are created by us because we want somebody else to tell us what to do. There is a very subtle reason for it: when you are told by somebody else what to do, you don’t have any responsibility for whether it is right or wrong. You are free of responsibility; you don’t have to think about it; you don’t have to be worried about it. The whole responsibility goes to the person who is giving you the orders to do something.
People like Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin or Ronald Reagan are not just there in their powerful positions because of any quality of theirs. They are there because millions of people want to be told what to do – without anybody dictating to them they are at a loss.
We create the dictators.
Adolf Hitler was almost crazy, but a nation, one of the most intelligent nations in the world which has created a great tradition of philosophers, thinkers, theologians of the first rate… Even in this century Germany has produced people like Martin Heidegger, who is perhaps this century’s greatest philosopher – but he was also a follower of Adolf Hitler.
It seems almost incomprehensible that a man of the qualities of Martin Heidegger… I have looked into all the philosophers of the world; Martin Heidegger seems to have such a genius, such a great originality in approaching things from absolutely new directions – but he was a follower of Adolf Hitler; he supported him. I was wondering what could be the reason – and the whole nation supported that madman. The reason is that nobody wants to have any responsibility. But the moment you lose your responsibility – you think it is a burden, somebody else takes it – you also lose your individuality, you also lose your freedom.
Your responsibility is not separate from your freedom, your individuality. Once you drop your responsibility on somebody else’s shoulders, you have reduced yourself into a nonentity. Of course, now nobody will blame you if something goes wrong, but you have lost your soul.
People condemn the dictators, but nobody thinks what the psychology is, how dictators are created, who creates them? We are the people who create them, and we create them in the hope that they will take the responsibility. But we are not aware that with the responsibility goes our freedom, goes our individuality, goes democracy, goes freedom of thinking or expression – everything.
We have lost our soul the moment we put our responsibility into somebody else’s hands. And there are people who enjoy to dominate, to dictate; these are insane people.
So it is a strange situation. People want to be unburdened of responsibility, and of course there are a few people who are ready to take all the responsibilities, because they are also taking all your freedom. They are taking all your rights, your very individuality; they are people whose only will is for power. They have a different kind of insanity, but it seems to be very fitting. There seems to be a certain synchronicity between the people who want to get rid of responsibility without knowing that they are getting rid of their very soul, and the other insane people, who love only one thing, power.
In the commune, you were happy… because I was not at all involved in the commune; I was in silence and isolation. And naturally, a clique took all the responsibility, and you were very happy to work twelve hours, fourteen hours a day. Even God became tired in six days. You were working seven days. You had no other time, even to think about yourself. Why did you love it? There is some psychological background to be understood…
You loved it because it helped you to forget yourself. You loved it because it helped you to be so occupied from the morning till night and then falling asleep… never finding a small gap of time just to see that your life is slipping by and you have not done anything even to be introduced to it. Death is going to knock any day on your doors, but you are not prepared – all these worries had no time, because you were so tired. But you were happy.
Here, nobody is dictating to you.
It was all contrary to me, because I was in isolation and silence; I was not interfering in anything. The moment I started speaking, the clique that had become the dictators all escaped from the commune. They knew it perfectly that I would disturb the whole dictatorship. That dictatorship could not be continued; it was destroying people, killing them, killing their very spirituality. The whole clique disappeared immediately as I started speaking, the moment they saw that I had come into the commune, and I would not tolerate the kinds of structures that they had maintained.
I want you to be meditative; I want you to have some time to relax; I want you to have some time to think about the vital problems of life, and to do something about them.
And we have all the arrangements for meditations, for group therapies, for counseling, for all kinds of possibilities that can help you to become a spiritual giant.
The work is needed because you need food, you need clothes. So, it is good working five hours – and that should also not be too tight. Here we are not going to create an army to conquer the world. We are creating a commune of individuals with their own spirituality, unhindered, uninterfered with. We want them to cleanse their minds, sharpen their intelligence and enter into the deepest center of their being. Those four, five hours’ work is just to keep you alive so that you can meditate, so that you can realize one day a consciousness full of light, full of joy.
Here nobody is going to tell you, Deven, what to do. I want you to find what you can do the best, what you would like to do; that which you can enjoy, which will not be a burden, which will not be imposed on you, which will be your own creativity.
I want your work also to be part of your spiritual growth; not against it, but for it. But that can come only from your own spontaneity. You have to take the responsibility on yourself.
I want individuals to be absolutely free, responsible, alert, aware, neither allowing anybody to dictate to them; nor allowing themselves to dictate to anybody. It has to be a beautiful communion. It is not based on any dictatorial ideology. It is based, basically, on ultimate freedom.
And if freedom is the ultimate goal then it should be your first step too, because only the first step will lead you to the last step. It is not possible that your whole life you are just a beast of burden, doing things that people tell you to do and then suddenly one day you will become enlightened. That is not possible.
You will have to take all the responsibility for what you are doing. And you will have to grow in your consciousness and awareness so that only the right flows through your actions, so that whatever you do beautifies the commune, helps people.
This is a gathering, not a crowd; it is a brotherhood, not a factory. Here, every individual has an equal opportunity to grow into whatsoever he wants to grow. And my whole effort is that you should not be interfered with. Naturally, you will find it difficult, but don’t be stuck to your Germanhood; that is a kind of disease.
The world has suffered two world wars because of Germans. Don’t be too much concerned that you may go wrong. It is always good to go wrong sometimes. Just don’t go wrong again on the same point – do something else, some new wrong. Always be in search of some novelty. Mistakes are absolutely needed for learning, but one should not commit the same mistake again.
And everybody has to be aware of it: nobody is responsible for you. And you don’t have to ask anybody’s permission. Even if you commit something wrong there is a famous law, Steward’s Law: It is easier to be forgiven than to get permission.
And remember another law; it is dangerous, so never follow it: It is called Jacob’s Law: To err is human. To blame it on someone else is even more human.
Don’t do it, ever. To err is human and to accept your responsibility is the dignity of a human being. Don’t go on thinking what to do – do something! Parkinson’s Law is: Delay is the deadliest form of denial.
Don’t delay. Do something that seems appropriate in the situation and congenial to your spirit. And it is not that you have to go on doing continuously; doing is not the goal of life. Being is the goal of life. Doing is only to support your survival so that you can find your being. So don’t wait for somebody else to tell you.
But all these centuries that man has passed through, this has been the case – always looking to the politicians, looking to the priest; looking to neurotic-type people who proclaim themselves prophets, the son of God, messengers of God… People who don’t want to take any responsibility immediately fall into their trap.
All your prophets, and all your messengers of God are so ordinary. Your holy scriptures are not even worthy to be called great literature; it is third class journalism, nothing much more. And they are bringing laws and rules and regulations for you and people have accepted all kinds of nonsense just in order not to seek and search themselves.
To avoid search, to avoid seeking, people have even avoided thinking – somebody should do the job for them! The people who have been giving you your moral codes, your ethics, your life styles are the people who remind me of another law, Maud’s Law: A conclusion is the place where you get tired of thinking. All the conclusions that your prophets have given to you are nothing but where they got tired of thinking.
Just the other night, I was looking at a beautiful story. I became interested because it was saying why Moses and all his Jews, his followers, went on wandering in the desert for forty years. So I became interested because it seemed the man was going to give some idea why. The idea suggested was that they had lost a quarter so they looked all over the desert; it took forty years. Nobody knows whether they found the quarter or not; I don’t think so.
The people you have been following are great people, great in their neuroses. This rule will explain it to you. Woop’s Rule for Drinking – they have given you ideas for everything: I always drink standing up because it is much easier to sit down when I get drunk standing up, than it is to get standing up when I get drunk sitting down.
Avoid these thinkers. They have dictated to humanity for long enough. Now, stand up on your own two legs. Remember that you are alone, there is no God, there are no messengers, and there is no dictator. You have to be decisive about your own life. It is your life and you have to live it according to your own style. Only then you can make your life a celebration; otherwise it is burdened with so many rules and regulations that you cannot dance with that much burden.
Deven, I think a few jokes may do for you. My only fear is that you are a German and whether you will get them or not, because they say that when you tell a joke to an Englishman, he laughs twice; once, just to be polite, and then in the middle of the night when he gets it. A German laughs only once, because everybody else is laughing. And if you tell a joke to a Jew, he will not laugh at all. On the contrary, he will say to you that it is an old joke and, moreover, you are telling it all wrong.
But I think being here with me for so long, you may have started getting, if not the whole joke, something of it…!
A priest and a drunken bus driver arrived at the pearly gates where they met St. Peter. “I am the village priest and would like to be admitted to heaven,” said the priest.
“And I am the village bus driver and I want to come in too,” said the drunk.
“Okay,” said St. Peter. “You, Mr. Priest, will have to wait over there for a few years, but you Mr. Bus Driver, you can go right in.”
“But wait a minute,” said the priest, “I preached every Sunday in church and taught people how to pray and be good. He is nothing but a drunkard.”
“Listen,” said St. Peter, “when you preached everybody slept. But when he drove, everybody prayed like crazy.”
Osho, The Invitation, Ch 10, Q 2