The retired surgeon

1001 Tales told by the Master Discourses

“Every child comes with tremendous energy and potential, but the whole of society around the child starts moulding him, giving him ideals”, states Osho.

Child with guitar

Nobody can predict what is going to be his destiny, but one thing is certain: if he is not interfered within his growth, whatever he becomes, he will be immensely contented. He may become a musician, just a bamboo flute player, but he will have a richness in his being which even the richest people cannot have, a fulfillment. His seed has not been destroyed. He has come to become his own self, not somebody else’s carbon copy.

He may not be a lotus flower; he may be just a marigold, or even a grass flower without any name, anonymous, a nobody, but still he will dance in the rain, and in the wind, and in the sun, with the same joy as any roseflower.

But this has been one of the most difficult problems: people grab every child as he is born and start making something out of him. Nobody cares to allow his nature to have its own say, to sing its own song. With all good intentions, the parents, the priests, the teachers, the whole society is trying to make somebody according to their own conceptions.

And this is the sole cause of humanity’s misery, because nobody is what he would have been if left in freedom – supported, accepted, nourished. But everybody has been distorted. And the problem becomes more complex because the people who are distorting children are distorting them for their own good.

Every child comes with tremendous energy and potential, but the whole of society around the child starts moulding him, giving him ideals: you have to be a Jesus Christ or a Gautam Buddha; you are not acceptable as you are; if you want respectability, honor, respect, recognition, then you have to become somebody according to the ideas of the society in which you are born. So everybody is led astray, away from his nature, away from his being, and the farther away he goes from his being, the more miserable he will become.

I have heard about a great surgeon who was retiring at the late age of 75. It was not customary to keep somebody in service for that long, but that surgeon was a master surgeon. In the whole country there was nobody who even came close to him. Even at the age of 75 he was the best surgeon. So rather than getting retired at the age of 60 he was persuaded to continue.

At 75 he said, ”Enough is enough. Now, I want to rest and relax. I’m utterly tired.”

The day he was leaving his service, his friends gave him a farewell party, and they were all drinking and dancing and rejoicing.

But he was standing in a corner, sad and miserable. One of his friends reached to him and asked, ”What is the matter? We have come here to give you a joyous festive farewell, and you are standing here in the corner as if somebody has died. Why you are looking so miserable?”

He said, ”You have touched my wound. I have been carrying that wound for almost 60 years. I never wanted to be a surgeon. My father was a doctor, my mother was a doctor, and they both forced me to be a surgeon. I wanted to be a musician.

“And they both hammered me, ‘Are you mad? If you become a musician, at the most you will be a street singer. But if you listen to us, we will send you to the best educational institutions, to the best medical college, to the best surgical institute. We will make you one of the great surgeons. You will leave a name behind you in the history.’

”I was helpless as every child is. They forced me; I became a surgeon. And they were right, I became world famous. But I have never felt any joy. I have been working like a robot. Perhaps that is the reason why I am such a good surgeon, because I have lost my human heart.

“My heart is almost dead. If I had become a musician, perhaps nobody would have ever heard my name, but what does that matter. I would have felt fulfilled, satisfied. I would have been my own self.”

This has happened to almost everybody.

Only once in a while, by accident, a child escapes, survives, protects his own destiny and does not allow anybody to drag him into other directions.

Osho, The Razor’s Edge, Ch 22, Q 2 (excerpt)

Series compiled by Shanti
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

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