Osho answers a question about esotericism and says, “Yes! It is an escape from reality into fantasy.”
Yes! It is an escape from reality into fantasy. People are thinking about heaven and hell, and they don’t know who they are. And there are people who are describing detailed maps about heaven and hell. In the temples there are maps available, and these maps are very ancient.
Man came to know maps of the earth only recently; just three hundred years ago man discovered that the earth is a globe. Maps of the earth have been made only within the last three hundred years, and maps of heaven have been there for at least five thousand years. But it is easy because you are free to make your own map; nobody can refute it because it is only a question of fantasy and imagination.
Jainas have their maps, Buddhists have their maps, Hindus have their maps, and they are all contradictory.
One man came to see me, a follower of Radhaswami and he said, “Osho, what do you say? Our guru has said that there are fourteen heavens, and our guru has reached the fourteenth. And he has also said…” He had brought the whole list: Rama has reached only up to the fifth, Buddha and Mahavira have reached up to the seventh, Christ is only up to the fourth, Mohammed up to the third, Kabir, Nanak, they have reached up to the twelfth – and their own guru has reached up to the fourteenth. The fourteenth is called sachkhand – the true heaven.
He asked me, “What do you say about it?”
I said, “Your guru is right – I know him!”
He said, “What do you mean?”
I said, “Because there are fifteen heavens and I am in the fifteenth! And he is always asking me, ‘Osho, somehow carry me to the fifteenth!’ Your guru is in the fourteenth – I know him!”
He became very angry. He said, “What are you saying? You have reached beyond my guru?”
I said, “If he can reach beyond Buddha and Mahavira and Krishna and Christ, what is wrong in my reaching beyond him? And when there are fifteen, what can I do?”
I told him, “The name of the fifteenth is mahasachkhand – the great land of truth. Your guru has reached only to the true land, I have reached to the great truth!”
These fools go on talking about all kinds of nonsense. Esotericism is just an escape from reality; it is a kind of madness.
The psychiatrist was very pleased with Sean’s progress. “You’re doing fine, Sean,” he said soothingly. “You’ve improved much more than Barry. He’s going around telling everyone he wants to buy the Bank of Ireland.”
Sean suddenly grew very excited. “Oh, the ruffian!” he shouted. “I’ve told him a dozen times I won’t sell!”
It is a question of insanity and nothing else – people talking about hells, how many hells there are. Hindus think there are three, Jainas think there are seven, and there was a contemporary of Mahavira, Sanjay Vilethiputta was his name – he must have been a man just like me; I love that man – he said, “Seven? There are seven hundred! Your Mahavira knows nothing! He may have only penetrated up to the seventh so he is talking about seven, but I have traveled the whole way. There are seven hundred, and there are also seven hundred heavens to balance!”
A man went to visit a madhouse and started talking with a madman. “You seem sane enough to me, why are you here?” he asked.
“Well, to tell you the truth, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I like children.”
“What’s wrong with that? I like children too.”
“Really? Fried or boiled?”
Once upon a time there was a guy called Urinjibhai Morarjibhai Desai who had become the Prime Minister of India. He was very esoteric. He was inaugurating direct telephone links between heaven and hell. He called heaven first and talked to Saint Peter for about ten minutes. After that he called a few old friends who had gone to hell and talked to them for a few hours. When he had finished he called the operator to ask the charges of the calls.
“The call to heaven cost 780 rupees,” said the operator. “The call to hell was fifty paise.”
“My God!” Urinjibhai Morarjibhai Desai said. “Why do prices differ so much?”
“Well, it’s simple, sir,” stated the operator. “The call to heaven was long distance, while the one to hell was only a local call!”
Yes, Viramo, all esotericism is nonsense – except Almasto’s esoteric questions. She has again asked. She says, “Osho, can I ask a few more esoteric questions?” I love her esoteric questions – they are really esoteric!
How many Gandhians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Almasto, five. First of all Urinjibhai Morarjibhai Desai to hold the lightbulb, and the other four to turn the table he is standing on. This is called non-violent Gandhian revolution!
How many communists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Almasto, two. One to screw in the lightbulb and one to pass out pamphlets.
How many Jews does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Almasto, three. One to call the cleaning woman and two to feel guilty about calling the cleaning woman.
How many EST followers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Almasto, a roomful. They take turns as the leader tells them what rotten and worthless bulb-screwers they are. Nobody is allowed to leave to go to the bathroom while the screwing is in progress
How many Indian mahatmas does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Almasto, four. One to screw in the lightbulb and three to complain about how much better the old bulb was.
How many brahmacharins – celibate Hindu monks – does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Almasto, two. One to screw in the lightbulb and one to keep his knee from jerking.
How many journalists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Almasto, two. One to screw in the lightbulb and one to give it a surprising twist at the end.
How many student radicals does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Almasto, three. One to screw in the lightbulb and two to insist it be turned further to the left.
How many Union electricians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Almasto, thirteen. One to get the lightbulb, one to get the lightbulb to the screwer-inner, one to screw in the lightbulb, one to hold him steady, one to flick the switch to test the lightbulb, one to make sure that the other bulbs in the room will need fixing, one to supervise, one to shout, two to take a coffee break, one to eat lunch, one to nap, one to plot the best way of breaking into the apartment at night.
And the last:
How many Californians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Almasto, seven. One to screw in the lightbulb and six to share the experience.
Osho, Philosophia Ultima, Ch 11, Q 2