Osho answers a question about why he has come to earth, and says, “My whole message is to see the truth, to see the hell that ego creates in the name of perfection, uniqueness – and to let it drop.”
Q: When I think about your life on this earth and why you have come? – it seems that there must be a risk in your undertaking – with possibility of failure, that your work cannot be granted, that you also must be able to err, to commit a mistake. It seems that, if there is no freedom to err, then there is no freedom at all. But when I look at you there is no question of mistakes; egolessness is perfect. Please comment.
The first thing: I am not under any obligation to do anything. This is not an undertaking. I am not doing any work actually; it is not work that I am doing. It may be work for you, it is not work for me. I am enjoying the game. It is a play. And in a play it does not matter whether you make mistakes or not. It does not matter.
Mistakes become very, very important when you are serious about a thing. When you are doing it as serious work then mistakes become very important. But I am not doing it seriously at all. It is a laughter, it is a dance, it is a play for me. I am enjoying it. And I have no plan, no reverence for it. How can I commit a mistake? You can commit a mistake if you have a plan – then you know where you missed. I carry no plans with me. I have no blueprint. I simply go on doing whatsoever happens in the moment. So whatsoever happens is perfectly right, because there is no way to judge it, there is no criterion, there is no touchstone. That’s the beauty of it. And that’s what freedom is. In serious work you can never be free; in serious work anxiety will always haunt you; in serious work you are always afraid that something can go wrong.
With me nothing can go wrong because there is nothing that is right. If something is right then something can go wrong; if nothing is right then nothing can be wrong. That’s what the meaning of the Eastern concept of leela is – play. It is a playfulness. While I am here I am enjoying this playfulness, I am enjoying it terribly, enjoying it terrifically.
You ask, When I think about your life on this earth…. You are thinking in wrong terms. You are thinking in the terms that religions have conditioned your minds to think in. You are thinking as Christians, Hindus, Mohammedans, Jainas do. You have not yet learnt my language.
Christians think that Christ came to deliver the whole world from sin – all nonsense! You can see the world is not delivered yet. In fact, if the world were completely delivered from sin there would be no work left for Christ. He would go broke. He would go bankrupt. He would have to close the shop. Jainas think that teerthankaras come to help humanity. I can understand – you want help, so you project help.
But a teerthankara is not going to help you. He is simply enjoying himself. And if you want to enjoy, you can participate. He simply opens a door of spiritual enjoyment, of spiritual bliss. And he is not worried whether you come or not, he is not worried whether a few people come or millions come. If nobody comes it is as good as if millions come. He is not in search of customers. He is happy, things are going perfectly well for him. If a few people come and dance with him, good. If nobody comes, he dances alone. His dance remains perfect, it is not a work.
Hindus think avataras come when the world is in misery, when the world is in ignorance. When religion disappears from the world then avataras come. All nonsense! Avataras have come many, many times, but the misery has not disappeared, the ignorance has not disappeared.
Religion never becomes an established fact; in fact, the moment religion becomes established, it is no longer religion, it becomes a church. Established religion is no longer religion, religion remains only unestablished. Religion is a rebellion. You cannot make anything established out of it; it is intrinsically rebellious. And the play continues.
But I can understand why people have projected their need for help all over the world. This is their hope. They are in misery, that is certain, and they want somebody to help them. Why do you want somebody to help you? Because you don’t want to take the responsibility on yourself. First you say that others have made you miserable, now you say that somebody has to take you out of the misery. What are you doing? You don’t create your misery, you can’t drop it…do you exist or not?
Responsibility is existence, responsibility gives you being. If you go on throwing responsibility on to someone else – it is the Devil who is creating misery and it is God who becomes Christ, becomes Mohammed, becomes Mahavira, and takes you out of the misery – then what are you doing? You seem to be just like a football – on one side is the Devil, on one side is God and you are being kicked from this side to that. Enough! You simply say, ‘Enough! I am not going to allow myself to be kicked any more.’
Are you a football? Claim responsibility.
I am not here to help you. You may be here to be helped but I am not. I am just enjoying my thing. I am doing my thing. And you will be benefitted more if you drop your idea of help and work and Christ and avataras. You will be helped more if you drop all concepts of help. You simply be with me. Don’t bring business into it. Let it be pure play.
It seems that there must be a risk in your undertaking. There is nothing, no risk – because it is not an undertaking. I am not risking anything because there is nothing to risk, there is nothing to lose. All that is, always is. And that which is not, never is. So what is the risk?
If somebody comes and kills me, he kills only my body which is already dead, has always been dead – it is part of the earth. So, dust unto dust. He cannot kill me. I was before I was born, I will be after death has happened. So what has he done? Nothing serious; nothing of much importance. He may think he had done a very serious thing: that he has killed me, that he has crucified a Jesus or killed a Socrates. That is his idea. But in me, that which is matter is going to fall into matter and that which is consciousness is going to fall into consciousness, so nobody can kill me. You can shoot at me but you cannot shoot me. You can cut my head off, but your sword will not touch me. The sword is material and it cannot touch the spiritual.
There is no risk and there is no possibility of failure – because there is no possibility of success either. I cannot succeed so how can I fail? In fact, the very terminology of success, failure, benefit, loss, is absurd, irrelevant.
You ask: …that your work cannot be granted, that you must be able to err, to make a mistake. It seems that if there is no freedom to err then there is no freedom at all.
The freedom is so absolute that there is no right and no wrong. The freedom is so absolute that whatsoever you do is right. It is not that you have to do something and sometimes it is right and sometimes it is wrong…. Try to understand my standpoint, from my grounding, from my centring.
Whatsoever you do is perfectly right – not that it fulfills any criterion of what is right, simply there is no criterion of what is right. That’s why I can be with Hasids, I can be with Sufis, I can be with Tantricas, I can be with yogis. It is very difficult for so-called religious people: if they are with Mahavira, how can they be with Mohammed? Impossible. If one is right then the other is wrong. If they are with Krishna, how can they be with Christ? If one is right, the other is wrong. Their mathematics is clear: only one can be right. To me there is no criterion. You cannot judge who is right and who is wrong. Mahavira is right because he enjoyed his thing; Buddha is right because he also enjoyed his thing; Mohammed is right because he enjoyed his thing, tremendously. Bliss is right. So whatsoever I am doing I am enjoying it tremendously – and to be blissful is to be right.
Even if I commit mistakes according to you…. Maybe sometimes you feel I am committing a mistake. That will be according to you because you carry some criterion.
I stayed in a Jaina family once. An old man came to see me – ninety years old. And he touched my feet and said, ‘You are almost a twenty-fifth teerthankara.’
I said, ‘Wait, don’t be in a hurry. You just watch me.’
He said, ‘What do you mean?’
I said, ‘You simply watch me. Otherwise you will have to take your words back.’
He became a little disturbed. It was dusk, the sun was setting, the evening was descending and a woman, my host’s wife, came in and said, ‘Your food is ready.’
I said, ‘Wait.’
The old man said, ‘What? the sun has already gone past the horizon. Are you going to take your food?’
I said, ‘Yes, I am telling the woman to wait. I will have to take my bath and then I will take my food.’
He stood up. He said, ‘Sorry. I must take my words back. You were right. You can eat at night? You don’t know even this much? Then what type of enlightened person are you?’
He has a certain criterion: an enlightened person cannot eat at night. This is the Jaina criterion.
If you go to any person he has criteria and he looks through those windows to see if I fit or if I don’t fit. But I am not here to fulfil your expectations. I am always right because I don’t carry any criteria. There is no way. You cannot even find contradictions in me, because whatsoever I have said up to this moment is irrelevant! I don’t bother a bit about it. Now it is for foolish scholars, it is finished for me! The moment I say something, I enjoy saying it – that’s all. More than that is not my concern. The moment I do something I enjoy it infinitely – beyond that it is not my concern.
But when I look at you there is no question of mistakes; egolessness is perfect.
How can egolessness be perfect? The very idea of perfection is the ego; egolessness cannot be perfect. Egolessness simply means an absence of the ego. Can absence be imperfect? Absence cannot be imperfect so how can absence be perfect? Absence is simply absence. Ego can be imperfect, ego can be perfect, but egolessness cannot be either. There is nobody to be perfect.
When ego sees the point that the whole game of ego is absurd, ego disappears. Nothing is left behind. There is a wholeness but there is no perfection. There is totality but there is no perfection.
The old religions were all perfection-oriented; my whole teaching is whole-oriented. I say be whole. I don’t say be perfect. And the difference is tremendous. When I say be whole I allow you contradictions. Then be wholly contradictory. When I say be whole, I don’t give you a goal, a criterion, an ideal; I don’t want to create any anxiety in you. I simply want you, in this moment, wherever, whatsoever you are doing, and whatsoever you are, to be total in it. If you are sad, be totally sad – you are whole. If you are angry, be totally angry. Go into it totally.
The idea of perfection is absolutely different, diametrically opposite – not even different, opposite. The perfectionists will say, ‘Never be angry; always be compassionate. Never be sad; always be happy.’ He chooses one polarity against the other. In wholeness we accept both the polarities: the lows and the highs, the ups and the downs. Wholeness is totality. And you have to see the whole nonsense of the ego, otherwise it can come in from the back door. If I say, ‘Now become perfectly egoless,’ you will have to prove that there exists nobody who is more egoless than you.
Let me tell you an anecdote.
A family with a son about to be bar-mitzvahed wanted to celebrate the occasion in a unique way. Money was no object. The caterer suggested many things: flying the party out to Disneyland, renting out the White House, having the affair in a nuclear-submarine. All of these ideas were rejected by the family as old hat. It was not until the caterer came up with the idea of having the bar-mitzvah on safari in Africa that the family grew excited. Invitations were issued to two hundred guests, two hundred plane tickets were bought and the group set off for Africa.
In Africa the bar-mitzvah party was met by two hundred elephants, fifty guides, seven buglers, and three hundred native porters who were to carry their food. Each guest mounted their own elephant with the father of the bar-mitzvah boy in the rear of the procession.
They were only several miles into the jungle when the whole caravan came to a sudden halt. From the rear elephant the father cried, ‘What is going on there?’
And the question was repeated two hundred times till it reached the head guide at the front of the procession. The answer came back up the line, ‘We have to stop here for a little while.’
‘Why?’ cried the distressed father. ‘Why?’ wailed the two hundred guests as the question proceeded up the line.
And then came the answer. ‘There is another bar-mitzvah party ahead!’
The whole ego trip is like that. You move in a circle, you can never be in the front – never. Again there will be a bar-mitzvah party ahead. Even in the darkest jungles of Africa you cannot do anything that has not been done before, you cannot be anything that has not happened before, you cannot be unique. That’s why the ego can never be satisfied. The ego remains imperfect and goes on demanding perfection.
My whole message is to see the truth, to see the hell that ego creates in the name of perfection, uniqueness – and to let it drop. Then there is a tremendous beauty – no ego, no self, just a deep emptiness. And out of deep emptiness is creativity, out of that nothingness arises bliss, satchitananda, truth. Being, bliss, all arise out of that absolute purity. When the ego is not, you are a virgin. Christ was born out of a virgin; your nothingness is that Mother Virgin, Mother Mary.
Osho, The Art of Dying, Ch 10, Q 6