Mind is ambitious and ambition is the root of politics

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“Out of the mind and you are out of politics; otherwise, whatsoever you do is politics,” states Osho.

Osho 18

“Beloved Master, why do people think that to live without politics is impossible?”

Mukesh Bharti, mind IS politics, because mind is ambitious and ambition is the root of politics. If you are ambitious you are political. Your ambition may take the form of religion, but the politics is there. Then you are competing with other saints.

The night Jesus departed from his disciples, the so-called apostles were not much worried about what was going to happen to Jesus. Their worry was: after Jesus, when the Day of Judgment will come and they all will go to paradise, who will stand next to Jesus? Of course, Jesus will be at the right hand of God; that much they can concede. But who will be next to Jesus? They were quarreling and arguing about this. The last night of the master, tomorrow he may be crucified… but that is not their concern. Those apostles are political, and those apostles have created Christianity, and Christianity is politics and nothing else. So is Hinduism and so is Mohammedanism – all political desires hidden behind religious words.

Man cannot live without politics, because of the mind. You are brought up, you are trained to be political. Every child is poisoned from the very beginning, poisoned by ambition. We teach children to be ambitious: be somebody in the world, be somebody special, somebody superior, defeat others! We give the idea to every child that life is a struggle and only the fittest survive. Whether you survive by right or wrong means, that is not important.

Twenty-five years of education – almost one third of your life you are being trained to be ambitious. How can you avoid politics? The only way to avoid politics is to get out of your mind; that means that unless mind is dropped totally, politics will go on clinging to you. You can even be antipolitical but then that will become politics.

You ask me, Mukesh, “Why do people think that to live without politics is impossible?” – because they cannot conceive how to live without the mind and desire, or how to live without ambition. They know only one way to live: compete, fight! If you are not going to dominate the other, the other is going to dominate you; so before the other dominates you, dominate the other. It is certainly better to dominate than to be dominated; it is better to be the master than to be the slave; it is better to be rich than to be poor. And there is great struggle, and millions of people are fighting for the same thing – and things are not so many.

How many people can be presidents, and how many people can be prime ministers, and how many people can be Fords, Rockefellers and Morgans and Birlas and Tatas? How many people? Very few people. And life is short, and these are the goals to be fulfilled. If you cannot be a Rockefeller, if you cannot be the president of a country, your life is a sheer wastage, you are a failure. Unless you understand that even by becoming a Rockefeller, a Morgan, you are not going to achieve anything… you will be farther away from yourself. You will be deeper in the dreams.

By becoming a president or a prime minister you are not going to achieve any peace or bliss. No music is going to explode in your innermost being. In fact, you will become more and more ugly. By the time a person becomes a prime minister he becomes the ugliest possible, because the whole struggle makes him ugly. He has to be cunning, more cunning than others, otherwise he will not succeed. He has to be cruel, he has to be violent, he has to be very diplomatic. He has to say one thing, think another, do still another. By the time he reaches to the highest post of his desire, he is completely destroyed. He is no more a human being. He is hollow inside; he has no substance, no soul.

But these people are thought to be successful people, these people are thought to be the makers of history. These people are thought to leave their mark on human evolution. These are the most mischievous people in the world, these are the greatest criminals: Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, these are the real criminals in the world. Small criminals suffer in the prisons, big criminals become presidents and prime ministers.

But the people who have not been able to achieve these foolish desires also suffer very much. They suffer from an inferiority complex, from failure. Your education creates only two kinds of people. First, those who succeed, and by succeeding they come to know that they have wasted their lives. But it is pointless to tell it to others, because then others will laugh and will think you ridiculous. It is better to go on smiling although you know deep down that you have failed, your life has not been of any significance, you have not enjoyed being here. You have not danced, no song has been sung by your heart. Your whole life has been an experiment in futility. You know it but it is too late. You cannot go back, and you cannot say the truth – that will simply reveal your stupidity. It is better to go on playing the role of being successful.

And then the other kind is those who see these successful people and suffer with great jealousy, envy, are greatly wounded that “We could not make it in this life.” This is politics.

My effort here is to teach you a different way of life which is not political at all. Let the mind be dropped. Don’t be a slave of your mind. Become more conscious, more alert of all the nuisance that your mind is doing to you, the mess the mind is creating in you, the chaos the mind has reduced you to. Just watch, be alert. And slowly slowly, as your watchfulness grows – Buddha calls it “right mindfulness” – you will be able to slip out of the mind. Out of the mind and you are out of politics; otherwise, whatsoever you do is politics. If you don’t do anything, that too is politics. You participate, either positively or negatively. If you vote you participate, if you don’t vote still you participate, in a negative way. There seems to be no choice. In every way you will be part of it.

During the days of Hitler’s dominance, five Germans sat at a table in a coffee shop, each thinking his own thoughts. One of them sighed, another groaned aloud. The third shook his head desperately, and the fourth man choked down the tears.

The fifth man, in a frightened voice, whispered, “My friends, be careful! You know it is not safe to talk politics in public.”

Whatsoever you do is going to be politics, except one thing: if you really become a dropout from the world of the mind.

People hate this situation, but they don’t know what to do about it. They are caught in such a complex situation, they don’t know how to get out of it. And the whole crowd is going in a certain direction. If you move in some other direction the crowd becomes angry at you. The crowd does not allow nonconformists. It wants total submission, it wants slaves, it respects slaves. It gives all kinds of honors – from the lowest honor to the Nobel Prize – to the slaves, to the conformists, to those who are somehow supporting the status quo.

You can see it happening everywhere. Just look at the so-called respectable people, they are the greatest slaves. That’s why they get respect. It is a mutual understanding. You follow the crowd, the crowd respects you, calls you a saint, a mahatma.

Adolf Hitler did not trust the reports he had been getting that the people were still loyal to him. One evening he disguised himself and went to a movie house. Soon the newsreel went on. The announcer said, “And now the latest picture of our great, our benevolent dictator.” The commentary went on. The picture flashed on the screen. With one motion, the audience rose in salute, shouting “Heil, Hitler!”

Hitler was so pleased with the response that he forgot to get up. The man behind him tapped him on the shoulder and whispered, “I know how you feel about that bastard, but you had better stand up or the police will arrest you.”

That’s how everybody feels, but who wants to get into unnecessary trouble?

To be a nonconformist is to ask for trouble, because the mob feels offended. Why does the mob feel offended by a nonconformist? – because the nonconformist shows signs of intelligence, he shows signs of individuality, authenticity, responsibility, and then people feel stupid compared to him. They can’t forgive him – and the politicians cannot allow such people to exist at all.

The sultan decided to have the Sufi matched against some wild lions in an arena, to entertain and warn the multitude. Many thousands turned up. The Sufi went into the arena, caught the lions by the ears and threw them out of the ring. The crowd went wild. Then the sultan ordered him to be bound hand and foot and elephants to be stampeded over him. By split-second timing he managed to roll away from the elephants’ feet. The crowd roared.

Now the sultan had a pit dug, the Sufi buried in it up to the neck, and ordered three powerful and skilled swordsmen to cut off his head. As they struck, he moved his head this way and that to avoid the swipes, so that they started to tire. But by that time the crowd was on its feet, yelling, “Stand still and fight like a man, you tricky mystic!”

Now the poor man is buried, just the head is out of the earth! But intelligence can manage. Down the ages the real Sufis, the real Zen people, the real Buddhas, the real Hassids, the real mystics of all the countries, of all the races, have been utterly disgusted with this whole nonsense that goes on in the name of politics. They have been teaching their disciples, “Get out of it, it is futile,” and they have suffered much because of it.

Mukesh Bharti, if you feel that politics is a dirty game, don’t be worried: “Why do people think that to live without politics is impossible?”

Don’t waste your time in that. The crowd is going to remain like that forever, but you can come out of it. Even if you can manage that, that’s enough. And maybe if you can manage, then a few others will see the light too, because they will see a new joy arising in your being, a new aroma surrounding you, a new aura, a new atmosphere, a new milieu will start touching other people’s hearts.

I am not saying, “Become a missionary.” That is a dirty word. But if you are out of these ugly games, your life becomes such a beautiful phenomenon that those who have eyes will see and those who have ears will be able to hear and those who have hearts will be able to feel it. And that’s all that you can do. That is real service.

Osho, The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 8, Ch 6, Q 2

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