In a press interview in Jesus Grove, Rajneeshpuram, Osho speaks about the influence Confucius has on communism to this day.
Beautiful, rare beings such as Lao Tzu, Lieh Tzu and Chuang Tzu, have evolved out of China. That was thousands of years ago. China today has changed its face to a robotlike country. In your vision, do you see any possibility of spirituality rising again in China?
Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu, were certainly great Masters that have walked on the earth – rare human beings – but they have not made a clear-cut way so that others can also follow. No religion came into being because of these three great Masters. It remained a philosophy. They attracted people, but the attraction never went beyond intellect. And there is a reason for it.
China has lived under the influence of Confucius, and Confucius was exactly an ancient Karl Marx, a sociologist of great insight, but he was not a religious master. He gave China its social structure, he gave China the principles of behavior and etiquette, but he never gave anything that leads to interiority. And Confucius’ influence is the greatest in China.
It is because of Confucius that communism became important. They fitted with each other very intimately, with no contradiction.
Communism cannot fit with Hinduism, communism cannot fit with Jainism, but it can fit with Confucianism, because Confucianism is not a religion; it is only a sociology, and there is no conflict between Confucius and Karl Marx. Now Confucius is twenty-five centuries older than Karl Marx, but he has said everything essential that Karl Marx repeats after twenty-five centuries. And the moment China discovered communism it felt that it was just what they had always been thinking about.
So communism is not just accidental, and not imported. Although it looks like it is imported, it is not imported; it is Confucius and his teaching, turning and taking a new phase, a new color.
This is the reason why China and Russia could not stay together. Both are communist countries, both believe in Karl Marx and ‘Das Kapital’, but Russia does not have the background of Confucius, while China has a long tradition of Confucianism. So Russian communism is pure Marxian. Chinese communism is just communism for name’s sake, it is basically ninety percent Confucianism.
And these three great Masters remained individuals. Once in a while somebody was impressed by their writings, but it remained intellectual, so there is no hope in the near future of Lieh Tzu, Chuang Tzu or Lao Tzu being born again in China, or their influence in any way changing the course of China’s history, because in fact they have never been of any great importance in China’s mind.
Confucius and Lao Tzu were contemporaries. Confucius had even gone to meet Lao Tzu, because Lao Tzu was certainly a man of tremendous qualities. Confucius was a great thinker, but only a thinker. He had nothing as far as his own inner consciousness is concerned, no experience, no idea who he is, but he had planned for the society perfectly well, a very mannered, cultured society.
Hearing that Lao Tzu was nearby, living in a cave beyond the lake, he went to see him.
A few of his disciples also went, but he told them, “You wait outside the cave.”
They said, “Why? It will be good, we can listen.”
He said, “You don’t understand. I will tell you the reason later on. Let me go first. If I feel it right I will call you in.”
They stayed outside, Confucius went in.
Lao Tzu was sitting silently. He did not say to Confucius even to sit down, and Confucius was a man of manners, etiquette. He had not expected that a great sage, Lao Tzu, would not even ask. He did not say hello or even hi – even that short form, “hi.” He simply sat down, looking at Confucius, and Confucius said, “Sir, don’t you believe in manners?”
Lao Tzu laughed. He said, ‘I thought you knew all the manners – what is the need for me to tell you? If you feel like sitting, you will sit down! You are not a man who does not know manners. If you like to stand up, it is my etiquette not to disturb you. You can stand up!”
Confucius said, “But you… you did not even say hello.” Lao Tzu said, “I said it. You could not hear it. It was a test: I said it silently. I wanted to know whether the famous philosopher Confucius understands silence or not. So you understand only words – that much is decided! And you have expectations. You cannot sit down on your own, you have to be told.
“This cave does not belong to me. When I came here, nobody said ‘sit down,’ because nobody was here. Why should I say it? It is not my cave, nothing belongs to me. Just the way I am sitting, you can sit down. You are not a child to be told.”
Confucius had never met such a man. And on each point he was rebuffed badly. Then Lao Tzu said, “If you really want to learn anything, first go and renounce all the idiots you have collected as your disciples. You don’t know anything and you have thousands of disciples. It is hilarious! You just go and tell them the truth, that you don’t know anything, and then come, because I teach only if somebody does not know. If he knows it already, why should he bother me? An old man… Leave me alone!”
Confucius came out, and he had not the courage to say to his disciples that he did not know. He had thousands of disciples, he was the most famous man at that time. Very few people knew about Lao Tzu. Confucius has remained a shadow over the whole of Chinese history. It is only somewhere in the footnotes you can find the name of Lao Tzu.
Confucius was not courageous enough to say, “I do not know.”
The disciples said, “You didn’t ask us to come in.”
He said, “It was good that I didn’t ask you to come in. And please don’t ask the reason. That man is not a man; he is a dragon. He is dangerous, avoid him as far as possible. This is my first and last meeting with that old guy!”
And he was perspiring. It was a cold morning and the cave was very cool, but he was perspiring.
The disciples said, “But why are you perspiring?”
He said, “I am alive – that’s enough! Just take me away from here.”
Lao Tzu has never been a great influence. He was a silent man. Once in a while somebody would come who was courageous enough to be with him. He was not ready to come down to meet you, to be with you and to be amongst you. It simply was not his characteristic. He would remain on top of the hill. You would have to go to the hilltop, he was not going to come into the valley. He was not like a man, which I am.
I can come to any depth where you are hiding and catch hold of your head and pull you out. He was not that kind of man; he would simply sit on top of the hill. Anybody who wants… but who wants to go that far?
He never wrote a single word, he never gave a single speech – just a few conversations here and there, and only if somebody asked something. And then too, he was not nice, as is expected of Masters. Confucius was right that he was a dragon. He would kill you!
[…] The meeting of Confucius and Karl Marx is very dangerous. They both are materialists, they both believe only in certain moral rules, and they don’t think that there is anything beyond this life.
In Russia, there is more possibility that we may have many more sannyasins. China seems to be far away; it is more difficult to penetrate the Chinese skull. It is made hard, first by Confucius and now it has got a new coating – more modern, more contemporary – of Marxism.
But nobody can deny the fact that perhaps, if China becomes richer, more affluent, more educated, more open to the outside world – as is happening, it is opening its doors to the outside world – then there is a possibility sometime in the future that the Chinese youth can be approached.
But China is the most difficult country out of all the countries for the transformation of man.
Osho, The Last Testament, Vol 2, Ch 20 (excerpt)