With this anecdote Osho explains that one can become aware of what we have, only when we have lost it.
If this insane society drives you into neurotic paths, then the logical mind will say then why are the primitives not all enlightened? This society drives you into madness but through that very driving you start moving away from your innermost core. Suffering arises, and a great desire to come back home arises. That desire is what religion is all about – to come back home.
What the society has done you will have to undo. Religion is against the society, the antidote to society. That’s why when religion becomes part of society it is no longer religion. It becomes Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, Judaism. Then it is no longer religion. Religion is basically against society. It has to be – because society takes you away from yourself and religion brings you back to your own being. It destroys, demolishes, all that the society has done. But before it can demolish, the society has to do something.
So Buddhas exist only in a very cultured society. Enlightened people exist only in a very insane society. It will look paradoxical, but this is how it is.
If you look from this standpoint then you will be rebellious but you will not be against the society. There is a difference. You will be very compassionate, even towards all this insanity that is created by the society. It is part of the game. It makes enlightenment possible.
Take another example. A man has lived always in health. He does not know what a fever is; he does not know what a headache is. He does not know any kind of illness. Can you imagine him feeling his health? It is not possible. In the very nature of things he will never know what health is. And he is healthy. So to know that one is healthy and the well-being of health, health alone is not enough. One can be healthy, perfectly healthy, and one may not be aware of it – because the awareness comes from the opposite. The awareness comes from a dialectical process. The thesis must be opposed by the antithesis. Health must fall into illness, then you become aware of what you have lost. And if you can regain it there is great joy.
There is a Sufi story…
A very rich man was searching for bliss, for truth – or whatsoever name you want to give to his search. He had much money and he was ready to offer any amount of this money to anybody who could give him a key. He went from one teacher to another, but nobody could supply him with happiness. He was ready to pay any price; that was not a problem at all.
He was carrying a big load of diamonds in a bag and he would put the bag before a Master and he would say, ‘Now take this, but tell me the secret of bliss.’
Then he came to a Sufi teacher. The Sufi was sitting under a tree. The rich man came on his horse with his famous bag – it had become famous all over the country – and he put the bag before the Master and said, ‘I am in search of happiness and I am ready to pay anything. Here are many diamonds – crores of rupees worth. You can take them, but give me happiness.’
And the Sufi Master did something. Sufis are people who do. Rather than answering, they create a situation. The Master simply jumped upon the bag and ran away!
For a second, the rich man could not believe what was happening. Such a famous Master! And then he suddenly realised what had happened. The Master had gone with his diamonds! So he started shouting and running after the Master. But in that village the Master knew every street every nook and corner. And the rich man was running after him and shouting, ‘I have been robbed! My whole life’s treasure has been robbed! This is a thief. Catch hold of him. This is no longer a Master. This is a fraud. This man is a cheat.’ And he was shouting and running.
But he could not get hold of the Master because the Master knew the streets of the town.
The whole town gathered. The whole town started collecting around the rich man and they said, ‘Don’t be worried.’ But he said, ‘Why should I not be worried? I have been completely destroyed. All that I had was in the bag and that man has escaped with it.’ And he was crying and he was as miserable as one can be.
Then the whole crowd and the rich man went in search and found the Master sitting back under his tree with the bag in the place where the rich man had put it. And his horse was standing there. The rich man came and jumped on his bag. Holding the bag close to his heart he gave a great sigh of relief and he said, ‘Thank God!’
And the Sufi Master said, ‘Are you happy or not? This is the key to happiness. Are you happy or not? Tell me.’ And the man said, ‘Really, I have never been so happy!’
Osho, Sufis, the People of the Path – Talks on Sufism, Vol 2, Ch 2, Q 1 (excerpt)