Beloved Osho, Recently Rudolph Hess, one of the last Nazi big shots, died. He committed suicide in jail in Berlin, where he was imprisoned for forty-six years. He was the right-hand man of Adolf Hitler.
“I don’t repent anything,” he said before the court in Nuremburg, “and if I could start from the very beginning, I would do the same thing again.”
Beloved master, can you say something about forgiveness, even for people who seem to be unworthy of it.
Deva Shanta, it is one of the most fundamental things to understand. People ordinarily think that forgiveness is for those who are worthy of it, who deserve it. But if somebody deserves, is worthy of forgiveness, it is not much of a forgiveness. You are not doing anything on your part; he deserves it. You are not really being love and compassion. Your forgiveness will be authentic only when even those who don’t deserve it receive it.
It is not a question of whether a person is worthy or not. The question is whether your heart is ready or not.
[…] I will say to you, Deva Shanta, the people who don’t deserve, the people who are unworthy, don’t make any difference to the man who has come to the space of forgiveness. He will forgive, irrespective of who receives it. He cannot be so miserly that only the worthy should receive it. And from where is he going to find unforgiveness? This is a totally different perspective. It does not concern itself with the other. Who are you to make the judgment whether the other is worthy or unworthy? The very judgment is ugly and mean.
I know Rudolph Hess is certainly one of the greatest criminals. And his crime becomes even a millionfold bigger, because in the Nuremburg trial with the remaining companions of Adolf Hitler – who killed almost eight million people in the second world war – he said in front of the court, “I don’t repent anything!” Not only that, he also said, “And if I could start from the very beginning, I would do the same thing again.” It is very natural to think this man is not worthy of forgiveness; that will be the common understanding. Everybody will agree with you.
But I cannot agree with you. It does not matter what Rudolf Hess has done, what he is saying. What matters is that you are capable of forgiving even him. That will raise your consciousness to the ultimate heights. If you cannot forgive Rudolf Hess you will remain just an ordinary human being, with all kinds of judgments of worthiness, of unworthiness. But basically you cannot forgive him because your forgiveness is not big enough.
I can forgive the whole world for the simple reason that my forgiveness is absolute; it is nonjudgmental.
[…] The question is not whether anybody is worthy or not. The question is whether you have the consciousness, the abundance of love – then forgiveness will come out of it spontaneously. It is not a calculation, it is not arithmetic.
Life is love, and living a life of love is the only religious life, the only life of prayer, peace, the only life of gratitude, grandeur, splendor.
Osho, The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here, Ch 24, Q 2 (excerpt)