The board above the fish shop

1001 Tales Discourses

Osho states, “If you go on listening to people you will become more and more confused.”

Fresh seafood market display

Listen, but don’t follow. Listen well, but follow your own insight, don’t follow others’ advice. Listen certainly, very meditatively, try to understand what they are wanting to convey to you. They may really be well-wishers, but if you start following blindly you will never attain to your own intelligence. You will remain dependent on crutches, you will always look up to others to tell you what to do, what not to do. You will always need leaders – which is a very unhealthy state, to need leaders.

Listen, because people have great experiences, and if they are sharing, willing to share, it will be foolish on your part not to listen. Sharing their experience may give you great insight – it will help you to become more aware – but don’t follow. […]

A man who had recently opened a shop had a large notice overhead which read FRESH FISH SOLD HERE. Along came a friend and said, “Why have you got ‘HERE’ on the board?” So he cut out the word ‘HERE’. Then another friend came along and said, “‘SOLD’? Of course it is sold. You are not giving it away, are you?” So out came the word ‘SOLD’.

A third came along and said, “‘FRESH FISH’? It has to be fresh. Who will buy stale fish from you? Cut out the word FRESH.”

The shopkeeper obliged. Now only the word ‘FISH’ remained on the board when a fourth man arrived and said, “‘FISH’? Fancy having that up! You can smell it a mile away.” The shopkeeper erased this last word on the board.

A fifth man arrived and said, “What’s the idea of hanging a blank board over the shop?” The shopkeeper removed the board.

A sixth man came on the scene and said, “You have opened such a big shop. Can’t you hang a board on it with a notice saying, ‘FRESH FISH SOLD HERE?'”

Now if you go on listening to people you will become more and more confused; that’s how you have become confused. Your confusion is this: that you have been listening to many kinds of people and they are all giving different advice. And I am not saying that they are not well-wishers; they are well-wishers, but not very conscious well-wishers, otherwise they would not give you advice. They would give you an insight, not advice. They would not tell you what to do and what not to do. They would help you to become more aware so that you can see yourself what has to be done and what has not to be done.

Osho, The Guest – Talks on Kabir, Ch 5, Q 6 (excerpt)


Series compiled by Shanti
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

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