Devageet asks a question: Beloved Osho, It is now becoming too much. The gossips are going right and left.
Even I have started suspecting whether I am old or just a woman. Please say some words of comfort.
Devageet, it is true; now it is becoming too much. I have just seen you five minutes ago: neither are you old nor are you a woman. But gossips can affect…. If everybody is talking about it, even if it is a lie, it starts looking like a truth. So obviously you need some words of comfort.
First: a gossip is a gossip. It is not even a yawn, because:
… A yawn is at least an honest opinion. And if you start listening to all these gossips, there is a great danger.
… We can easily forget ourselves when no one knows who we are – and you are included in those who do not know. In fact, whatever you think you are is nothing but a collective gossip called your personality. Because everyone agrees upon it, it becomes a truth.
Adolf Hitler based his whole philosophy on this simple maxim, that a lie repeated often is truth, and a truth not repeated often is forgotten. And the trouble is, the lie is going to be repeated often because it is consoling; it hurts nobody. It is at the cost of others, it costs you nothing. And truth is not even mentioned; it is one of the most unmentionable things in the world for the simple reason that it will disturb too many people.
It is not coincidence that many mystics became silent and remained silent – because there were only two alternatives: either to say the truth and be crucified, or to tell a lie, which is consoling, comfortable, respectable. Certainly a mystic does not bother about respectability – who cares to be respected by people who are absolutely unconscious and asleep? What they think is their problem.
But the trouble is, if we are also asleep, then who knows? – they may be right. Because we don’t know what we are, who we are, we are nothing but the public opinion… and then gossip becomes a very significant factor. The only way to get rid of it is to know yourself on your own. Then you are neither old nor young, neither man nor woman. You are simply a pure consciousness which has no age because it is eternal. And it has no genital differences; a woman does not have a different consciousness from a man.
At the height of consciousness all duality disappears.
So the best thing that I can say to you is, discover yourself; otherwise you have to depend on other people’s opinions who don’t know themselves.
And you want a few words of comfort….
In Germany there is a proverb: Many a good tune is played on an old violin. So don’t be worried; just being old is not a condemnation. Many a good tune is played on an old violin. And there are things which become more precious as they become old. Just like wine or holy scriptures, they become holier as they become older.
You just wait. These gossipers are going to run to the logical conclusion. Soon they will say, “Devageet is ancient.” But it may be that not many people are gossiping about you, just the few – and mind has a tendency to exaggerate, to make everything big.
… Just because you are paranoid, it does not mean that you are not being followed. I am not saying that.
I am not saying that nobody is gossiping, but the number may not be so great. Because everybody is so concerned with himself, nobody has time for anybody else – except people like me, who have nothing to do in the world.
From my very childhood my father used to remind me again and again, “Stop the way you are behaving, stop the way you are growing, because in the end you will become good for nothing.” And he was right: I have become good for nothing.
I don’t have a single thing to do in the world. And because I am not going to live in this world forever, why should I care? Sitting in a waiting room in an airport, who cares what people think about you? You should keep your ears alert when your airplane is leaving. All these idiots will be left behind.
And as far as the question of being a woman is concerned, Socrates has tremendously solacing words for you – and Socrates is a man of tremendous experience as far as women are concerned. He had the worst woman in the whole history of man. Her name was also as terrible as she was: Xanthippe.
Socrates says, “Once made equal to man, woman becomes immediately superior.” Not to let her become superior, there is only one way: to keep her down, inferior. Equality is not possible at all; the moment the woman becomes equal, she is already superior. The reality is that even in her being inferior, she knows perfectly who is superior.
In a small school a teacher asked the little kids, “Do you know of any animal who when he goes out of the house he goes like a lion, and when he comes back into the house he comes like a mouse?”
Little Ernie raised his hand. He was the last person to do something like that. The teacher said, “Good, Ernie. Do you know the animal?”
He said, “I know perfectly. He is my dad. When he goes out, then you see he looks like a lion, and when he comes in, then you see he looks like a mouse.”
Every child knows it.
I have come across a tremendous statement:
… Man will be the last thing civilized by a woman.
The woman goes on civilizing from childhood; she tries to civilize the children, then she tries to civilize the husband, and this goes on. But man will be the last thing; he is almost impossible. Civilization does not suit his taste.
In case you are worried about what is going to become of you, you are going to become old and almost a woman. But I am saying, almost a woman…. So never worry about the future, it is certain. You are going to become old, and you are going to become almost like a woman: suspicious, jealous, irritable, annoyed for no reason at all.
Even the most beautiful woman turns out to be terrible – terrific! It is a miracle of nature. Just keep away! From the distance the woman looks divine, and as you come closer and open your eyes, you say, “My god, here is the devil!”
… Women are dressed but very few are clothed.
The case with men is just the opposite: men are clothed, but very rarely dressed. Simple differences, but of great psychological importance.
Devageet, there is nothing to be worried about, because love is as blind in old age as ever, but the neighbors are never blind – so beware of the neighbors. Old age cannot disturb your blind love.
You have asked for some consoling advice… but
… A good scare is worth more to a man than good advice.
… Advice is the only thing everybody gives and nobody takes.
In old age, Devageet, the past always looks better than it was. It is only pleasant because it is not there now; that is the beauty of old age. Youth looks golden; childhood looks almost diamond. Everything that is no longer there becomes a long history of beautiful experiences. When you were a child, you never enjoyed it. Every child wants to grow up as soon and as quickly as possible, because he can see that people who are grown up are powerful, are capable of doing anything they want to do, have all the money. Naturally every child wants to grow up faster. No child enjoys his childhood.
If a child can enjoy his childhood, he will be able to enjoy his youth and he will be able to enjoy his old age, and he will be able finally to enjoy even his death. Everything begins from the beginning.
But I have never come across a child who enjoys it. He is waiting for youth to come, when he will enjoy. And youth is a time of great turmoil: up and down… it is troublesome, no rest. Either chasing or being chased; either fighting or just preparing for fight… you cannot even sit silently.
Mulla Nasruddin was asking me, just as Devageet is asking, “What to do? The moment I utter any single word, my wife just grabs me and the fight starts.”
So I said, “Why don’t you sit silently? Why do you start even a single word?”
He said, “I have tried that. She grabbed that too, she immediately said, `Why are you sitting silently? What is the meaning of it? Are you trying to ignore me? I am here and you are sitting silent.'”
I said, “Then it is very difficult. You can only do two things: either you can be silent or you can speak. Then do one thing: agree with your wife – just to avoid confrontation, whatever she says, agree.”
He said, “Osho, you are unmarried, you don’t know. The moment you agree with a woman she changes the subject. And if you go on agreeing with her, bankruptcy is not far away.”
… When a man gets up to speak, people listen, then look. When a woman gets up, people look. Then, if they like what they see, they listen.
It is impossible to create an equality between men and women. The whole women’s liberation movement is an utter absurdity. It is a futile exercise which is not going to lead anywhere for the simple reason that they are unique, they are not equal. Nobody is superior; nobody is inferior. They are just two different species accidentally living together: they speak different languages, they belong to different kinds of minds. I have never seen a man and a woman having a nice conversation – never!
If you want to have a nice conversation with a woman, there are a few requirements. First, she must not be your wife. Secondly, she must be the wife of your neighbor. And thirdly, the conversation cannot be too long – just a few minutes is perfectly good. The longer you stay together, the more difficult it becomes to have a nice conversation.
Women know only nice conflicts. In their own way they are warriors. They fight with different kinds of weapons; their strategy is different; their diplomacy is different. And man is always at a loss what to do, because he cannot understand the diplomacy.
Homosexuals all over the world are called gay people – not without any reason, but because they understand each other, they are both happy, have nice conversations. In fact there is nothing else to do than have nice conversations. They enjoy each other’s company – same mind, same species, same language.
It happened in the second world war….
For five years Adolf Hitler went on winning for the very strange reason that he never listened to his generals. He had brought astrologers from Tibet, and they decided the whole strategy of his war fronts. The generals were beating their heads, “These idiots don’t know anything about military science, and stars are no more interested in who wins or who is defeated.”
But they themselves were amazed because Hitler went on winning. In the beginning they were shaky, but soon they understood that perhaps they are wrong, he is right. Perhaps stars have something to do with it, because he is winning, and nothing is a greater proof of being true than winning. And you will be surprised that all the generals of different countries who were fighting against Adolf Hitler were at a loss – because whatever they expected, Hitler never did that, and what they never expected, he always did that. They were not aware that he was not functioning through military science.
And all those generals knew, from this side to the other side, the same science. They knew what any general is going to do: he is going to attack the weakest point of the enemy. So naturally the enemy will gather all his forces at the weakest point…. But Hitler was not being directed by generals. And he would direct, “Attack where the enemy is the strongest. If you can defeat him there it is finished. Then everything else can be defeated very easily.” The argument was correct. He attacked the strongest points, but they had become weakest because of the military science. All the armies had been moved to the weaker points.
Finally, Churchill got the idea what was happening. And then from India astrologers were taken to England and told, “Now it is a question of a war amongst the stars. You decide; it is whatever you say.” And the moment Indian astrologers started deciding, ordering the generals, that was the beginning of Adolf Hitler’s fall, because Tibetan astrology is only a by-product of Indian astrology. It knows much less than Indian astrology knows.
Now it was a question between Indian astrology and Tibetan astrology, not a question between Germans and English and Americans and French. They were out of the game. The game was being played by two different kinds of astrology. But Tibetan astrology is simply a by-product of Indian astrology, just as Tibetan religion is a by-product of Indian religion. Tibet has nothing original to it; everything is borrowed from India. So the Indian astrologers were in a higher position.
Man always finds it difficult to understand women, and even the greatest poets have been writing poetry and saying that the woman is a mystery. It is not a mystery; it is a question of two different species accidentally falling together. They don’t understand each other’s diplomacy, each other’s tactics, each other’s way of understanding. The husband thinks he is continuously misunderstood; the wife thinks she is continuously misunderstood.
It is a great chance for you, Devageet: you have been a man for so many years; now be a woman, so that you can know both the territories. Your experience will be far richer. And in fact, many people actually are changing their sex through plastic surgery.
Just today I was informed by Anando that billions of dollars are spent in America on plastic surgery alone. Almost half a million people every year are going through plastic surgery. In the beginning the age group that used to go through plastic surgery was when a woman… and it was confined only to women. When a woman started feeling old, she used to go through plastic surgery to remain a little younger, a few days more attractive.
But the recent development is that the majority of people in America who are going for plastic surgery are men, not women, because now they want to be young a little longer. Deep down they will become older, but their skin will show the tightness of a young man. And the most surprising thing in the report was that even a twenty-three-year-old boy has gone through plastic surgery to look younger.
America is certainly the land of the lunatics. Now if a twenty-three-year-old boy thinks that he needs to look younger, what about Devageet?
It is so ugly to go against nature.
It is so beautiful to go in tune with nature and whatever gifts it brings, childhood or youth or old age. If your acceptance and your welcoming heart is ready, everything that nature brings has a beauty of its own.
And according to my understanding – and the whole of the Eastern seers are behind me, in support – man becomes really beautiful and graceful at the highest point of his age, when all foolishnesses of youth are gone; when all ignorance of childhood has disappeared; when one has transcended the whole world of mundane experiences and has reached to a point where he can be a witness on the hills and the rest of the world is moving down in the dark dismal valleys, blindly groping.
The idea of remaining continuously young is so ugly that the whole world should be made aware of it. By forcing yourself to be young, you simply become more tense. You will never become relaxed.
And if plastic surgery is going to succeed – and it is going to become a bigger and bigger profession in the world – then you will find a strange thing happening. Everybody starts looking alike: everybody has the same size of nose, which is decided by computers; everybody has the same kind of face, the same cut. It will not be a beautiful world. It will lose all its variety; it will lose all its beautiful differences.
People will become almost like machines – all alike, coming from the assembly line like Ford cars one by one. They say every minute one car comes out of the Ford factory, similar to another following it – in one hour, sixty cars… twenty-four hours it goes on. Shifts of workers go on changing, but the assembly line goes on producing the same cars.
Do you want humanity also to be streamlined, assembled in a factory exactly like everybody else, that wherever you go you meet Sophia Loren? It will be very boring.
… The way to fight a woman, Devageet, is with your head: grab it and run.
… All would like to live long, but none would like to be old.
Why? – because of the next stage. Nobody is really afraid of old age, but after old age is death and nothing else. So everybody would like to live as long as possible, but never to become old, because to become old means you have entered into the area of death. Deep down the fear of becoming old is a fear of death. And only those who don’t know how to live are afraid of death.
Devageet, don’t be afraid of anything. You have been with me… one of the most beautiful persons with a great sense of humor. I have loved Devageet so much that just to be with him I have allowed him to drill all my teeth.
I am rare in many ways – I have told you. One of our sannyasins from England has just come, because my arm was hurting very much, and he is an expert. And his finding was that something, not exactly in the arm but somewhere else, is causing the trouble. So he asked me about my teeth.
I said, “About my teeth you meet Devageet.” And when Devageet told him that I have gone through eight root canals, he freaked out! He said, “I have never seen a man with more than three root canals. Eight root canals? You have drilled all the teeth!”
I had to console him, “It is not his fault; it is my fault. I love his company; it is worth having one tooth drilled. Anyway one is going to lose all the teeth. These root canals are not his responsibility, it is my responsibility.”
I like his dental chair and doing nothing in comfort. He has to do everything. And I must be the most difficult patient because I talk continuously while he is drilling. So something that can be done within fifteen minutes takes two hours! He has to stop again and again to listen to me, and then the work starts again.
“He is not at fault, don’t be angry with him,” I had to tell him. “He is also my sannyasin.”
The English sannyasin said, “But this is too much.”
I said, “Don’t be worried; it is nothing, because there are still a few teeth left.”
So whenever I feel in a good mood I will call Devageet. It is not for the pain in the teeth that I call him… when I am in a good mood! Then I say, “Now, let him drill.”
… Youth is a malady of which one becomes cured a little every day. Old age is the cure.
You have passed through the whole fire test of life, and you have come to the point where you can be utterly detached, aloof, indifferent.
But the West has never understood the beauty of old age. I can understand, but I cannot agree. In the West the idea is:
… The trouble with life is that there are so many beautiful women, and so little time.
That’s why nobody wants to become old, just to stretch the time a little more.
But I say unto you: the trouble would be even worse if there was so much time and so few women. As it is, it is the perfect world.
Devageet, a very special advice for you:
… A man is known by the company he avoids.
So just you figure out where you are. If you avoid women, that will be decisive; if you avoid men, that will be decisive.
The old saying is: A man is known by the company he keeps. The days of that proverb are gone. Now it is the company that he avoids. This is a little more subtle, and you will have to figure it out – whom you are avoiding and why.
… Women have a lot of faults. Men have only two – everything they say, and everything they do.
… A man who expects comfort in this life must be born deaf, dumb and blind. Then there is no discomfort at all.
And the last gossip that I have heard – and perhaps Devageet has not heard – is that Devageet’s underpants are now regarded as a noodle-free zone!
Osho, The Great Pilgrimage, Ch 10, Q 1