“If I talk about the new man in America I will be killed immediately, imprisoned,” states Osho.
Osho, at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, we saw the ultimate in science to explore outer space and create “a better man,” and at Rajneesh Space Center, Pune, is the effort to experience the inner space and create “a new man.” The former is the launching pad for the new century backed by the world’s richest and most powerful nation. This one is the flying saucer for the new consciousness and yet decried by one of the world’s poorest nations. One is matter and the other spirit. What is happening?
Kul Bhushan, the idea of a better man is an old idea, very old, as old as man himself. Everybody is willing for a better man because it needs no radical change. A better man means something is added to you: you remain the same, you remain continuous; there is no discontinuity. And you become richer, better.
The idea of a better man is rooted in greed; hence everybody will support it. The rich countries will support it, the poor countries will support it. India was totally in favor of Mahatma Gandhi because he was trying to bring a better man.
The idea of a better man is reformatory, it is not revolutionary. But the idea of a new man is dangerous because it requires guts. Its basic requirement is that you have to die to the old and you have to be born anew – it is a rebirth. Hence I am opposed. And it is not only here that I am opposed and decried, I will be opposed and decried anywhere else in the world; even if I am in Florida the same will happen.
In fact, there is more possibility of opposition in a richer and powerful country than there is in a poor and starving country, for the simple reason that millions of Indians have no idea of what is going on here. They have no time, they have no interest. It is not a vital issue for them, the birth of a new man. Their vital problem is how to survive, and you are talking of the birth of a new man! They are not even able to survive. Their problems are totally different. They are ill, they are hungry, their children are uneducated, they are unemployed, they don’t have any land, no food, no shelter – and you are talking about a new man? They are not interested; it is not their problem.
But if I talk about the new man in America I will be killed immediately, imprisoned. I will not be tolerated at all, because that means a danger to the whole American way of life.
The American way of life depends on ambition, and my new man has to be utterly ambitionless. America’s whole approach is: things should be bettered, everything should be made better. It does not matter where it is going to lead, but things have to be better, better and better. They are obsessed with the idea of bettering things. You have to have more speed, better machines, better technology, better railroads, better roads – everything better! Of course, in the same way, you need a better man. It fits with the whole American style of life.
Man is also thought to be a commodity. Just as you need better cows and better dogs and better cars and better airplanes, you need a better man! There is no difference: it is the same logic.
I am talking about a NEW man. The new man is not necessarily the better man. He will be livelier, he will be more joyous, he will be more alert, but who knows whether he will be better or not? As far as politicians are concerned he will not be better, because he will not be a better soldier – he will not be ready to be a soldier at all. He will not be competitive, and the whole competitive economy will collapse. He will not be interested just in accumulating junk, and the whole economy depends on that. All your advertising agencies are just bringing to your mind the idea of collecting more and more junk.
The new man will have a totally different vision of life. He will live in a more loving way, because to him love is richness. He will know that money cannot buy love or joy. He will know that money is utilitarian; it is not the goal of life.
The whole American system depends on doing better. “Do it better!” What you are doing is not the point. “If you are murdering people, do it better!” You can see what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki: America really did it in a better way than anybody else has ever done it. “Reach the moon!” Nobody asks why. If you ask why, you are crazy; such questions are not to be asked. The only question worth asking is: “How to reach the moon in a better way than anybody else? Defeat Russia. It should be an American who is first to walk on the moon.” For what? That is not the point. As far as I am concerned, I can’t see the point. The American standing on the moon looks so silly! But that is their way of thinking, their philosophy: “Even if you are looking silly, look silly in a better way. Defeat everybody else!”
My new man means the end of the old world. So it is not only a question of my being decried and opposed in India – I will be decried and opposed anywhere else. In fact, I have chosen India for a particular reason: here people are so lethargic. Even if they want to kill me they will take twenty, thirty years! By that time I will have done my work – I will have done the harm. It is not for no reason that I have chosen India: people are lethargic.
Just a few days ago a man threw a knife at me to kill me. Now, such a knife can be thrown only in India! When it fell just in front of me I thought it was a stone. My eyes are not bad, I don’t need glasses yet: I can see very clearly. I thought it was just a stone – it looked so dirty! And when I saw the pictures of it I was very much puzzled – you could not even cut vegetables with it! This is the beauty of being in India. Now, in America or in Germany they would have done it with more sophisticated means. India is the best place at the moment to do my work, my kind of work.
And why is the new man decried? He has always been decried. Jesus was killed because he was talking about the new man, not about the better man. Mahavira was not killed, Buddha was not killed, because they were talking about the better man. You should see the difference.
Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Unless you are born again you shall not enter into my kingdom of God.” Now you cannot find any parallel in Mahavira, in Patanjali, in Moses, in Mohammed; no, nowhere can you find a parallel. Jesus insisted that first you have to die to the past, only then can a new consciousness arise in you. He was crucified.
Socrates was talking about a new man, remember. These are the differences. Why was Socrates killed? Athens was one of the most cultured cities of those days; in fact, not only of those days, but even today no city compares with Athens. Twenty-five centuries have passed, but neither New York nor London nor Paris nor Bombay nor Calcutta nor Peking nor Moscow – no city has been able to achieve that peak of culture, sophistication, civilization, that Athens did.
But why did such cultured people become so animalistic, so barbarous as to kill a man like Socrates? He was talking about the new man. If he had talked about the better man he would have been worshipped.
Those who have talked about the better man have always been worshipped, because they are telling you that the past is beautiful but it can be beautified more. They are not against the past, they are not against conventions, they are not against traditions; they are all for them. The tradition has to be the foundation and, on that foundation, you can raise a better temple, a better house.
To talk about the new man, Kul Bhushan, is dangerous. A new man means cutting away totally from the past, disrupting, uprooting yourself completely from the past, dying to the past and living in the present. And old habits die very hard. We have become accustomed to hearing about a better man; it has gone into the very circulation of our blood. Every saint, every mahatma talks about the better man; that’s his business, we know. But about a new man? Then we become afraid. He is bringing something absolutely new; he is taking us into the territory of the unknown, he is trying to uproot us from the familiar. And we have lived for thousands of years in a particular way; we are conditioned by it, we are part of it. Only very few people can manage to get out of it. Hence my message is going to remain only for the chosen few.
Remember, old habits die hard – and our religions, our philosophies are very old, our styles of life are very old. And I am all for the new. We think the old is gold – and I say the old is just junk! I agree with Henry Ford that history is bunk. It is all bullshit! We have to free man from all that has gone before, and we have to free man totally, absolutely, categorically.
“Mummy, why did you marry daddy?”
“Ah!” replies the mother. “So you are wondering too!”
“Didn’t I meet you in Texas?”
“I’ve never been to Texas.”
“Neither have I. Guess it must have been two other fellows.”
These drunkards, these unconscious people have been dominating the whole of humanity.
It is a very rainy day. Two madmen are sitting on a bus. When the bus stops at the traffic lights, one madman looks out of the window and says, “Hey, Charlie, look at all that water! I am going to take a bath!”
So he opens the window and jumps out. After a few seconds his friend hears a shout, “Drive a little further away, Charlie, the water here is too shallow!”
Mad people and drunkards – they have been our deciding factors in the past. We have never listened to the awakened ones. The awakened ones cannot talk about bettering man. It is like telling an ill person that “I will give you medicine to better your illness.” The ill person does not want to better his illness; he wants to get rid of it, he wants to be healthy.
It is Saturday night; the circus is packed. The owner enters the ring, stands in front of the audience and says: “Dingling Brothers Circus offers five thousand dollars, the contents of this envelope, to any man courageous enough to perform three daring feats: make Zorba the elephant sit down; comb the hair of Leo, our lion; and thirdly, make love to this old lady over here.”
As he is saying this, an attendant is bringing into the ring an enormous gray elephant, a ferocious-looking lion and a poor, stooped-over old lady.
“Who is gonna go for it? Five thousand dollars, five thousand just for laying out this old elephant, combing this cat’s hair and loving this old lady.”
From the back of the crowd comes a yell, and a drunkard, a strongly-built man, comes stumbling into the center ring and says, “I will do it!”
So they open the door to the cage. The drunk enters, walks over to the elephant and kicks him in the balls. The elephant sits down with a thump. The audience claps.
Next he goes into the lion’s cage and they get into a fight, struggling, rolling over each other, the lion roaring, the man screaming… total chaos.
After thirty minutes he comes out of the cage all bruised and battered. The lion is inside, stretched out and panting exhaustedly. The drunk staggers over to the Master of Ceremonies and asks, “Well, where is that old lady whose hair I gotta comb?”
Osho, Theologia Mystica, Ch 2, Q 4