The sage’s advice to the idiot: Say no!

1001 Tales Discourses

Osho on Chekhov’s story: “To say no to anything is very easy… To be positive, to say yes, is very difficult.”


To say no to anything is very easy; to negate is very easy. To be positive, to say yes, is very difficult.

Chekhov has written a story.

One man in a village was so idiotic, so stupid, that the whole village knew about it, that he was stupid. And he himself became so convinced that he was stupid that he became afraid even to talk, to utter a single word, because the moment he said anything someone would say, “What a stupid thing you are saying! What a silly thing.”

He was so depressed, he went to a sage and asked him, “What to do? I am such a proved idiot that I cannot even utter a single word. Before I utter anything, they say, ‘Be silent. Do not speak!’ “

The sage said, “Do one thing: never say yes to anything from now on. Whatsoever you see, condemn it.”

The idiot said, “But they will not listen to me.”

The sage said, “Don’t bother. If they say, ‘This is a beautiful painting,’ say, ‘This painting beautiful? Such an ugly thing I have not seen before!’ If they say, ‘This novel is very original,’ say, ‘This is just a repetition. Thousands of times the same story has been written.’ Do not bother to prove it. Simply say no to everything; make it your basic philosophy. If someone says that the night is beautiful, the moon is beautiful, say, ‘You call this beauty?’ And they cannot prove otherwise, remember. They cannot prove!”

The man went back to his village. He started saying no to everything. Within a week there was a rumor around the village: “We were wrong. That man is not an idiot. He is a great critic; he is a genius.”

To say no needs no wisdom. If you want to become a great genius, say no, be a critic. Never bother to say yes to anything. Whatsoever anybody says, deny it flatly. And no one can prove it because to prove anything is very difficult. ‘No’ is the simplest trick.

Osho, The Supreme Doctrine – Discourses on the Kenopanishad, Ch 17, Q 2 (excerpt)

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

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