“The man of compassion has to lie. The lie is only a device to wake you up,” explains Osho.
Compassion knows no conditions. It can do anything, it knows no right and no wrong. Compassion can lie to help you. In fact, in your sleep you can only understand lies, you cannot understand the truth.
Many things are involved. First, the experience of enlightenment, awakening, illumination, happens when there is no mind present. Enlightenment is a no-mind experience. Words are not there, language is not there. In fact, you are not there either. It is such a silence, so profound and infinite, it cannot be expressed without lying.
The moment the truth is said, it is no longer true. Just the process of saying it makes it a lie. To bring the wordless experience into words is to change the very quality of the experience.
So in fact, anything that is great – if it has been experienced at any time, by any individual – out of sheer necessity that person has to use lies to speak of it. But the lie of the awakened one is far more true than the truth of the sleeping one.
I am reminded of a small anecdote…
A man went to a nearby big city. His children had asked, ”Bring us this, bring us that,” and he had promised that he would. But by the time he had returned home, his house was on fire. There was a great crowd around, and they were all concerned about the children who were inside.
The crowd told him, ”We have been shouting, ‘The house is on fire and there is still time – you can get out.’ But they are enjoying the whole scene, they are not aware of the danger. Now you are here, somehow bring them out.”
He had forgotten to bring the toys, the trains, the cars and the dolls that the children had asked him to bring. He went to the only door which was not yet burning, but it was locked from inside. He knocked on the door. He tried to tell them, to explain that the house is on fire.
They said, ”We are enjoying it so much. It is so beautiful!” The man was shocked. He said, ”Forget about what you are enjoying. I have brought your cars, your trains, your dolls” – and he had not brought anything.
The moment they heard about their toys, they opened the door and ran out. Then he could explain to them why he had to lie.
”Forgive me, I could not manage time enough to find your things; next time I will bring them. But forgive me for saying a lie to you – because that was the only way to save you; you would not come out.”
Do you think this lie is a sin? And this is about an ordinary man and his children. What about me and my children? It does not matter to me whether I lie or not, because it makes no difference to my consciousness anymore, it is just a game. But to you, it matters immensely.
I can go on telling the truth – nobody among you is going to understand, and nobody among you is going to be benefited by it. It will pass over your heads. Hence I said the man of compassion has to lie. The lie is only a device to wake you up. Once you are awakened I can say to you, “I am sorry that I had to say so many lies to you.” And I am absolutely certain you are going to forgive me.
Osho, From Death to Deathlessness, Ch 1 (excerpt)