Don’t bother about nonessentials

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Osho continues with the line in Desiderata: ‘Without surrender, without making any compromise, remain yourself.’

Dance with me... by Padma

That’s why psychoanalysts try to penetrate into your dreams, for the simple reason… it is a condemnation of humanity. Nobody has thought about it that way, that the psychologist, the psychoanalyst, is trying to know about your dreams, not about you while you are awake. Strange – he should ask you questions about while you are awake. He never bothers with what you do while you are awake; he wants to know what you do when you are asleep. Why? – because he has come to know one thing absolutely and certainly, categorically: that man is false when he is awake. Centuries of outer imposition have made his so-called awakened state absolutely false and pseudo. If you want to know about the real, authentic man you have to know about his dreams; only in his dreams will you find him.

And then you will be surprised: the man who has renounced all money, in his dream goes on counting money and he does nothing else. The man who has renounced the woman – the woman he loved, the woman he wanted to love – goes on dreaming about the same woman or maybe about thousands of other women. His dreams will be full of women.

I have heard about a Catholic monk who went to a psychoanalyst and said to the psychoanalyst, “I have come in great trouble to seek help from you. Every night in my dream I am surrounded by at least a dozen naked, beautiful women!”

The psychoanalyst said, “But why be worried about it? There is nothing wrong! You should on the contrary be happy. What problem is there? If the women are beautiful and you are surrounded by beautiful women the whole night – enjoy it!”

The monk said, “You don’t understand. In the dream I am also a woman, that is the trouble! I am not objecting to the presence of the women – that is the only solace. The problem is that I am always a woman myself in the dream. Help me somehow so that I can remain a man in my dreams.”

Now on the surface he is a Catholic monk and deep down just a human being. And I am not condemning his humanity and his human desire, but I am certainly condemning his bogus Catholic monkhood.

But all the religions have done the same thing in different degrees: they have divided man into two. And what he is on the surface is one thing and what he is underneath is totally different.

Because of this the whole of humanity lives in a very strange state: divided, tense, anxious, fighting with itself. And the way it has been done is by leading people astray through the nonessential. The character is nonessential. What you do is not the essential thing, but what you are, because doing comes out of being. Being does not come out of your doing, so doing is secondary, just like a shadow. Being is essential. And you should know first who you are. Rather than trying to become somebody –  Mahavira, Buddha, Christ – try first to know who you are.

A great Hasid mystic, Zusya, was dying. His old aunt was always worried about Zusya because he was not following the traditional Jewish religion; she was very much worried about him. She was an old woman with all the old orthodox thoughts. At his deathbed she came and asked Zusya, “Have you made peace with God?”

Zusya opened his eyes and said, “But I have never been in any conflict with him! Why should I make any peace with God? I have never struggled against him. I have lived a life of let-go!”

The old woman could not understand the life of let-go, the life of total surrender to the ultimate, to the whole, flowing with the whole. She again asked, thinking that he had not understood it. She said, “Have you made peace with Moses?”

Zusya said, “When I am in front of God, he is not going to ask me, ‘Zusya, why are you not a Moses?’ He will ask me, ‘Zusya, why are you not a Zusya?’ I am not supposed to be Moses, otherwise he would have made me a Moses! Who was preventing him? He never made another Moses.”

God never repeats. He never sends carbon copies to the world. Mahavira is not repeated, Buddha is not repeated, Christ is not repeated, Mohammed is not repeated, Kabir, Nanak – nobody is ever repeated.

And this is what we all are doing: we are trying to be like Moses or like Mahavira or like Mohammed. Zusya is right, his insight is great. He says, “God will ask me, ‘Why are you not Zusya?’ He has made me Zusya and I have to be myself. That is my responsibility. To be Moses is not my responsibility; that was Moses’ responsibility and that is something between Moses and God. I have nothing to say about it, nothing to do with it; it is not my concern at all.”

The most essential thing is: you have to be yourself. Don’t be distracted by anybody, by any scripture, by any priest, by any politician. Don’t be distracted. Stick to one thing: “I have to be myself.”

Don’t be stubborn. Don’t bother about nonessentials. If the rule is to keep to the left, follow it; it is a nonessential thing. Whether you keep to the left or whether you keep to the right does not matter; it is just a traffic convenience. In India we keep to the left because of the British, because they had the idea of keeping to the left; the Americans keep to the right. Both are okay – there is nothing essential about it. But one thing is certain, that the traffic has to be managed and one has to decide either left or right – the traffic cannot be left in a chaos.

These are nonessentials. Don’t start fighting for them; that is a sheer wastage of energy. But about the essential no compromise should ever be made.

Desiderata says: Without surrender, without making any compromise, remain yourself. That does not mean that you have to be continuously fighting. It simply means if you are alert, aware, watchful, you can save your being without being contaminated by the others.

Everybody is like a vulture trying to dominate you. Even those who say they love you, their love is also nothing but an ego trip. They love you so that they can dominate you. The husband loves the wife to reduce her almost to a thing, to a commodity. The wife loves the husband just to dominate him, just to exploit him. All this love, all these relationships… Parents love their children if the children are following the ideas of the parents; if they are obedient then they love their children, if they are not obedient then all love disappears – instead of love they start hating.

A sannyasin asked me just the other day: “Listening to the Desiderata I am confused about what to do. I have not gone to see my mother for two years because she insists that I have to come to her not as a sannyasin. I cannot come in orange with a new name.” So she is puzzled: “What to do? Is it an essential or a nonessential? Should I compromise?”

If you think only of clothes it will look like a nonessential: why hurt the mother unnecessarily? You can go in white, you can go in any other color – clothes are just clothes. But that is not the point: the mother is trying to dominate you. It is not a question of clothes, because why should she be against orange? If you go in blue she is not against it, if you go in green she is not against it, if you go in white she is not against it. Why should she be worried about orange? What is wrong with orange? Is your mother a kind of bull or something? Why should she be worried about orange? Orange is one of the colors! If all other colors are acceptable and orange is not acceptable, it is not a question of colors or clothes; the question is deeper. She insists that you have to be obedient to her. And the sannyasin is thirty-two years old, not a small child. But the desire to dominate… “Otherwise,” the mother says, “I don’t want to see you.” What kind of love is this? It insists that “You have to be according to me.”

Forget the clothes. It is a very essential question; it is not nonessential. It is essential to defend yourself against all these who try to dominate you, because they will not stop only at that. Once you give in, then the whole trip begins, and then there is no end to it.

Every person has the freedom to be himself or herself. And if the mother really loves you she would like you to be yourself, she would like you to come the way you are. Love always accepts the other without any conditions; if there are conditions, it is not love.

So you will have to be very, very clear about it, otherwise Desiderata can create much confusion in you. Desiderata is a simple statement, because it is for the beginner, for those who are just beginning the journey into the world of truth, those who are beginning the enquiry. Listen to it very intelligently. Try to understand it without bringing your mind in. Just put your mind aside and listen in silence, because whatsoever is listened to in silence is understood immediately. Otherwise you will hear today, and some day in the future you may be able – and that too is a “perhaps” – to understand it. But meanwhile your life will be a wastage and it will become entangled in many nonessentials.

Zowicki, in a body-cast, lay in a hospital bed explaining to a doctor how he fell off the roof and broke most of his bones. “Twenty years ago, I am on the road selling brushes when my car break down and I walk to nearby house to use the phone,” he began. “A good-looking blonde built like a brick shipyard answered the door. She did not have phone, but ask me to stay over till morning.

“I stay in upstairs room. That night she ask if I need anything. I tell her ‘No.’ One hour later she come back again, ask if I want anything. I tell her everything all right. Around midnight she stop by again and ask if I want anything. I tell her I be fine.”

“What’s that got to do with your accident?” asked the doctor.

“Well,” said the Polack, “I be up on the roof fixing TV antenna when I remember that night back then, and all of a sudden I realize what she driving at. I jumped up, fell off the roof, and here I am!”

After twenty years…! Don’t be a Polack! Try to understand right now, here.

These are simple words and simple words are in a way dangerous: because they are simple you think you have understood them. Simple words contain more truth than complex words; complex words are creations of the stupid scholars. Simple words are direct, immediate; they don’t go roundabout. If you silently listen to them there is nothing which can prevent you from understanding them, but the silence is a prerequisite. If your mind is full of thoughts and you are listening through all the garbage, then those simple words will become complex by the time they reach you and they will not have the same meaning.

Czarobski walked into a drugstore. “Give me a can of talcum,” he said.

“Mennen’s?” asked the clerk.

“No, wimmen’s – it’s for my wife,” he answered.

The clerk shrugged. “You want it scented?”

“Nope,” replied the Polack. “I can take it along.”


And did you hear about the Italian girl who almost ruined her health by going to the doctor?

She thought he prescribed three hearty males a day.


Mrs. Marzanini complained to a lawyer that every time she had relations with her husband it hurt her unbearably.

“He is big! He is like a horse!” she added.

“In that case,” said the attorney, “the best thing you can do is to file your petition.”

“Oh no! Let him sandpaper his!”

Beware of simple words!

Pierino walked into a cocktail lounge and said to the barmaid, “Give me a double scotch!”

“Hey, kid,” she sighed, “you want to get me in trouble?”

“Maybe later, lady! Right now I just wanna drink!”

Desiderata is very simple, but don’t postpone. Let it be an immediate understanding.

Osho, Guida Spirituale, Ch 5, Part 2 of 3

Featured image: Dance with me… by Deva Padma –

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