“Desiderata says: Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. Don’t condemn yourself – you are a child of the universe,” states Osho.
Desiderata says: Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. It is because of this unwholesome state of affairs that discipline has taken on a very wrong connotation. It has become almost synonymous with control, and control means repression. And repression is not the way of learning, repression is a way of avoiding. The man who represses sex is avoiding sex, and he will never understand it. And that which is repressed is bound to take revenge because it is not finished, it is there. Unless something is experienced you cannot go beyond it, you cannot transcend it. The only way to transcend is through it, not by going around and repressing it, not by bypassing it, not by ignoring it. It will come and it will come with a vengeance; it will explode one day. Yes, you can win little battles, but you are going to lose the ultimate war. You are going to lose in the race – finally. Maybe for the moment, for the time being, you can deceive yourself that you have succeeded.
Repression cannot succeed because that which has not been lived, that which has not been experienced, remains in you in the unconscious. In fact, it goes deeper into the unconscious and it starts spreading there like a cancer.
Humanity up to now has lived in a very controlled way; that’s why humanity is suffering. Everybody is miserable, everybody is in anguish, tension, everybody is depressed, everybody is in a strange state, always falling apart, falling into pieces. Life seems to be just a struggle to survive somehow, not something to rejoice in, not something to dance about, not a song, not a celebration, just a drag. If you can go on holding yourself together somehow, that seems to be more than one can expect.
Why has this happened? Why has man become so sad? The trees are not sad, the animals are not sad, even the rocks are not sad. The whole existence, except man, is always celebrating. It is always a dance, a song. It is always Alleluia! – an unending celebration, a festival. What has happened to man? What has gone wrong with man?
The so-called religious people are responsible. They have taught humanity only one way, which is a wrong way: the way of repression – repress yourself, control yourself.
Mahatma Gandhi used to say… and he is quoted by his followers as if he had said something immensely significant. He used to say to his followers: “Be gentle with others, but never be gentle with yourself. Be hard upon yourself, otherwise you will lose the battle.”
What does he mean by being hard upon yourself? – control, repress. He repressed many things his whole life, and they all asserted themselves sooner or later; they came to the surface. He repressed his sex, and then at the age of seventy he became aware that what he had been doing had not succeeded. The sexuality had gone deeper; it had spread its roots to the unconscious realm of his being.
And at the last phase of his life he started experimenting with Tantra. That phase is not mentioned by his followers at all; they avoid. They don’t want to say anything about it; they don’t write about it. He started sleeping with a naked young girl, just to bring up to the surface what he himself had repressed for forty, fifty years continuously. Now he wanted to bring it to the surface so he could see what had happened. He was in a mess: a man who had repressed sex his whole life and had been against Tantra his whole life.
You will be surprised to know that he was the man who had suggested to the government of India that temples like Khajuraho should be buried under earth, that they should be covered with mud so nobody could see them: “Of course, don’t destroy them, but let them be covered with earth, so once in a while if somebody wants to study, only for that purpose can they be uncovered, otherwise there is no need.” He was so much afraid of the naked statues of Khajuraho! And finally he started sleeping with a young, naked girl. This shows what happens to a repressive person. In the last phase when all time was spent, when he was a spent force, the repressed sexuality started asserting itself.
He was a sincere man, but an utter failure as far as spiritual growth is concerned. He succeeded as a politician, succeeded greatly – he was one of the most successful politicians ever – but he failed spiritually. But he was a sincere man – that much must be said about him – he was a sincere man. He confessed it: “In my dreams sex still enters. In my dreams I still go on seeing naked women.”
But a repressive person has a totally different logic. Rather than trying to understand the message of the dreams, that it was a message from the unconscious… He never read about Sigmund Freud; he must have avoided Sigmund Freud. The man who wanted the temple of Khajuraho to be buried, how could he study Sigmund Freud? – because he was digging out temples of Khajuraho in every person! Thousands of years this repressing has gone on and on; it has driven humanity mad. He never read a single word of Sigmund Freud, which would have been of immense help to him; he must have been afraid. But he confessed that still sexual dreams, sexual fantasies floated in his dreams.
But the logic of a repressed person is totally different. If he had been a man of meditation he would have pondered over the message; he would have learned something. But he started repressing more. It is a vicious circle: you repress more, your dreams become more sexual; then you repress more, you become harder – you think that you have not repressed enough.
He started cutting his sleep from seven hours to five, from five to four. He even became afraid of sleeping, because whenever you sleep the dreams will come, and the dreams were becoming more and more sexual. As he was becoming weaker, old age was entering into his body, the vigor of his youth was disappearing.
People think that when you are young it is very difficult to repress sex; they are wrong, totally wrong. The real difficulty comes when you are old, because when you are young you have enough energy to repress, and when you become old that energy is no more there to repress. So whatsoever you have repressed starts coming up; it starts surfacing.
Control is not the meaning of discipline, repression is not the meaning of discipline. That is a very unhealthy attitude. Understanding, meditation is the meaning of discipline.
Rabbi Greenberg died and went to heaven. He saw only three people there, reading by a dim light. One of them was mad ”Jibhai” Morarjibhai Desai who was reading Playboy, the second one was Ayatollah Khomaniac – he was reading Gallery – and the third was Pope The Polack who was reading Genesis. And they were all reading very religiously. He could not believe his own eyes. First he could not believe that there were only three people in heaven, and then he could not believe they were all religiously reading Playboy, Gallery, Genesis – and reading so religiously, as if they were reading the Gita, the Koran, the Bible.
He decided to see what hell was like. The rabbi got to the Devil’s domain and it turned out to be a big nightclub with every kind of music being played. There was an eight-piece Dixieland band, a thirty-piece swing band, and all the people were dancing.
Rabbi Greenberg went back up to heaven and asked for an audience with God. “I don’t understand it, Lord,” he said. “There are only three people in heaven and they are all reading, and they are all reading things which should not be read, and they are reading them so religiously. I am amazed! I am surprised! And down in hell everybody is dancing and having a good time! And these three people look so sad and so ugly. Why can’t we have some music in heaven, some dance in heaven?”
The Lord said, “I can’t hire a band just for these three stupid people!”
Repression, control can only make you stupid. And remember, even if you go to heaven you will smuggle some old copies of Playboy, Gallery, Genesis, because here you missed them. They are bound to go with you. Here you were reading the Gita, the Koran and the Bible; here you were repressing. It is easy to repress in a life of seventy or eighty years, but in heaven it is infinity. How long can you repress? How long can you sit upon a volcano? Sooner or later it is bound to erupt.
Remember, a wholesome discipline has nothing to do with control or repression. Desiderata is tremendously significant when it says: Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
Meditate, and meditate totally, and put your whole energy into it. Beyond that, be gentle with yourself.
Now the so-called religious people have never been gentle with themselves. In fact, we call a person a saint only when he tortures himself, when he is masochistic. The more masochistic, the greater a saint he is. The more he tortures himself, the more followers worship him. That’s how we have been deciding who is a real saint.
I am condemned in India, and also condemned outside India, for the simple reason that I am not an ascetic, for the simple reason that I am not masochistic, that I don’t torture myself and I don’t tell you to torture yourselves. I am neither a masochist nor a sadist, and for centuries religion has been sado-masochistic.
The saint tortures himself and teaches others to be like him, and he creates guilt in you if you cannot torture yourself – and no intelligent person can torture himself. Hence all intelligent people have been feeling guilty. Only stupid people can torture themselves. That’s why in the faces, in the eyes of your saints you will see nothing but sheer stupidity.
You can go around India and you can see so many saints, and you will be surprised: no intelligence, no sharpness. They are not like swords, sharp; their swords are all full of rust, covered with dust. They have lost all their sensibility, all their awareness. They have become fixated on one thing: torture yourself more and more. And intelligence will not allow it so they have to repress intelligence, they have to become stupid, they have to be almost dead! They don’t teach you how to live; they teach you how to commit slow suicide. And all the religions have been doing it, more or less.
Hence the so-called religious cannot think of me as religious, they cannot think of me as holy. But to me, to be whole, to be wholesome, is holy.
…be gentle with yourself. I agree with Desiderata. Love yourself, respect yourself, be gentle with yourself. Unless you are loving towards yourself you cannot be loving at all. Unless you care about yourself you will not care about anybody else; it is impossible.
I teach you to be really selfish so that you can be altruistic. There is no contradiction between being selfish and being altruistic: being selfish is the very source of being altruistic. But you have been told just the opposite up to now, you have been taught the contrary: that if you want to be altruistic, if you want to love others, don’t love yourself – hate yourself in fact. If you want to respect others, don’t respect yourself. Humiliate yourself in every possible way, condemn yourself in every possible way.
And what has happened out of such teaching? Nobody loves anybody. The person who condemns himself cannot love anybody. If you cannot love even yourself – because you are the closest person to yourself – if your love cannot even reach to the closest point, it is impossible for you to reach towards the stars. You cannot love anything – you can pretend. And that’s what humanity has become: a community of pretenders, hypocrites.
Please try to understand what I mean by being selfish. First you have to love yourself, know yourself, be yourself. Out of that you will radiate love, understanding, tenderness, care for others. Out of meditation arises true compassion, but meditation is a selfish phenomenon. Meditation means just enjoying yourself and your aloneness, forgetting the whole world and just enjoying yourself. It is a selfish phenomenon, but out of this selfishness arises great altruism.
And then there is no bragging about it; you don’t become egoistic. You don’t serve people; you don’t make them feel obliged to you. You simply enjoy sharing your love, your joy.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars…
Desiderata says: Don’t condemn yourself – you are a child of the universe. You belong to this beautiful existence. This existence has needed you, otherwise you would not have been here. And it needed you the way you are, otherwise it would not have created you the way you are. So don’t try to be somebody else.
If existence needed another Jesus it would have created another Jesus. If it can create one, why can’t it create millions? Just as we create cars on an assembly line… millions of cars, similar cars go on coming out of the factory, every second a car comes out of the Ford factory. God could have done it, existence can do it. If Ford can do it, do you think God cannot do it? Just an assembly line: only Jesus Christs or Gautam Buddhas. But then the world would be very ugly.
Just think of a world of Jesus Christs… it will lose all enrichment because it will miss variety. And who will crucify Jesus? It will be very difficult! He will go on carrying his cross on his shoulders and he will not find anybody to crucify him because he will find other Christs who are carrying their crosses – nobody to crucify, nobody to teach. To whom will he say, “Blessed are the meek…”? They all will say, “Shut up! We know it already. Of course, blessed are the meek!”
Just think, all Gautam Buddhas sitting under trees. Who will feed them? The day Gautama Buddha became enlightened, a beautiful girl called Sujata had brought him sweets, food. In fact, Buddha remembered these three persons very respectfully: the woman who raised him, because his mother died immediately, and his mother’s sister gave him her breast – he respected her tremendously; Sujata, because before he became enlightened she had fed him, she had brought nourishing food for him – he had fasted for many days and she nourished him; and the man who gave him food, the last food before he died.
He said these three people were immensely fortunate, blessed, because to give your breast to a Buddha or to nourish him just before his enlightenment or to give him food, the last farewell food, is serving existence in a very invisible way. Because with every Buddha, with every enlightened person, with every awakened human being, existence starts reaching towards higher peaks. It takes a jump with every Buddha.
But existence never repeats anybody. if there are all Buddhas, then there will be no Sujata. Who will feed these Buddhas? Who will serve them? Who will follow them? Who will listen to them? Who will they transform? They will feel utterly bored! They will not have anything to do. Their lives will be just empty.
No, existence needs everybody the way he is. Never try to be somebody else. Desiderata says: Be yourself – because existence needs you the way you are, you fit exactly as you are. You see the tremendous message! Desiderata is saying: Accept yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
You belong. You are not a stranger. You are not accidental; you are intrinsically needed. Remember, the greatest need in life is to be needed, and if you can feel that the whole existence needs you, you will become tremendously cheerful. You will be turned on! You will feel the most significant experience, you will become ecstatic if you can feel that the whole existence needs you, that you will be missed, that if you are not here there will be a gap, you will be missed. You are not unnecessary, you are not superfluous; you have tremendous significance.
Hence, love yourself. You are needed as much as the trees, as the flowers, as the birds, as the sun, as the moon, as the stars. You have to be here and you have a right to be the way you are. Assert yourself as you are; never feel guilty.
All the religions have created guilt in you, and that’s how they have been exploiting you. They create guilt in you, then you are bound to go to the priest; you are bound to go to the church, to the temple to pray, because you are feeling guilty, a sinner. They go on telling you that you are a sinner. And why are you a sinner? Why does God go on creating sinners? If this is the way he works then he is at fault!
Why did God create Adam and Eve the way he created them? Why did he tell them not to eat from the tree of knowledge? If he had not told them I don’t think they would have discovered the tree of knowledge; in the great, vast Garden of Eden they would not have been able to discover it. By saying to them, “Don’t eat from the tree of knowledge,” he made them obsessed with the idea. Now it was very difficult for them not to eat from it. He was responsible, nobody else.
A man was traveling along a road when he suddenly felt an urgent need to shit. He happened to be passing a huge mansion, so, driven by his urgent need, he went up to it and rang the bell. When the maid answered, he told her his plight and asked if he could use the bathroom.
The maid said, “Wait a minute, sir, and I will ask the Madam.”
She then came back and said, “The Madam says you may use the bathroom, but on no account are you to press the fourth button!”
So he was shown to a most luxurious bathroom with gold fixtures and wall-to-wall carpeting. With great relief he shat in the toilet. Then noticing the buttons on the wall he pushed the first one – and a spray of warm, soapy water sprang up and washed his bottom clean. Fascinated, he pressed the second button – and cool, perfumed water arose to rinse him. In great delight, he pushed the third button – and a hand bearing a soft towel appeared and gently patted him dry.
It was too much! He could not resist the temptation. He pushed the fourth button. Wham! Bam! Excruciating pain… he woke up in a hospital. The Madam of the house was standing by his bed. “I told you, I warned you not to press the fourth button,” she said.
“Wh-what wa-was the fourth button for?” he stammered weakly.
“That,” she said, “is my tampon remover!”
Drop all guilt. Otherwise, beware of the tampon remover!
Osho, Guida Spirituale, Ch 13 – Part 2 of 3
Featured image: ‘Summer Months’, painting by Sidd Murray-Clark – www.siddart.com
- Desiderata – Max Ehrmann’s most acclaimed work which Osho declared “…seems to be one of the most ancient documents available today.”
- Osho speaks on the ‘Desiderata’ – from Guida Spirituale
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