Freedom to be oneself is the greatest gift of existence to every person


Osho concludes his commentaries on the last stanzas: ‘With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.’

Shrine and Chawan by Sidd Murray-Clark

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

It is the most perfect universe. Don’t try to improve upon it. Do you see the beautiful message of Desiderata?

Therefore be at peace with God…

There is no need to be worried about God; there is no need even to seek him, there is no need even to search for him. Just be at ease, at home in this universe, and that is the way one finds him – not the seeker, not the searcher, but one who is at home, one who is at rest, one who is relaxed with existence, one who knows the beauty of total acceptance.

The word of Buddha for it is tathata – suchness, acceptance. Buddha used to say again and again this is the way things are and this is the way they are supposed to be. Don’t get into unnecessary troubles trying to improve upon them.

And that’s what your missionaries go on doing, and your social reformers and your so-called politicians: they are all trying to improve upon the world. And all their efforts to improve are simply making things worse; it is creating a mess in the world. If somehow these social reformers, these do-gooders, can be stopped doing their good, the world can be at ease: …at peace with God.

Therefore be at peace with God whatever you conceive him to be.

And it does not matter how you conceive God. Don’t quarrel about it; it does not matter. You can conceive him as having one thousand hands. He has really millions of hands, otherwise how can he create so many trees and so many people and so many stars? With just two hands it will be too difficult.

If you want to conceive him as a trinity, perfectly good, because really existence can be understood as a trinity.

Even physicists will agree with you. Their names will be different, but not very much different either. They call those three elements electron, neutron, positron. Nobody has seen them and nobody will ever see them, so physicists cannot say that believing in the Christian Trinity – God the Father and Jesus the Son and the Holy Ghost – this is nonsense because nobody has seen them. Who has seen electrons, neutrons, positrons? They are all Holy Ghosts! And the physicist knows nobody will ever see them; all that we see is the consequences of them. We don’t see electrons, neutrons, positrons, but we see something which can only be explained if we accept those three; otherwise existence becomes unexplainable. So it does not matter: you can conceive God as the Trinity, or as Hindus conceive him, as trimurti – three-headed.

Just the other day somebody asked me, “What do you say when you meet a three-headed monster?”

Of course you say, “Hallo! Hallo! Hallo!”

So how do you conceive? It doesn’t matter! Three times “hallo.” You go round and say, “Hallo! Hallo! Hallo!” to all the three persons.

How you conceive, Desiderata says, does not matter. Those are all possibilities. But if it helps you to be at peace with existence it Is good.

You will be surprised to know that Buddha has defined truth as “that which works.” A strange definition, but I think perfectly right: “that which works.” Whether it is a lie or a truth does not matter; if it works it is a truth!

You see a rope in the dark and you think it is a snake and you run away. And you are huffing and puffing, and you fall down, and you have a mild heart attack. It is a truth! For you at least it has functioned as a truth.

Buddha says: Whatsoever works is true, whatsoever helps is true, whatsoever leads you towards more understanding is true. It is all hypothetical. That is the meaning of hypothesis: that which helps you to understand.

Desiderata says: Don’t get into arguments about God because that is unnecessary. And Christians and Buddhists and Jainas and Hindus and Mohammedans are continuously arguing, barking like dogs at each other, always at the throat of the other, trying to cut it, trying to prove themselves right.

The person who is continuously trying to prove himself right simply says that he is afraid of his not being right. Deep down somewhere he doubts, and he tries to convince others that “I am right.” He is trying through others to convince himself that “Yes, I am right.” And the other is also trying the same way. The Christian is not interested in Christ, remember, neither is the Hindu interested in Krishna, nor is the Buddhist interested in Buddha: their interest is in trying to prove themselves right. But the trouble is, there are many others who are saying different things, so first they have to prove them wrong, only then can they be at ease. But it is impossible to prove anybody wrong. How can you prove that the other is wrong if his hypothesis has worked for him?

Mahavira attained to truth, to the ultimate, to peace – the peace that passeth all understanding, the peace that transcends all understanding. So whatsoever his hypothesis is does not matter; it was only a jumping-board. No need to argue, just look at Mahavira – that is enough proof.

Jesus reached home, so by what route he reached, whether that route is the shortest or not, does not matter. There are people who enjoy the longer route.

I had one friend; just a few days ago he died – a beautiful man. While I was traveling around India, sometimes he used to accompany me. He loved to travel by passenger trains. I said, “What nonsense! We can reach from Bombay to Calcutta in one hour’s time by plane. Why waste forty-eight hours on the train? – and that too if you catch an express train. A passenger train in India, it is as if one goes on and on for eternity! If you travel in passenger trains in India you will start believing in eternity. It really feels eternal, non-ending!

But he said, “At least once you should come with me.”

So I said, “Okay.”

We traveled by passenger train from Jabalpur to Jaipur. We reached in four days. But he was also right, because he had always been traveling by passenger trains…. At each small station it stops, and you can get out and it stays for hours, and you can have tea and you can go out of the station. You can even have a trip around the village and come back! It was a beautiful experience! And because he was traveling always by passenger trains he knew where you could get the most delicious tea, at what station, where you could get the most beautiful food, where you could get what. He knew everything, and everybody knew him because he was always traveling, so he was acquainted with everybody.

And he said, “Look, almost the whole country knows me! And nobody knows you! How can people know you if you just fly over them? They will never forgive you!”

And I really never knew that there were so many beautiful stations and so many beautiful trees and so many beautiful people, and he had so many friends. I understood his idea. I enjoyed that journey.

So don’t condemn anybody; let them follow whatsoever they feel fits with them. And no two persons are the same, hence no single path is applicable to everybody, no single hypothesis.

That’s why I speak here on Jesus, on Buddha, on Mahavira, on Krishna, on Lao Tzu, on Chuang Tzu, and Dionysius and Heraclitus, and I have been speaking on almost all kinds of mystics. And people think I am eclectic – no, I am not. I am simply making you aware of the millions of paths to truth, because I see something beautiful on each path which the others miss; they each have their own beauty.

You have to choose your own path – you have to choose. Millions of alternatives are available, and it is good that you can choose.

When Ford made his first cars they were all black, and he used to say to his customers, “You can choose any color provided it is black.” Then what choice is there left? – “…provided it is black.”

It is good that existence has so many flowers of different colors, different shapes, different sizes, different fragrances. It makes it multi-dimensional. …whatever you conceive him to be. Desiderata does not say anything to you about God; it simply says be at peace with existence. And whatsoever hypothesis helps you to be at peace, it is good.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

These words have to be understood: “And whatever your labors…” When a woman gives birth to a child we say she is in labor. That’s exactly the meaning of the word labor. You should not call all laborers “laborers”; only the creators know what labor is. A Van Gogh knows what labor is, a Michelangelo knows what labor is, a Dostoevsky knows what labor is. Labor means giving birth to something, sharing with existence by creating something.

The only way to worship God is to be a creator in some way, whatsoever you can create. You can create a garden, you can create a statue, you can paint, you can compose a song, you can play upon the guitar or the flute, or you can dance. Whatsoever you can contribute, be a creator. To be creative is the only real prayer, all other prayers are just empty rituals. If God is the creator, then the only way to know God is to be creative. That is the only way to participate with him, to be a participant in his life, in his work, in his being.

Here my sannyasins are taught only one prayer: that of being creative. If you can act, be an actor. If you can design clothes, design clothes. If you can do some woodwork, do woodwork. If you are a jeweler, be a jeweler.

whatsoever your labors and aspirations

Ordinarily we call the creative person the inspired person – that is not right – we should call him the “aspired” person. Why? Desiderata has chosen aspiration instead of inspiration. Inspiration means taking something in; when you breathe in it is inspiration. When you breathe out it is aspiration. Inspiration means taking in; aspiration means sharing, giving out. Aspiration simply means exactly what the word education means: bringing something out – the flower out of the seed, the water out of the well – making the potential actual.

Because for thousands of years you have been told that inspiration is good, you go on following others. You become inspired by Christ; then you become a Christian, an imitator. You become inspired by Buddha; then you become a Buddhist, something pseudo. A Buddha is beautiful, a Buddhist is ugly. A Krishna has tremendous beauty; but the Hindu is just a fanatic. Don’t be inspired by anybody because by inspiration you will become only a follower.

Become afire with aspiration, with the joy of creation. Then you will know that there is pain in giving birth, but there is immense ecstasy too. And because of the ecstasy, the pain of giving birth is transformed into a sweet pain. Then even thorns are beautiful because they come with roses. Then even nights are luminous because they are part of the days. Then darkness is beautiful, velvety, because light cannot exist without it. Then all is acceptable; then nothing is rejected. In that total acceptance one can live peacefully at the center.

…in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. Then it becomes very easy to be always at peace. If you are at peace with existence, if you are at peace with yourself, then nothing can disturb you, nothing can distract you. Then you remain centered, rooted, grounded in your being. Even in the marketplace where it is all noisy and all confusion you remain clear.

But be a follower, be an imitator, and you will lose all peace of your being, because you will be trying to be somebody else, which you can never be. You can never succeed in being somebody else. Hence you will remain in anguish and you will remain in confusion; and you will remain split, you will remain schizophrenic. You will go from insanity to more insanity. Your life will become a hell.

I would like nobody to be a follower, an imitator. My sannyasins are not my followers, they are my friends – lovers but not followers. They are not inspired by me, but they learn aspiration. They are not to function like me, they are not to be like me; they have to be themselves. I teach them freedom, not following. I teach them individuality, uniqueness, not imitation. Hence they are at peace.

Whosoever comes to this commune, even the people who are against me, even they feel that something is totally different. It is not the same atmosphere as it is outside the gate. The moment they enter the gate they can immediately feel a different energy field. It is because my people are at peace with themselves; they are not trying to improve upon anything. They are just being themselves, they are sharing whatsoever they can, and they are perfectly happy. There is no desire to be more, there is no desire to be somebody else. There is no guilt, there is no goal. They are at rest. That creates this tremendously peaceful atmosphere.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Remember, never forget. Yes, you have traveled long in a way which was not true to your being; hence you have felt as if you are dragging yourself and life is a drudgery. People are deceivers – because they have deceived themselves, how can they resist the temptation of deceiving others? If you deceive yourself… and what is a Hindu doing? – trying to deceive himself. What is a Christian doing? – trying to deceive himself. He knows nothing of Christ, but he is trying to imitate.

One of the greatest Christian books is Imitation of Christ by Kempis. Imitation? – the very word is ugly! But Christians have loved that book very much. In fact, next to the Bible that is their most cherished document.

Every religion wants people to be imitative, and the total result is that it creates boredom. Life becomes a drag, not a dance. And because you deceive yourself, you try to be that which you are not; naturally, when you can deceive yourself, if you are not even honest with yourself, how can you be honest with anybody else in the world? You become totally dishonest.

And you have lived in dreams, and all dreams are bound to be broken. So that has to be accepted; it is nothing to complain about. To live in a dream means you will have to suffer; sooner or later the dream is going to shatter. No dream can be made permanent. You have loved in your dreams, you have been ambitious in your dreams, you have been greedy in your dreams. You have wanted this and that, and always more and more, but in your dreams – and they have all to be shattered. In fact, it is good that they are all shattered sooner or later, because unless they are shattered you will never wake up; you will remain fast asleep.

Your dreams are like intoxicants. You can drink alcohol, but how long can you remain in it? Tomorrow you will be back, and all the worries and all the anxieties will be back, and you were trying to escape from them. There is no escape, there is only understanding which helps. Escape does not help at all; your troubles will go on increasing. But that’s what we are doing with our dreams. All our dreams are our ego projections.

A majestic elephant is in the jungle eating lunch when he sees a little mouse eating some seeds near his foot.

He says grumpily, “Go away, you little runt! You are ugly and too little to be in the big jungle!”

Shyly, the little mouse looks up at the elephant and squeaks, “It is just because I was sick when I was small!”

Nobody accepts himself. Everybody is trying to be big. Even the mouse has its own rationalizations! Then, of course, how long can you go on believing in something which is false? Your life becomes a long series of broken dreams, but it is because of your own stupidity. It is not because life itself is a drag. Life is a dance! If you are falling out of the dance, it is up to you. Life gives you freedom to be in step with the dance or out of step. It is your choice. If you fall out of the dance, of course you will feel everywhere as if you are unwelcome. The simple thing is, you are not harmonious with the whole – it is your decision. The whole is always ready to welcome you; the whole cares about you. Because it cares about you it has given you freedom.

Freedom to be oneself is the greatest gift of existence to every person. You can misuse it, and when you misuse it you suffer. You can live in a sleepy way, you can live like a drunkard; that’s how people are living.

Two men went duck hunting one cold morning. One of them produced a large bottle of whiskey and proceeded to keep himself warm with the spirits, getting drunker and drunker, much to his companion’s dismay.

Finally, one lone duck came over flying very high, too high to be taken. The drunkard fumbled for his gun, got steadied, and finally pulled the trigger. The duck tumbled to the ground.

“An amazing shot!” exclaimed his companion.

“Nothing really,” said the drunk. “I usually get two or three out of a flock that size!”

What you are seeing may not be there at all; it may be just a projection, a dream. You are not in your senses. You are not conscious, you are not alert, you are not aware.

Siwicki, about to be married, mentioned to a buddy that he was planning to take only two days for his honeymoon because he was so busy at the office.

“That’s too bad,” said his friend. “You won’t have much time. How far did you plan to go?”

“Oh,” said Siwicki, “all the way, naturally!”

People have become stupid, and out of their stupidity they act, they understand; they try to work out, figure out what it is all about. And of course there is confusion.

The Nagorskis were driving to Fort Lauderdale in a brand new car. As they drove along, he put his hand on her knee.

“We are married now,” she said, “you can go a little further.”

So he went to Miami Beach.

Because of your sleep you remain retarded, you remain childish.

Joey, age six, and Suzy, age seven, decided that they would marry and had a meeting with their parents to break the news.

Joey’s father asked, “Where will you live?”

“Well, we thought that we would live one week here and one week at Suzy’s house,” replied Joey.

“And what about money?” inquired Suzy’s mother.

“Well,” said Suzy, “I get one dollar a week and Joey gets one dollar a week, and I have always heard you say that two can live cheaper than one.”

“And what about children? Have you thought about having children?” asked Joey’s mother.

“Oh, we have decided to wait a little while with that one,” said Joey. “And if Suzy should lay some eggs, I will step on them!”

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Have laughter in your heart. Take life playfully.

Strive to be happy.

If you are miserable it is your own work, it is your own creation, it is your own decision. You can instantly change; you can drop it all. It is not natural. To be miserable is an unnatural state; to be blissful is just natural. So there is not much of a problem. Once you understand it, that somehow you have lived in a state of unconsciousness, that’s why you have created all kinds of anxieties around you – if you wake up those dreams will evaporate.

Meditation simply means waking up – it is time. It is always time. Wake up!

Being a sannyasin simply means that you have decided to remain in an unconscious state no longer. And the moment you wake up, all misery disappears. Suddenly you find all is joy, all is bliss, all is benediction. Your very being is the kingdom of God. Jesus says again and again, “The kingdom of God is within you,” and you are seeking it outside; that’s why you are miserable. It is inside and you are seeking outside – you will never find it.

Hence the broken dreams, the drudgery, the boredom, the fed-upness, the tired, exhausted feeling, and the constant complaining, grumbling mood. You are surrounded by no’s.

You can live as a yes, and to live as a yes is to be religious. To say “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!” to existence is to be religious.

Osho, Guida Spirituale, Ch 13 – Part 3 of 3

Featured image: ‘Shrine and Chawan’, painting by Sidd Murray-Clark –

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