Power, Politics, and Change: What can I do to help make the world a better place?

Power, Politics, and Change: What can I do to help make the world a better place?

by Osho

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Power, Politics, and Change takes on the conventional wisdom that "power corrupts" and proposes instead that those who seek power are already corrupt: Once they attain their goal, their corruption simply has the opportunity to express itself. That's why even those who seek power in order to bring about radical change so often fail, despite their best

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Power, Politics, and Change takes on the conventional wisdom that "power corrupts" and proposes instead that those who seek power are already corrupt: Once they attain their goal, their corruption simply has the opportunity to express itself. That's why even those who seek power in order to bring about radical change so often fail, despite their best intentions. Osho looks at where this "will to power" comes from, how it expresses itself not only in political institutions, but in our everyday relationships. In the process, he offers a vision of relationships and society based not on power over others, but on a recognition of the uniqueness of every individual.

Power, Politics, and Change includes an original talk by Osho on DVD. This visual component enables the reader to experience the direct wisdom and humor of Osho straight from the source.

The Osho Life Essentials series focuses on the most important questions in the life of the individual. Each volume contains timeless and always-contemporary investigations and discussions into questions vital to our personal search for meaning and purpose, focusing on questions specific to our inner life and quality of existence.

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St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Osho Life Essentials Series
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

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The Varieties of Power

Power in itself is neutral. In a good person’s hand it will be a blessing. In an unconscious person’s hand it is going to be a curse. For thousands of years we have condemned power, but without realizing that it is not power that has to be condemned, it is that people have to be cleaned of all the ugly instincts that are hiding within them.

Is there such a thing as personal power which is different from power over others?

Personal power and power over others are two entirely different things. Not only are they different, they are diametrically opposite.

The person who knows himself, understands his own being, understands the meaning of his life, suddenly has an explosion of power. But it is more like love, like compassion. It is more like moonlight than like sunlight—cool, calm, beautiful. Such a man has no inferiority complex at all. He is so full, so contented, so utterly blissful, there is no reason for him to feel any ambition to have power over others.

I call it the power of the mystic.

Power over others is political, and the people who are interested in power over others are people who feel a deep inferiority complex. They are continuously comparing themselves with others, and feeling themselves inferior. They want to prove to the world and to themselves that it is not so—they are superior beings. All politicians suffer from an inferiority complex. All politicians need to be treated psychologically. These are sick people, and because of these sick people the whole world has been in immense suffering. Five thousand wars in three thousand years!

And there is no end for the seeker of power over others, because there are always people left out of his sphere of influence. That makes him still feel his inferiority. Otherwise, what is the need for anybody to become Alexander the Great?—just sheer stupidity. The man died when he was only thirty-three. He could not live for a single moment, he could not love for a single moment. All through the beginning of his life of thirty-three years he was preparing to become a world conqueror, and the remaining part was fighting, killing, burning. The only idea in his mind was to become the world conqueror.

When he was going to India, passing through Greece on the way, he met one of the rarest men in history, Diogenes. Diogenes used to live naked—he was so beautiful, it was perfectly suitable for him to live naked. Clothes serve many purposes related to climate, culture, but the basic purpose is not that. All the animals can manage to live without clothes in every climate all around the world, what is wrong with man? Is he the most vulnerable and weak animal in the whole world? No, clothes were first invented because all people don’t have beautiful bodies. You know people by their faces. In fact, even you yourself, if you see a picture of your own body naked without the head, will not be able to recognize that this is your body.

Diogenes was an immensely beautiful man; he needed no clothes. He lived by the side of a river. It was early morning and he was taking a sunbath. He had only one companion, a dog, and only one possession, an old lantern.

Alexander, passing through Greece, had heard that Diogenes was very close by. He said, “I have heard so much about the man. He seems to be a little strange, but I would like to see him.” So Alexander went to see Diogenes—Diogenes was resting. His dog was sitting by his side. Alexander said to him, “Diogenes, Alexander the Great has come to see you. And it is a great honor, it is unique; I have never gone to see anybody.”

Diogenes did not even sit up. He remained lying on the sand, laughed, looked at his dog and said to the dog, “Have you heard? A man calling himself ‘great’—what do you think about it? He must be suffering from great inferiority. This is a projection to hide some wound.” It was a truth. Even Alexander could not deny it.

Alexander said, “I don’t have much time; otherwise I would have sat here and listened to some wisdom from you.”

Diogenes said, “What is the hurry? Where are you going—to conquer the world? But have you ever thought, if by chance you succeed in conquering the world, what will you do then? Because there is no other world, there is only one world. Right now, fighting, invading, you can go on forgetting your inferiority. But when you have succeeded, your inferiority will come back, it will surface again.”

Alexander said, “Returning, I will come and stay for a few days here and try to understand. What you are saying hurts, but it is true. In fact, just the idea that there is no other world makes me sad. Yes, if I conquer the whole world, then what am I going to do? Then I will be just useless, and all that is hidden in me is bound to surface.”

But Diogenes said, “You will never return, because this kind of ambition is unending. Nobody comes back.” And strangely, Alexander never came back. He died while he was coming back, before reaching Greece. And a beautiful story has been told since then, because on the same day Diogenes also died. It is just a story, but very significant.

There is a river, according to Greek mythology, which you have to cross before you enter paradise. Diogenes was just a few feet ahead, Alexander just behind him. Seeing Diogenes, the same beautiful man, naked … and now Alexander was also naked, but not with that beauty. Just to cover his shame, Alexander said, “This is a strange coincidence, the meeting of a world conqueror with a beggar!”

Diogenes laughed and he said, “You are right. Only on one point are you wrong—you don’t know who is the conqueror and who is the beggar. Just look at me and look at yourself. I never conquered anybody, yet I am a conqueror—a conqueror of myself. You tried to conquer the whole world, and what have you got? Just a sheer waste of your whole life. You are just a beggar!”

The personal power belongs to the mystic—one whose flower of consciousness has blossomed, who has released his fragrance, his love, his compassion, far and wide. It is a very subtle power. Nothing can prevent it; it simply reaches your heart. It simply makes you fall in tune with the mystic—into a kind of synchronicity, a harmony. You don’t become a slave, you become a lover. A great friendliness, a great gratitude arises in you. Just the presence of the mystic creates an immense aura. In that aura, whoever is open, available, receptive, immediately starts feeling like bursting into a song or into a dance.

Political power is ugly. Power over others is ugly. It is inhuman, because to have power over somebody means to reduce that person to a thing. He becomes your possession.

For example, in China, for centuries the husband had the power over his wife even to kill her. The law allowed it, because the wife was nothing but a possession—like you possess a chair, and if you want to destroy it, it is not a crime; it was your chair. And if you kill your wife, it was your wife.… For centuries no man in China had been punished for having killed his wife—up to this past century.

Power over anybody reduces the other person’s individuality, reduces his spirituality, until he becomes just a commodity, a thing. For centuries men and women have been sold in the markets like any other commodity. Once you have purchased a slave, you have all power over the slave. This may fulfill some insane and sick psychology, but it is not healthy. No politician is healthy—I mean spiritually.

When Nixon was caught tapping other people’s phones, and he had finally to resign as the president, Mao Zedong’s comment was remarkable. He said, “Every politician does it. There is nothing special in it, why are they making so much fuss? Poor Nixon has just been caught doing it.”

And even after Nixon’s resignation as president, Mao sent a special plane, his own plane, to take Nixon to China—to console him, to say that this was just stupidity. “Whatever you were doing is being done all over the world. All the politicians are doing it. What was wrong was being caught. You were an amateur.”

What politicians are doing all over the world, all through history, is simply inhuman, ugly. But the reason, the basic reason is that they have a deep feeling of inferiority, and they want to prove to themselves that it is not so. “Look, you have so much power, so many people in your hands that you can make or break, so many nuclear weapons in your hands. Just push a button and you can destroy the whole planet.”

Power over others is destructive—always destructive. In a better world, anybody who is ambitious—who wants to be more important than others, ahead of others—should be treated psychologically.

Only humbleness, simplicity, naturalness, no comparison with anybody.… Everybody is unique, comparison is impossible! How can you compare a rose flower with a marigold? How can you say who is superior and who is inferior? Both have their beauty, and both have blossomed, danced in the sun, in the wind, in the rain, have lived their life totally.

Every human being is unique. There is no question of anybody being superior or inferior. Yes, people are different. Let me remind you of one thing; otherwise you will misunderstand me. I am not saying that everybody is equal, as communists say. I am against communism for the simple reason that the whole philosophy goes against psychology and all psychological research.

Nobody is superior, nobody is inferior, but nobody is equal either. People are simply unique, incomparable. You are you, I am me. I have to contribute my potential to life; you have to contribute your potential to life. I have to discover my own being; you have to discover your own being.

It is perfectly good to be powerful as a mystic. It is ugly, disgusting, stinking, to have even a slight desire for having power over others.

I’m confused about what is the strength and power of love. I have heard you say that love and hate are one; but I see more hate in the world than love. At the same time, you say that enlightenment is neither love nor hate. Are you speaking of two different qualities of love? If so, what are they?

Love and hate are just two sides of the same coin. But with love, something drastic has happened, and it is unimaginable how this drastic step was taken by people who had all the good intentions in the world. You may never have even suspected what has destroyed love.

It is the continuous teaching of love that has destroyed it. Hate is still pure; love is not. When you hate, your hate has an authenticity. And when you love, it is only hypocrisy.

This has to be understood. For thousands of years all the religions, politicians, pedagogues, have been teaching one thing, and that one thing is love: Love your enemy, love your neighbor, love your parents, love God. Why in the beginning did they start this strange series of teachings about love? They were afraid of your authentic love, because authentic love is beyond their control. You are possessed by it. You are not the possessor, you are the possessed, and every society wants you to be in control. The society is afraid of your wild nature, it is afraid of your naturalness, so from the very beginning it starts cutting your wings. And the most dangerous thing within you is the possibility of love, because if you are possessed by love you can go even against the whole world.

A small man possessed by love feels himself capable of doing the impossible. In all old love stories this fact has emerged in a very subtle way; and nobody has even bothered about it or commented on why this factor comes automatically into old love stories. For example, in the East we have the famous love story of Majnu and Laila. That is a Sufi story. It doesn’t matter whether it is historical or not, that is not our concern. Our concern is its structure, which is almost the same structure as all the love stories around the world. The second famous Eastern love story is about Siri and Farhad—but the structure is the same. The third famous story is about Soni and Mahival, but the structure remains the same.

The structure is that the lover is asked to do something impossible; if he can do that impossible thing, then he can get the beloved. Of course the parents and the society are not ready to accept this love affair. No society is ready to accept any love affair, but to say no seems to be unmannerly. When somebody comes with a proposal of love you can’t just say no, even if you want to say no. But you will say no, a way has to be found—and this is the way. Ask the lover to perform something impossible, something you know he cannot do, which is a humanly impossible task. If he cannot perform it, then you are not responsible; he himself has failed.

This is a civilized way of saying no. Farhad is told that he can have Siri if, alone, he can build a canal through the mountains and to the palace of the king—Siri is the daughter of the king. And the canal has to be of milk, not of water. Now, this is absurd. In the first place, even if it was just going to be a water canal, a young man, single-handed … and from the mountains, hundreds of miles away? It will take thousands of years for him to bring the canal to the palace. And even if it is accepted, hypothetically, that it might be possible, how can he manage a canal of milk? From where can that much milk go on continuously flowing through the canal? The king wants his palace gardens to be watered with milk; only then will Farhad be qualified to ask for the hand of the king’s daughter.

I have looked into hundreds of love stories around the world, but somehow or other this factor constantly appears: something impossible is asked. My own understanding is that this factor does not appear without any reason. There is, somewhere in the unconscious of the human mind, the knowledge that love can make the impossible possible.

Love is so mad. Once you are possessed with love you don’t think in terms of reason and logic, reality. You live in a world of dreams where everything is within your hands. My only concern with these love stories has been to find out something about love which is essential, and this is what I have found about it: Love makes you so mad that nothing is impossible.

When Farhad is asked to do this job of making a canal from the mountains thousands of miles away, he starts. He does not even say, “Are you mad? What are you asking? You are making it impossible from the very beginning. Why don’t you simply say no? Why go so roundabout?” No, he does not say a single word; he simply takes a spade and moves toward the mountains.

The people in the court of the king ask the king, “What have you done? You know perfectly well this is not possible. You cannot do it, we cannot do it—nobody can do it. You with all your army, with all your forces, cannot bring this canal to the palace. And bringing milk from where? Milk does not come out of streams in the mountains. You can conquer the whole world—we know your power and we know your armies—but that’s another matter. You cannot change the ways of nature.

“In the first place, that poor boy alone … you have told him he is not to ask any help from anybody—is going to dig the canal from the mountains to your palace. It will take millions of years for him, and even if he manages to do it, from where is the milk going to come in the canal?”

The king says, “I know all about it—it is not going to happen. That’s why I have asked, that’s how I have thrown the whole responsibility on him. Now, if he cannot do it, he is responsible. I am saved from saying no to anybody.”

But the people in the court are even more puzzled about the young man, Farhad. They rush out, catch hold of him and ask him, “Are you mad or something? Where are you going? It is not possible.”

Farhad says, “Everything is possible. Just my love has to be authentic, to be true.”

Existence cannot deny love. Existence may change its nature, its laws, but it cannot deny love because love is the highest law of nature. For the higher law, lower laws can be erased, changed.

Those wise counselors of the king are shocked by the answer, but the answer seems to be significant. What the mad young man is saying makes sense. The story is that Farhad succeeded. Alone he managed to create the canal, and just because of his authenticity, his truthfulness, his trust in existence, the water turned into milk.

This is just a story; I don’t think existence or nature is going to change its laws. But one thing is certain: Society became aware very early that love is mad. And once a man is possessed by love then he is beyond your control, then you cannot convince him of anything. Then no reason is applicable, no logic makes any sense to him; his love is the ultimate law. Everything else has to submit to it.

I am not saying that it does submit, I am not saying that nature is going to change its ways, I am not saying that love will make miracles possible. No, what I am saying is about this fear that love can make a man so mad that he can start believing in things like this; then he is beyond your control. To keep a person in control you have to, from a very early age, create a false idea of love, and go on enforcing it continuously so the person never becomes possessed by authentic love and never goes mad, but always remains sane. “Sane” means a slave to the rules of the society, sane means a follower of the games of the society.

Love can make you rebellious.

False love makes you obedient.

That’s why they teach you to love God. Now, telling a small child to love God is such utter nonsense. The child does not know who God is, and without knowing the object how do you expect anyone to love God? But you pray to God with folded hands toward the sky, and the child starts imitating you. God is there, above, in heaven—still, although now everybody knows that the earth is round. What is “above” to us in America is not “above” in India; it is below them, we are below them. The sky that is above us is not above them. But people around the earth are looking toward the sky and the God that lives there above, in heaven. Now, knowing the fact that the earth is round—heaven is everywhere above. And different corners of heaven are above different people; and that too is not fixed because the earth is moving on its axis continuously, so what was above you a few minutes before is no longer above you. What was above a few hours before is no longer above you; it may be below you. Your God will have to perform a real circus act to fulfill your desire that he remains above you. You have given him such a task that even if you give him omnipotence he cannot manage it. It is simply not possible.

But the small child simply starts imitating; whatever the parents are doing, the child will start doing it. They go to the church, the child goes to the church. They go to the synagogue, he goes to the synagogue. This is nurture against nature. And a person who can love God is a person who will never know what love is.

Just think: A person who can love God without even knowing who this guy is, where he is, whether he is or not, and if he is, whether he is worth loving—is he at all interested in you and in your love? A person, without knowing any of these things, loves God, loves Jesus Christ, not knowing whether this man was ever an historical person or not. If Christians’ stories about Christ are true, then Christ cannot be historical.

This is a paradox. If their stories about Jesus are true, then Jesus cannot be real. Jesus can be real only on one condition: if the stories told by Christians about him are proved to be untrue. Now this is a difficult problem, because if all the stories told about Christ by the Christians are proved untrue, Christians will not be interested in such a Christ. They were interested only because of those stories that you have proved untrue. Jesus has meant nothing to them except those stories: the virgin birth, his walking on water, his turning water into wine, changing stones into bread; his curing of blind people, crippled people, paralyzed people; his raising of the dead to life. All these stories are the basis for a Christian to have faith.

I am saying that if all these stories are true, then Jesus is a mythological figure. He cannot be an historical fact because real human beings don’t walk on water. There is no way to change water into wine, there is no way to change stones into bread. In Jesus’ life itself you will find enough evidence that these things cannot be true, because there are days when he and his disciples were hungry and had to sleep with empty stomachs because the villages they had passed were very against him. They would not give him shelter, they would not give him bread. But if this man was able to change stones into bread, what was the problem?

In fact he could have changed the whole status of humanity, and there would have been no need for Jews to crucify him, if he had provided the whole of humanity with food. And there are enough stones in the world—mountains! He could have changed the Himalayas into a big loaf, so Indians could go on eating for centuries and centuries. He could have changed oceans into wine so there would be no need to worry about it; even poor people could afford the best wine, the oldest wine, the finest wine.

If he was capable of raising the dead, then rather than raising Lazarus, who was of no use at all … I don’t see that raising Lazarus was of any value. He should have chosen Moses, Abraham, Ezekiel—then Jews would have worshipped him rather than crucifying him. If he had raised all the old prophets from the dead, the Jews would have, without any question, accepted him as the only begotten son of God. What would have been the need to argue? He could have proved himself by his actions. But those stories are just stories. Jesus, to be historical, has to be denuded of all those miracles. But once you drop all those miracles, Christians are no longer interested in Jesus. What is left in him? Why should they believe in him?

They really never believed in him. That’s why I say that my religion is the first and the last religion on the earth, because you are here with me not for any miracle that I have performed. You are here with me not because of anything that is special about me. I don’t carry any authority from God, I don’t have any support from the scriptures. I am just as ordinary as you are. Up to now this has never happened. People love Jesus because of his miracles; take the miracles away and their love disappears. They were attracted by the magical qualities, they were not concerned with Jesus at all. People were interested in Krishna because he was the incarnation of God and performed so many miracles. Just take those miracles away, and Krishna is finished!

You cannot finish me. You can take anything away from me but you cannot finish me, because I have not in any way tried to influence you, impress you by doing something which is superhuman. Everything can be taken away from me, but your relationship toward me will remain the same; it can’t be changed, because in the first place it is a simple relationship.

Those relationships between Christians and Christ, and Jews and Moses, and Hindus and Krishna, are not at all concerned with the individuals. If Jesus meets you on the way and tells you, “I am Jesus Christ,” the first thing you will ask him is to walk on water.

You cannot ask me that. You cannot even ask me to walk, because I have never done even that miracle! Walking on water … you cannot ask me because you will look foolish. But with Jesus, you can ask him and you will be perfectly right. If he simply drowns in the water then he is going to drown. It is just against physical laws: He is going to drown. Then what will be your relationship with a Jesus who drowns … you have to run and jump and save him and give him artificial respiration! What will be your relationship with this man? Just think of it. No, you don’t have any relationship with Jesus, Mahavira, Buddha, Krishna, not at all. Your attention is diverted.

They teach you to love Jesus. Why, because he turned water into wine? Even if he turned water into wine, that does not mean he deserves your love. In fact he has committed a crime, he should be behind bars. Turning water into wine without a license … you are going against the law, against the government, against society. He should be punished—I don’t see how he can deserve your love. And it is an old story. Today he would turn a vegetable into marijuana, hash. Politicians go on quoting Jesus, not knowing about the man, that if he was here and if he was to do any miracle—and he would have to do a miracle, because without that miracle he is nobody—then he would be the biggest dope dealer in America. That would be the only miracle that America would understand. He would not turn stones into bread—there is enough bread in America—he would turn stones into LSD.

No, he never did any of these things. But then your love and your faith disappear. From the very childhood you have been told to love God, whom you know not; you are not even certain that he exists. Your love has been diverted in a direction which is absolutely imaginary, it has no corresponding reality to it. Your love for Jesus is not for Jesus but for things which any mediocre mind feels impressed with.

If you have a little bit of intelligence you can see that all that is nonsense.

But from the very childhood they are diverting your love into unreal dimensions. One thing, which is a very cunning strategy is to give your love a mode, a certain direction, which is unfulfillable; and because of it, that which is fulfillable will not be attractive to you. A person who has been taught to love God will feel that in loving a woman or a man, he is falling too low. God is there, far above, in the heavens—and this is an ordinary man, an ordinary woman! They have given your love an object so impossible that all that is possible becomes something that is below you. Even if, because of your nature, your biology, you fall in love, there is a part in you that goes on saying, “Something is wrong in it.” You go on feeling guilty. This is one thing they have done to your love.

The second thing they have done is to say, “Love your mother”—and why?—“because she is your mother.” Is that enough for love to exist? Do you have to love somebody because that somebody is your mother, your father, your daughter, your brother, your sister? These relationships cannot create love. They may create a certain kind of respect—she is your mother and you can respect her. He is your father, you can respect him; he has brought you up. But love is not something that you can manage. Respect is something within your hands, but love is not.

Love is something that when it comes it comes like a cyclone, surrounds you, holds you totally in its grip. You are no longer there. Something higher than you, bigger than you, deeper than you, has taken possession of you.

To avoid this, they have been teaching you hypocrisy in the name of love: “Love your mother.” Just because of this teaching—love your father, love your mother, love your brother, love your wife, love your husband, love your children—because it has been told so many times you have never asked, “Is it possible? Is it within human capacity to love somebody?” A very fundamental question has been completely forgotten.

If you are told to love somebody, how are you going to do it? Yes, you can act, you can pretend, you can repeat beautiful dialogues from the movies you have seen, from the novels you have read. You can say beautiful things, but nothing is arising from you. You are not in love, you are just acting out a drama. And the tragedy is that most of us continue our whole lives in rehearsal, not even in the drama. The time for the drama never comes, just the rehearsal goes on and on. And even if for a few people the time of drama comes, that drama is also as unreal as anything can be, because your heart is not in it. It is dead, it does not breathe. It has no warmth, no liveliness, no dance. You are doing it because you have been trained to do it. It is a kind of exercise, a gymnastics, an etiquette, manners, anything—but not love.

These are the ways they have spoiled your authenticity about love.

Your question is that I say love and hate are the same energy; then why is there so much hate in the world and not so much love? It is because nobody has been teaching you about hate; hence, hate has remained pure, unadulterated. Nobody has bothered about you, nobody has told you how to hate, whom to hate. Because hate has been left untouched by your parents, teachers, and priests, it has a purity, a sincerity.

When a man hates you, you can trust that he hates you. But when he loves you, you cannot trust him. You know perfectly well that when you hate someone it has a tremendous force, and when you love someone there is not that force. You remember your enemies more than your friends. You can forget your friends but you cannot forget your enemies.

What is happening? It is because your love has been distorted and something unreal, which is not love, has been handed to you. And you have been playing with that toy called love, unaware that you have a potential of love within you. So when you love it is just so-so, skin deep. Scratch it a little bit and it is gone. But when you hate, you hate from your guts. It is not skin deep, it is gut-deep.

I have been surprised how much purity your hate has, how much authenticity, naturalness, spontaneity. And just because of its spontaneity, naturalness, authenticity, purity, I see in it a certain beauty which is not there in your love. Your love is hocus-pocus.

This is the reason why in the world you don’t see so much love and you see so much hate.

You listen to too much talk about love in the world. Everybody is loving everybody else, talking about love, but it is all talk: yakketty-yakketty-yak! It goes on all over the world. Everybody is talking about love, beautiful dialogues, but in fact you see hate everywhere.

Religions hate each other. Nations hate each other. Political parties hate each other. Classes hate each other. Just go on looking and you will be surprised how many sources of hate there are. And every ten years, twelve years, you need a world war—so much hate, and still it gets accumulated. Every day you go on expressing hate, still it goes on accumulating so much that every ten, twenty years, it explodes into a world war. In three thousand years, five thousand wars have been fought in the world. Who is responsible?—the do-gooders who are continuously after you teaching you about love, kindness, compassion. Nobody teaches you about hate, so it is still there, far more strong, far more vibrant and young and fresh.

I would like a time to come when nobody teaches you about love, either. You should be left alone. You should be told to be more aware about whatsoever happens to you—hate or love, that is not important. What is important is that if you hate, hate with awareness. If you love, love with awareness.

If I was going to teach you I would not tell you whom to love, how to love. That is all nonsense. Love is your intrinsic quality. You are born with it, just as hate is also there. I will teach you, be aware. Before anything happens to you—love or hate, anger, passion, compassion, anything—be aware. Let everything arise out of your awareness.

And the miracle of awareness is that without your saying anything, without your doing anything, it simply dissolves all that is ugly in you into all that is beautiful.

Awareness is a transforming force.

For example, if you are aware of anger, it will disappear. If you are aware of love, it will become stronger. If there is hate and you become aware of it, it will disappear, dissipate. Soon you will find that that cloud of hatred has disappeared and instead, a totally opposite quality—a mixture of compassion, kindness, lovingness —has been left behind like an aroma.

To me this is the criterion:

Whatsoever deepens with your awareness is virtue. Whatsoever disappears with your awareness is sin. To me this is the definition. I don’t label any act as sin, virtue, right, wrong—acts don’t have that quality. It is your awareness.

Just try it and you will be simply amazed that there are things in you which cannot stand in front of awareness, they simply disappear.

Awareness functions almost like magic.

And you can experiment with what I am saying. I am not telling you to believe in it, because belief will not help. You will have to experiment with it. You will have to see, with the different things in you, what remains and what disappears.

And it is only you who can find what is right for you and what is wrong for you. Then keep the thread of awareness running through all your actions, and in your life you will not find any hate, any anger, any jealousy. Not that you have dropped them, not that you have repressed them, not that you have somehow gotten rid of them, not that you have practiced doing something against them. No, you have not done anything, you have not even touched them. This is the beauty of awareness: it never represses anything, but there are things which simply melt in the light of awareness, and change. And there are things which become more solid, more integrated, more profound, stronger: love, compassion, kindness, friendliness, understanding.

All the religions up to date have been focusing people’s minds on actions. And labeling—this is bad, this is good, this you have to do, this you have not to do. I want to change the whole emphasis.

Actions have nothing to do with right and wrong. It is you, your alertness, which is decisive. Any action with awareness may become beautiful; the same action without awareness may be ugly. With your awareness, the same action in one situation may disappear, and in another situation may become solid, stronger. So it is not something like a fixed quality of any act, of any emotion; it all depends on a thousand and one things. But your awareness takes note of everything, you need not be worried. It is just like light in which everything becomes clear to you, you can see it.

One Zen monk, throughout his whole life, was imprisoned again and again. He was a great master with thousands of disciples. Even the magistrates loved him, respected him. And they prayed of him, “Why do you do such strange things? We can’t understand, it is beyond our comprehension”—because he was stealing small things from his own disciples, and naturally the law had to take its course.

The magistrates would say, “We know there is something else in it. Why should you steal one shoe of somebody’s?—it is useless, you cannot use it. And now we have to send you for two months into jail.” The Zen master was always very happy when he heard, and he used to say to the magistrates, “Can’t you send me for a little longer?—because anyway, when I come out I will do it again, and you will have to send me in again. Why can’t you send me for a longer period and save me from doing all these things?”

Only in the end, when he was dying, did his disciples ask, “Now let us at least ask, because we will never again have a chance to know what was the reason you were stealing things, things which mattered not at all to you. We were always ready to bring anything you wanted, but you never said anything, you never asked for anything.”

He laughed. He said, “The real reason was I wanted to be as long as possible in the jail because there are three thousand people in the jail, and I have found in those three thousand people more innocent, more natural human beings than I find outside the jail. And outside the jail there are many masters and many religions, and they are doing their work. Nobody takes care of those poor people in the jail. When I am there, I teach them meditation, I teach them how to be aware—the jail has become a monastery! We have changed it completely. All the prisoners are meditating. The jailer cannot detect it because they are simply doing everything with awareness. They are continuing to do the same work as before: if cutting wood, then cutting wood; if cutting rocks, then cutting rocks; if making roads, then making roads. Whatever they were doing before they are doing now, but with a great difference.

“And the best monastery I know right now,” he said, “is the jail where I have been going continually, because this jail has people who are sentenced for life—twenty years, thirty years. Now, this is a great opportunity: For thirty years they can meditate without any disturbance from the outside world. Where else could I find such people? And I am immensely happy because I am leaving behind me, in that jail, a thread that will continue for centuries. This jail will remain a totally different jail. Whoever comes there is bound to get involved in meditation because some old-timers will always be there.”

Now, looking at it from the outside, a man stealing is doing something wrong, and a man continually going to jail, being sentenced again and again, is certainly a criminal. But if you look at that man’s consciousness and the actions that came out of that consciousness, it is totally different.

Never judge anybody by his act, because the real thing is not the act but the consciousness through which that act has been performed. But we all judge by acts because acts are available outside, like objects. Consciousness we don’t know.

It happened in a Zen monastery … there were two wings, a left wing and a right wing—the monastery was just made in that way. Five hundred monks lived in one wing, five hundred in the other wing, and the master’s house was just in the middle of both.

The master had a cat, a very beautiful cat, and all the disciples were very loving toward the cat. But once in a while there was a quarrel because the left wingers wanted the cat—they were having some special occasion, some fun—but the right wingers were not willing to allow them to have the cat at that time. The cat became a constant object of quarrels, fights. One day the master called all the disciples and asked them to bring the cat. He told them, “You both love the cat, but the cat is only one.” So he cut the cat in two—it was a shock to all the disciples—and told them, “Now you can have half, and you can have half. Now, no more quarreling in this monastery.”

There was silence. They could not understand that such a nonviolent person could cut the cat in two. They all wondered and worried and thought about it. The story reached the king, who was also a disciple of the master. He could not contain his curiosity; he came the next day. He asked, “I have heard that you have killed your most loved cat.”

The master said, “I have not killed the cat, I have killed a conflict, a quarrel that was growing every day and was growing out of proportion. And these fools won’t understand unless I take a drastic step. I have not killed the cat, because nobody dies. The cat is freed from this body because of these fools. And anyway she was going to die; she had already lived long enough—perhaps she would have lived one year or two more years at the most.

“So before killing her I became totally silent, aware, and asked myself, ‘What is this poor cat going to do in those two years? Nothing. But in two years these fools will do much.’

“I have not killed the cat out of anger, I have not killed the cat out of hate. I loved her and I love her more now because she helped to solve a problem. And it was a good shock to these idiots, because without shocks their intelligence doesn’t function. Once in a while you have to hit them.”

And certainly it happened from that day all kinds of quarreling simply disappeared, because those disciples became aware that this man is dangerous, he can kill somebody; the quarrel can be too hazardous. All arguments ceased.

And the king was absolutely satisfied. He said, “This has always been your teaching, that it is not the act but the consciousness. We can only see the act; we don’t know in what consciousness you did it. That is only known to you. Who are we to decide about it?”

Never judge anybody by the act.

Wait. Try to find out his awareness—otherwise don’t judge at all. It is safer not to judge. And about yourself, remember, whatsoever you are doing, keep only one thing in mind, that you are doing it with full awareness. Then I allow you total freedom.

No religion has allowed you freedom. I allow you total freedom. No religion has given you responsibility unto yourself, no religion has given you the right to decide what is right, what is wrong. I give you the right, the responsibility, because to me everything arises out of a single source—and that is awareness.

The questioner says that I have talked about love, my message is about love, and I also have said that the man of enlightenment has neither love nor hate. Now, rather than asking me, you are mature enough to work out simple things. It is so simple: When through awareness the whole hate energy turns into love, it is totally a new phenomenon—it needs a new name. But what to do? Languages are poor, so we have to use the same words, giving them different meanings, definitions.

My message of love is not the message of that love which is the polar opposite of hate. My message of love is of that love which is capable of absorbing hate and transforming it.

Now, the question arises that if there is no more hate, how and why should this new energy be called love?

Love, in our minds, is something against hate. Now, there is no opposite to love. That’s why, once in a while, I have been reminding you that the man of enlightenment has neither hate nor love—that is to deny your hate and your love. Love and hate as polarities, the man of enlightenment has none. That does not mean that he is indifferent, although that’s how it will appear to you. That’s why I speak of the poverty of language.

If the man of enlightenment has no love, no hate, that does not mean he will be indifferent, neutral—no, that is not the meaning. He has a new kind, a new quality of love which is not opposed to hate. Now, there is no word for it; so either I have to say he has no hate, no love the way you have, or I have to say that his love is a totally new kind of love; a love which is closer to compassion than to passion, which is closer to a relatedness than to a relationship; a love which is more a giving without asking anything in return than your so-called love, which is a bargain where each party is trying to get more and give less.

The enlightened man simply gives. It is not that he wants to get something from you—you don’t have anything to give to him. What do you have to give him? He gives because he has too much to give, he is overburdened. He gives because he is like a rain cloud, so full of rain that it has to shower. It does not matter where, on whom—on rocks, on good soil, on gardens, in the ocean … it doesn’t matter at all. The cloud simply wants to unburden itself.

The enlightened man is just like a rain cloud.

He gives you love, not to get anything back. He shares it and is obliged to you that you allowed him the opportunity; that you were open enough, available, vulnerable; that you did not reject when he was ready to pour all his blessings on you; that you opened your heart and received as much as was within your capacity.

The world can be full of love, the love I am talking about. And only that love will transform the hatred in the world—not the love that has been taught to you. That has not made the world more loving, it has made the world more hateful; it has made its hate truer and more authentic, and its love more of a hypocrisy.

I would like a world full of love. But remember, that love has no opposite to it. It is simply because you, inside yourself, have been able, through awareness, to transform your hate into love. Even to say that you have been able to transform it is not right, but what else to do with language? Whatever you say, something is wrong in saying it, something goes wrong in saying it.

The fact is, awareness itself transforms your hate into love, not that you transform it. Your work and function is simply to remain aware. Don’t let anything happen in your life without awareness.

I am giving you the simplest and the most natural religion possible. That’s why I say it is the first and the last, because it cannot be simplified more. There is nothing more below awareness; we have come to the very last root. There is no way to go beyond it, further than it. This is it!

Just go on doing all the things that you are doing, but keep aware. Make it a constant remembrance that no act passes in unconsciousness.

It will take a little time. Every day you will miss many things; later on you will remember, “My god! I forgot again.” But there is nothing to be worried about. Don’t get worried about it; otherwise you are going to miss something else. That which is gone is gone; don’t waste a single moment on it. It is good that you have remembered. Use that remembrance to be aware right now in whatever you are doing.

Many times you will forget, many times you will remember. Slowly, slowly, you will forget less, remember more. And one day it happens … whenever the balance of remembrance is more than the balance of forgetfulness, whenever it is weightier than your forgetfulness—instantly the revolution, the transformation. Suddenly you are a totally different person—the new man is born. And that new man will find this whole world new, because he will have fresh eyes with new qualities to see, fresh ears with new ways to hear, new hands to feel and touch things in a new way. And a single person of that awareness starts triggering the process of awareness in others. Not by any effort, not that you have to do something to trigger the process—that doing has been our undoing—you have just to go on living your way, being your way, and it starts happening of its own accord. Your presence somehow starts something in people who come close to you … an arising of a new energy, the beginning of a new flame. You do nothing, nor does the other person do anything: it happens. All that is needed is a little closeness, friendship.

And that’s what the function of the master is—to gather friends around himself. There is no goal to be achieved, no particular activity to be done. The function of the master is just to remain available. One never knows when somebody is on the borderline from where the jump can happen. One never knows in what moment one is open and just a look from the master’s eyes, and things will never be the same again.

But these are all unpredictable moments, so one has to wait silently in awareness.

The most you can do is: Don’t create barriers, don’t create hindrances. Don’t keep yourself tight, at a distance. Be relaxed … come closer. You have nothing to lose—you have only to gain.

Can you talk about the power of science, and the responsibility that goes with it? For example, I have heard you speak of scientists choosing future people from their genetic analysis of sperms. I have no trust in scientists, or doctors or anybody whose knowledge extends no further than their head. I intuitively feel that genetics plays only a small role in determining what a person becomes. A gardener may well have become a musician; a soldier may have the potential to be a scientist. Surely what a man is, is no measure of what he might have been in different circumstances. Who could have foreseen an Osho in the sperm and egg of your father and mother? Please speak more on the underlying insight behind your suggestion—which I cannot see because of my fear of totalitarian regimes.

I can understand your concern; it is my concern too. But there are many things to be understood. The first is, never act out of fear. If man had acted out of fear there would have been no progress possible.

For example, the people who invented bicycles … can you ever think of any danger? It is simply inconceivable that bicycles can be dangerous. But then the Wright brothers made the first flying machine out of the parts of bicycles. The whole world rejoiced—because nobody could have foreseen that airplanes would be used to destroy cities, millions of people, in a war. But the same airplanes are carrying millions of people around the world. They have made the world small, they have made it possible to call the world just a global village. They have made bridges between peoples, they have brought together people of different races, religions, languages, in such a way that no other invention has been able to do. So the first thing to remember is that acting out of fear is not the right way.

Act cautiously, with consciousness, remembering the possibilities and the dangers, and creating the atmosphere to prevent those dangers. Now, what can be more dangerous than nuclear weapons in the hands of the politicians? You have put the most dangerous thing into their hands.

Now, in fact there is no need to be afraid; even nuclear weapons can be used creatively. And I have a deep trust in life, that they will be used creatively. Life cannot allow itself to be destroyed so easily, it is going to give tremendous resistance. In that resistance is hidden the birth of a new man, of a new dawn, of a new order, of the whole of life and existence.

According to me, nuclear weapons have made a great war impossible. Gautam Buddha could not do it, Jesus Christ could not do it. All the saints of the world together have been talking about nonviolence, no war; they could not succeed. But nuclear weapons have done their job. Seeing that the danger is so great, all the politicians are trembling deep down, that if a third world war begins, the whole of life will be destroyed—and they will be included in it. They cannot save themselves. Nothing can be saved. This is a great chance for all those who love creation. This is the moment when we can turn the whole trend of science towards creativity.

Remember one thing: that science is neutral. It simply gives you power. Now, how to use it depends on you, depends on the whole of humanity and its intelligence. Science gives us more power to create a better life, to create more comfortable living, to create more healthy human beings—rather than preventing these things just out of fear that some totalitarian power may misuse it.

Everything can be misused. And the questioner himself is a doctor; he himself belongs to the category of scientists. He should understand one thing: that everything that can harm can also be of tremendous benefit. Don’t condemn anything; just raise the consciousness of human beings. Otherwise you are falling into the same fallacy into which Mahatma Gandhi has fallen.

Once you start acting out of fear, where are you going to stop? Mahatma Gandhi was using the same logic, and he stopped at the spinning wheel. That must have been invented thousands of years ago, and Gandhi did not want to go beyond that. He wanted everything that has been invented after the spinning wheel to be destroyed. He was against railway trains, because in India railway trains have been used to make the whole country enslaved. The railway trains in India were not created for people’s comfort and their service. They were created to move armies, so that within hours armies could move from one part of the country to another part. India is a vast country. There are places which, even by railway train, you can only reach in six days’ time. It is almost a continent; and to control the country the British had to build a big network of railway trains. Its basic purpose was the army and the army’s movement.

But that cannot make us decide that railway trains should be destroyed. That would mean the movement of man is curtailed, and he falls back into the Dark Ages. Mahatma Gandhi was not in favor even of innocent things like telegrams, telegraphs, the post office, because they were all used in India, in the beginning, to control the country. Slowly, slowly they were changed into public services. Every invention has been used first by the military, by the warmongers, and finally they have come to be used by the people.

What is needed is not to go backward; otherwise you will destroy the whole of humanity. What is needed is to go forward and learn some lesson from the past: so that, as scientific technology develops, simultaneously human consciousness should develop. And that will be the protection against technology being used as something harmful to mankind.

My basic disagreement with Mahatma Gandhi has been this: that he was dragging humanity backward. First, horses were used by the soldiers. Do you mean to say that horses should not be used anymore? In fact, every vehicle has been used in the beginning in the service of death. Now there are all kinds of medicines—and allopathic medicines, which are the official science in the world as far as medicines are concerned, are mostly poisons. They are in the hands of the powerful.

Now there has been great concern that the military is developing a certain ray called a death ray. It can be extracted from the sun’s rays; it does not reach us because there is a certain layer of ozone around the earth which prevents it from entering. Ozone turns the death rays back. But we only became aware of it when our first rockets went to the moon. They made holes in the ozone layer and death rays entered. And immediately the cancer rate went so high that it was unbelievable—what has happened? And then it was found that there are some rays reaching the earth, which have never been reaching before. The Soviet Union has tried to generate those death rays. Rather than sending nuclear weapons and missiles and airplanes loaded with bombs without pilots, controlled just by remote control, they have tried to find a far more refined way. Just sending rays … you cannot do anything against those rays, they are not even visible. And they will not destroy anything, the buildings and roads will remain intact. They will destroy only living things—man, birds, animals, trees, anything that has any kind of life. The moment the death ray touches it, life disappears. It will create really a tremendous nightmare. Houses will be there, streets will be there, shops will be there, everything will be there, just life will not be there.

But even then I would not say not to investigate death rays. As the Russians began to work on death rays, America immediately started to work on how to prevent them, how to detect them, how to turn them back, how to create anti–death rays. And there is a possibility that perhaps in the future, even if man does not use these things, if the ozone layer starts breaking in different parts and death rays enter into the atmosphere, we will be able to create anti–death rays to turn them back. We may be able to create, closer to us, another ozone layer.

So one should not act out of fear; one should see the whole perspective. If there is fear, that means the fear comes not from the power generated by science, the fear comes from the unconscious man. In his hands everything becomes poisonous, dangerous.

Change the human being, don’t stop progressive science. For example, what I have talked about are the latest findings of genetic scientists. Up to now we have lived accidentally, in the hands of blind biology. You don’t know what kind of child you are going to give birth to—blind, retarded, crippled, ugly, and he will suffer his whole life. And in an unconscious way you are responsible, because you never bothered to figure out some way that only healthy children—not blind, not deaf, not dumb, not retarded, not insane—are born. And genetic science is able to exactly figure out a few things: for example, whether the child born out of a certain combination of male and female energy is going to be healthy or not.

In Tibet, in the past they used a very strange method, very primitive; but you cannot be angry against them, they had to use it. It was a very barbarous method. Whenever a child was born, immediately it was dipped in ice-cold water seven times. Out of ten children, nine children used to die from the ice-cold water. Immediately after the child is born, the first thing is to dip him into ice-cold water! He will become blue by the seventh time; you are just dipping a corpse. But it was absolutely necessary, because Tibet is the highest land in the world, at the top of Himalayas. Life is very hard, it needs very strong people, and the cold is deadly. Unless a child is able to cope, it is better that he dies. It was out of compassion, not out of cruelty. It is better that he dies rather than suffer his whole life. He will not be able to function, will not be able to work. And the land needs people who can tolerate that much cold and still work, produce. This was an ancient type of genetic engineering.

They were choosing—although they had no idea how to do it. But somehow they managed to choose the healthiest people; hence, the outcome has been that Tibetans have lived the longest, because all the people who would have died in the middle somewhere have been finished on their first entry into the world. They were returned unopened! And the people who remained were really strong, really stubborn. They have lived a long life and a very healthy life, because they eliminated all the weaklings from the very beginning. And it was part of compassion. Why allow a person to live who is going to suffer his whole life from all kinds of diseases, sicknesses, weakness? He will not be able to enjoy life at all.

Genetic scientists cannot say in detail that this man will become a doctor, or an engineer, or a gardener, but they can say a few things definitively, and a few things as possibilities. About health and certain kinds of diseases the child may suffer they can say definitively, so precautions can be taken and the child can be saved from suffering from those diseases. They can certainly say how long the child is likely to live, and measures can be taken to prolong his life. On the side of possibilities, they can say that this child has a possibility, a potential for being a musician. That does not mean that he cannot become a doctor; that simply means that if the right opportunities are given to him he will become a musician rather than becoming a doctor, and if he does not become a musician and becomes a doctor he will never really find fulfillment. His innermost being will remain missing something.

So if the genetic scientist can say that these are the possibilities, then the society, the parents, the commune, can make certain opportunities available to the child. Right now, we don’t know what his potential is. We have to decide; parents are in a dilemma where to send the child: to an engineering college, to a medical college? To a carpentry workshop, or to a car mechanic? Where to send him, and how to decide? Their decision comes out of financial considerations. That is the only way for them to decide—which way the child will be a success financially, will be comfortable, prestigious. That may not be the potential of the child, but parents have no idea.

The genetic scientists can simply give you the possibilities. They are not saying these are certainties, that whatever you do this child will become a musician. They are not saying that, because nature can be diverted by nurture. If you close off all possibilities for him to become a musician and you force him to become a doctor, he will become a doctor; but he will be a doctor his whole life unwillingly, without any joy.

Nurture is important, but if we know exactly what the possibilities are, we can help the child through the right kind of nurture. Then nature and nurture can function harmoniously together and create a better human being, more contented with himself, more joyous, and creating a more beautiful world around him.

Only on one point are you right: Genetics is capable of revealing the potential about everything except enlightenment, because enlightenment is not part of a biological program. It is something beyond biology. Hence, in genetic science there is no way to say that this person is going to become enlightened. At the most they can say this person will have a leaning more toward spirituality, mysticism, more toward the unknown. But if these leanings are known, we can provide the nurture for that child, and the world will have more enlightened people than has ever been possible before.

The fear that the questioner feels is that if genetics falls into the hands of totalitarian governments, they will start choosing children who will be obedient to the status quo, who will not be revolutionaries, who will never become rebellious, who will be always ready to become slaves without any resistance.

That fear is there, but that fear can be addressed. Why give the power to totalitarian governments? I am suggesting a whole program for society. My first idea is that nations should disappear. There should be a world government that is only functional. There is no question of its being afraid of revolution because it will be a servant of the people and the functionaries of the world government will be only a Rotary Club; they will go on changing each year. Nobody will be in power for more than a year, and after that year is served, no one will be allowed to be in power in the government again. Only one time, for one year—what can he do? And his power is not totalitarian. The people who have chosen him have the right to recall him at any moment. Just fifty-one percent of the voters who have chosen him give a petition to the government that they want him to be recalled—because he is going against the interest of the people—and the person loses all his power. His power is not given to him for five years without any restraint. Anyway he is going to be out of power at the end of the year, and he will never see power again, so he will make the most of it, to do something that will make him be remembered. And if he tries to do any harm, we have the possibility of recalling him. Just fifty-one percent of the voters are needed to sign a petition and the person can be out.

My plan is complete for the whole society; it is not fragmentary. Big cities, by and by, should disappear; small communes should take their place. Families should disappear, so there is no loyalty toward a family, no loyalty toward a nation. Children are brought up by the commune, not by the parents. And it is to be decided by the commune how many children are needed, because as people’s lives become longer we will need less and less children. If the old people are going to stay longer, then for new guests we don’t have any room.

In the past it was possible—go on producing children, as many as you can. A woman was almost always pregnant, until the day she became unable to be pregnant. She went on producing like a factory—because people’s life span was very small. Five thousand years ago, nobody lived more than forty years. When a man died, he was not more than forty years old—and this may be the highest age limit, not the average. When people were dying at thirty-five years or forty years of age, naturally there was plenty of space for the new people to come up and take over.

But genetic scientists also say that everybody is by nature capable of living at least three hundred years and remaining young. Old age can be abolished. And it will be a great revolution, because if an Albert Einstein can go on working for three hundred years, if a Gautam Buddha can go on preaching for three hundred years, if all the great poets and mystics and scientists and painters can go on working, refining their methods, refining their language, their poetry, refining their techniques, technology, the world will be immensely rich.

This is a great wastage as it is now. When a man really comes of age, death starts knocking on his door. It is strange—it brings new people who know nothing. Now bring them up, educate them, train them, discipline them, and by the time they are really mature, retire them. When they are really capable of doing something, the time of retirement comes. And after retirement nobody lives more than ten or fifteen years, because after retirement one becomes absolutely useless, and the person himself starts feeling like a burden on the children, on the society. He loses all his respectability, prestige, power. He becomes an outsider, an unwelcome guest who is just reluctant to die.

You may not be aware that the generation gap has never been in existence in the past. The generation gap is a new phenomenon that has come into existence just now because people are living longer. Now a ninety-year-old father is still alive, and three other generations have come into existence. His son is seventy years old, his grandson is fifty years old, his great grandson is thirty years old. Now the distance is so great that the great grandson has no connection at all: Who is this old man, and why does he go on hanging around?—an unnecessary trouble, and always irritated, always angry, always ready to freak out. What purpose is there? In the past, people never saw four or five generations together; hence there were no generation gaps. I don’t even know the name of my great grandfather. I asked my father. He said, “I don’t know myself. The names that you know are the names I know. More than that, I know nothing.”

If we continue to live accidentally, then the situation is going to become worse. It is better that society takes a new formulation, a totally new program. Old programs have failed. The commune is the new unit of the world. No more family, no more nation—communes and an international humanity.

The commune will be decisive in creating what is needed, because right now you need doctors but doctors are not there. Engineers are unemployed because there are too many engineers; or you need engineers and engineers are not there. There is no planning of life, it is just zigzagging, accidentally. That’s why there are so many unemployed people; otherwise there is no need, there should not be a single person unemployed. You should not produce more people than you can give employment to.

As machines are becoming more and more capable of doing the work of man, more efficiently than man, without asking for higher wages, without going on strike, without changing shifts—twenty-four hours they go on producing; a single machine can work in place of a thousand people—more and more people will be becoming unemployed.

It is better to plan, so that you have only as many people as you need. And why not have the best? Why not drop this mob that surrounds the earth? This mob is the most dangerous thing, because it plays into the hands of any cunning politician.

The mob has no mind of its own, no intelligence of its own. We can create individuals with great intelligence, individuality, and each generation will be a better generation than the outgoing one. Then evolution will take place in leaps and bounds; otherwise we are stuck. We have been stuck for thousands of years, only things go on growing—better cars, better airplanes, better bombs, but not better human beings.

If man is stuck and everything else goes on growing, it is a dangerous situation. Man will be burdened with his own progress, with his own technology, with his own science. Man should also grow; man should always remain ahead.

I understand the questioner’s concern, but I don’t agree with it. I always see a ray of light in the darkest night. And howsoever dark the night may be, there is always a possibility for the dawn to be very close. I am in favor of every scientific progress, but the progress should be in the hands of creative people, the progress should not be in the hands of warmongers. War can now be stopped and warmongers can disappear. This is possible for the first time in the history of man. Hence, don’t be afraid of totalitarian people.

Unless we change the whole program of men and women, we will not have a new world. We have to drop all fears. And I repeat again, never act out of fear. Any action out of fear is going to lead us backward.

Act with consciousness, cautiously. Use every preventive measure so that what you are doing cannot be misused, but don’t look backward. Life is ahead and in the future. Because of this point I have angered all of India’s Gandhians; if it weren’t for this they would be my followers. Even the president of the ruling party and the ministers and the chief ministers, all used to attend my meditation camps. But the day I started saying things against Mahatma Gandhi, they became afraid. Nobody answered me, but they became afraid: “You should not say anything against Mahatma Gandhi.”

I said, “I am not saying anything against him, but what he is proposing is a backward step, taking man back to primitive ages, making him more barbarous. Man is already barbarous.”

But the people who are acting out of fear think perhaps it is good that all scientific progress is stopped and all scientific technology is drowned in the ocean, and man goes back to when there was not even kerosene oil, when there were no clothes—you had to spin your own clothes.

If you spin your own clothes eight hours per day, in a year you will be able to clothe yourself, your bed, but what are you going to eat? And if someday you fall sick, from where will you get the medicine? And what are you going to feed to your children, and how are you going to feed your old father and mother and your wife? And how are the children going to be educated—who is going to pay their fees and their expenses? One man has to be involved for eight hours just making his own clothes.

Such a society will be so poor … no education. But Gandhi is against education because education is being misused. His whole philosophy is based on fear: anything that can be misused … But you are talking such nonsense—anything can be misused. There is not a single thing in the world which cannot be misused. If you are just living in paranoia then everything has to be renounced. There are so many criminals in your jails. In America, they have so many jails and so many criminals that American judges have been telling the government, “If you don’t create more jails, close the courts, we cannot send anybody to jail—there is no space. Once we send somebody to jail, we have to release somebody else, although he should still remain in jail for two or three years. We have to release him just to make space for the new criminal.”

The whole world is full of jails, and these people only have the wrong genetic program. They are victims of a blind biological force. Do you want to continue this accidental humanity? Don’t you want it to be well-planned—intelligently, consciously? I understand your fear, but that can be avoided. That should be avoided. But progress cannot be dropped.

In every way we can create a man who is really a superman, who has never existed except in the dreams of great poets and great mystics. That superman has to be made a reality. Genetic science and engineering can help immensely.

Little Eddy was doing his arithmetic homework. “Three plus one, the son of a bitch, is four,” he was saying. “Three plus two, the son of a bitch, is five. Three plus three, the son of a bitch, is six.” And so on.

Eddy’s mom was horrified when she overheard him. The next day she went to see what kind of arithmetic his teacher was teaching.

“I don’t quite understand where Eddy has picked this language up,” said the teacher. “I simply teach the children to say: three plus one, the sum of which is four; three plus two, the sum of which is five.”

But not only little Eddy, even your oldest citizens of the world are living in such a misunderstanding about everything.

In spite of the dangers we have to take steps to change this situation. Man’s intelligence is absolutely dependent on his genetic heritage. We can have as many Albert Einsteins as we need, we can have as many Rabindranath Tagores as we need, we can have as many Nijinskys as we need. The world can be such a beautiful place. But certainly there are risks and there are dangers, and I am aware of them more than you are aware of them. But still, I want to take all the risks because man has nothing to lose—he has got nothing, so why be so afraid? He has everything to gain and he has nothing to lose.

The risk can be taken—yes, with consciousness, with awareness. Hence I am teaching all the time how to be more aware, how to be more conscious, because much has to be done once we have a certain portion of humanity alert and conscious. Those will be our guardians, our guards against technology being used in any way for evil purposes.

We can take every protective measure, but we cannot go backward.

When I was a child, I always felt I had a rebellious spirit inside me but I wasn’t allowed to express it, and soon it started to disappear. Now, I am beginning to feel that we each carry a power within us that could bring real transformation to the world. And it feels very much like that same rebellious spirit I used to have. Can you please say something about it?

Everybody is born innocent, peaceful, loving … knowing nothing about the cutthroat competition in the world, knowing nothing about the nuclear weapons that are being prepared to welcome him, knowing nothing about the dirty politics that have been torturing humanity for millennia. But before his peace, his love, his trust can become a rebellious force, we start destroying all that is beautiful in him and replacing it with all that is ugly in us. That’s what our parents have done to us, so we repeat the performance.

Generation after generation, the same disease goes on being transferred from one hand to another hand. With all the good intentions in the world the parents, the teachers, the leaders, the priests all go on forcing ideas of competition, comparison, ambition; preparing every child for the tough struggle that he is going to face in life—in other words, for violence, aggressiveness. They know that unless you are aggressive you will be left behind. You have to assert yourself, and do it forcibly. You have to compete as if it were a question of life and death. All this is the framework of our educational system.

I used to come first in my class—not that I was studious, not that I attended the class regularly. I simply found that the courses they were teaching to students were not even worth two months’ time, and we were wasting the whole year. So just for two months at the end of the term I gave my total attention, and the remaining time I was enjoying everything else except school. The teachers were amazed! And when I used to come home after the results and I would tell my father that I had come first, he always said, “That means your class consists of fools.”

I said, “This is strange. When other people come first, their parents feel happy. But you, it seems, feel sorry that I am studying with fools. You think that’s why I have come first, otherwise there would be no hope for me.”

But he never encouraged me, “You have done a good job, you should be rewarded.” He never rewarded me; his only response, consistently, was, “It is strange how you can always find a class of fools, so naturally you come first.”

But this is very rare. Parents give every incentive: “Be first and you will be rewarded. Be first—that is bringing honor to the parents, to the family.” Everybody is teaching you to be ahead of others, whatever the cost. Sooner or later, children become feverish and they start running faster. Even if they have to hurt somebody to get ahead, they will do it. Violence is bound to be a part of a competitive society.

In a competitive society you don’t have any friends. Everybody pretends to be friendly, but everybody is your enemy because everybody is fighting to climb on the same ladder. Everybody is your enemy because he can succeed and force you to be a failure. And soon people start learning the art of how to pull on others’ legs, how to use wrong means, because those wrong means give you a shortcut.

There was a student, when I was a teacher in the university … he was such that on examination days, no teacher was ready to be in the hall where that student was given a place. He was almost murderous—at any moment he could murder somebody. What he used to do was this: He would come with a knife into the examination hall, and he would put his knife on the desk so everybody could see it there, so that no professor would come close. He would bring notes with him for the examination, and he would always manage to come first. No professor wanted to be the observer in the examination hall where that student was. My vice-chancellor asked me to do it.

I said, “There is no problem.”

He said, “But nobody is ready…”

I said, “They don’t understand.”

I asked one of my friends—he was a Sikh. I asked him, “You give me your kripan.” It is a big, special kind of sword, far more dangerous than any other sword. Just one hit and the head is off!

He asked, “What are you going to do with the sword?”

I said, “I am going to teach this student to be a Sikh.”

He said, “That is good. Vah guruji ki fatah. Vah guruji ka khalsa.” That is the mantra of the Sikhs, “This is the way the victory of the master happens. This is the way the victory of the master’s followers happens.”

He gave me his kripan, and I went into the examination room. That boy was sitting with his small knife on the desk. I went near to his desk, and just by the side of his knife I forced my kripan into the wood. He looked at me and I said, “Throw away all the notes that you have brought with you. Just look at my kripan.” And I took away his knife.

He asked, “What are you doing?”

I said, “If you speak another word—just one hit of the kripan, you will lose your head.”

He said, “You seem to be insane. I have not done anything wrong and you are ready to kill me!”

I said, “It is not a question of right or wrong. It is a question of who has a bigger knife—I have a bigger one! I have all the powers in this examination hall to throw you out.” And I threw his knife out the window of the hall.

I said, “If you don’t throw away all the notes that you have brought with you, your head will go from the same window.” He gave me all his papers, and I threw them out the same window.

The vice-chancellor was watching from the window of his office. “What is happening?—things are coming out of the window of the examination hall. First the knife came, then a few notebooks.…” He came running—“It seems there is some trouble.”

I said, “You don’t be worried. Only one thing more … if this boy is not going to behave, you will see one more thing coming out of the window.”

He said, “What?”

I said, “His head!”

He took me outside the room and he said, “I am sorry that I asked you to be the examiner here. Just forget it, you can’t do such a thing!”

I said, “There is no other way to teach that idiot a lesson. Because all the professors you have been sending here were so afraid of his knife, now nobody is ready to come. What can he do?—at the most he can kill you, so I have brought a bigger knife.”

But this is what the society makes everybody learn sooner or later: You have to be more aggressive, otherwise you will be a failure. You have to fight your way, because everybody is trying to achieve the same ambition.

The vice-chancellor told me, “You are relieved. Never again are you required to be the examiner.”

I said, “That is really great! That is what I wanted. It is unnecessary, because I don’t want to harass anybody. Life will harass all of them—why should I add more harassment to their lives? But I cannot allow anybody to harass me, either. It is very good of you to have relieved me of this duty forever.”

But this whole society is violent, and you have to be more violent if you want to be ambitious.

We need the nonambitious, noncompetitive people, those who have no will for power, to be the rebels. Every child can become such a rebel; all he needs is not to be distracted from his innocence.

Your feeling is right that you have a rebel inside you. Everybody has a rebel—but the society is too powerful. It makes you cowardly, it makes you cunning. It does not help you to be your authentic self. It does not want anybody to be his authentic self, because then there will be rebels all over.

But remember that before becoming a rebel you have to fulfill a few conditions. I don’t want old-fashioned rebels. My idea of the rebel is a totally fresh and new idea, a new realization. Unless you have compassion enough, love enough—silences of the heart, deep inner meditations bringing you more light, more awareness—you have not fulfilled my conditions. Only with these conditions do I want you to be a rebel. Then you cannot do anything wrong. Then whatever you do is right.

Out of love, everything is right. Love is the magic that transforms everything into right.

I want enlightened rebels. It is possible because enlightenment has been possible, and there have been rebels. All that we need is a synthesis bringing them together. Rebelliousness and enlightenment, a Gautam Buddha with the rebelliousness of a Lenin—it will be the most beautiful phenomenon.

One friend from Japan sent me a statue of Gautam Buddha. It was a rare statue, I have never seen such a thing. In one of the hands of the statue there was a small earthen lamp with a flame. You had to put oil inside the earthen lamp as fuel, so that the flame would go on burning. My friend said, “This is a condition—I was given this statue with the same condition—that the flame should be burning twenty-four hours a day without a break.” In the other hand the statue held a naked sword. This is possible only in Japan, because Japan has made even swordsmanship and archery into meditative arts. Meditation is basic.

In India we cannot conceive of Gautam Buddha having a sword. But the beauty of the statue was that half of his face was so peaceful—where the light of the small flame was falling, so calm and quiet, utter serenity—and on the other side his face was like the sword, so sharp that it could be only that of a great warrior. The artist who created it had done tremendous work. In the same face he had shown a great synthesis—a sword in the hands of peace.

This is my idea of rebellion, of the rebel. It should come out of your love for humanity; not out of anger against the past but from a creative compassion for the future. You are not just to destroy the old. Your ideal, your end, is to create the new. Because the new cannot be created without demolishing the old, you demolish it, but there is no anger in it. It is a simple process. You demolish an old building—there is no question of anger. You clean the ground and make a new building in its place.

You have to do both: Carry the peace, the silence, the light, the qualities of your inner being, and rebel against all injustice, against all inhumanity. But for a creative purpose, to materialize a dream of an authentic human society which will be able to give equal opportunity to all, freedom to all, education that is nonviolent, education that is not only informative but also transformative. An education that will make you more of an individual and bring the best in you to its flowering.

You are sitting here with people who all have such dreams. And the people in the outside world also had these dreams once, when they were small children—the same qualities, which have been forced down, repressed. Their inhibitions can be removed.

My people have to become burning torches, moving around in the world to share their fire with anyone who is ready. And you will be surprised, there are no people who have never dreamed of a beautiful future and who have never been in a state of innocence, who have never tasted something of peace, something of love, something of beauty. But all this has been destroyed, distorted, contaminated, poisoned by an ugly society.

Its only power is in its ancientness. But now that very power, that ancientness, is going to prove to be its greatest weakness. It just needs a little push. It is a dead society already. It has prepared its grave with its own hands and it is standing just at the edge of the grave. You just have to push, and you will suddenly find all that is old and rotten lying in its grave.

We have to start from scratch. Again Adam and Eve, again the Garden of Eden … again the very beginning.


Copyright © 2011 by OSHO International Foundation

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Meet the Author

Osho is one of the most provocative and inspiring spiritual teachers of the twentieth century. Known for his revolutionary contribution to the science of inner transformation, the influence of his teachings continues to grow, reaching seekers of all ages in virtually every country of the world. He is the author of many books, including Love, Freedom, Aloneness; The Book of Secrets; and Innocence, Knowledge, and Wonder.

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