Sannyasnews publish this question from Osho’s book “Philosophia Perennis” at the request of a reader as having relevance to current debates in sannyas.
QUESTION TO OSHO FROM JAMES P.THOMAS …
BUDDHA, MAHAVIRA, MOHAMMED AND CHRIST WERE ENLIGHTENED MAN. THEY TRIED TO TEACH THEIR DISCIPLES THE METHODS TO BECOME ENLIGHTENED. THEY WANTED TO FORM AN ENDLESS CHAIN OF ENLIGHTENED PEOPLE, AND, INSTEAD OF BECOMING ENLIGHTENED, ALMOST ALL OF THEM TRIED TO BE CUNNING ENOUGH TO CHEAT THE COMMON PEOPLE BY MAKING LARGE SCALE BUSINESS FIRMS BEHIND THESE GREAT MEN. WILL YOU EXPLAIN THE REASON FOR THIS? WILL THIS ASHRAM BECOME THE HEAD OFFICE OF SUCH A NEW BUSINESS?
James P. Thomas,
Everything that is born dies… The flower that is in the morning, full of life and juice, by the evening will be gone. It is a natural law: nothing can live for ever. In time, things appear and disappear. In time, everything is just a soap-bubble. You don’t condemn the morning flower just because by the evening the petals will have withered away, or do you? You don’t condemn the sunrise because once the sunrise has happened the sunset is coming closer.
When there is a Buddha, a flower blooms. But it cannot remain for ever — that is not the way of time. The flower will disappear. And man is cunning, and man is calculating. A few cunning and calculating people will gather around; they will make a business out of it — that too is natural. When a Buddha is not there, whatsoever he has done is bound to become a business. But that is NO reason for a Buddha to stop doing whatsoever he is doing. Even knowing perfectly well that things will deteriorate, a Buddha tries with all his heart — he lives his light, he shares his light, he lives his love, he shares his love. And
those who are receptive enough become enlightened. Those who are intelligent absorb the energy of the Buddha, and are transformed through it. They don’t bother about what is going to happen later on; there is no question of bothering.
James P. Thomas, you are here — rather than becoming a sannyasin you are worried about what will happen later on: Will the ashram become the head office a new business? It is bound to become. It has always been so, it will always be so. Before it becomes one, you become a sannyasin. While I am here, let me transform you. And why should you be worried about the future? There will be future Buddhas too. They always go on happening.
So those who want to become enlightened, seek and search for a living Buddha. And they are always around; the earth has never lacked them. Sometimes a Jesus, sometimes a Mahavira, sometimes a Mohammed, sometimes a Pythagoras — they are always there. Those who are thirsty, they always find them. But there are millions who are not thirsty. Those millions who are not thirsty, they also want to pretend that they are thirsty. It is these millions who are not thirsty and yet want to pretend that they are religious, seekers of truth — they become the victims of the cunning and the clever people, of the priests.
The priests succeed in exploiting because there are people who want to be exploited. It is a perfect arrangement. The priest cannot make a business out of religion if there are real seekers — they will see through it; they cannot be deceived. But in fact there are millions of people who don’t want to know the truth and yet are not ready to accept that they don’t want to know the truth. That hurts. For these people, plastic truths are needed. For these people, plastic flowers are needed. And plastic flowers have one thing about them: they never wither away.
This is something to be understood: the false has a longer life than truth, because the false adjusts to the process of time; it is part of it. The true comes from the beyond; it is not part of time, it is part of eternity. It does not belong to time. It enters into time, but it is a foreigner. Time cannot absorb it, and it cannot adjust itself to time. So it is only for a moment that you see the light of a Buddha… and then it disappears. It is only for a rare moment that eternity gives a glimpse into the world of time.
That’s how a real flower dies. But the plastic flower remains. In fact, now scientists, particularly those who are interested in NOT polluting nature, those who are ecology oriented, are very much worried about plastic — because plastic is something that never dies. It cannot be absorbed back by the earth; it will remain for ever and ever. You throw away a plastic bag or anything that is made of plastic — it will remain. The earth cannot reabsorb it, the sea cannot reabsorb it. It is SO unreal that it will persist. Lies persist for thousands of years; lies have their own ways of remaining, because they adjust to time, they are part of time. But truth is something strange in the world of time. It is timelessness. It is a miracle that once in a while it expresses itself in the dimension of time — it is a miracle. The Buddha, the Christ — these are miracles… something that should not be, something that is going against the law of necessity; something that follows the law of power, of grace, and comes from the beyond. That ray comes and goes.
Millions of people want to pretend to be religious. These are the people who go to the churches and to the mosques and to the temples and the guruwadas. These are the people who want religion cheap. They want only a formal kind of religion — a Sunday religion. They don’t really want to become committed; they are playing a game. And the game seems to pay in their mundane life — the churchgoer is respected, and the person who is respected can cheat better than anybody else. The churchgoer is thought to be religious; nobody thinks that he will deceive, hence he can deceive more easily. The church fits with the marketplace perfectly well; it is part of the market-place. Jesus was always a misfit; otherwise, why did people crucify him? People have never crucified priests; they have always crucified Buddhas. A Socrates is dangerous, disturbing, shocking; but the priest is perfectly good — consoling, helping to make your life easier through his lies. His lies function as buffers, shock-absorbers. He helps you in every possible way to live the false, pseudo life that you are living. He helps you to forget all about truth, and he gives you truth and God in such cheap ways that you need not risk
anything at all.
By being a Christian you don’t risk, by being a Hindu you don’t risk. By being a follower of Jesus, you were risking. To be with me is a risk! To be with the Shankaracharya is not a risk. To be with me is costly, it will create a thousand and one problems for you. Unless one is REALLY committed to truth, REALLY involved, REALLY thirsty and hungry for God, one cannot be here around me.
But millions of people want plastic flowers. Plastic flowers are very convenient; you need not grow them; you need not take the trouble of growing them. To grow real flowers is troublesome: think of the soil, prepare the ground, bring the manure and the fertilizers and water, and then protect. And then too it always remains unpredictable what is going to happen.
Plastic flowers are perfectly convenient; ready-made you get them. No soil is needed, no preparation, no gardening — nothing of the sort. And they don’t fade away. Once in a while you can give them a good bath, and they will be again as fresh as ever. They only collect dust, that’s all; dust can be washed away.
That’s how beliefs are — plastic flowers. But millions of people want plastic flowers, hence the priest can exploit you. Remember always one of the most fundamental laws of economics: wherever there is a demand, there will be a supply. Because the false is demanded, there are falsifiers.
And this is a natural process. I am not saying, I cannot say, that my place will not become a business one day — it is going to become. Meanwhile, Thomas, if you are really interested, use the opportunity that I AM and don’t bother about these things. You must have been around Jesus too — there WAS a Thomas… he is known as doubting Thomas. His name has become a symbol of doubt. You must have been around Buddhas and you must have been asking the same question! And you are again asking the same question.
What is YOUR worry? A few people want to be cheated, and a few people want to cheat — so it is perfectly okay! What is wrong in it? If there is nobody to cheat you, what will happen to those who want to be cheated? They will feel very miserable. They will not be able to live their lives as they want to live them. So nothing is wrong; they play a game of hide-and-seek. If you want to play the game of hide-and-seek, then there are many businesses around. And you must be part of some church, of some religion, of some creed.
Every truth, sooner or later, will be organized. And the moment it is organized, it dies.
There is a famous story:
A disciple of the Devil came running to him and said, “What are you doing here? One man — look down on the earth, sitting under that tree — has become enlightened! He has found the truth. Our whole business is at stake, and what are you doing here? We have to DO something!”
Certainly, if somebody finds truth, then the Devil’s whole existence is at stake — he lives on lies. But the disciple must have been a new disciple, just a learner. The old Devil laughed and he said, “Don’t you be worried. Let him find it — we will organize, and once a truth is organized, it dies.”
And all truths will be organized. There is no way to protect them, there is no way to make safeguards; there is no possibility. Every truth will be organized. Every truth will become a religion.
So the only way for the perceptive is: while the Buddha is there, drink of him as much as you can, and forget all about what is going to happen later on. This is the only intelligent way.