Osho on Money and Richness

Question – Beloved Osho, Can you talk about money? What are all these feelings which are around money? What makes it so powerful that people sacrifice their lives for it?

Osho This is a very significant question. All the religions have been against wealth because wealth can give you all that can be purchased in life. And almost everything can be purchased except those spiritual values — love, compassion, enlightenment, freedom. But these few things are exceptions, and exceptions always prove the rule.

Everything else you can purchase with money. Because all the religions have been against life, they were bound to be against money. That is a natural corollary. Life needs money because life needs comforts, life needs good food, life needs good clothes, good houses. Life needs beautiful literature, music, art, poetry. Life is vast!

And a man who cannot understand classical music is poor. He is deaf. He may hear — his eyes, his ears, his nose, all his senses will be perfectly right medically — but metaphysically…. Can you see the beauty of great literature, like THE BOOK OF MIRDAD? If you cannot see it, you are blind.

I have come across people who have not even heard the name of THE BOOK OF MIRDAD. If I am to make a list of the great books, that will be the first. But to see the beauty of it you will need a tremendous discipline.

To understand classical music is possible only if you learn — and it is a long learning. It is not like jazz music, for which no learning is needed. Even monkeys can understand jazz — in fact, only monkeys understand it. It is not music, just a few crackpots making all kinds of noises, and you think it is music.

You will find better music in a waterfall, or when the wind blows through the pine trees, or simply when you walk in the forest in autumn on dry leaves, and sounds are created. But to understand that, you will need to be free from hunger, free from poverty, free from all kinds of prejudices.

For example, Mohammedans have prohibited music; now they have deprived man of a tremendous experience. It happened in New Delhi… one of the most powerful Mohammedan emperors, Aurangzeb, was on the throne. And he was not only powerful, he was really terrible.

Up to his time Mohammedan emperors were saying only that music was against Islam, but that was all; Delhi was full of musicians. But Aurangzeb was not a gentleman, he was really a Mohammedan. He declared that if any music was heard in Delhi, the musician would be immediately beheaded. And Delhi was the center, naturally, because it was the capital for thousands of years. So it was the place where all kinds of geniuses were living.

When this declaration was made, all the musicians gathered together, and they said, “Something has to be done, this is too much! They used to say it is against Islam — that was okay. But this man is dangerous, he will start killing.” So as a protest, all the musicians — of which there were thousands — went to Aurangzeb’s palace.

He came on the balcony and asked the people, “Who has died?” — because what they had done… they were carrying a corpse the way it is carried in India. There was no corpse inside, just pillows, but they had managed to make it look like a corpse. Aurangzeb asked, “Who has died?”

And they answered, “Music. And you are the murderer of it.” Aurangzeb said, “Good that it has died. Now please be kind enough to me — dig as deep a grave as possible, so that it can never come out from the grave again.” Those thousands of musicians and their tears had no effect on Aurangzeb: he was doing something `sacred’.

Music is denied by Mohammedans. Why? — because music was basically played in the East by beautiful women. In the East and in the West the meaning of the word `prostitute’ differs. In the West the prostitute is selling her body. In the East, in the past, the prostitute was not selling her body; she was selling her genius, her dance, her music, her art.

You will be surprised that every Indian king used to send his sons who were going to become his successors to live with great prostitutes for a few years, to learn etiquette, to learn gentleness, to learn music, to learn the delicacies of dance — because a king should be really rich about everything. He should understand beauty, he should understand logic, he should understand manners. That has been the old Indian tradition.

Mohammedans disrupted it. Music was against their religion. Why? — because to learn music you had to enter a prostitute’s house. Mohammedans are very much against any rejoicing, and the house of the prostitute was full of laughter, songs, music, dance. They simply prohibited it: no Mohammedan can enter a place of music; to hear music is a sin.

And the same has been done by different religions — for different reasons, but they have all been cutting man’s richness. And the most basic teaching is that you should renounce money. You can see the logic. If you don’t have money, you can’t have anything else. Rather than cutting branches, they were cutting the very roots.

A man without money is hungry, is a beggar, has no clothes. You cannot expect him to understand Dostoevsky, Nijinsky, Bertrand Russell, Albert Einstein, no; that is impossible. All the religions together have made man as poor as possible. They have condemned money so much, and praised poverty so much that as far as I am concerned, they are the greatest criminals the world has known.

Look what Jesus says: A camel can pass through the eye of a needle, but a rich man cannot pass through the gates of heaven. Do you think this man is sane? He is ready to allow a camel to pass through the eye of a needle — which is absolutely impossible, but even that impossibility he accepts may be made possible. But a rich man entering into paradise? That is a far bigger impossibility; there is no way to make it possible.

Wealth is condemned. Richness is condemned. Money is condemned. The world is left in two camps. Ninety-eight percent of the people live in poverty, but with a great consolation, that where rich people will not be able to enter, they will be received with angels playing on their harps, “Alleluia… Welcome!” And the two percent who are rich are living with tremendous guilt that they are rich.

They cannot enjoy their richness because of the guilt. And they are deep down afraid: perhaps they may not be allowed to enter into paradise. So they are in a dilemma. Riches are creating guilt in them — they will not be consoled because they are not mourning: they will not be allowed in paradise because they are having so many things on the earth. They will be thrown into hell.

Because of this situation, the rich man lives in a very fearful state. Even if he enjoys, or tries to enjoy things, his guilt poisons it. He may be making love to a beautiful woman, but it is only the body that is making love. He is thinking of paradise where camels are entering, and he is standing outside and there is no way to go in. Now can this man make love? He may be eating the best food possible, but he cannot enjoy it. He knows this life is short, and after that is just darkness and hellfire. He lives in a paranoia.

The poor man is already living in hell, but he lives with a consolation. You will be surprised to know that in poor countries people are more contented than in rich countries. I have seen the poorest people in India with no dissatisfaction at all. And Americans are going around the world to find some spiritual guidance — naturally, because they don’t want to be defeated by camels; they want to enter into the gates of heaven.

They want to find some way, some yoga, some exercises, as a compensation. This whole world has been turned against itself. Perhaps I am the first person who is respectful of money, of wealth, because it can make you multi-dimensionally rich.

A poor man cannot understand Mozart. A hungry man cannot understand Michelangelo. A beggar will not even look at the paintings of Vincent van Gogh. And these people who are suffering from hunger don’t have enough energy to make them intelligent. Intelligence comes only when you have superfluous energy in you. They are exhausted just in earning bread and butter. They don’t have intelligence. They cannot understand THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, they can only listen to some stupid priest in a church.

Neither the priest understands what he is talking about, nor the audience. Most of them are fast asleep, tired after six days of work. And the priest finds it more comfortable that everybody is asleep, so he need not prepare a new sermon. He can go on using the old sermon. Everybody is asleep, nobody will figure out that he is just cheating them.

Wealth is as significant as beautiful music, as great literature, as masterpieces of art. There are people who have a born capacity to be a musician. Mozart started playing beautiful music at the age of eight. When he was eight, other great masters of music were not anywhere near him. Now, this man is born with that creativity.

Vincent van Gogh was born of a poor father who worked in a coal mine. He never got educated, he never knew any art school, but he became one of the greatest painters of the world. But in his whole life he could not sell a single painting. Now each painting… There are only two hundred of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings available; he painted thousands but he gave them away just for a packet of cigarettes, or a meal, or a cup of tea. Now each of his paintings is worth a million dollars or more.

What happened? Why couldn’t people understand his paintings? His paintings need tremendous intelligence to be understood. Just a few days ago I saw a picture of one of his paintings. For that painting he was laughed at by all painters, what to say about others? — because he had painted stars in a way nobody had seen stars: like nebulae, every star in movement, like a wheel turning continuously. Who had seen stars like that?

Even other painters said, “You are going mad — these are not stars!” And moreover, the trees that he painted underneath the stars are going higher than the stars. Stars are left far behind, trees have reached far ahead. Now who has seen such trees? This is just madness!

But a few days ago I saw a picture of this type. Physicists have now discovered that van Gogh is right: stars are not as they look, they are exactly the way van Gogh has painted them. Poor van Gogh! What eyes that man must have had, to see what physicists took one hundred years to find out, with all their big labs and big technology.

And Vincent van Gogh, strangely enough, just with bare eyes figured out the exact shape of the stars. They are whirling, they are whirling dervishes; they are not static the way you see them. And when he was asked about his trees, that “Where have you found these trees which go above the stars?” he said, “These are the trees I have found, sitting by their side listening to their ambitions. I have heard the trees say to me that they are the ambitions of the earth to reach to the stars.”

Perhaps a few more centuries may be needed for scientists to discover that certainly the trees are the ambitions of the earth. One thing is certain, that trees are moving against gravitation. The earth is allowing them to move against gravitation — supporting, helping them. Perhaps the earth wants some communication with the stars. The earth is alive, and life always wants to go higher and higher and higher. There is no limit to its aspirations.

How are the poor people going to understand? They don’t have the intelligence. Just as there are born poets, born painters, I would like you to remember there are born wealth-creators. They have never been appreciated. Everybody is not a Henry Ford, and cannot be.

Henry Ford was born poor, and became the richest man in the world. He must have had some talent, some genius for creating money, for creating wealth. And that is far more difficult than to create a painting, or music, or poetry. To create wealth is not an easy job. Henry Ford should be praised just as any master musician, novelist, poet. In fact, he should be praised more, because with his money all the poetry and all the music and all the sculptures of the world can be purchased.

I respect money. Money is one of the greatest inventions of man. It is just a means. Only idiots have been condemning it; perhaps they were jealous that others have money and they don’t. Their jealousy became their condemnation.

Money is nothing but a scientific way of exchanging things. Before there was money, people were in real difficulty. All over the world there was a barter system. You have a cow and you want to purchase a horse. Now it is going to be your whole lifelong task…. You have to find a man who wants to sell a horse and wants to purchase a cow. It is so difficult a job! You may find people who have horses but they are not interested in buying cows. You may find people who are interested in buying cows but they don’t have horses.

That was the situation before money came into existence. Naturally, people were bound to be poor: they could not sell things, they could not buy things. It was such a difficult job. Money made it so simple. The man who wants to sell the cow need not search for the man who wants to sell his horse. He can simply sell the cow, take the money and find the man who wants to sell the horse, but is not interested in a cow.

Money became the medium of exchange; the barter system disappeared from the world. Money did a great service to humanity. And because people became capable of purchasing, selling, naturally they became more and more rich.

This has to be understood. The more money moves, the more money you have. For example, if I have one dollar with me…. It is just for example, I don’t have one; I don’t have even a cent with me. I don’t even have pockets! Sometimes I get worried that if I get a dollar, where am I going to keep it?

For example, if I have a dollar and I go on keeping it to myself, then in this mandir there is only one dollar. But if I purchase something and the dollar moves to somebody else, I get the worth of the dollar — which I will enjoy. You cannot eat the dollar. How can you enjoy it just by keeping it? You can enjoy it only by spending it. I enjoy; the dollar reaches to somebody else, Now if he keeps it, then there are only two dollars — one I have enjoyed already, and one is with that miser who is keeping it.

But if nobody is a clinger, and everybody is moving the dollar as fast as possible — if there are three thousand people, three thousand dollars have been used, enjoyed. That is one single round. Just give more rounds and there will be more dollars. Nothing is coming in; there is, in fact, only one dollar, but by movement it goes on multiplying itself.

That’s why money is called currency. It should be a current. That’s my meaning. I don’t know about others’ meanings. One should not keep it. The moment you get it, spend it. Don’t waste time, because that much time you are preventing the dollar from growing, from becoming more and more.

Money is a tremendous invention. It makes people richer, it makes people capable of having things that they don’t have. But all the religions have been against it. They don’t want humanity to be rich, and they don’t want humanity to be intelligent, because if people are intelligent, who is going to read the Bible?

Just the other day, I received the information that one atheist group in America has published a Bible with pictures. That Bible will be condemned by all the Christians, by the government, because it is pornographic. It is more pornographic than anything else, because in the Bible there is so much pornography….

Just by reading it you are not aware. Now, when I was talking to you about Sodom… in this new Bible they have made pictures of men making love to animals, women making love to animals. There is adultery, there is homosexuality, there is sodomy, there is rape. You name it and it is in the Bible!

I have said that we should immediately order it. My people should start reading the real Bible! And order it immediately, because there is every possibility it will be prohibited. Never in the world has any book been so pornographic as this Bible.

And they are not doing anything which is not in the Bible — they are just making pictures of it. You can understand pictures better. Just reading the word `rape’ is nothing, but when you see a series of rapes pictured, then you become suddenly aware — this is a holy Bible.

Religions never wanted man to be intelligent, never wanted man to be rich, never wanted man to rejoice, because people who are in suffering, poor, unintelligent — they are the clients of churches, synagogues, temples, mosques.

I have never gone to any religious place. Why should I go? If the religious place wants to have some taste of religion it should come to me. I am not going to Mecca, Mecca has to come to me! Otherwise I don’t care. I am not going to Jerusalem, I am not mad — just a little bit crazy, but not mad. And when we can create a place of joy and laughter and love here, what is there in Israel? We have created the new Israel.

Drop all ideas that have been imposed upon you about money. Be respectful to it. Create wealth, because only after creating wealth do many other dimensions open for you. For the poor man all doors are closed.

I want my sannyasins to be as rich as possible, as comfortable as possible. This is the first commune in the whole history of man where every house is centrally air-conditioned. Never before has any commune happened with air-conditioning.

This is the only commune where, while I am talking to you, you can laugh, you can enjoy, you can dance, you can do anything — because your laughter connects you to me more than your sitting there sad, with a long face.

You cannot laugh in a church the way you are doing here. Just looking at Jesus Christ hanging on the cross all laughter will die. In fact, for the first time we are giving religion its true color, its music, its dance, its love, its laughter.

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