Osho on Devil

Question – Beloved Osho, Is the devil really male?

Osho – Deva Prachurya, it is a beautiful question because the women’s liberation movement is talking about God being a woman; they have started pronouncing him not he but she. But none of them has thought about the devil, which is a counterpart. They both exist together, just like light and darkness, life and death.

Both are hypothetical. God does not exist the way you exist and the trees exist and the mountains exist; it is just a hypothesis. And because of the hypothesis of God, theologians have had to create his other pole, the other polarity, the devil. So the devil becomes darkness and God becomes light.

The Hindu UPANISHADS have one of the most beautiful prayers, perhaps the most beautiful in the whole world of religion. I love its poetry, but I don’t agree with its philosophy. The prayer is very small, but very pregnant with meaning and significance. It says, “Lead me from darkness to light” — tamsoma jyotirgamaya. It says, “Lead me from untruth to the truth” — astoma sadgamaya. And in the final stage it says, “Lead me from death to life” — mrityorma amritamgamaya.

It is sheer poetry, you cannot improve upon it — but it is utterly false, because darkness and light are one phenomenon. You cannot go from darkness to light, because light is nothing but a little less darkness, and darkness is nothing but a little less light. It is a difference of degrees. Neither can you go from untruth to truth — the same differentiation of degrees is there. Every untruth has something true about it, and every truth expressed has to join hands with untruth.

And you cannot go from death to eternal life, because death is part of life. It is not against it — it is the very crescendo of life. They both exist together. A person who cannot die, cannot live either. Life exists with death almost like two wings of a bird: you cannot have the bird flying in the sky across the sun with one wing. Life and death are just like your two legs — you cannot move with one leg.

Existence is dialectical: it always has its opposite. Without the opposite, it will not exist. Because man created God as the very holy of the holiest, he had to create a devil. It was just an absolute philosophical necessity! The devil is the counterpart of God. You will be surprised to know… your name is Deva Prachurya. Deva means divine, and devil also comes from the same root; it also means divine.

But both are hypothetical. I have no objection if God is a woman, but certainly I am immensely happy if the devil is a woman! God may be, may not be, but the devil is certainly a woman; otherwise for such a long eternity the devil could not have been nagging God continuously! From whom is God escaping? Where is he hiding, and from whom? Why has he not the guts to come out, at least once in a while, to remind people that he is still alive? The woman does not allow it. So I am not certain about God, but, Deva Prachurya, woman is certainly a devil — and vice-versa!

Mrs. Markovitz got a knock on the door.
“It is your husband,” shouted her neighbor, “he is face down in the swimming pool. I think he is drowned.”
“Is today Wednesday?” asked Mrs. Markovitz.
“Yes,” said her neighbor, “it is, but…”
“What time is it?” Mrs Markovitz asked.
“Eleven o’clock, but…” replied her neighbor.
“Then don’t worry about a thing,” said Mrs. Markovitz, “the pool man will be here in an hour!”

The husband has drowned… but the wife and the husband are the greatest enemies in the world; psychologists call them “intimate enemies.” They have always been! It is a very recent development of insight.

God being a woman will create trouble. Then the devil will be a man — because they have to be polar opposites. Perhaps the women’s liberation movement has not thought about the implications of what they are doing. I would like God to be the man and tortured by the devil, the woman, rather than vice-versa, because good can be tortured by bad, but bad cannot be tortured by good. But the question simply has not come up around the world — and women are insisting that God is a woman.

It is really strange that nobody has bothered about the devil, who is a more important person than God. God is only a VIP, the devil is a VVIP! God may have created the world, but the devil is running it — and running it so devilishly and so perfectly. Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Nadirshah, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Ronald Reagan — who do you think they represent? Certainly not God! They represent the devil, and they have made our history. They are the people who go on creating more and more evil in the world.

Friedrich Nietzsche has declared, “God is dead and man is free.” His statement is incomplete; he has forgotten about the devil. God may be dead — most probably he cannot manage to survive the devil for so long — but the devil is there. And unless the devil is also dead, man cannot be free.

Man’s real problem is not God; that poor fellow has never been seen after those first six days when he created the world. Since then nobody knows where he is — whether he is sick, or got so tired of creating the world in six days that the seventh day he rested… that is allowed. But what happened on Monday? On office days you should be back. Since then he has been on holiday… it is an eternity. Most probably he died.

But the devil is still alive, and shows himself again and again. You cannot conceive of Adolf Hitler in any other way than an incarnation of the devil; you cannot think of Nadirshah and his great company, Tamerlane and Genghis Khan, as anything other than incarnations of the devil.

I remember one case… Nadirshah attacked India — and he was a man who enjoyed killing people so greatly that his whole life he was killing and killing. One night he asked his soldiers to bring the most beautiful woman of the area, so they brought a prostitute from a nearby village. In India, prostitutes are a little different than in the West. In the West they are only sex objects. In the East they are artists, dancers, singers; their being sex objects is secondary.

She danced, and Nadirshah was very happy. The night was almost coming to an end when Nadirshah said, “Now I want to go to sleep, you can go back.”
He gave immense rewards to the woman, but the woman said, “It is dark outside. With so much money, so many diamonds… I am a woman and alone, and the path goes through a dark forest — I cannot go.”
Nadirshah told his soldiers, “You go ahead of her, and go on burning everything that you find — forest, village, anything. Make it a light.”

Nobody has made light that way — just a small torch would have done. But Nadirshah had such a devilish mind: he burned seven villages and the whole forest to make it almost look like day. He told the prostitute, “Now you can go. And you will remember that you had come to see not some Tom, Dick, Harry; you had come to see the great emperor, Nadirshah. He can make the night into day.” Thousands of villagers were burned alive. You cannot say such a man represents God in any way.

The devil is spread all over your history; even today, the devil is ruling you. The devil is a politician, has always been a politician. God is a nice guy — if he exists — very gentlemanly, has remained almost anonymous, almost a nobody. If one has to think about who is more important, indubitably it is the devil.

I would like him to be a woman, because the woman has many devilish qualities. But then God will have to be a man, because the polarity… both cannot be women, both cannot be men. If both were women, there would have been constant struggle and fight and jealousy and envy. If both were men, there would have been homosexuality and AIDS. So that is not acceptable; they have to be polar opposites.

My feeling is that the devil is man and God is woman — at least he has been functioning as very womanly. The devil is very aggressive, and God goes on retreating. So your question is very important theologically — although in reality they both don’t exist. Hypotheses cannot be male or female: two plus two is four — do you think it is male or female? It is just neutral, it has no genital difference.

God and the devil are just theological hypotheses. It simply shows the weakness of the theologians that they could not manage the world without false hypotheses to support their systems. God they needed to create the world — without ever bothering who created God. Their fundamental idea is that without somebody creating, nothing can be created; that’s why they have accepted God as the creator of the world. But why stop with God? What happened to the original thesis?

The thesis was that nothing can be created without a creator. Who created God? According to all religions… the question has remained unanswered. They know that if they say God A was created by God B they will get into more trouble… then God C and God D, and the whole alphabet. Still, when they reach X,Y,Z, nothing will be solved — who created God Z?

In fact they have started from a very wrong premise. Existence is intrinsically selfgenerated. It has always been here, so the question of creation does not arise. And it will always be here, so the question of destruction does not arise. It may pass through many phases of evolution, but it will remain.

If God can be dropped, there is no need for the devil. They are a married couple — because nobody has seen either of them, it is very difficult to say who is man and who is woman. But the devil seems to have been functioning around the world for centuries; after those six days, he has been in charge.

Most probably, if you want hypotheses also to be divided as male and female, then he seems to be the male, because he has been working all along… and God must be a housewife — that’s why you don’t see her any more in the marketplace. But the devil you will find anywhere. You don’t have to look for him; he is looking for you! I am more interested that you get rid of both — whoever they may be, male or female. Getting rid of both of them, existence becomes absolute freedom; man attains dignity and self respect.

The very idea of God and devil makes you either the slave of one or the slave of another. The sinners are the servants of the devil, and the saints are the servants of God. But to be a servant, to be a slave, is against human dignity.
Hence I say unto you: God is dead, the devil is dead. Their death is very necessary for you to be alive. If they are alive, you are dead. Then you are imprisoned from both sides. Then man has to do a strange game continuously: he works for the devil, and worships God — because you have to keep both of them happy.

An old man was dying and suddenly he started worshiping first God, repeating his name, and then the name of the devil. His family was aghast! They said, “Are you mad? In the last moments of your life you are remembering the devil?”
He said, “I don’t want to take any chance… who knows where I am going and whom I am going to meet? And it costs nothing, so I will remember both. Whoever meets me, I have remembered him, and if nobody meets me, there is no problem. If both meet me, then too there is no problem. I am calculating every possibility.”

Man is crushed between the devil and God, between good and evil. I want man not to be crushed, not to be enslaved, but to be an individual in his own right, free. And out of his freedom, and out of his awareness, he should act — not according to what God wants.

I have told you the story of the ten commandments. When God made the world, he went to the Babylonians and said, “Would you like to have a commandment?”
They said, “First we would like to see what it is.”
And he said, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
The Babylonians said, “What would we do? We don’t want any commandment, please forgive us.”

He went to the Egyptians, and he went to other races. Nobody was willing, because everybody asked, “What is the commandment?” And they said, “We don’t want to be encaged in any commandment. We want to live on our own.”

Finally he reached Moses and asked him, “Do you want to have a commandment?”
Moses asked, “How much does it cost?”

This is a rare question! God had gone all around the world… and it was only Moses who asked the price, the first thing. God said, “It costs nothing.”

Moses said, “Then I will have ten!” If it does not cost anything, why not have ten? — that’s how there are ten commandments.

Every religion has created its own commandments — strange, unnatural — out of fear or out of greed. But they have made this poor humanity that you see around the world. Even the richest man is so poor because he does not have the freedom to act according to his own consciousness. He has to act according to principles given by somebody else, and one does not know whether that man was a con-man, a fraud, a poet, a dreamer. There is no evidence… because so many people have claimed that they are incarnations of God, that they are messengers of God, that they are prophets of God, and they all bring different messages. Either God is mad or these people are simply lying. Nost probably they are lying…!

It gives you a great egoistic feeling if you are a prophet, a messiah, an avatara, a tirthankara — somebody special, not just an ordinary human being. Then you can dominate. This is a different kind of politics. Wherever there is domination, there is politics.

The politician is dominating because of physical force — his armies, his armaments, his nuclear weapons. The religious prophets, messiahs, saviors, avataras are dominating you spiritually. Their domination is more dangerous — they are far greater politicians. They are dominating your life not only from outside but from inside. They have become your inside, they have become your morality, they have become your conscience, they have become your very spiritual being.

From inside they go on dominating you, saying what is right, what is wrong. You have to follow them, otherwise you start feeling guilty, and guilt is one of the greatest spiritual diseases. If you follow them, you start feeling unnatural, neurotic, perverted, because you are not following your nature. If you follow your nature, you are not following your prophets and your saviors.

All these religions have created for man a situation in which he cannot be at ease, he cannot enjoy life, he cannot live it in its totality. So my suggestion is, it is better to let both guys be dead. And what does it matter? — when one is dead, whether he is man or woman does not matter. A dead woman is not dangerous, neither is a dead man. They are
not alive.

Let humanity be free from all these old superstitions which have dominated so badly, and distorted human nature so immensely. You can see the humanity that is the result. You say that a tree is known by its fruits. If that is true — and that is true — then your whole past of prophets, saviors, avataras, tirthankaras, God, devil, should be judged by the humanity that you find today.

This insane humanity — miserable, suffering, full of anger, rage, hate… If this is the result of all your religions, of all your leaders — whether political or religious — then it is better to let God and the devil die. With God and the devil gone, political leaders and religious leaders will not have any support; they will be the next to die. I want man to be politically free, religiously free, free in every dimension to function out of his own still small voice, out of his own consciousness. And that will be a beautiful world, a real revolution.

Source – Osho Book “The Great Pilgrimage From Here to Here”

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