Osho on Decision Making

Question : Beloved Osho, Often i have the feeling that i am not doing something i ought to be doing, or doing something i should not be doing; that something has to change and fast — a schooldays’ worry that i am not going to make the grade, that i might be expelled.

Osho : Krishna Prabhu, this is how we all have been brought up. Our whole education — in the family, in the society, in the school, in the college, in the university — creates tension in us. And the fundamental tension is that you are not doing that which you ought to do.

Then it persists your whole life; it follows you like a nightmare, it goes on haunting you. It will never leave you at rest, it will never allow you to relax. If you relax, it will say, “What are you doing? You are not supposed to relax; you should be doing something.” If you are doing something it will say, “What are you doing? You need some rest, it is a must, otherwise you will drive yourself crazy — you are already on the verge.”

If you do something good, it will say, “You are a fool. Doing good is not going to pay, people will cheat you.” If you do something bad it will say, “What are you doing? You are preparing the way to go to hell, you will have to suffer for it.” It will never leave you at rest; whatsoever you do, it will be there condemning you.

This condemner has been implanted in you. This is the greatest calamity that has happened to humanity. And unless we get rid of this condemner inside us we cannot be truly human, we cannot be truly joyous and we cannot participate in the celebration that existence is.

And now nobody can drop it except you. And this is not only your problem, Krishna Prabhu, this is the problem of almost every human being. Whatsoever country you are born in, whatsoever religion you belong to, it doesn’t matter — Catholic, communist, Hindu, Mohammedan, Jaina, Buddhist, it does not matter to what kind of ideology you belong, the essential is the same. The essential is to create a split in you, so one part always condemns the other part. If you follow the first part then the second part starts condemning you. You are in an inner conflict, a civil war.

This civil war has to be dropped, otherwise you will miss the whole beauty, the benediction of life. You will never be able to laugh to your heart’s content, you will never be able to love, you will never be able to be total in anything. And it is only out of totality that one blooms, that the spring comes, and your life starts having color and music and poetry.

It is only out of totality that suddenly you feel the presence of God all around you. But the irony is that the split has been created by your so-called saints, priests and churches. In fact the priest has been the greatest enemy of God on the earth.

We have to get rid of all the priests; they are the root cause of human pathology. They have made everybody ill at ease, they have caused an epidemic of neurosis. And the neurosis has become so prevalent that we take it for granted. We think that this is all life is about, we think this is what life is — a suffering, a long, long, delayed suffering; a painful, agonizing existence; an autobiography of much ado about nothing.

And if we look at our so-called life, it seems so, because there is never a single flower, never a single song in the heart, never a ray of divine delight. It is not surprising that intelligent people all over the world are asking what the meaning of life is. “Why should we go on living? Why are we so cowardly as to go on living? Why can’t we gather a little courage and put a stop to all this nonsense? Why can’t we commit suicide?”

Never before in the world were there so many people thinking that life is so utterly meaningless. Why has this happened in this age? It has nothing to do with this age. For centuries, for at least five thousand years, the priests have been doing the harm. Now it has reached to the ultimate peak.

It is not our work, we are victims. We are the victims of history. If man becomes a little more conscious, the first thing to be done is to burn all the history books. Forget the past, it was nightmarish. Start anew from abc, as if Adam is born again. Start as if we are again in the garden of Eden, innocent, uncontaminated, unpolluted by mean priests.

The priests have been very mean, because they discovered something tremendously significant for themselves: divide a man, split a man, make him basically schizophrenic and you always remain in power. A divided man is a weak man. An undivided man, an individual, has strength — strength to accept any adventure, any challenge.

A man was looking for a good church to attend and found a small one in which the congregation was reading with the minister. They were saying, “We have left undone those things we ought to have done and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.”
The man dropped into a seat and sighed with relief as he said to himself, “Thank goodness, I’ve found my crowd at last.”

Go to any church and you will find your crowd, you will find replicas of your being. Maybe the language is a little bit different, the ritual a little bit different, but the fundamentals are the same. The fundamental is: man has to be reduced to a civil war.

The first day when you recognize this, what the priests have done to you, is a day of great insight. And the first day when you drop all this nonsense is the day of the beginning of liberation. Do what your nature wants to do, do what your intrinsic qualities hanker to do. Don’t listen to the scriptures, listen to your own heart; that is the only scripture I prescribe. Yes, listen very attentively, very consciously, and you will never be wrong. And listening to your own heart you will never be divided. Listening to your own heart you will start moving in the right direction, without ever thinking of what is right and what is wrong.

So the whole art for the new humanity will consist in the secret of listening to the heart consciously, alertly, attentively. And follow it through any means, and go wherever it takes you. Yes, sometimes it will take you into dangers — but then remember, those dangers are needed to make you ripe. And sometimes it will take you astray — but remember again, those goings astray are part of growth. Many times you will fall. Rise up again, because this is how one gathers strength — by falling and rising again. This is how one becomes integrated.

But don’t follow rules imposed from the outside. No imposed rule can ever be right, because rules are invented by people who want to rule you. Yes, sometimes there have been great enlightened people in the world too — a Buddha, a Jesus, a Krishna, a Mohammed. They have not given rules to the world, they have given their love. But sooner or later the disciples gather together and start making codes of conduct. Once the master is gone, once the light is gone and they are in deep darkness, they start groping for certain rules to follow, because now the light in which they could have seen is no more there. Now they will have to depend on rules.

What Jesus did was his own heart’s whispering, and what Christians go on doing is not their own hearts’ whispering. They are imitators — and the moment you imitate, you insult your humanity, you insult your God. Never be an imitator, be always original. Don’t become a carbon copy. But that’s what is happening all over the world — carbon copies and carbon copies.

Life is really a dance if you are an original — and you are meant to be an original. And no two men are alike, so my way of life can never become your way of life. Imbibe the spirit, imbibe the silence of the master, learn his grace. Drink as much out of his being as possible, but don’t imitate him. Imbibing his spirit, drinking his love, receiving his compassion, you will be able to listen to your own heart’s whisperings. And they are whisperings. The heart speaks in a very still, small voice; it does not shout.

Listen to the master’s silence so one day you can listen to your own innermost core. And then this problem will never arise: “I am doing something that I should not do, and I am not doing something that I should do.” This problem arises only because you are being dominated by outer rules; you are imitators.

What is right for a buddha is not right for you. Just look how different Krishna is from Buddha. If Krishna had followed Buddha we would have missed one of the most beautiful men of this earth. Or if Buddha had followed Krishna he would have been just a poor specimen. Just think of Buddha playing on the flute; he would have disturbed many people’s sleep, he was not a flute player. Just think of Buddha dancing; it looks so ridiculous, just absurd.

But the same is the case with Krishna. Sitting underneath a tree with no flute, with no crown of peacock feathers, with no beautiful clothes, just sitting like a beggar under a tree with closed eyes, nobody dancing around him, nothing of the dance, nothing of the song, and Krishna looks so poor, so impoverished. A Buddha is a Buddha, a Krishna is a Krishna, and you are you. And you are not in any way less than anybody else. Respect yourself, respect your own inner voice and follow it.

And remember, I am not guaranteeing you that it will always lead you to the right. Many times it will take you to the wrong, because to come to the right door one has to knock first on many wrong doors. That’s how it is. If you suddenly stumble upon the right door, you will not be able to recognize that it is right.

There are many people who come here directly, they have never been to anybody else. It is almost impossible to have any contact with them. They cannot understand what is happening here, they have no background, they have no context for it. They have not learned what is wrong, so how can they understand what is right?

But when people come here, and they have lived with many many so-called masters and lived with many many seekers and been part of many schools, when they come here something immediately is lit in their hearts. They have seen so much that now they can recognize what is true.

So remember, in the ultimate reckoning no effort is ever wasted, all efforts contribute to the ultimate climax of your growth. So don’t be hesitant, don’t be worried too much about going wrong. That is one of the problems; people have been taught never to do anything wrong, and then they become so hesitant, so fearful, so frightened of doing wrong, that they become stuck. They cannot move, something wrong may happen. So they become like rocks, they lose all movement.

I teach you: Commit as many mistakes as possible, remembering only one thing: don’t commit the same mistake again. And you will be growing. It is part of your freedom to go astray, it is part of your dignity to go even against God. And it is sometimes beautiful to go even against God. This is how you will start having a spine; otherwise there are millions of people, spineless.

Because I say such things, many people are angered. Just the other day a journalist came here. He had come to cover what is happening here in this ashram, and he wanted to have both stories — the people who are for it, and the people who are against it. So he went around the town. He talked to police officers, he went to see the mayor of Poona. And what the mayor said was really beautiful, I loved it.

He said, “This man is so dangerous that he should be expelled from Poona — not only from Poona but from India, not only from India but from the world!”
I loved it. And I started thinking about it. Where will they expel me from the world? That’s a really fantastic idea! If they can manage it, I am willing to go.

Why is there so much anger? The anger has a reason in it, it has a rationale behind it. The rationale is that I am trying to give you a totally new vision of religious life — and if the new vision succeeds, then all the old visions will have to die.

Krishna Prabhu, forget all about what you have been told, “This is right and this is wrong.” Life is not so fixed. The thing that is right today may be wrong tomorrow, the thing that is wrong this moment may be right the next moment. Life cannot be pigeonholed; you cannot label it so easily, “This is right and this is wrong.” Life is not a chemist’s shop where every bottle is labeled and you know what is what. Life is a mystery; one moment something fits and then it is right. Another moment, so much water has gone down the Ganges that it no longer fits and it is wrong.

What is my definition of right? That which is harmonious with existence is right, and that which is disharmonious with existence is wrong. You will have to be very alert each moment, because it has to be decided each moment afresh. You cannot depend on readymade answers for what is right and what is wrong. Only stupid people depend on readymade answers, because then they need not be intelligent. There is no need; you already know what is right and what is wrong, you can cram the list, the list is not very big.

The Jews have ten commandments, so simple, you know what is right and what is wrong. But life goes on changing continuously. If Moses comes back, I don’t think he will give you the same ten commandments — he cannot. After three thousand years, how can he give you the same commandments? He will have to invent something new.

But my own understanding is this, that whenever commandments are given they create difficulties for people, because by the time they are given they are already out of date. Life moves so fast; it is a dynamism, it is not static. It is not a stagnant pool, it is a Ganges, it goes on flowing. It is never the same for two consecutive moments. So one thing may be right this moment, and may not be right the next. Then what to do? The only possible thing is to make people so aware that they themselves can decide how to respond to a changing life.

An old Zen story: There were two temples, rivals. Both the masters — they must have been so-called masters, must have really been priests — were so much against each other that they told their followers never to look at the other temple.

Each of the priests had a boy to serve him, to go and fetch things for him, to go on errands. The priest of the first temple told his boy servant, “Never talk to the other boy. Those people are dangerous.”
But boys are boys. One day they met on the road, and the boy from the first temple asked the other, “Where are you going?”

The other said, “Wherever the wind takes me.” He must have been listening to great Zen things in the temple; he said, “Wherever the wind takes me.” A great statement, pure Tao.

But the first boy was very much embarrassed, offended, and he could not find how to answer him. Frustrated, angry, and also feeling guilty because, “My master said not to talk with these people. These people really are dangerous. Now, what kind of answer is this? He has humiliated me.”

He went to his master and told him what had happened. “I am sorry that I talked to him. You were right, those people are strange. What kind of answer is this? I asked him, ‘Where are you going?’ — a simple formal question — and I knew he was going to the market, just as I was going to the market. But he said, ‘Wherever the winds take me.'”

The master said, “I warned you, but you didn’t listen. Now look, tomorrow you stand at the same place again. When he comes ask him, ‘Where are you going?’ and he will say, ‘Wherever the winds take me.’ Then you also be a little more philosophical. Say, ‘If you don’t have any legs, then? Because the soul is bodiless and the wind cannot take the soul anywhere!’ What about that?”

Absolutely ready, the whole night he repeated it again and again and again. And next morning very early he went there, stood on the right spot, and at the exact time the boy came. He was very happy, now he was going to show him what real philosophy is. So he asked, “Where are you going?” And he was waiting…. But the boy said, “I am going to fetch vegetables from the market.” Now, what to do with the philosophy that he had learned?

Life is like that. You cannot prepare for it, you cannot be ready for it. That’s its beauty, that’s its wonder, that it always takes you unawares, it always comes as a surprise. If you have eyes you will see that each moment is a surprise and no readymade answer is ever applicable. And all the old religions have supplied you with readymade answers. Manu has given his commandments, Moses has given his commandments, and so on and so forth.

I don’t give you any commandment. In fact the very word commandment is ugly. To command somebody is to reduce him to a slave. I don’t give you any orders, you are not to be obedient to me or to anybody else. I simply teach you an intrinsic law of life. Be obedient to your own self, be a light unto yourself and follow the light and this problem will never arise. Then whatsoever you do is the thing to do, and whatsoever you don’t do is the thing that has not to be done.

And remember, don’t go on looking back again and again, because life goes on changing. Tomorrow you may start thinking what you did yesterday was wrong. It was not wrong yesterday, it may look wrong tomorrow. There is no need to look back; life goes ahead. But there are many drivers who go on looking in the rear-view mirror. They drive onwards but they look backwards; their life is going to be a catastrophe.

Look ahead. The road that you have passed, you have passed. It is finished, don’t carry it any more. Don’t be unnecessarily burdened by the past. Go on closing the chapters that you have read; there is no need to go back again and again. And never judge anything of the past through the new perspective that is arriving, because the new is new, incomparably new. The old was right in its own context, and the new is right in its own context, and they are incomparable.

What I am trying to explain to you is: drop guilt! — because to be guilty is to live in hell. Not being guilty, you will have the freshness of dewdrops in the early morning sun, you will have the freshness of lotus petals in the lake, you will have the freshness of the stars in the night. Once guilt disappears you will have a totally different kind of life, luminous and radiant. You will have a dance to your feet and your heart will be singing a thousand and one songs.

To live in such rejoicing is to be a sannyasin, to live in such joy is to live a divine life. To live burdened with guilt is simply to be exploited by the priests. Get out of your prisons — Hindu, Christian, Mohammedan, Jaina, Buddhist, communist. Get out of all your prisons, get out of all your ideologies, because ideologies supply you readymade answers. If you ask the communist a question he will have to look in Das Kapital. In the same way, if you ask the Hindu he turns the pages of the Gita.

When are you going to use your own consciousness? When? How long are you going to remain tethered to the dead past? The Gita was born five thousand years back; life has changed so much. If you want to read the Gita, read it as beautiful literature — but just like that, no more than that. It is beautiful literature, it is beautiful poetry, but it has no dictums to be followed and no commandments to be followed. Enjoy it as a gift from the past, as the gift of a great poet, Vyasa. But don’t make it a discipline for your life; it is utterly irrelevant.

And everything becomes irrelevant, because life never remains confined. It goes on and on; it crosses all borders, all boundaries, it is an infinite process. The Gita comes to a full stop somewhere, the Koran comes to a full stop somewhere, but life never comes to a full stop, remember it. Remind yourself of it. And the only way to be in contact with life, the only way not to lag behind life, is to have a heart which is not guilty, a heart which is innocent. Forget all about what you have been told — what has to be done and what has not to be done — nobody else can decide it for you.

Avoid those pretenders who decide for you; take the reins in your own hands. You have to decide. In fact, in that very decisiveness, your soul is born. When others decide for you, your soul remains asleep and dull. When you start deciding on your own, a sharpness arises. To decide means to take risks, to decide means you may be doing wrong — who knows, that is the risk. Who knows what is going to happen? That is the risk, there is no guarantee.

With the old, there is a guarantee. Millions and millions of people have followed it, how can so many people be wrong? That is the guarantee. If so many people say it is right, it must be right. In fact the logic of life is just the opposite. If so many people are following a certain thing, be certain it is wrong, because so many people are not so enlightened and cannot be so enlightened. The majority consists of fools, utter fools. Beware of the majority. If so many people are following something, that is enough proof that it is wrong.

Truth happens to individuals, not to crowds. Have you ever heard of a crowd becoming enlightened? Truth happens to individuals — a Tilopa, an Atisha, a Nanak, a Kabir, a Farid. Truth happens to individuals. Be an individual if you really want truth to happen to you. Take all the risks that are needed to be an individual, and accept the challenges so that they can sharpen you, can give you brilliance and intelligence.

Truth is not a belief, it is utter intelligence. It is a flaring-up of the hidden sources of your life, it is an enlightening experience of your consciousness. But you will have to provide the right space for it to happen. And the right space is accepting yourself as you are. Don’t deny anything, don’t become split, don’t feel guilty. Rejoice! And I say to you again, rejoice as you are.

Source – Osho Book “The Book of Wisdom”

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