Osho on Empathy

Question – Beloved Master, I am puzzled as to why i have identified myself with this particular body and ego. and if my essence is in the universal consciousness, what keeps me from seeing through the eyes of other beings?

Osho – An old businessman was dying…. It was evening time, the sun was setting and it was becoming darker. Suddenly, the old man opened his eyes and asked his wife who was holding his hand, sitting by his left side, “Where is my eldest son?”
The wife was surprised. This was the first time he had ever inquired so lovingly about the eldest son. He had never bothered about his children — he had no time.
The wife said, “Don’t be worried. He is sitting on your right side.”
He said, “Then what about the second son?”
She said, “He is also sitting on your right side, by your eldest son’s side.”

At that moment, the dying man, who had only few breaths left, suddenly came to life. He had not been sitting for months, he was so sick and so weak. But he managed to sit up and ask, “Where is my youngest son?”
The wife said, “Don’t get so worried. They are all here — he is just sitting by your feet.”
He said, “And you say to me not to be worried…! If they are all here, then who is tending the shop?”
And the man fell down and died with heart failure.

What do you think this man is going to be in his next life? The law of existence is that whatever essential desire is at the moment of your death, that becomes the seed of your next life. It will be easy to understand it this way — you can even experiment….

When you are going to sleep, just watch what is the last thought before you fall asleep. And then when you wake up, remember what is the first thought. You will be surprised — they are exactly the same thought. The thought that you fall into sleep with is the thought that you wake up with. The same is true about death, because death is a little longer life, a little deeper sleep, but the law is the same. Whatever is the last desire hovering on your mind and being while you are dying will be the first when you wake up in another life. This will create the passage and the form of your birth.

The question is that if consciousness is universal then why can’t you see from other people’s eyes? Consciousness is universal, but for you it is only a principle, not an experience. Principles are good if you are sitting an examination; they are of no use as far as existence is concerned. If it was your experience that you have a universal consciousness then you would be able to see from other people’s eyes too. In fact, they would not be other people any longer.

I will tell you one incident that happened in Ramakrishna’s life. It is not a story, it is a historical fact…. Ramakrishna died from cancer of the throat. The cancer became so big that it clogged the whole throat. He could not eat anything, he could not drink anything. It was really a tragic scene for his disciples. They all persuaded Vivekananda, Ramakrishna’s very close disciple, to ask Ramakrishna, “Why don’t you ask God. If you ask, that very moment the cancer will disappear.”

He tried many times. He would close his eyes, tears of joy and ecstasy would flow, and when he opened his eyes he would say, “It was so beautiful.”
But they would ask, “Have you asked? For what did you go into meditation?”
He said, “This is a difficult thing. The moment I reach into deep meditation I forget all about the body, all about the cancer. I even forget all about God. It is so ecstatic and so blissful.”

Then they all approached Ramakrishna’s wife, Sharda, and asked her, “Now, only you may be able to persuade him. We have failed.”
Sharda had never asked for anything in her whole life. And many times Ramakrishna had told her, “You have never asked for anything. You are a strange wife. Every wife asks for something, goes on asking continuously; her desires are never fulfilled.”

Sharda said, “Finding you I have found everything, but if you insist then promise me just one time, if I ask something you will have to fulfill it.” And he promised.
So all the disciples said, “This is the time. What are you waiting for? He is dying, and he has a promise to fulfill. So you go and ask him.”

She asked. Ramakrishna closed his eyes. This time there were no tears, no ecstasy. He was simply calm and quiet, and then he opened his eyes and said, “Sharda, you will have to forgive me, I cannot fulfill your demand. The reason is, I have asked the ultimate reality to remove this cancer because my people are unnecessarily suffering because I cannot eat, cannot drink, and I received the answer, `Ramakrishna, don’t be childish. It is time for you to start eating from other people’s throats! It is time for you to start drinking from other people’s throats!’

“So you have to forgive me but I have received the answer. Now all the throats here are mine, so don’t be worried about me. Now I am no longer an individual. Soon this body will be gone. But even before the body is gone, I am already one with the universal existence. Your throats are mine and your eyes are mine, and it was certainly stupid of me to ask. But because I had given the promise, I had to ask.”

Ramakrishna died within three or four days. But before he died he made it clear to everybody: “Remember, when you are eating, don’t eat anything that I don’t like, don’t drink anything that I have prohibited you, because now I will be drinking from your throats and I will be eating from your throats.”

On his death he transformed thousands of his disciples who were secretly smoking, who were drinking alcohol once in a while. Now it was impossible. Now you could not deceive because Ramakrishna was within you.

Your question is very significant but it is only theoretical. You are asking why you cannot see from other people’s eyes. You are still surrounded by your own ego, your own desires. You are living in a small cage, made by your own hands. You will have to come out of it. You will have to spread yourself all over existence, then perhaps your question will be answered. I cannot answer it because it is only theoretical.

While Ramakrishna was alive… another incident will help you to understand…. One day they were crossing over the Ganges from one side to the other side with at least thirty disciples in a boat. And suddenly, in the middle of the Ganges, Ramakrishna started shouting, “Why are you beating me? Don’t beat me, it hurts.”

And the disciples said, “What are you saying? We are your disciples all around and in the middle of the Ganges, who else can beat you?”

But tears were coming from his eyes and he showed his back. They took off his shawl to see his back. There were scratches and blood was oozing as if somebody had beaten him badly with a stick. They could not believe what had happened. And as they reached to the other side they found a crowd. A sudra, an untouchable, had touched a brahmin, and the brahmin had given him a good beating.

And the most surprising thing was that when they removed the sudra’s clothes and looked at the backs of both Ramakrishna and the sudra, the scratches were exactly the same; the blood was oozing in exactly the same way.

They asked Ramakrishna, “What happened? This man has been beaten, but why have you got his beatings on your back?”
Ramakrishna said, “He is a sudra, but he is far more developed than this brahmin. He has always been coming to me, and I have found such a deep intimacy with him.”

In English there are three words: sympathy, antipathy and empathy. `Sympathy’ means feeling with you, in your sadness, feeling your sadness; `antipathy’ means feeling happy that you are sad; and the third word, `empathy’, means not just feeling like someone else, but actually living it the way he is living it. If he has a wound, in empathy you will have a similar wound; if he dies, you will die, you have become so connected with him.

And Ramakrishna said, “This is a lesson for you. You are my disciples, but this would not have happened if any one of you was beaten. This man comes only when everybody is gone so nobody sees that a sudra has come. And slowly, slowly such a deep synchronicity has evolved that although he was beaten, I was beaten also.”
The day Ramakrishna died that sudra also died.

These are historical facts for which there were thousands of eyewitnesses. It was not very long ago, just one hundred years have passed…. It is possible to see from somebody else’s eyes, and it is possible to live through somebody’s heart, but for that you will have to withdraw all your egoistic barriers. You will have to go so deep in meditation that you become universal.

Source – Osho Book “The Sword and the Lotus”

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