Osho on Nakedness and Society

[The sannyasin said that it was difficult to live in society. For example she likes to swim naked, and sit in cafes. But because she is female she gets hassled.]

Osho – But the problem is…. Just listen – somebody wants to expose his genital organs to you in the street. He is an exhibitionist; he wants to undress before you. He says this is his life and he enjoys it. What will you say? Will you not feel offended?

Yes, then the question is, the moment the other enters, you have to think about him also. If there is nobody, swimming naked is perfectly good. But if there are other people there, you are exposing your naked body to them and they don’t want to see it. Because they are repressed, they are afraid they may do something.

They are not afraid of your naked body. They are afraid of their repressions! They are afraid that they may forget everything – they may rape you! They are afraid of their own desires, inhibitions, and they know if somebody provokes them too much they may forget all etiquette, all formality, all religion, all morality. They may forget that they are human beings; they may become just like animals. They may jump on you and rape you.

So they are afraid of themselves, but they don’t want to accept that so they say, ’Nobody can swim naked – it is obscene.’ They throw the responsibility on the naked person. It is not the responsibility of the naked person. But when you are in the world with people, you have to watch.

You would like to walk in the middle of the road because you feel like it, but then the whole traffic will be disturbed. If the policeman comes and tells you to walk to the right, you may say, ’It is not my liking. I want to walk in the middle.’

It happened that when Russia became independent of the Czar in 1917, an old woman started walking in the middle of a Moscow street. The policeman came and said, ’What are you doing lady? You will be killed! Walk by the side of the road!’
She said, No more of that nonsense! I always wanted to walk in the middle. And now the country is free, revolution has happened, I am going to walk in the middle of the road!’

Then it is nonsense and you have to be stopped. You want to dance naked in the street, but you are not alone. There are other people and they are involved. This street is not only yours; it is common properly. This river is not yours.

So if you want to be naked, move to a lonely place. Go to the Himalayas somewhere, where there is nobody, and do whatsoever you want to do. I know you will not enjoy nakedness there. That’s what I mean when I say you are a reactionary. You would like to be naked here where you can hurt people and say, ’I want to do my thing. Who are you to prevent me?’ Go – there is no problem. Who is saying to you that you have to be in a city? There are still forests, there are still mountains.

Go before they disappear! Just go – and do there whatsoever is your heart’s desire. But I know you will not enjoy it because what is the point of freedom when there is nobody to prohibit you?

Then in order to be free, you will miss many other things of the society. Everybody has to decide about that. If you want all the benefits that society is giving you…. You will not have electricity there. You cannot have air-conditioning there. You will have to seek and search for your food like a hunter. It will not be available in restaurants, and you will not be able to sit in a restaurant and watch people. So you will suffer there with no restaurant and nowhere to sit and no one to watch.

Life has to be an awareness – that if you live in a society there are a few benefits: a restaurant to sit in, a road to walk on, food, and other facilities. If you want to be alone and to enjoy swimming in the river… but that cannot be your whole life. You will feel hungry after one or two hours. Sooner or later you will feel hungry to see people, because that too is part of being human.

When you see people, something is satisfied deep down, because we are born in a society, we live in a society. Deep down we are connected with society… we live in an ocean of consciousness. You will feel impoverished in a forest. Sooner or later you will feel fed up with the trees because they don’t talk, they don’t answer; they don’t respond. Sooner or later you will become fed up with the birds because they go on singing the same thing again and again. Then you will start hankering for the society. So one has to decide. Benefits are there, and a few limitations are there. One needs to decide and choose.

Living in society is a responsibility. You are not alone so you have to look to others and they have to look to you. It is a relationship, a subtle relationship. So just decide. If you feel that this is too much, that these limitations are too much and you are ready to forego all the benefits, then move. But if you think those benefits are worth something…. Talking to a human being is a great thing, a valuable thing; talking to somebody who can understand you. Talking to somebody who has understood life is a great benefit. Trees cannot give that to you.

Swimming in the river is a very very small thing. Life is very big. Just for swimming naked one cannot lose the whole life. And it is always a choice. You have to lose a few things to gain a few others. Don’t be too obsessed with small things. You can close your room and move naked, and there is nobody to disturb you. You can be naked in your bathroom and enjoy it. But there must be something of an exhibitionist… So you can go and lie down on the terrace in the sun. There is no need for anybody to be bothered that you are naked.

[She answers: I know it’s a question of compromise… ]
Osho – It is not a question of compromise! It is a question of understanding. Compromise is not the right
word… it is a question of understanding.

For example you have come to me. If you are here for one hour, you are losing many more things. In that one hour you could have done many other things. You could have gone to the movie; you have missed the movie. You could have gone to see friends. You could have gone to a coffee-house; you have missed that. You could have danced; you have missed that. You could have read; you have missed that. You have missed a thousand and one things to come to me. You may not be aware, but you have missed – because there were millions of alternatives. This is how life is. You cannot do all the things together. It is not a question of compromise… it is a question of alertness.

If you become alert, things become very easy and one finds a way. One always finds a way. That’s what one should try to do – to live life as much as possible… to gain as much out of life as possible. Out of everything, going on choosing the best – the best that is humanly possible so you become enriched. But the attitude of just being against society is not going to help. Society does not bother about it, and you will be crippled by it.

Forget about rules, forget about society. Just think about yourself, your possibilities, alternatives – what can be chosen and what will be the best choice. If you feel that you have made a mistake, change it. Learn by trial and error. That’s how it has to be. Don’t get obsessed by small things; they are not that important. Life is a big thing. It is not equivalent to going naked in the sun or the river. It is a very big, very complicated thing.

Source – Osho Book “Get Out of Your Own Way”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *