Osho on Religious Tolerance

Question : Osho why can’t i tolerate people who belong to other religions?

Osho : Maria, IT IS BECAUSE OF YOUR UPBRINGING. You have been brought up as a fascist, as a fanatic — as Christians, Hindus, Jainas, Mohammedans; you have not been brought up as human beings. You are hypnotized from your very childhood; you are living in a kind of hypnosis. To live as a Christian or as a Mohammedan is to live in a hypnosis, is not to live really.

That’s why you cannot tolerate people who belong to other religions, because deep down you know they are wrong, they are stupid, they are committing a great crime. They have to be put right, they have to be brought under your flag, into your flock — because only Jesus saves or only Buddha saves. You cannot tolerate them because they look like pretenders.

To a Christian, a Buddhist is a pretender, because God has only one son. It is very strange — why should God have only one son? Is he in favor of birth control? But Jesus is the only-begotten son of God, and the Buddhists claim that Buddha has arrived, that he has attained. It becomes intolerable, the very idea. It creates suspicion in you, it creates doubt. Maybe the Buddhists are right, and you don t want to see this doubt inside yourself, because doubt is heavy and doubt disturbs your peace and doubt disturbs your sleep.

Hence you would not like to read the Buddhist scriptures, you would not like to read the Koran, you would not like to read Mahavira, because their words can be dangerous. Or even if you read them you will read them as ordinary books, because there is only one holy book, the Bible, or only one holy book, the Koran. Your book is the only holy book and all other books are unholy.

There are many things involved in this attitude, Maria. And this is not only your attitude: this is the attitude of the greater masses. It is good that you have become aware of it.


First: they create doubt in you, they create suspicion, skepticism, about your own beliefs. And you are so settled with your beliefs, they are so consoling; they are like tranquilizers. And the person who lives in a different way, behaves in a different way, worships a different God, meditates in a different way, prays in a different way, certainly creates doubt. Maybe he is right — who knows? You certainly don’t know. Whatsoever you have been told has been told by others; it is not your own knowing so you don’t have any trust in it.

You have repressed your doubts deep down inside yourself; those doubts are alive, very much alive. They are ready to explode any moment — any opportunity and they will surface. The people of other religions become an opportunity for the doubts to surface.

In Jaina scriptures it is written that if you are on a road being followed by a mad elephant and you come across a Hindu temple, you can enter the temple and save your life, but it is better not to enter the temple and be crushed underneath the elephant, be killed by the elephant. Not to enter into the Hindu temple even to save your life! It is better to be killed but to remain a Jaina, then heaven is absolutely guaranteed.

And the same, exactly the same, is written in Hindu scriptures too, about the Jainas: don’t enter a Jaina temple. It is better to die, be killed by a mad elephant, than be saved by going inside a Jaina temple. Why? — because the Jaina priest may be saying something there, you may hear something. That may disturb you, may create doubt inside you. And doubt is dangerous, the door to hell; belief is the door to heaven.
The first thing, Maria: people who are not like you — not only religiously, but people who dress differently from you — even they are not liked.

That’s why my disciples are disliked by the so-called Indian society . The reason is not that you are doing anything wrong; the reason is simply that you are different. And that is the problem: nobody likes the different person. People like you to be like them, exactly like them. Dress like them, behave like them, use the same language, go to the same temple — and then you are accepted, because you don’t create doubt.

Now my disciples are bound to create doubt, my sannyasins are bound to create doubt. They are behaving in a totally different way they are behaving with freedom, and the slaves are bound to get disturbed. Slaves of tradition, slaves of orthodoxies, they are bound to get disturbed.

Just seeing a young man and a young woman walking together holding hands and it is enough to disturb the Hindu mind. It has repressed so much that all that repression starts coming up. They would also like to walk hand-in-hand with their beloveds but they cannot. If THEY cannot then they cannot allow anybody else to do the same.

In the West if you are walking hand-in-hand with a woman no problem arises, because the society is also the same. But walk hand-in-hand with a man, two men walking hand-in-hand, and people start looking at you. Something is wrong — you look homosexual, you look gay. It is dangerous!

Now homosexuals have been one of the tortured minorities in the world, very much tortured. In some countries they are killed. In some countries, for example in Iran, if it is found that two persons are living as homosexuals or lesbians, then the only punishment is death. What nonsense! They have not committed any crime against anybody, they have not harmed anybody! Two men living together, or two women living together, this should be nobody else’s business. But there is a great fear of homosexuality, and the reason is that homosexuality has been repressed down the ages.

In fact, in every person homosexuality is repressed, because there are four stages. First the child is auto-erotic, then the child becomes homosexual, then the child becomes heterosexual, and the fourth and the ultimate state is that of brahmacharya — the person goes beyond sex.

Each child passes the stage of homosexuality. If he passes it naturally there will be no repression, but because he is not allowed to pass it naturally, repression happens; then a hangover remains. Now these people who kill homosexuals are really homosexuals them-selves — repressed homosexuals — they cannot tolerate it. It is so about everything: you cannot see the things that you are doing.

For example in India — just the other day somebody asked: I was saying good-bye to my girlfriend; we hugged and kissed and we were caught by the police. It took two hours for us to manage somehow to get out of the trouble. They were going to put us in jail and they were trying to take us to the court, to make a case…. Now, kissing in a public place! The questioner has asked, And I see Indians pissing in public places and nobody objects. Kissing is objectionable, pissing is not?”

You don’t know: this country belongs to Morarji Desai. Pissing is a holy act! If you are pissing in a public place you are doing something great — you are making the earth holy. It is not urine: it is water of life!

In India you can piss in a public place, you can go and defecate anywhere. The whole country is a latrine! But that is allowed. Nobody takes any note of it. Only Westerners when they come to India, they note it. They immediately note it — what is happening? Just coming from Santa Cruz airport to Bombay, the whole way on both sides people are defecating — but NO Indian takes any note of it!

We only see things which are not accepted by us. We only see things which are strange. The Indian has lived in the same way for centuries; he is not taking any note. It is just the natural way; no question arises in his mind.

You see beggars on the street. All the Westerners go on writing letters to me: “We feel very much disturbed.” And no Indian seems to be disturbed at all — what is the matter? The Indians accept the beggars; that is accepted. They are suffering from their past karmas; nobody else is responsible for it. A beautiful strategy, a defense, they have created out of this theory, that everybody has to suffer according to his past lives. These people must have done something wrong, something really ugly; now they are suffering. Every-body has to pay for their past, so there is no question of compassion.

In fact you will be surprised to know that there is a Jaina sect in India, TERAPANTH, whose head is Acharya Tulsi; this sect believes you should not help the beggar because by helping the beggar you will be disturbing his life pattern. If you help him then he will have to suffer some other time. He HAS to suffer! If a man has fallen into a well don’t take him out, because if you take him out he will fall into another well some day — so what is the point? Let him suffer and let him be finished with the karma so he is free from it — one thing. And secondly, if you save this man from the well, if you take him out and he goes and kills somebody then you are also responsible for the murder. If you had not taken him out of the well he would not have committed the murder — so fifty-fifty. Then beware: in some other life you will have to suffer also. You will have to fall in some well — maybe not so deep….

So on two grounds Acharya Tulsi and his sect teach: don’t help anybody. And if you look, the logic is there. If the theory of karma is right then Acharya Tulsi’s conclusion is very logical; the logical conclusion cannot be doubted. But the theory itself is an invention; you don t suffer for your karmas in your next lives.

Life is immediate: if you put your hand in the fire you will be burnt right now, not in your next life. Each karma is immediately finished. You immediately suffer or you immediately enjoy the bliss, but there is no waiting. The whole theory is nonsense. To try to postpone for other lives is a strategy — political, social.

Indians can accept the beggars but they cannot accept a couple kissing good-bye. But why should you be so much worried? If kissing is something bad, they may be suffering from their past karmas — let them suffer! Why should you interfere? But interference is there because you are sexually suppressed. Indian society is very much sexually suppressed; it cannot accept people who are sexually free.

So, Maria, it is not only a question of religion — it is a question of everything. The different person creates doubt, the different person creates suspicion about whether what you are doing is right or wrong. You want to destroy the different person so that you can suppress your doubt again — one thing.

Secondly: a person belonging to a different religion hurts your ego; you would like your religion to be the suprememost, the only religion. It hurts your ego that there are other religions also claiming the same supremacy

You have a double-bind mind: for yourself you think in one way, for others in a totally different way. If you claim your Bible as the holy book, you don’t allow Mohammedans to claim their book as the holy book. And the Mohammedans don’t allow the Hindus to call their Vedas the holy book. And the people who believe in the Vedas — the Hindus — they laugh at the nonsense of calling the Koran or the Bible holy books. The Vedas is the only holy book — because the Vedas are written by God himself; all other books are written by human beings. Maybe they contain something good, but written by human beings they are bound to be fallible — the Vedas are infallible. This is the way of the ego.

Mrs. Keen and Mrs. Monahan were sitting on their stoop watching the apartment across the street, which was rented by a young Italian girl. As a steady stream of men entered and left at half-hour intervals they kept saying, She is a slut. She is no good. She is a disgrace to the neighborhood!”
Then after ten visitors, Father Gilhooley, the neighborhood priest, went in. “Oh my!” said Mrs. Keen. ‘The poor girl must be sick.

Now you see the change! Immediately a different standard is applied.

Walsh stumbled out of a saloon and into a church he thought was a cathedral, and fell asleep. The sexton soon woke him and told him they were closing. “They don’t close cathedrals,” said Walsh.
“This is not a cathedral,” said the sexton. “It is a Presbyterian church.”
Walsh looked around and saw stained-glass windows of St. Luke, St. Mark and St. Thomas.
“And since when,” asked the Irishman, “did the saints become Presbyterians?”

All the saints belong to YOUR religion! Mahavira and Neminath are not even mentioned by Hindu books — not even mentioned. A man like Mahavira remains unmentioned in Hindu books. Jesus is not mentioned in any Jewish book. A man like Jesus remains unmentioned?

You apply double standards. For your own religion you have one valuation, for the others, different valuations. You don’t weigh on the same weighing machine. This is the way of the ego; it is always doing it in every dimension of life.

And let me repeat again: each religion creates fascism in you. Each religion creates Adolph Hitlers because of this idea that “My way is the only right way.” And when you are a fascist and when you are a fanatic you are murderous. You may not murder, but deep down you are murderous. You may not murder anybody, but one thing is certain: you will murder your qualities of love and compassion and brotherhood.

A group of young men — all Irish Catholics — go into a pub. They don’t greet Abbie, one of the men already standing at the bar. Paddy, one of the young Irish fellows, asks his friends why they don’t greet Abbie. “Oh, he is a Jew,” they say, “and Jews are awful people. They killed our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paddy is very upset to hear this and goes over to Abbie and starts beating him up.
“Stop, stop!” shouts Abbie. “What are you doing this for?”
“I’m doing it because Jews tortured Jesus and killed him.”
“Yes, I know,” says Abbie, “but it is nothing to do with me. That happened two thousand years ago.”
Paddy gives him another blow and says, “I don’t care. I only heard it ten minutes ago!”

I don’t want you to be tolerant of other religions. Mahatma Gandhi used to teach people: “Be tolerant of other religions.” But if you become tolerant of other religions that simply means intolerance persists underground.

I don’t teach tolerance; tolerance is ugly. It is better to be knowingly intolerant; at least the disease is on the surface and sooner or later you will become aware of it — as Maria has become aware of it. If you become tolerant, as Gandhians have become tolerant, then the disease goes deep into the unconscious. On the surface you are very polite, sweet, and you say good things, that the Bible and the Gita, they say the same thing: ALLAH ISHWAR TERE NAM SABKO SANMATI DE BHAGWAN — all are names of the same God, and let God give understanding to all.” You go on saying these things, but deep down it is not so.

Mahatma Gandhi his whole life prayed morning and evening saying that Allah and Ram are the names of the same God. But when he was shot in Delhi…by a Poonaite, remember! Beware of the Poonaites! The man who murdered Gandhi, Nathuram Godse, was a Poonaite; Poona is one of the strongholds of Hindu orthodoxy. I have knowingly chosen a place to create trouble for you!

When Gandhi was shot dead he didn’t say Allah. The last words were “Ram — Hey Ram! Oh Ram!” He forgot all about Allah. His whole life…but still deep down he knows that he is a Hindu. The Gita he says is his mother. And who is his father — the Koran? That he never says anything about. The Gita is his mother but the Koran is not his father. And he chooses words from the Koran which are really nothing but echoes of the Gita, and he also chooses words from the Bible which are echoes from the Gita. He is REALLY clinging to the Gita; the Gita is the criterion. Whatsoever is in the Gita is right; if it is in the Koran, then too it is right because it is in the Gita. He leaves out everything that goes against the Gita. This is tolerance….

I don’t teach tolerance. I teach freedom from all the nonsense of being Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian. Be free from all prejudices. Be just a human being! And in that freedom you will find great joy, and in that freedom. for the first time you will feel love for other human beings, compassion, brotherhood. You will start feeling the whole universe as your family, your commune. And not only with human beings — when the fascist in you has disappeared and the fanatic is gone, even with the trees and the birds and the animals you will have a communion. You will be constantly in a beautiful dialogue with existence.

Maria, drop all this nonsense. To be a Hindu, to be a Mohammedan, to be a Christian, to be a Jaina, to be a Buddhist, these are stupid hangovers from the past. Be finished with them, and in a single blow — not slowly, not gradually. See the point and be finished with them RIGHT now, this very moment! Because who knows? — tomorrow may come, may not come. Who knows? — the next moment may come, may not come. This is the only moment available. Rebel against all nonsense! Be free!

Source – Osho Book “Be Still and Know”

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