Osho on His childhood

Question – Osho, Were you not punished for your Mischievous Acts in Childhood?

Osho – I have been punished, but I have never taken any punishment as punishment. From my very childhood that has been my attitude: that how you take a thing makes all the difference. Nobody can punish me if I don’t take it as a punishment.

One of my teachers in the primary school when I was in the fourth grade…. It was my first day in his class, and I had not done anything very wrong, I was just doing what you do in meditation: “Om, Om…” but inside, with closed mouth. I had a few of my friends, and I told them to sit in different places so he could not figure out from where the sound was coming. One time it was coming from here, another time it was coming from there, another time it was coming from here; he went on looking from where the sound was coming. So I told them, “Keep your mouths shut, and do the ‘om’ inside.”

For a moment he could not figure it out. I was sitting at the very back. All teachers wanted me to sit in the front so they could keep an eye on me, and I always wanted to sit at the back from where you can do many more things; it is more feasible. He came directly to me. He must have heard from the third grade teacher, “You keep an eye on this boy!” So he said, “Although I cannot figure out who the people are who are doing it, you must be doing it.”

I said, “What? What am I doing? You have to tell me. Just saying, ‘You must be doing it’ does not make sense. What…?”
Now it was difficult for him to do what I was doing, because that would have looked foolish, and everybody would have started laughing. He said, “Whatsoever it is, hold both your ears in your hands and sit down, stand up, sit down, stand up — five times.”
I said, “Perfectly okay.” I asked him, “Can I do it fifty times?”

He said, “This is not a reward, this is a punishment.”
I said, ‘This morning I have not done any exercise so I thought that this was a good chance, and you would be very happy. Instead of five I will do fifty. And always remember, whenever you give me any kind of reward” — that’s exactly the word I told him — “whenever you give me any kind of reward, be generous.” And I started doing fifty.

He went on, “Stop! It is enough. I have never seen such a boy. You should be ashamed that you have been punished.” I said, “No, I am doing my morning exercise. You helped me, you have rewarded me; this is a good exercise. In fact, you should do it too.”
I never took any punishment as punishment. How can you punish a man who is ready to accept it as a reward?

In my high school it was an everyday affair that I was standing outside the classroom, because the moment the teacher would see me, he would say, “You better go out before you do something. I will have to send you out in any case. Please go out and leave us alone.”

And I would say, “Thank you sir, because outside I enjoy it so much; it is so beautiful.” And we had beautiful trees and birds and vast greenery for miles behind the school. “Standing on the verandah is such a joy and the air is so pure that I feel sorry for you all sitting in this dirty room.” And I really enjoyed it outside.

They figured out that this was not a punishment, they were really providing a good opportunity and a chance for me to enjoy myself in complete freedom — because outside I was free to move anywhere or to just go into the thick forest that was behind. They figured out that this was not a punishment, this was a reward. They started stopping it.

I would ask them, “What happened, has the policy changed? I am no more sent outside. Have I to do something before you send me? It saves me from the torture of you and your history. I am not interested in Alexander the Great, I am not interested in Emperor Akbar. What have I to do with these people? I am not interested in history at all. If I am interested then the only interest can be to make history. Only fools who cannot make history read history. You read, and you teach all these fools that are here, but you throw me out.

The teacher of history took me to the principal. He said, “What am I supposed to do? You cannot give him any corporal punishment — he immediately threatens to go to the police station, and unfortunately the police station is just nearby, in front of the school, and he will create trouble. And he is so strange that he has found a legal expert to support him.”

One of my friends’ father was the best advocate in the city. Everybody called him Bachchubhaiya, I don’t know what his full name was. Bachchu is just a nickname for small children. It means just a child; the literal meaning is “a child”. He must have been loved by people; he was a very lovable person. He used to be called Bachchubhaiya. Bachchubhaiya means brother. He was almost sixty, still everybody called him Bachchubhaiya, and he was very friendly with everybody.

So I went to him and asked him, “They threaten me with corporal punishment. You have to support me, because I will report it to the police but the police may listen to me, may not listen to me. It is better I go with a legal expert.”
He said, “Don’t be worried. I will keep your case prepared. Whenever you want I will come along with you and I will see that what you want has to be done.”

So this teacher of history told the principal, “Bachchubhaiya has promised him that he will go with him. That will create immediate trouble because the police inspector, the police commissioner, nobody can deny Bachchubhaiya: he is the most powerful advocate, and he has power over all police authorities, civil authorities, criminal authorities. And Bachchubhaiya has told him that if the police inspector does not listen he will go directly to the collector. So we cannot punish him.

“I asked him to sit down and stand up. He thinks this is exercise. And one day it became such a scene that he told all the students ‘Why are you sitting? You also do it. Exercise is exercise, it is good for the body.’ And all those students — they listen to him more than to me — they all started doing the exercise. I looked like a fool standing there, and I started thinking why I punished him. And he won’t stop. Then I started throwing him out of the class, but he enjoyed it so much that it is not a punishment any more.”

The principal sent me back. He wanted to talk with the teacher in private. He suggested, “You give him such punishment that his family comes to know.”
There used to be a register in the principal’s office — whenever somebody was doing real mischief, the teacher would go and write in it his name and the fine of ten rupees. Then I would have to collect the ten rupees from my family, from my father; I would have to ask them.

So he did that. He put a ten-rupee fine on me and came back and told me, “We have found the way: I have put a ten-rupee fine against your name.”
I said, “Okay. Now I am going to fine you.”
He said, “You are going to fine me?”
I said, “Of course, because in the register it is not mentioned anywhere that only teachers can fine the students. There is no condition like that.” And I went and I put twenty rupees against his name.
The principal said, “Are you mad or what? You are a student!”
I said, “I know I am a student, but is there any prohibition that I cannot fine a teacher if he is doing mischief? — and this is mischief. If I am doing anything wrong then I should be punished; this fine is punishing my father. Can you justify it? Why should my father be punished? He is not involved in it at all.”

I wrote my teacher’s name and the twenty-rupee fine and I said, “Unless he pays, I am not going to pay.”
Still in that register those two punishments remain unpaid because he would not pay me what the principal asked: “You pay the twenty rupees.”
And I told the principal, “Don’t cross this out, otherwise I will fine you. And even crossing it out won’t make any difference because when the inspector of the school comes I am going to report this, and I am going to show him what has been crossed out, and you will have to answer for it.”
So he never asked for the ten rupees from me because my condition was: “First you get twenty rupees from that man, then I will consider it.”

Punishments have been given but I enjoyed the whole thing. It was sheer joy. It is a question of attitude — how you take it — and that is something to be learned about your whole life.

I am reminded… there was a world conference of psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists — people who are involved in the mind games. They are still games, they have not yet got to the point where you can call them a science. Although they are arriving slowly, and are on the right track, still they are playing games. It was a world conference of all the famous psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists.

While the president was inaugurating the conference, he was feeling very uneasy, very disturbed by something just in the front row. There was a beautiful woman, a famous psychiatrist, and an old psychologist, also very famous in his own way — the only surviving colleague of Sigmund Freud. He was playing with the tits of the woman; and just in the front row! Now, how could the president go on speaking?

He tried looking this way, looking that way, but you can’t address a conference just looking this way or that way; you have to look in front too, at least once in a while. And it was too much. The old man was really something; he was not worried that the whole conference, everybody in the hall, could see what was happening. And the woman was even greater; she was sitting and listening to the lecture.

Finally it was too much, and the president said, “Please forgive me, but, lady, can I ask you a question?”
She said, “Of course.”
He said, “Why don’t you complain against this dirty old man?”
She said, “It is his problem, it is not my problem. His dirtiness or whatever he is doing, that is his problem. How am I concerned in it? — he is doing no harm to me. And if it gives him some consolation, some satisfaction, so far so good. He is a patient, that much I can say; he is not a therapist, he is a patient. But you don’t complain against a patient — I feel sorry for him. Buy why are you disturbed? You continue. If I am not disturbed then why are you disturbed and why is everybody else disturbed?”

It is not a joke. The woman is saying something immensely meaningful: she is saying, “It is his problem, and he is suffering from a problem. He needs sympathy not complaint.” But this woman must have been of immense understanding, really a therapist, not only playing games but moving to the very roots of man’s psychic troubles.

The woman simply said that he is behaving like a child, and treating her like his mother, so what is wrong with it? He has not grown up, he is retarded. Now, to make a fuss about it, to disturb the whole conference about it, is meaningless. Let him…. She told the old man, “You continue,” and she told the president, “You also continue. I am undisturbed because it does not concern me at all. Just touching my skin, what does it matter?”

This woman can become awakened because she is behaving like a watcher, even about her own body. She is not identified with the body, she is far above, looking at the retarded old man but not feeling offended — because “I am not the body.”

I have been caned, not by my teachers, because they were afraid I would go to the police station, but by my uncles. My grandfather was always favorable to me about anything. He was ready to participate if he could; of course he never punished me, he always rewarded me.

I used to come home every night and the first thing my grandfather would ask was, “What did you do today? How did things go? Was there any trouble?” We always used to have a good meeting in the night in his bed, sitting together, and he enjoyed everything. I used to tell everything that had happened in the day, and he would say, “It was really a good day!”

My father only punished me once because I had gone to a fair which used to happen a few miles away from the city every year. There flows one of the holy rivers of the Hindus, the Narmada, and on the bank of the Narmada there used to be a big fair for one month. So I simply went there without asking him.

There was so much going on in the fair…. I had gone only for one day and I was thinking I would be back by the night, but there were so many things: magicians, a circus, drama. It was not possible to come back in one day, so three days…. The whole family was in a panic: where had I gone?

It had never happened before. At the most I had come back late in the night but I had never been away for three days continuously… and with no message. They enquired at every friend’s house. Nobody knew about me and the fourth day when I came home my father was really angry. Before asking me anything, he slapped me. I didn’t say anything.

I said, “Do you want to slap me more? You can, because I have enjoyed enough in three days. You cannot slap me more than I have enjoyed, so you can do a few more slaps. It will cool you down, and to me it is just balancing. I have enjoyed myself.”
He said, “You are really impossible. Slapping you is meaningless. You are not hurt by it; you are asking for more. Can’t you make a distinction between punishment and reward?”

I said, “No, to me everything is a reward of some kind. There are different kinds of reward, but everything is a reward of some kind.”

He asked me, “Where have you been for these three days?”
I said, “This you should have asked before you slapped me. Now you have lost the right to ask me. I have been slapped without even being asked. It is a full stop — close the chapter. If you wanted to know, you should have asked before, but you don’t have any patience. Just a minute would have been enough. But I will not keep you continually worrying where I have been, so I will tell you that I went to the fair.”
He asked, “Why didn’t you ask me?”
I said, “Because I wanted to go. Be truthful: if I had asked, would you have allowed me? Be truthful.”
He said,”No.”

I said, “That explains everything, why I did not ask you — because I wanted to go, and then it would have been more difficult for you. If I had asked you and you had said no, I still would have gone, and that would have been more difficult for you. Just to make it easier for you, I didn’t ask, and I am rewarded for it. And I am ready to take any more reward you want to give me. But I have enjoyed the fair so much that I am going there every year. So you can… whenever! disappear, you know where I am. Don’t be worried.”

He said, “This is the last time that I punish you; the first and last time. Perhaps you are right: if you really wanted to go then this was the only way, because I was not going to allow you. In that fair every kind of thing happens: prostitutes are there, intoxicants are available, drugs are sold there” — and at that time in India there was no illegality about drugs, every drug was freely available. And in a fair all kinds of monks gather, and Hindu monks all use drugs ” — so I would not have allowed you to go. And if you really wanted to go then perhaps you were right not to ask.”

I told him, “But I did not bother about the prostitutes or the monks or the drugs. You know me: if I am interested in drugs, then in this very city….” Just by the side of my house there was a shop where all drugs were available: “and the man is so friendly to me that he will not take any money if I want any drug. So there is no problem. Prostitutes are available in the town; if I am interested in seeing their dances I can go there. Who can prevent me? Monks come continually in the city. But I was interested in the magicians.”

And my interest in magic is related to my interest in miracles. In India, before partition, I have seen every kind of miracle being done on the streets by magicians, poor magicians. Perhaps after the whole show they may get a one-rupee collection. How can I believe that these people are messiahs? For one rupee, for three hours they are doing almost impossible things. Of course everything has a trick to it but if you don’t know the trick then it is a miracle.

You have simply heard — I have seen them throwing a rope up, and the rope stands by itself. They have a boy with them they call jamura; every magician has a jamura. I don’t know how to translate it… just “my boy”. And he goes on talking with the jamura, “Jamura, will you go up the rope?”

And he will say, “Yes, I will go.” And this continual conversation has something to do with the trick; it keeps people’s mind on the conversation, and the conversation is funny in many ways. I have seen that boy climbing up the rope and disappearing!
And the man calls from down below, “Jamura?”
And from far above comes the voice, “Yes, master.”

And he says, “Now I will bring you down part by part.” Then he throws a knife up, and the head of the boy comes down! He throws the knife up, and a leg comes down! Part by part the boy comes down, and the magician goes on putting the parts together, covers them with a bedsheet and says, “Jamura, now be together.”

And the jamura says, “Yes, master.” The magician removes the bedsheet and the boy stands up! He pulls down the rope, winds it up, puts it in the bag and starts asking for money. At the most he would get one rupee — because in those days sixty paise was equivalent to one rupee and nobody was going to give him more than one paise, two paise at the most; a very rich person would give him four paise. If he can gather one rupee for his miracle he is fortunate. I have seen all kinds of things, and the people who are doing them are just beggars.

So when I hear that your faith in Jesus will disappear if you know that he never walked on water, that he never turned water into wine, I cannot conceive of it, because in the twentieth century, the secrets of how to do all these magic tricks are available, even in books. And you can do them, you just have to learn a little strategy.

One sannyasin was with me; he lived with me in Bombay, and he was interested in magic. So I told him, “Have a press conference and give a show of your magic, but call them miracles, not magic.” And he did it. Even Vivek was one of the participants in his magic — miracles, not magic.

The miracle was that Vivek has to swallow a thread, a long thread which she goes on swallowing. And then he takes back that thread from her navel; he goes on pulling it and it all comes out. And the whole trick was just a small operation. A few days before, he just made a little cut near the navel and pushed a thread inside; and this was the thread that was coming out. The thread that she had swallowed was a different thread — but to the press it was a miracle. “The woman has taken the thread inside and he takes it out from her navel! — and it comes out, the same length and everything.” But just a small trick….

He did many things there, and you know, just because he was my disciple many papers described how I had done these miracles. He drank some poison, enough to kill a man… but everything was a trick. He was just practicing there, in my own house and on my own people, and they all were saying, “What is happening?”

Vivek was saying, “This is cheating… I thought it was going to be a real miracle. It is nothing like a miracle, it is just a cheat.”
I said, “Everybody has been a cheat; there has never been a miracle.”
So I told my father, “I was interested only in the magic, because in the fair all kinds of magicians gather together, and I have seen some really great things. My interest is that I want to reduce miracles into magic. Magic is only about tricks — there is nothing spiritual in it — but if you don’t know the trick, then certainly it appears to be a miracle.”

I have been punished, but I have enjoyed every mischief so much that I don’t count those punishments at all. They are nothing.
I have a certain rapport with women, perhaps that’s why mischief — if it was Mister Chief or Master Chief, perhaps I would have avoided it, but Miss Chief! — the temptation was so much that I could not avoid it. In spite of all the punishment I continued it. And I still continue it!

Source – Osho Book “From Ignorance to Innocence”

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