[A sannyasin asks: How do I get respect from other people?]
Osho – The desire is not a good desire; it is a wrong desire, and if you follow it your whole life will become a desert. Ask how to get love from people, not respect. Respect is ugly, love is beautiful. And there is a world of difference. When somebody loves you, he is not humiliated; he stands equal to you. When you ask for respect that means you are higher, holier, and he is lower, a sinner. Never ask for respect.
Even if people give respect to you, you will never feel nourished by it, because respect is a synthetic food; love is real food. The need is for love, not for respect. You are misunderstanding your desire, you are misinterpreting your heart. You need love, just as one needs food. The body depends on food, the soul depends on love; but love is risky and respect is non-risky. Love is dangerous, because to get love you will have to give love; there is no other way — you will have to be loving. A loving person is always in danger, insecurity. Love is a kind of madness, it is a kind of intoxication. Where it will lead, nobody knows; it is a wild phenomenon.
Respect is controllable, and in respect you need not give love. You have just to create certain qualities which people think are respectable. You have to be true to your word and people will respect you. You have to be consistent in your character and people will respect you. You have to be dependable and people will respect you. In short, you have to be predictable and people will respect you. Now these things you can do on your own; you need not get involved with anybody. You can develop your character, you can create an armour around you, you can be very consistent, although consistent people always remain mediocre. But mediocres get respect. The more mediocre a person, the more possibility of getting respect.
The genius is always in danger. Jesus was not respected by people, otherwise why should they crucify him? He was insulted, not respected, because he had no desire to be consistent, he had no desire to be respectable. He was non-calculating, he was uncunning. He simply lived his life lovingly and got into danger, into trouble. He was just thirty-three when he was crucified; he had not even lived his youth, he was just growing. But he lived the life of rebellion. Love is rebellious! Socrates was not respected. He was loved by a few people and hated by many, but not respected. Otherwise why should they have poisoned him?
Down the ages, whenever there is an intelligent man, people don’t like him, because his very intelligence brings the future and people cling to the past. His very intelligence disrupts the social order. The confirmed, the conventional, the traditional is in danger because of his presence.
If you want to be respectful, you want to be respected, you will have to settle with the past. You will have to do what people want you to do. Then you cannot do your own thing. If you want to do your own thing, then nobody knows… But only by doing your own thing will you be happy. Respectable people are never happy they are a miserable lot. How can they be happy? — because they have never been true to themselves. They have always been looking into people’s eyes and following hints: if people want this they will do that. That is the birth of a politician. The politician is continuously thinking of how to be respected by people. He has to commit suicide, he has to die to his own being, he has to become a hypocrite, he has to pretend.
No, please don’t ask this question. That question will lead you into death, not into life, and I help people towards more life, abundant life. Love is a value; respect is not a value at all. And I am not saying that if you love, people will not respect you; I am not saying that. A few people will respect you, people who are really intelligent will respect you. But that is not your desire, that is just a spin-off. That is not your motive, you were not searching for it.
A few people respected Jesus, respected him as a god, and a few people respected Socrates also, as they had never respected anybody else. A few people will respect you but that should not be your motive. Just see the point: if you are loving, if you live your own life, then only a very few people will respect you. But those are the few whose respect is valuable, because they will be the intelligent, the rebellious, the artistic, the talented. People who are really alive will respect you. Their respect means something. And if you ask for respect then many people will respect you, but their respect means nothing, because they don’t mean anything.
So simply cancel that desire, kill it in the bud, otherwise you are moving towards becoming a politician. And that’s the distinction I make between politics and religion. A religious person lives his own life. If people feel it is good, they respect him; if they feel it is not good, they disrespect him. But that is no more a consideration; that is their problem. ‘I live my life; now it is your problem whether you respect me or not, whether you love me or not. That is secondary.’ A few people will love you. Don’t be concerned with respect, otherwise you will be too worried about your character, otherwise you will start imbibing qualities, traditional qualities.
I teach rebellion, I teach characterlessness, I teach freedom. A really free man has no character. Each moment he responds anew. He does not carry a character in the head, he does not carry a programme, he does not consult the programme. A situation arises — he responds to it. He is responsible, he responds with his totality, but not according to a certain idea that he has been carrying of how one should behave. He has no how. He behaves in this moment. Next moment will decide again. He has no permanent decision, he does not live out of conclusions. Each moment is given freedom. Life decides. He has not a blueprint that he should do this and should say that and should be like this. He has no shoulds; he has burned all commandments. He looks into life and lets things happen. And there is no repentance, he never feels guilty, because there is no idea to make him feel guilty. I can make you joyous, I can make you loving! But respect is a dirty word.
Source: Osho Book “The Sun behind the Sun behind the Sun”