Question – Is it Possible for a Politician to be Enlightened?
Osho – Never heard of it. It has never happened. There are intrinsic problems. The very dimension the politician moves in is against enlightenment.
A few things have to be understood. Politics is a diametrically opposite phenomenon to religion. A scientist can easily become religious; his approach is different but not opposite. He may have been working with matter, with the objective world, but his working is a sort of meditation. He needs a certain space in his consciousness, a silent space, to work and to discover. It is not very difficult to move from the objective towards subjectivity because the same space can be used for the inner journey.
A poet can very easily become religious — he is very close, very, very close; almost in the neighborhood. A painter or a sculptor can very easily become religious; they are already religious, unknowingly. They are already worshippers though they have not yet worshipped. They may not have thought about God. they may not have consciously been religious at all, they may not go to the church or to the temple they may not be concerned with the Bible and the Koran and the Gita — but that is not the point. A painter goes on seeing something Divine in nature: colors are Divine for him. A poet goes on feeling something of the religious romance all around. All creative arts are very closely related — any moment consciousness can dawn, any ray can become a transformation. But a politician moves in a diametrically opposite direction. His whole training is against religion.
I have heard an anecdote: The Congressman had delivered a stirring speech against a controversial bill. He was promptly buried in mountains of mail from back home as constituents wrote condemning his stand. Next day he was back on his feet in the house, this time making a speech in favor of the bill. When he finished, a colleague collared him.
‘Yesterday,’ said the colleague, ‘you made an eloquent explanation of the principles which motivated your stand. I wonder, what has happened to change your mind?’
‘Someday,’ said the Congressman, ‘you will learn that there comes a time in every man’s life when he must rise above mere principles.’
A politician is an opportunist; in fact, he has no principles. He talks about principles, but he has no principles. He pretends that he has principles but if he is a politician worth the name, he cannot have any principles. Those principles are just to fool people. He is on an ego trip. He uses all sorts of principles.
I have heard about one politician. In an election campaign he was speaking in his constituency. There was a great controversy about prohibition: about whether alcohol should be totally prohibited or not. When he was speaking, a man stood up and asked, ‘What is your stand on prohibition?’
Now he became a little shaky because half the population was for it and half was against it. And he could see that half the crowd was for it and half the crowd was against it. Whatsoever he said was going to lose half the votes. It was really difficult. He was in a dilemma.
And then he said, ‘You are all my friends. Please raise their hands those who are in favor and those who are against.’ Half the people raised their hands in favor, and half against.
Then he said, ‘Good. I am with my friends. I am all for my friends. You are all my friends and I am for you.’ Now he is saying neither yes nor no.
The trip is of the ego: how to become more powerful, how to control others. Religion is just the opposite. It is not in any way an ego trip — one has to lose the ego. And one is not trying to be powerful. In fact, one is trying to understand the total helplessness of the part against the whole; one is learning how to surrender, not how to conquer; and one is not concerned with others, one is totally concerned with himself. If this much is possible, that ‘I can become aware of my own being’ it is enough, more than enough.
The politician is concerned with the outside world, he is an extrovert. The religious person is an introvert. He is not concerned with things, with the world with situations; he is concerned with the quality of his consciousness. A religious person is trying to find out how to be fulfilled; a politician is trying to show to the world that he is somebody. He may not be fulfilled but he pretends that he is fulfilled; he has opted for pretensions, hypocrisy. He simply wants the whole world to know that he is somebody special. extraordinary, very happy. Deep inside he may be carrying a hell but he believes that if he can fool everybody else, he will be able to fool himself. That dream is never fulfilled.
You can fool everybody else by smiling a false smile, but how can you fool yourself? Deep down you know that everything is getting cold and dead; deep down you know that everything is empty, in vain. But one goes on thinking, ‘If I can convince everybody else that I am somebody, then somehow I will be able to convince myself that I am somebody. The politician is a liar. He’s trying to lie — to himself and to the whole world. The religious dimension is the dimension of being true, authentic.
Once it happened that a man entered a bar and said, ‘Bartender, I want you to meet my dog. He talks. I will sell him to you for only ten dollars.’
‘Who do you think you are kidding?’ said the bartender.
The dog, tears in his eyes looked up. ‘Please buy me,’ he said. ‘This man treats me cruelly. He never gives me a bone. He never bathes me. He is always kicking me around. And once I was the richest trick-dog in the country. I performed before presidents and kings. My name was in the papers every day, and….’
‘So he does talk,’ said the bartender. ‘But why sell a valuable dog like that for only ten dollars?’
‘Because,’ said the customer, ‘l hate liars.’
A politician is a liar, and he is trying to convince himself through convincing others. A politician is almost mad — mad for power. Many people are in the madhouses in the world: somebody thinks he is Adolph Hitler, somebody thinks he is Napoleon, somebody thinks he is Ford or Mao Tse Tung. They are in the jails, or in the madhouses, or in the hospitals, because we think they have gone mad. Somebody thinking that he is Adolph Hitler is thought to be mad, but what about Adolph Hitler himself? The only difference is this: -this man, this madman who thinks himself to be Adolph Hitler, has not been able to prove it, that’s all. He’s innocent. His madness is just innocence. Adolph Hitler proved to the world that, yes, he is. Adolph Hitler is more mad than this man. His madness was such that he proved to the whole world that he was somebody and if he could not create, then he could destroy.
There are only two possibilities. you can be a creator, then you feel a certain fulfillment — that comes to a mother when she gives birth to a child, that comes to a poet when poetry is born, that comes to a sculptor when he has created something a beautiful piece in marble, in stone, in wood. Whenever you create something, you feel enhanced; you reach towards peaks. you get high.
All people who are creative are close to religion. Religion is the greatest creativity because it is an effort to give birth to yourself, to become a father and mother to yourself, to be born again, to be reborn through meditation, through awareness. Poetry is good, painting is good — but when you give birth to your own consciousness, there is no comparison. Then you have given birth to the ultimate poetry, the ultimate music, the ultimate dance. This is the dimension of creativity. On the rung of creativity, religion is the last. It is the greatest art, the ultimate art — that’s why I call it ‘the ultimate alchemy’.
On the opposite end of the ladder is destruction. People who cannot be creative become destructive because through destruction they can have a vicarious feeling that they are powerful. When Hitler destroyed millions of people, of course he had a very powerful feeling that, ‘I am somebody. I can destroy the whole world.’ He was almost ready to destroy the whole world — he had almost destroyed it.
A politician is a destructive mind. He may talk about the nation, the country; he may talk about utopias, socialism, communism, but basically a politician is a destructive mind. And a destructive mind cannot become enlightened. First, the whole energy should move towards Construction, towards creation. Then only is there the possibility that by and by you participate in the ultimate creation — that is nirvana, the ultimate creation, in which you are born Divine, infinite, unlimited. Then you expand, you spread all over existence; then you are no longer a wave, you have become the ocean.
The politician can never become enlightened. I am not saying that the politician cannot move towards enlightenment — he can. But as he moves, he will have to drop politics. A politician is also a human being, but he will have to drop the politics, and by the time he comes to meditate he will be no more a politician. Remaining a politician, a politician cannot become enlightened. But his humanity is there. Even a Hitler can become a Buddha — some day. One hopes he will. Some day, far away in the future, even an Adolph Hitler is going to become a Buddha; that is his potentiality. But then, by that time, he will not be an Adolph Hitler.
Nuclear war had come and gone. Only one tiny monkey in one isolated part of the world remained alive. After weeks of wandering about, he finally came across a little female monkey. He threw his arms around her in greeting.
‘I am starved,’ he said. ‘Have you found anything to eat?’
‘Well,’ she said. ‘I found this little old apple.’
‘Oh, no, you don’t!’ he snapped. ‘We are not going to start that all over again!’
Even monkeys are worried about humanity. And I have heard monkeys talking. They don’t believe in Darwin, they don’t say that man has-evolved out of monkeys, they don’t think that man is a developed form — they think man has fallen from the monkeys. Of course — fallen from the trees, fallen from the height, fallen from the monkeys.
And this is true in a way, because man has up to now remained political. The whole history up to now has been political; no civilization has yet existed which has been religious — not even Indian civilization. Not a single nation has become like a being which is religious — only rare individuals, here and there, far apart. Somewhere a Buddha, a Jesus, a Zarathustra, a Lao Tzu — islands. Otherwise, ordinarily, the main current of humanity has remained political.
Politics is basically ambition. Politics is basically wrong because ambition is wrong. You are not to become somebody, says religion, you are already. You are not to become powerful — you are already. You are extensions of God. You need not be worried about being powerful and being somebody on a throne; those are all stupid games, childish, very juvenile, immature. And you cannot find more immature people than politicians.
In fact, in a better world, politicians will be kept in madhouses, and mad people will be allowed to move into the world. Those mad people have not done anything wrong. They may be a little off the track but they have not been harmful. Politicians are dangerously mad people, tremendously dangerous.
I have heard that before Richard Nixon renounced his throne, he called a meeting of his colleagues and he threatened that he had the power to go into the other room, push a button, and the whole world could be destroyed in twenty minutes.
And, yes, he had that power. Millions of atom bombs are ready — a button has just to be pushed. The power of the atom and H-bombs already made is seven times more than is needed to destroy this earth — seven times morel We have become so skilled, super-skilled, in destruction that seven earths of this size could be destroyed. And nobody can say — any day any president of America, or Soviet Russia, or China, can go mad. And politicians are almost mad…any day, anybody can push the button. It is now only a question of pushing a button. And everybody has mad moments, angry moments. The threat is very, very real.
Politics has been the disease of humanity, the cancer of consciousness. Drop all politics within you. And remember, when I am talking about politicians, I don’t mean particularly those people who are in politics — I mean all those who are ambitious. Wherever ambition is, politics comes in; wherever you are trying to get ahead of somebody, politics comes in; wherever you are trying to dominate somebody — maybe your wife, or your husband — politics comes in. Politics is a very common disease, like the common cold.
Source – Osho Book “Ancient Music in the Pines’